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Top 10 Creative Projects from Arduino Day Community Challenge

via Arduino Blog

With over 170 creative projects sent in from around the world, choosing just 10 winners for the Arduino Day Community Challenge was almost impossible.

Hopefully you were with us on Arduino Day, and saw the winning projects being unveiled during the livestream. But we also wanted to send out another big congratulations to the inventive Arduino lovers who won.

So let’s take another look at the 10 projects that won a big box of Arduino goodies for their creative contraptions.

Fingerprint Door-Lock

Anvesh Pathak

Using an Arduino Uno with a fingerprint sensor module, Anvesh created a smart, keyless door lock. A great project that has very clear, and desirable, applications. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for an external door either. This would work just as well on a cupboard, garage or even a locked box.

Anvesh went a step further in creating a great demo by incorporating a servo motor into his model house.

Arduino Fingerprint Door-Lock projects

Project Seismon

Swara Kadam

It’s always exciting to see an Arduino project that can have a very real impact on the world around us. Swara’s device is designed to help schools detect and respond to earthquakes, warnings and preparatory drills.

Packed up inside a superb robotic design, it’s easy to imagine seeing Seismon on the store shelves one day.

Seismon Arduino project

Smart Pull-Up Bar

Nikolas Babetas

Sometimes the most inspiring thing about an Arduino project is when you see the ingenious, yet simple solutions people come up with. For example, the way Nikolas solved the detection method for beginning his workout.

A laser light mounted on the pull-up bar is broken when he grips it, kicking the Tic-Tac Motivational Distribution System into action. And yes, that’s Ah-Ha’s Take On Me bleeping away in the background.

Smart Pull-Up Bar Arduino project

Elevator Project

Federico Magnelli

Federico chose an elevator to demonstrate his project, but what’s especially creative is that it has unlimited applications. He’s put together a system that lets him send remote commands via Telegram to an Arduino.

His example project shows how text messages can be used to remotely control lights, motors, audio and more. Anything you connect to a board, really.

Telegram controlled Arduino projects

Fidget Muse

Indigo Knecht

A great multifunction device inspired by the fidget cube, Indigo’s project is as educational as it is creative.

It’s all about inputs and outputs. This is a great example that anyone could use to easily learn about the multiple outputs that are possible from all kinds of Arduino Nano controls.

Fidget muse Arduino project


Johan Halmen

An Arduino MKR1010 along with 61 servos have been used to renovate and automate an organ that was built in 1902. And if that’s not impressive enough, wait until you hear Johan’s song (and the new Arduino anthem), “The Arduino Nerd”.

Sing along, nerds!

Orguino Arduino project

Gear Machine Project

James Clarke

Some of the most impressive Arduino projects out there are the ones that teach you about more than just electronics. James’s modular Gear Machine is powered by an Arduino Micro, and gives you a great way to learn about the mechanics of gears, as well as how to drive them.

Gear machine Arduino project

IoT High Tech Mini Greenhouse

Maciej Gala

We love to see practical projects that also look amazing. The lighting system that Maciej has built into his IoT greenhouse is both effective and attractive. It’s also easy to see how the features of his project could easily be scaled up to any size of gardening application.

IoT greenhouse Arduino projects

Smart Trash Can

Carmen Cheung

As simple as Carmen’s Smart Trash Can is, it’s still one of the best examples of a creative, innovative, problem solving project we’ve seen. Especially with things the way they’ve been during 2020 and 2021, a remote, contactless trash can lid is just a brilliant, practical idea.

Smart trash can Arduino project

Chess Board Puzzle

Anastasis Malakozis

This is an inspired way to keep your valuables safe. Anastasis has rigged up an ingenious door lock that wouldn’t look out of place in the Wayne mansion as a sneaky way to get into the Bat Cave. Put the chess pieces in just the right place, and the lock opens.

Chessboard puzzle Arduino projects

Congratulation again to all the Arduino Day Community Challenge winners, and thanks to every who sent us their projects. You can find a lot more Arduino projects over at the Project Hub, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the Arduino Day livestream if you missed it on the day.

The post Top 10 Creative Projects from Arduino Day Community Challenge appeared first on Arduino Blog.

What is PIO?

via Raspberry Pi

Microcontroller chips, like our own RP2040 on Raspberry Pi Pico, offer hardware support for protocols such as SPI and I2C. This allows them to send and receive data to and from supported peripherals.

But what happens when you want to use unsupported tech, or multiple SPI devices? That’s where Programmable I/O, or PIO, comes in. PIO was developed just for RP2040, and is unique to the chip.

PIO allows you to create additional hardware interfaces, or even new types of interface. If you’ve ever looked at the peripherals on a microcontroller and thought “I need four UARTs and I only have two,” or “I’d like to output DVI video,” or even “I need to communicate with this accursed serial device I found, but there is no hardware support anywhere,” then you will have fun with PIO.

We’ve put together this handy explainer to help you understand PIO and how it can be used to add more devices to your Raspberry Pi Pico.

For more information on PIO and RP2040, check out this article from HackSpace magazine.

The post What is PIO? appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

3D-printed mobile robot platform based on the Arduino Due

via Arduino Blog

Although an Arduino can be a great way to provide computing power for a mobile robot platform, you’ll need a variety of other electronics and mechanical components to get it going. In his write-up, computer science student Niels Post outlines how he constructed a robot that travels via two stepper motors, along with casters to keep it upright. The round chassis is 3D-printed and runs on three rechargeable 18650 batteries.

The platform is based on an Arduino Due, with stepper drivers and a custom PCB to take care of the wiring. The robot has no sensors or navigation aids onboard, but instead relies on an nRF24L01+ module to communicate with a Raspberry Pi that hosts the web interface for control and livestream viewing. This setup employs a webcam to sense and direct the robot through its environment using printed markers.

More details on Post’s project can be found in his Instructables tutorial.

Upload your sketch over-the-air with the Arduino IoT Cloud!

via Arduino Blog

Over-the-air (or OTA) programming is a very useful feature in all those cases where your devices are located in places that are not easily accessible. For example, you built a weather station using the Oplá IoT Kit, situated it on your rooftop, and started monitoring the weather from an IoT Cloud dashboard. That’s great until you find a bug or want to modify something and have to climb on your roof with a laptop to do so. Here’s where OTA becomes handy. 

If you have connected an Arduino Nano 33 IoT or a MKR WiFi 1010 to the Arduino IoT Cloud, you can now update the sketch using a wireless connection from the web.

How it works

To use OTA, you need to do two things: enable a device and create a Thing.

To enable a device, you need to connect a board to the IoT Cloud and update the firmware. Just plug the device into the USB, go to the Device tab, and click Add Device. A wizard will guide you through the process — at the end, your board will be available as a target for the upload over-the-air and you will be able to update the sketch remotely!

A Thing is a component that manages the dialogue between the cloud and the physical device thanks to a dedicated library (the Arduino Connection Handler), and stores the data into the cloud. Creating a Thing is simple: just select the voice from the IoT Cloud’s main menu, configure the variables that you want to exchange with the device, and pair the board that you have just enabled.

If you are new to the IoT Cloud, here is an in-depth tutorial on how to build an IoT project with Arduino Create. Once you have configured a Thing, you will be able to perform OTA updates. 

Devices that can be updated via OTA will appear in the dropdown list of all updatable devices in the online editors of Create — the full Web Editor and the new Sketch Editor have been introduced in the Thing configuration page to make minor changes to the code.

This Sketch Editor is one of the innovations that we have introduced in the IoT Cloud with two objectives in mind: 

1. Help those who are learning to program with Arduino follow the tutorials of IoT projects, such as those included in the Oplà IoT Kit.

2. Allow users to quickly make small changes to the sketch, which do not require access to libraries or more sophisticated editing functions.

More resources

If you want to know more about OTA and the redesign of the IoT Cloud, we have prepared a couple of detailed tutorials that will walk you through the exploration of the new features. 

Uploading sketches over-the-air (OTA)

Getting started with the Arduino IoT Cloud

New to Arduino Create? It’s a platform that helps you develop and manage connected projects with Arduino, featuring tools to code, monitor, and control devices from the Internet and your smartphones. Sign up for free now!

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Mesmerize your holiday guests with these motor-driven rheoscopic fluid ornaments

via Arduino Blog

We’ve all see Christmas ornaments shaped like a ball – interesting, but a bit passive. Will Donaldson, however, has created an amazing enhancement for these “orbaments,” adding a rheoscopic fluid inside that shows turbulent swirling patterns as it moves.

The fluid is simply tap water and food coloring, plus the special rheoscopic concentrate that contains an array of light reflecting particles. To maintain a state or turbulence, Donaldson affixed a small drone-style motor to the hanger assembly on top of each orb using hot glue.

Motors were inserted with propellers attached, which were bent to fit inside. To vary the speed of the turbulence, Donaldson added an Arduino Nano, along with an L293 driver, using the analogWrite() function for PWM control.

Smart Fairy Tale

via Arduino Blog

As an exhibit at the Phaneo Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany, Niklas Roy and Felix Figus created a remotely-operated storytelling machine dubbed “Smart Fairy Tale.”

When initiated, a little red ball rolls down the apparatus’ transparent tubing, triggering different interactions based on the interruption of light sensors along its path. 25 Arduino Nanos are used to control each individual animatronic part of the “story,” making the code manageable and allowing the overall installation to still work if there’s a malfunction in one section.

To start the Smart Fairy Tale, people can log on to its Raspberry Pi server, where they can also change how it works. Animations were designed with the help of donated toys, inspirational drawings from kids, and the participation of artist Wolfgang Kowar – a truly public art exhibit!

More information on the Smart Fairy Tale machine can be found in Roy’s blog post or on Figus’ website.