With the severe drought going on in California with no end in sight, [TVMiller] decided he could put an Arduino and a toilet together to try and save at least a few gallons of water per day. The invention fills a toilet to the minimum level, saving around two gallons per day for the average “user”.
A typical toilet functions by using gravity and moving water to create a vacuum, sucking the waste down and out of the toilet. As long as there is nothing, uh, solid in the bowl, the toilet will be able to function on the reduced amount of water. The Arduino cuts the flow of water off before the toilet fills up the entire way.
In the event that anyone -ahem- needs the toilet’s full capacity, there is a button connected to the Arduino that fills the reservoir to capacity. [TVMiller] notes that if 1,825 hackers installed this device on their toilets, we could save a million gallons of water per year and be well on our way to saving the planet.
The project site is full of more information and puns for your viewing pleasure. We might suggest that the “2” button would be very easy to integrate with the toilet terror level indicator as well.
Life as a sea turtle can be rough. Not only are turtles trying to survive predators, destruction of habitat, fishing nets, and pollution, but only about 1% of hatchlings survive to face those challenges in the first place. Enter [Samuel Wantman] and a new volunteer hacker group called Nerds Without Borders, with their first order of business of creating an egg-shaped monitoring device for sea turtle nests.
Sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act, which goes to great lengths to protect certain species from human activity. The ultimate goal of the project is to help people and sea turtles better coexist under this law by more accurately predicting hatching times. A suite of sensors and a cell network antenna are placed in a plastic “egg” that can be buried in a nest after a sea turtle lays the real eggs. The sensors detect vibrations within the eggs as the embryos grow, which is an indication that the tiny turtles are about to break free of their eggs and head for the open ocean!
Click past the break for more on this project.
Continue reading “Nerds Helping Sea Turtles”
If you happen to visit the Spanish port of Gijon, you may notice some giant yellow robotic fish swimming around. These 5 foot long swimmers are part of a proposed sensor network to detect pollutants in the water. Equipped with an array of sensors, the fish can test for general water quality, or swap out the sensors for specific testing. They communicate with each other to keep from straying too far from the rest of the network and the base charging station.
The fish was designed by the Shoal Consortium, a European commission funded program that draws from intelligent minds in universities all over europe. While the fish cost over $35,000 right now, mass production should reduce that cost considerably.
You can see them swimming around in the BBC video at the link.
Our friend [Zach Hoeken] at NYC Resistor is porting the Arduino environment to an ATmega644 chip. This doesn’t really add new functionality to the ATmega644 as it is already fully programmable, but it does add a user-friendly and familiar environment to the ATmega, allowing users to build their Arduino-based projects with more powerful hardware. The ATmega is, after all, the biggest DIP package AVR makes, featuring 64k flash and 4k RAM (both four times as much as an Arduino) and 32 I/O pins, which is 12 more than an Arduino. The video is only proof of concept, so we will let you know when [Zach] releases more details.
[via NYC Resistor]