Tag Archives: Uncategorized

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.

This useless box has lights, sounds, and a real attitude

via Arduino Blog

You’ve probably seen an example of the “useless box,” or “useless machine,” which when switched on does nothing except open up to turn itself back off again. This one by creator Alex Pikkert adds a few new tricks, giving it a bit of a mood, and not one but two switches and fingers!

When switched on, the device uses a micro servo to open the box. The correct finger then extends under the power of one of the other two servos to turn the particular switch you flipped off again.

To help give it “attitude,” the Arduino Uno-controlled unit employs a pair of ID1820 sound boards that let it squawk out giggles and other noises as it seems to become increasingly annoyed over time. Tri-color LEDs can also flash angrily next to the switches, and there’s an as-yet unused passive infrared sensor, potentially usable for further automated hijinks.

Retro cassette player gets modern MP3 playback and RFID functionality

via Arduino Blog

When creator mattb_138’s parents were cleaning out their house, he came across an old cassette player and decided to upgrade it with MP3 capabilities and an RFID interface.

The newly-enhanced device uses an Arduino Nano for control, along with a DFPlayer Mini module to play songs stored on a microSD card. An RC522 reader enables him to select tracks based on RFID cards, printed with their appropriate album art.

The cassette player’s internals are kept largely stock, using a potentiometer to adjust the volume of the original speakers. Two buttons are also implemented with long and short press functionality, allowing for pause/play, skip, shuffle, and selection between A/B “side” of each card.

You can find more details on the upcycled project — which was inspired by the Juuke RFID playerin mattb_138’s Instructables tutorial.

S.H.I.E.L.D. yourself from unwanted mic and camera access

via Arduino Blog

If you haven’t heard, a lot of us are working from home these days, making mic and camera discipline more important than ever. To help avoid unwanted recording, Tovi Levis created the S.H.I.E.L.D. device, which stands for Software and Hardware for Invisible Eavesdroppers and Lurkers Detection.

This amply-named project uses an Arduino Uno to control a pair of WS2812B lights mounted to the top of your computer monitor. Lights shine through acrylic icons of a microphone and camera, with red indicating “on” and green for “off” and safe. There is also a buzzer to note status changes.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. communicates with the host PC over USB, which runs a companion monitoring app that can be used independently as well. More details are available on GitHub, and a demo/explanation can be seen in Levis’ video below.

HOW TO: Edge-Lit Portrait (work in progress)

via WyoLum Blog

Ok, so I’m a little late to the game. People have been making cool stuff using edge-lit acrylic for a long time now. A friend coaxed me into making a sign, and the potential and possibilities of edge-lit artwork captured my imagination. It is a bit labor intensive, but this tutorial, will walk you through converting a photograph or image into free-standing, desktop portrait.


  1. Photo
  2. 1/4″ clear acrylic sheet
  3. 1/8″ dark acrylic Sheet (background)
  4. Button
  5. Panel mount barrell adapter
  6. Power supply


  1. Prepare the image
  2. Cut the image
  3. Cut the base
  4. Assemble the base
  5. Prepare the image

1. Prepare the image

Trim the image to size. Cutting around the subject looks much better than trying to capture the background in my oppinion. Using InkScape (the best) draw a poly ground around thehead.

Use this tool
Tight trim
Click the image, hold shift, click border, right click and select “Set Clip”

File –> Export PNG image…

Run dither.py

File –> import (out_w_neg.bmp)

Resize outline, center on negative image


Ready to cut

Cut outline and dithered negative in clear acrylic, cut outline alone in dark acrylic

2. Cut Base

3. Assemble Base

Wiring diagram
Use copper tape to route the signal from the button, to the CPU.
Test the leads of the barrell adapter to make sure you know which is + and which is ground.
Mark the center of the base and stick the LEDs to the base. Add standoffs.
Solder LED leads, keep it flat!

Magpie MIDI is an adaptive harmonica-style computer interface

via Arduino Blog

For those with certain physical restrictions, interfacing with a computer can be a difficult task. As a possible solution, Shu Takahashi and Pato Montalvo have come up with the Magpie MIDI hands-free interface. The adaptive tool, inspired in part by a harmonica, has 13 air holes that enable its user to “sip” and “puff” all 26 letters of the alphabet.

The Magpie MIDI also features an integrated joystick and potentiometer, allowing it to function as a USB mouse for navigating a computer screen, as a MIDI controller, and even as a gaming device. Everything is controlled by an Arduino Leonardo, and uses a CD74HC4067 multiplexer to accommodate the available inputs.

More info on this amazing assistive technology project can be found in Takahashi’s tutorial, as well as the video below.

Magpie MIDI is an affordable adaptive tool that enables cerebral palsy patients and others with muscle control disabilities to express themselves in new ways. Meant to be easily customizable to meet different needs of varying degrees of disabilities, every aspect of hardware and software is open-source. The device offers new means for cerebral palsy patients and alike to express their creativity in areas of computer games, music, and writing.