When you need to grab someone’s attention at an event, an interactive screen is a good idea. MakerMan, however, went several steps beyond this, creating an installation with a bank of static screens that depict the Moscow skyline. In front of this, a single touch-enabled display moves back and forth automatically to present information on various points of interest.
Sliding action is handled by a large stepper motor, which pulls the screen along on a carriage assembly. The motor, in turn, is controlled via an Arduino Uno and a stepper driver. All of these electronics are hidden behind a nicely painted wooden facade, letting the technology driving it fade elegantly into the background.
After studying the way a worm wiggles, Nicholas Lauer decided to create his own soft robotic version. What he came up with uses an Arduino Uno for control, inflating six 3D-printed segments sequentially to order to generate peristaltic motion for forward movement.
The robotic worm uses a 12V mini diaphragm pump to provide inflation air, while a series of transistors and solenoid valves directly regulate the airflow into the chambers.
The build looks pretty wild in the video below, and per Lauer’s write-up, you’re encouraged to experiment to see what kind of timing produces the most expedient motion. Code, STLs, and a detailed BOM are available on GitHub.
Learning a new language is always a challenge, but can also be extremely rewarding. To help with this task — specifically learning Greek — Angeliki Beyko created an arcade-style review machine. Her device cleverly uses a sheet of pegboard to hold the electronics, including seven LCD screens to indicate category, level, and the actual Greek word being reviewed.
Possible answers are shown as pictures on four TFT displays, driven by four separate Arduino Uno boards that pull up pictures stored on SD cards. An Arduino Mega provides overall control for the interactive panel.
While ambitious, and a definite learning process, there’s currently some memory limitations and an issue with the screens not working when actually mounted. So as of now, it’s something of a work-in-progress, but Beyko is planning to complete the build with version two. More details are available in the project write-up and code can be found on GitHub.
Humans are generally quite bad at coming up with random patterns, so when Jeremy Cook wanted to make a sound diffuser with angled blocks of wood, he created a “pseudorandomness console” using an Arduino Uno and an LCD shield.
This helped him with the placement of its 216 angled segments, which are colored in one of four ways, and can face up, down, left, and right to theoretically scatter sound in every direction.
Code for this unique randomization is available on GitHub, with a quick explanation in the video above. You can see the final assembly at around the 4:38 mark, showing a process of applying glue, pressing a button to generate a value, and then placing triangles accordingly.
Cassettes (if you remember those) are normally used to play back music and other audio, but what about using an old Walkman-style tape player as the instrument itself? That’s exactly what this project by Zack Scholl allows you to do, varying the playback speed to modify pitch output.
It’s a very simple setup, requiring one to hook up wires that enable an Arduino Uno and MCP4725 DAC to adjust the speed using a voltage input. A drone sound is recorded on the tape, which may also involve some hacking depending on your equipment.
The Walkman then emits this recorded sound, which the Arduino — here using a keyboard and computer browser-based MIDI interface — modulates by increasing or decreasing the playback speed.
Invented back in the 1940s, a spectrophotometer is a scientific instrument used to measure how different wavelengths of light are absorbed by a sample. Daniel Hingston decided to build his own spectrum analysis device as a fun Arduino experiment, outlined in the project write-up and in the video below.
Inside the 3D-printed device, a servo-driven rotating triangular prism assembly selectively shines parts of the color spectrum through a sample using an E10 filament bulb. Light that passes through the test tube is picked up by an LDR sensor, producing data for different spectral ranges. This info is sent along to a PC over serial, which can then be plotted in a spreadsheet for further analysis.