When you want to build a walking robot, the normal route is to individually control each leg with a number of servos or other actuators. Maker Jeremy S. Cook, however, took a different approach with his ‘ClearCrawler,’ using only a pair of motors to power eight legs. These legs are divided up into sets of four on either side of the bot, allowing for differential control similar to a tank.
The leg linkage design is based on Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest mechanism, and a clear head is also implemented with a pair of 8×8 MAX7219 LED matrix eyes. Onboard control is handled by an Arduino Nano and an L298N driver board, while an Uno with a joystick shield serves as the user interface. Radio transmission is via two nRF24L01 modules.
Inventor Artist Darcy Whyte wanted a drawing robot that was light enough to carry around, and could quickly produce drawings. Naturally, he turned to an Arduino Uno, along with a CNC shield and a trio of A4988 stepper drivers. These control a NEMA 8 and two NEMA17 stepper motors in a gantry-style artistic setup.
The build is able to drag a marker across a page, apparently varying pressure applied with the z-axis, and thus how much ink is applied. In another mode, a pen can be used, which wobbles back and forth to create volume when needed.
Both methods, as seen in the clips below, can sketch a very recognizable—though certainly distinct—portrait of Marilyn Monroe, or presumably whatever other image you choose to program in.
If Elon Musk was to design a soapbox car, the prototype might look something like this by David Traum.
Traum’s project is powered by a 500W motor which is fed by a pair of 12V batteries and a 40 W solar cell, allowing it to attain a top speed of 35 km/h and a range of 10 to 15km. Although that might not sound like a huge number, it looks pretty fast at the end of the video below!
But that’s not all. The vehicle features a rather unique control system, with front wheel steering actuated by a stepper and cable assembly. An Arduino Mega is the brains of the operation, while user input is via a small touchscreen, a joystick, and even a steering wheel (equipped with an Uno, a 9V battery, radio module, and gyro sensor) that can work wirelessly as needed—perhaps to park remotely, or simply as a gigantic RC car
Imagine if you had whiskers. Obviously, this would make you something of an oddity in today’s society. On the other hand, you’d be able to sense nearby objects via the transmission of force through these hair structures.
In order to explore this concept, Chris Hill has created a whisker assembly for sensory augmentation, substituting flex sensors for the stiff hairs that we as humans don’t possess. The sensors—four are used here—vary resistance when bent, furnishing information about their status to the Arduino Uno that controls the wearable device. Forehead-mounted vibratory motors are pulsed via PWM outputs in response, allowing the user to feel what’s going on in the surrounding environment.
The purpose of this project was to focus on the creation of novel, computationally-enriched “sensory extensions” that allow for augmented-sensing of the natural world. My major effort with this project was devoted to the fabrication and implementation of sensory augmentations that will extend a sense through sensors and respond with a tactile output for the user. The intent is to enable anyone to fabricate their own sensory extensions, and thusly map intrinsically human/animal senses onto hardware. Effectively extending our senses in new and exciting ways that will lead to a better understanding of how our brain is able to adapt to new external senses.
While you might have never considered the idea, looms—especially the punchcard-driven Jacquard loom, which helped inform both Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s pioneering work—are an important part of computing history. As reported here, Victoria Manganiello and Julian Goldman have created an awe-inspiring ode to this computing heritage in the form of a handwoven tapestry that constantly changes the way it looks, aptly named “Computer 1.0.”
The tapestry, which was recently on display at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, stretches nine meters in length and features tubing woven throughout. An Arduino actuates pumps and valves to produce familiar patterns in this tubing with blue-dyed water and air.
These patterns soon become abstract and perhaps more open to interpretation, though with more development it’s noted that images and even smartphone-readable designs could be possible.
Be sure to see the short demo of this incredible installation in the video below!
A handwoven textile activated by computer code, Computer 1.0 explores connections between weaving and technology. For the project, Victoria Manganiello invited designer Julian Goldman to collaborate on designing and programming a pump controlled by Arduino microcomputers to move precise sequences of air and liquid through the approximately 2,000 feet of tubing woven through the cloth. The movement of the air and liquid evokes traditional weaving patterns such as bird’s eye, monk’s cloth, and twill. And the operating system—the computer and the pump—is not kept out of sight in the service of the woven screen and the pixelated patterns that run across it, but rather are an integral part of the work; nothing is hidden.
Manganiello’s textile reflects and expands on the obscured history of weaving and coding, calling attention to the “under-over, under-over” movement of thread becoming cloth that originally inspired the “zero-one-zero-one” of binary code. The jacquard loom of 1801, which used punch cards to program the movement of thread into increasingly complex woven patterns, is a direct, though frequently forgotten, ancestor of modern computers.
Annelle Rigsby found that her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, is delighted to hear familiar songs. While Annelle can’t always be there to help her enjoy music, she and her husband Mike came up with what they call the Notable Board Book that automatically plays tunes.
The book itself is well laid-out, with song text and familiar photos printed on the pages. Electronics for the book are in a prototype state using an Arduino Uno and an Adafruit Sound Board to store and replay the audio bits.
Page detection is handled by an array of photocells, and it is meant to turn on automatically when picked up via a series of tilt switches. When a switch is triggered, a relay can then hold the book on until the song that is playing is done, or for a predetermined amount of time.