1Sheeld Uses Your SmartPhone as an Arduino Accessory

1sheeld

The Arduino can be a bit of a gateway board. You start with an Uno, then a shield, then another. Before you know it, you have an entire collection of shields. This is the problem 1Sheeld wants to solve. 1Sheeld allows a you to use your cell phone as a sensor and I/O suite for your Arduino, replacing many existing shields. We think this will be a great idea, especially with all the older phones coming off contract these days. The sensor capabilities of the average smartphone, as well as the LCD and touchscreen I/O capabilities could make for an interesting pairing.

Currently the 1Sheeld page is just a sign up for an upcoming kickstarter, which leaves many details to the imagination. It appears that the 1Sheeld will be a bluetooth based board. A few questions do remain to be answered though – will the 1Sheeld use the Android ADK? The software is what we’re waiting to see. The software running in the 1Sheeld module bluetooth chip will be important, but the software running phone side will be the real make or break of this module. We would love to see more smartphones being used for hardware hacking rather than collecting dust once they’ve been replaced.

[Via TechCrunch]

LED Costumes and Clothing

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Our tips line recently received an influx of wearable LED projects, both for casual and professional wear. [Elizabeth] and [Luis] have created the Lüme wearable collection, aimed at accessorizing by adding adjustable accent colors to jackets, t-shirts and dresses. The electronics are custom-made, built around an ATMega32u4, and each is Bluetooth enabled to interact with a user’s cell phone. From the phone, you can change colors, sequences, set up events, and even take advantage of an “inkdropper-style” feature that matches the color of the LEDs to any object you point your camera at.

[Michal's] project is an entire suit for a dance and laser show entitled “Tron Dance”, which uses several RGB LED strips placed on key points of the wearer’s costume. It looks like [Michal] has intentionally avoided the joint areas to prevent any problems with breaks or bends, but still manages to place enough to cover the entire body. We aren’t sure what controls everything, but you can watch it go through various sequences and survive an onstage performance after the break.

Finally, in yet another kind of performance, magician [Kiki Tay] has built a jacket that’s overflowing with RGB LEDs. [Kiki] wanted wearable LED control that could be used in various situations without having to re-invent the wheel each time, so he developed his own board – the LED Magician: an Arduino-compatible solution. The board has 12 outputs channels, drives 50+ LEDs per channel and features 12 on-board LEDs that display a preview of the output. To make interactions user-friendly, [Kiki] has provided 32 built-in sequences and adjustable speeds that the user can program via 4 buttons on the board. If that isn’t enough control, there are some options for external control as well. The jacket itself runs off a hobby LiPo battery and is blindingly bright: stick around after the break for a video.

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Passive Bluetooth keyless entry system

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Modern smart keys allow you to keep the key fob in your pocket or purse while you simply grab the handle and tug the door open. [Phil] decided he would rather ditch the fob altogether and instead implemented a passive Bluetooth keyless entry system with his Android phone. It’s probably unlikely for car manufacturers to embrace phone-based keys anytime soon, and [Phil] acknowledges that his prototype poses a landslide of challenges. What he’s built, however, looks rather enticing. If the car and phone are paired via Bluetooth, the doors unlock. Walk out of range and the car automatically locks when the connection drops.

His build uses an Arduino Mega with a BlueSMiRF Silver Bluetooth board that actively searches for his phone and initiates a connection if in range.  Doors are unlocked directly through a 2-channel relay module, and an LED indicator inside the vehicle tells the status of the system. A pulsing light indicates it’s searching for the phone, while a solid ring means that a connection is established.

We hope [Phil] will implement additional features so we can make our pockets a bit lighter. Watch a video demonstration of his prototype after the break, then check out the flood of car-related hacks we’ve featured around here recently: the OpenXC interface that adds a smart brake light, or the Motobrain, which gives you Bluetooth control over auxiliary electrical systems.

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Headphone Hack Makes Wireless an Option

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If you have a favorite pair of over-the-ear headphones you may want to consider upgrading them with a wireless option. The key word here is “option” because these still retain their functionality as a wired headphone. This is nice if you only want to deal with battery life when you’re actually roaming around.

Of course the thing that makes this type of hack work is the extra room inside the body of the earpieces. [Tony] cracked them open and decided there was just enough room to fit the internals of a Bluetooth audio adapter. It has it’s own Li-ion battery (boasting 12 hours of use) which is why there is an added charging port. To fit the board he had to remove some of the aluminum body from the enclosed part of the headphones. He also wired up a tactile switch to act as the power button for the Bluetooth module.

Details are scarce on how the speakers are wired between the module and the jack. But we think he simply wired them in parallel rather than using a switched jack. You can see a quick demo after the break but it really doesn’t augment the build details at all.

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Automatic Bluetooth Module Programmer

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Before we dive in don’t be confused by the title. This doesn’t flash firmware to the device. But it does automate the process of setting up the Bluetooth to serial module for use in your projects.

We’re often confused by the lack of a standard way of describing these inexpensive modules. We would look at this can call it an HC-05, but we’re not sure if that’s right or not. [James Daniel] calls it a JY-MCU board. If you have a handle on the differences (or lack of) please let us know in the comments. Either way we know that these boards can be frustrating to work with. They can be found with a wide variety of different firmwares, which can make the configuration process a bit different for each.

[James'] solution connects the device to an Arduino running a sketch that he wrote. Connect the device, launch the terminal monitor in the Arduino IDE, then give it your desired settings. The sketch will poll the Bluetooth module to see what speed it is set to run at. It will then establish which firmware version the board is running, displaying this info in the terminal. It then uses that information to program the board with your desired settings.

In this case [James] is using one of the modules to drive his 3D printer without being tethered to his laptop.

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Announcing Adafruit’s Bluefruit

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You always meet the most interesting people wandering around Maker Faire, but by far the most interesting was Hackaday’s founder, [Phil Torrone] and bubblegum-haired compatriot [Limor] from Adafruit. They were out in full force checking out the sights and gave us the scoop on a new piece of hardware they’re releasing called Bluefruit.

Bluefruit is a very tiny and very cheap Bluetooth module breakout board that allows anyone to take 12 digital inputs and turn them into a Bluetooth HID device. If you’re planning a portable battery-powered arcade controller, just plug in a Bluefruit, set up your keypresses in your software, and rock out.

On board the Blufruit are an FTDI programming connector, 12 input pins, a few power pins, a custom FCC and CE certified CSR Bluetooth module, and that’s about it. If you’re looking for a simple GPIO to Bluetooth adapter without an overwrought Arduino setup, this is the best solution we’ve seen by far. Adafruit is also rocking their own custom firmware for the device, so this will be extremely hacker-friendly.

The price will be $20 and should be available in the Adafruit store in a bit. If you’re looking for an easy way to put a Bluetooth HID controller in your next project, this is the one.

Pictures of the Bluefruit and Adafruit crew below.

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Trash to treasure Bluetooth radio and tube amp build

trash-to-treasure-internet-radio

The before image doesn’t look all that bad but we were still impressed with what went into the restoration of this radio. Perhaps restoration isn’t the right word since it didn’t manage to hold on to any of the original internals. This is more resurrection of a retro radio case for use as a Bluetooth radio.

At first look we didn’t notice that the original knobs were missing. The speaker fabric is ripped and the glass on the tuning dial is broken as well. [Yaaaam] happened to have another antique radio with interesting knobs — but he didn’t just transplant them. He made a mold of one knob and cast three replacements for the radio. After refinishing the wood he replaced the fabric and things were really starting to look up.

All of the electronic components were removed and a new tube amp was built on the original metal chassis. It uses a Bluetooth module for input which facilitates using your smart phone as the playback device without involving any wires or other nonsense. Two problems popped up after the project was completed. The first replacement power supply overheated. The second replacement had a different problem, needing some additional shielding to prevent noise from creating unwanted… noise.

This looks so much better than modern injection molded plastic shelf systems. But there are some fun wireless hacks out there for those too.