Mood lamp/notifier uses neat modular PCB design

mood-lamp-with-modular-electronics

Not only does this mood lamp which [J. Sutton] built look great, but we love the modular design he adopted when building the circuit boards.

If you’re building something that is going to sit on your desk for some time it just has to look good. We think that he achieved that, using a small block of oak as the base, and a cloudy white cube of unknown origin as a diffuser. Notice that the different colors are not mixed. There’s a baffle inside the diffuser that keeps them separate as early testing showed any combination of intensities was resulting in nearly the same shade of color.

The part we really like is the modular design of his circuit boards. The project is based around a Teensy++ 2.0 board. He first built a PCB baseboard which feature two SIL sockets to accept the legs of the Teensy. There is a third SIL socket which accepts some long legs from the LED host board, letting it perch on top of the Teensy.

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Mailbox notifier texts when the letter carrier arrives

mailbox-notifier

[Felix Rusu's] mailbox is on the other side of the street and he’s got a pretty big front yard. This means checking for mail is not just a pop your head out of the door type of activity. This becomes especially noticeable during the winter months when he has to bundle up and trudge through the snow to see if his letter carrier has been there yet. But he’s made pointless trips a thing of the past by building a notifier that monitors the mailbox for him.

He’s using a Moteino, which is an Arduino clone of his own making. It’s tiny and features an RF module on the underside of the board which takes care of communicating with a base station inside the house. The module seen above rolls the microcontroller board up along with a 9V battery and a hall effect sensor which can tell if the mailbox door is open or closed. When the Arduino detects a change to that sensor it pushes some data back to the base station which then relays the info to a computer or Raspberry Pi in order to send him a text message. All of this is shown off in the video after the break.

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Never miss your transport with this bus arrival notifier

[John Graham-Cumming] was all set to start a new project based on the Raspberry Pi. Well, that was until shipment was delayed due to manufacturing issues. Not to fret, he transitioned over to a router board which displays the arrival countdown for mass transit bus service.

He based the build on a web page the Transport for London provided. You can load it up and see if your bus is running on time or not. There’s no published API, but by studying the source code from the site [John] was able to figure out how the JSON commands were formatted.

The next step is building a standalone device to pull the data and display it. The board seen above is from a Linksys WRT54GL router. This longtime favorite has a serial port header which can be driven from the Linux kernel. He wired up a jack on the router’s case, and uses an extension cable to get from it to the 7-segment displays mounted in a model of the bus. Since there’s four digits the display can tell you minutes until the arrival of two different buses.

[Thanks Pseudo Lobster]

Boobie Board powered Twitter notifier

boobie_board_twitter_notifier

The team over at Archonix frequently challenge themselves to create a full working project in under 20 minutes. [Andrew Armstrong] put together a blog post detailing their most recent “Quickproject” – a simple Twitter notifier built using their Boobie Board.

They started by putting together a small notifier breakout module that could later be attached to their Boobie Board. The module is pretty simple and includes a trio of LEDs to alert you to activity across several online services, though only the Twitter notification module is currently complete. The notifier’s code was written in LUA, and primarily designed to interact with Linux desktops. They do not currently have a Windows compatible version of the code available, but they are more than happy to host it if someone desires to port their code over.

The notifier was put into an old candy tin with a plastic window, which is perfect fit for their project. All in all, the entire thing took them about 40 minutes, with half spent on hardware, half on code. The notifier does just what it was intended to do, but they have a healthy list of improvements that they would like to add, including the use of the other two notifier LEDs.

Twitter notifier lets us know how awesome we are

twitter_notifier

Let’s admit it, you’re just a little bit vain. Heck, we’re all just a little bit vain when you really think about it. Instructables user [pdxnat] was self-absorbed enough that he constructed an LED “mood light” that alerts him each time someone mentions his user name on Twitter.

The build is pretty simple, with most of the work being done on his PC. His Arduino is wired to a simple RGB LED that calmly cycles through various colors until someone mentions his name on Twitter. At that point, the client software running on his PC passes a message to the Arduino over a serial interface, causing it to wildly pulse the LED. Once it catches his eye, he stops the alert cycle with the press of the reset button, returning the LED to its previous state. As a bonus, he decided to write the Twitter-polling application in both Processing and Python, enabling fans of either language to easily replicate his work.

It’s a pretty cool idea, and it would be great to see someone expand it to include other online services to provide a greater overall feel for how awesome they really are.

Keep reading to see a quick video of the notifier in action.

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Facebook notifier uses some papercraft and simple electronics

This weekend project will tell you when you’ve got something new to look at on your Facebook page (translated). The yellow flag on the side of the mini-mailbox automatically goes up, alerting you to your recent online popularity.

[Rocco's] craftwork on this project is fantastic. We love the scale, the colors, and especially the artificial grass that adorns the base. Inside the mailbox an Arduino controls a small servo motor attached to the new mail flag. As with other Arduino-based notifiers (be it the Internet Furby, or our own troll sniffing rat) the USB connection makes it incredibly easy to convert online information to real-world signals. The client side of this is a Python script. It uses a package that we were previously unfamiliar with called mechanize. We’ve just made a cursory examination of how that package is used, but we’re going to keep it in mind as an alternative to our usual go-to package, BeautifulSoup, which tends to be a bit hairy when you’re just looking for some basic data.

Wireless hackerspace status notifier

space_probe

Hackerspaces are always looking for novel ways to let their members know that they are open for business, and this notifier [Angus] from Make, Hack, Void recently put together is no exception.

While dumpster diving one day, he came across a fantastic-looking lab power supply from the ‘70s. He gutted it, saving the variable transformer for a future project, and started constructing his notifier. When someone enters the hackerspace, they simply set the dial on the “Space Probe” to the amount of time they expect to be there. The built-in Seeduino sends the data over Bluetooth to an OpenWRT-enabled router, which uses a couple of Lua scripts to notify members via email and Twitter.

Since almost all of the processing is done on the router side, it leaves the Arduino in the probe with little more to do than flash an LED and send ASCII status messages any time the knob is turned. [Angus] is well aware that this would probably make most people’s heads spin, but he hopes that other hackerspace members use that untapped potential to further enhance the notifier.

Stick around to see the Space Probe in action, and if you are interested in seeing what other hackerspaces use to keep their members in the know, check out this status switch from Hack42.

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