Modern television remote controls have a massive number of buttons compared to their more primitive predecessors, and because of this, seniors can struggle with knowing which button to press and when as well as having difficulties seeing the small text. This problem inspired Instructables user omerrv to create a device that he calls the Sababox, which contains just a few large, easily-pressable buttons for simple use.
The Sababox is equipped with an Arduino Nano at its core, which is connected to a grid of 14 momentary pushbutton switches. A separate circuit was also made from a Nano and IR receiver module that can read incoming infrared pulses from a remote and record them for later use. For instance, a volume up command contains a series of values which are then placed into the code for the Sababox’s Nano. When a user goes to press the larger “VOL +” button, that same command is relayed to the target device. One other nice feature of the Sababox is that it can be used to control more than one device, and omerrv currently has TV, radio, and air conditioner commands for his.
After the electronic circuit and programming had been completed, the whole assembly was placed into a large 3D-printed enclosure along with the necessary buttons and labels.
After the electronic circuit and programming had been completed, the whole assembly was placed into a large 3D-printed enclosure along with the necessary buttons and labels. To read more about how the Sababox was built, you can view its write-up here on Instructables.
Exploring the vast underwater world is exciting, and personal breathing devices such as SCUBA allow for people to descend far further than usual. However, robots can be even better since they can operate much longer and more efficiently than a person. And because these underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) can be so expensive, Ranuga Amargasinghe wanted to construct his own DIY version that costs less.
The chassis of the ROV was fashioned from a series of 50mm PVC tubes that vary in size from 70mm all the way up to 450mm in length. A rectangular base acts as a skid and helps prevent rough landings from injuring the robot. Above that is a small box which houses a 12V lead-acid battery, along with the electronics. Commands are sent from the surface control box via UART to the Arduino Nano within the ROV, which in turn activates a bank of relay modules that turns on both the vertical and horizontal thrusters for planar movements.
Back on the surface, Amargasinghe built a small controller that has four buttons for adjusting the thrust vector of the robot by checking if certain combinations are pressed. There is also a central rocker switch for telling the robot to shutdown immediately if the user needs it to. Once the camera and a couple of white LEDs were attached to the front of the ROV, it was tested in a small pool of water and balanced based on the results of those tests.
Public art installations are a great way to express your creativity while simultaneously sharing it with others. Niklas Roy, a maker who builds interactive art installations in Berlin, Germany had the idea to create a machine that lets people draw pictures and then share them digitally too, which he calls the VEKTORKOLLEKTOR. Designed in collaboration with Kati Hyyppä, the project consists of two parts: a joystick for operating the device and a large pen plotter to draw on a piece of paper.
The joystick assembly was made with a classic arcade joystick and a pair of arcade pushbutton switches, all placed within a small enclosure. These components are connected to a central Arduino Uno that also has an SD card for saving drawings and a small TFT display that shows a virtual drawing of what’s on the page. The Uno communicates with a secondary Arduino Nano board in order to control the rotations of the two X/Y DC gear motors and thus the position of the drawing utensil. Positional data is gathered from a single optical encoder situated on each axis.
One great aspect to saving what people draw as a series of vectors is that they can be shared digitally and recreated in a variety of formats. Roy was able to get someone to create an Inkscape extension for converting drawings into SVG files, and some were even used to paint murals with an even larger spray can plotter.
People who suffer from physical disabilities that leave them unable to speak or communicate effectively can end up frustrated or largely ignored. In response to this issue, Hackaday users Malte, Marco, and Tim R wanted to create a small device that can turn small eye movements into simple commands and phrases for easier communication, which they call the “Speak4Me.”
At the most basic level, the Speak4Me consists of an Arduino Nano board that controls a set of four infrared sensors which are pointed at the user’s eye within a single glass lens. Then once every 100 milliseconds, a measurement is taken to determine the location of the pupil and thus the direction being focused on. The word or phrase is chosen by first selecting a profile containing four groups of four elements each, for a total of sixteen possible combinations per profile. As an example, the caretaker profile has elements such as “yes,” “I want to sit,” and even “I need medical treatment.”
After a command has been selected, it is then sent to a Parallax Emic 2 text-to-speech device that takes in the words and produces the corresponding sounds, which are outputted via a 3.5mm audio jack.
FDM 3D printers work by taking a model, creating many thin slices of it, and then extruding plastic to produce the desired shape. But what happens if you want to reverse that process, e.g. take many tiny slices of something and build a model digitally? This is commonly done with medical imaging device such as MRI machines, but Danilo Roccatano wanted to design a much smaller and cheaper version that works with sand.
His device, which he calls the Magic Sand Slicer, works just as the name implies. Core samples of wet, colored sand are taken from a larger vessel and then placed into an extruder. Next, a 5V stepper motor rotates a long screw that pushes the plunger of the syringe, thus causing sand to extrude at a constant rate. A brush then cleans the surface to make it smooth and a smartphone camera takes a picture. A single Arduino Nano manages everything from the motors to the IR limit switch.
With all the pictures taken, each one is cropped to just its cross-sectional area and then passed to a program called ImageJ which uses those 2D images to create a 3D model. This colorful model can be zoomed, rotated, panned, and sliced virtually, allowing the user to see every intricate detail within their sample. Eventually, Roccatano wants to expand this functionality to other mediums such as rocks and insect-made tunnels.
Sometimes, art projects can require the creation of many different pieces of material to be used in the construction of an item. Imagine wanting to build a mosaic out of construction paper but then realizing you’ll need hundreds of tiny strips that are each cut to the exact same length. Luckily, YouTuber Mr Innovative has come up with a solution in the form of an Arduino-based paper cutter. This project follows from a recent one where he assembled an automatic wire cutting machine that can handle up to four different colors simultaneously.
Mr Innovative’s design consists of a large block of wood for the base with a pair of opposing, parallel rails on either side. Just beside one of these is a NEMA 17 stepper motor with a gear that meshes with and rotates a set of rubber rollers that span the entire width of the machine to feed paper through. At the end of the base is another rail that supports the cutting head (a razor blade) which is slid back and forth with another stepper motor.
Both motors are driven by a custom control board that houses a pair of A4988 motor drivers and an Arduino Nano. An I2C-enabled screen sits at the front, and it displays a simple GUI with which the user can select both the length of each paper strip and how many should be cut.
You can view this project in more detail in Mr Innovative’s demo/build video below.