Today’s Arduino Minute

Sometimes projects are vast, complicated, and complex. Other times projects are a bit more on the simple. Today we thought we would share a couple projects with something in common that may be familiar sounding to the more experienced crowd, but may inspire a few readers new to the world of microcontrollers.

[Read more...]

German engineering produces an overcomplicated scarecrow

This electronic scarecrow keeps the birds away and makes your neighbors hate you at the same time. That’s because its way too loud, even if the next house is far away. The conrad.de folks that brought us the climbing bike storage device are at it again, putting together car audio and strings of lights as part of the bird-shoo-ing technology. In the video after the break you’ll see that they’re using a PIR motion sensor to switch power to an automotive amp and head unit. The speakers, strings of lights, and spinning doo-dads are all hidden under a black cape. When an unsuspecting bird tries to feast on the crops, the scarecrow unfolds its arm Dracula-style and raises a ruckus. We don’t expect to see this at a local farm, but maybe for next Halloween?

[Read more...]

Motion activated wildlife camera (or a spy device)

Now you can capture pictures of our furry friends by building a motion activated wildlife camera. [Doug Paradis] took his Air Freshener hack and used it to trigger a camera. The white dome in the picture above is the PIR sensor from an Air Wick Freshmatic, along with a cheap keychain camera and an MSP430 microcontroller. He used one of the chips that came with the TI Launchpad, a transistor, and some discreet components to interface the devices and then put them into a project box. Now he’s got a fully configurable motion-sensing camera.

Gutting an air freshener for the parts

[Doug Paradis] took a good look inside the Air Wick Freshmatic Compact i-Motion and then stole all the parts for other projects. We’ve looked at adding a manual spray button or making air fresheners Internet enabled before. Those models didn’t have parts that were all that interesting, but this one has a passive infrared motion sensor. You’ll also gain three switches, a PNP transistor, and an LED.

Price seems to be all over the map for this model, but [Doug] says you can find it for $8 or less. After showing how to make a tool to bypass the triangular security screws, he explains how to access the PIR sensor. But if you want to be all you can be with the hardware, he details the modifications needed to patch into the analog and digital circuitry on the rest of the board too.

Modem used in an alarm system

This alarm system senses motion and then alerts you by phone. [Oscar] had an old external modem sitting around and, with some wise hardware choices, he came up with a simple circuit to use it. First up is the PIC 16F628A chosen because it doesn’t require an external crystal. This connects with the modem via a DS275 RS232 transceiver because it requires no external parts for connection. The final portion of the puzzle is a PIR sensor that triggers a pin interrupt in the sleeping PIC, which then dials your number to alert you. It doesn’t look like anything happens other than your phone ringing, but that’s enough for a simple system. We’re just happy to see how easy it was to use that modem… time to go hunting for one in dreaded junk trunk. Don’t miss the clip after the break.

[Read more...]

Vigorous exercise keeps the tunes coming

There are cars that increase the radio volume as you drive faster, and video games that ramp up the music as your gameplay improves (we’re looking at you SSX Tricky). Now you can add that feature to your workout with [Polymithic's] Motion Feedback MP3 Player. It uses a passive infrared sensor to detect motion so there’s no need to wear any electronics. But if you used some Bluetooth headphones you could bring the system with you to the gym, just don’t exercise so hard that you blow your eardrums out.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Passive infrared (PIR) sensor tutorial

pirsensor

[ladyada] has a freshly-published and amazingly thorough tutorial on passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors. Most often seen in security floodlights and automatic doors, in creative hands these sensors can be put to other uses—cat flaps, camera triggers and purely artistic applications—as you’ll see in several demo projects and videos. For the curious, the tutorial provides a good amount of background theory on how PIR sensors work, along with the associated fresnel lens optics. And for those who just want to get hacking, most PIR sensors (like the one above) come in a simple-to-interface module containing all the support hardware and providing a simple digital output; the article wraps up with one such example.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,486 other followers