Hola! From a Spanish Speaking Drawing Arm

[Acorv] wrote in to tell us about his latest hack, a robotic arm that writes with a marker. In the video after the break, the arm is set to copy whatever someone writes in a touchpad. As you might guess from this video, the hack is written up in Spanish, but it’s nothing your favorite translator can’t handle if you don’t speak the language.

This robot it the result of improvements on his first drawing arm ‘bot featured here. The basic kinematics stayed the same in the arm’s second iteration, but the resolution was greatly improved by using belts to achieve a gear reduction. The second build also features mechanical reinforcement with an Erector-set style building set known as [Mekanex].

A simple hobby servo moves the marker up or down, and control is achieved through, you guessed it, an Arduino with a motor shield! Although from a different time, the way this arm is used is reminiscent of a mechanical writing automaton from long ago. [Read more...]

ATtiny85 sketch flashing rig

We’re happy to see Arduino enthusiasts championing the use of smaller hardware when the need for a full-blown ATmega-based board just isn’t there. [Chris] has been doing just that, using ATtiny85 chips in his projects. But he’s tired of hooking jumper wires to flash the sketches. He finally got around to etching this ATtiny85 programming adapter.

If the project is not pin hungry, an ATtiny85 can run Arduino sketches without the need to port the code. The best news is that the Arduino board you used to prototype the project can be used as the programmer for the standalone chip. Here that’s a Boarduino, and [Chris] laid out a double row of female pin headers for quick plug-in. To the right you can see the DIP socket for the target chip. Although this works perfectly well, we would have liked to also see the inclusion of a 2×3 AVR ISP programming header which could be used with the full range of AT chips.

Cheap toy yields good parts

We’ve spent some serious time building robot chassis and motor controllers. [Whamodyne] does the smart thing and scavenges what he needs form cheap sources. He picked up an RC car from the local pharmacy for just $10, tore the body off and behold, a bounty of robot-friendly parts.

We’re not talking precision parts here, but we don’t scoff at two geared motors, four wheels, a driver board, and steering. There’s no great way to attach your own stuff but that’s half the fun of hacking. [Whamodyne] used the 9v battery that came with the toy to power his boarduino and quickly patched in to produce a miracle of automated locomotion.

(Mini) Earthquake in your living room

Today we stumbled upon [jimthree's] Seismic Reflector while looking at projects that employ the Processing language we mentioned a few days ago. Utilizing a Boarduino and some vibration motors from a game controller, the Seismic Reflector does just as its name implies – rattles itself around whenever there is an earthquake. While this does seem a bit silly at first, we were fascinated to learn there have been 165 earthquakes just in the past week and almost no news reports, suddenly this device got a lot more interesting!

Arduino “python” integration


[Cyberspice] informs us she likes snakes. Hey, who doesn’t? She’ll soon be adopting a lovely ball python and wanted to keep close tabs on the sensitive creature’s environment. To that end she assembled a network-enabled vivarium monitoring system based on Adafruit’s Boarduino (a minimalist Arduino clone), a TMP36 analog temperature sensor, Saelig’s WIZ810MJ Ethernet interface, and a common LCD screen. The Arduino rig periodically issues updates to a web server, which can then generate informative graphs using a set of PHP scripts (what, no Python?).

Okay, so we could probably count on one hand the number of readers in need of fancy reptile monitoring and still have fingers left over. There are countless other applications where networked sensor monitoring of this sort is a frequent necessity, so the article could be a good starting point for your own projects. There’s lots of source code to work with, on both the Arduino and web server sides. And the parts list demonstrates serious frugality: the Boarduino, the generic LCD, and especially the Ethernet interface; even with the breadboard adapter, this unit is about half the cost of the usual Arduino Ethernet shield, leaving more funds available for the snake food budget!

How-To: Binary clock using a Freeduino SB 2.1

Solarbotics recently released its own version of the Arduino microcontroller development board. They based their board on the Freeduino design. We thought this would be a good opportunity to review the new board as well as present a How-To about building a simple binary clock. Along the way we’ll cover some basics on attaching LEDs and switches to a microcontroller.

[Read more...]


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