We absolutely love the impetus of this project, as it definitely sounds like something a Hackaday reader would go through. After finally deciding between a CNC router and a laser cutter, [Eirik Brandal] was planning to “Hello, World” the CNC with something quick and simple, like maybe a few acrylic plates with curves and some electronics. Instead, feature creep took over, “things escalated out of control”, and [Eirik] came up with this intriguing and complicated kinetic sculpture.
As you’ll see in the demo video below, this is a motor-driven sculpture with sound and intermittent light. It has an Arduino Nano Every, two motors, and eight gears with various cog counts to accommodate the project. The light comes from LEDs that are attached to the DIY gears with their legs bent and their little feet sliding around homemade slip rings in order to alight.
But what about the sound? There’s an affixed piezo disk that picks up the gears’ vibrations and chafing, and this gets amplified to augment the acoustic sounds of the sculpture. Be sure to check out the quite satisfying demo video after the break, and stick around for the build video.
Are you as fascinated by kinetic sculptures as we are? Here’s on that uses machine learning in order to bring balance to itself.
Continue reading “Kinetic Sculpture Intermittently Lights Up The Night”
In retrocomputing circles, it’s often the case that the weirder and rarer the machine, the more likely it is to attract attention. And machines don’t get much weirder than the DEC Rainbow 100-B, sporting as it does both Z80 and 8088 microprocessors and usable as either a VT100 terminal or as a PC with either CP/M or MS-DOS. But hey — at least it got the plain beige box look right.
Weird or not, all computers have at least a few things in common, a fact which helped [Dr. Joshua Reichard] home in on the problem with a Rainbow that was dead on arrival. After a full recapping — a prudent move given the four decades since the machine was manufactured — the machine failed to show any signs of life. The usual low-hanging diagnostic fruit didn’t provide much help, as both the Z80 and 8088 CPUs seemed to be fine. It was then that [Joshua] decided to look at the heartbeat of the machine — the 24-ish MHz clock shared between the two processors — and found that it was flatlined.
Unwilling to wait for a replacement, [Joshua] cobbled together a temporary clock from an Arduino Uno and an Si5351 clock generator. He connected the output of the card to the main board, whipped up a little code to generate the right frequency, and the nearly departed machine sprang back to life. [Dr. Reichard] characterizes this as a “defibrillation” of the Rainbow, and while one hates to argue with a doctor — OK, that’s a lie; we push back on doctors all the time — we’d say the closer medical analogy is that of fitting a temporary pacemaker while waiting for a suitable donor for a transplant.
This is the second recent appearance of the Rainbow on these pages — [David] over at Usagi Electric has been working on the graphics on his Rainbow lately.
One of the things missing from the “classic” Arduino experience is debugging. That’s a shame, too, because the chips used have that capability. However, the latest IDE has the ability to work with external debuggers and if you want to get started with a classic ATMega Arduino, [deqing] shows you how to get started with a cheap CH552 8-bit USB microcontroller board as the debugging dongle.
The CH552 board in question is a good choice, primarily because it is dirt cheap. There are design files on GitHub (and the firmware), but you could probably pull the same trick with any of the available CH552 breakout boards.
Continue reading “This Arduino Debugger Uses The CH552”
Once in a while, we see projects that could easily pass for commercial products. This is one of those projects: a (surprisingly) low-cost DIY macro pad from [Josh R] that was designed to be a cheaper alternative to the various stream decks out there. Between the carbon fiber top plate and the crystal-clear acrylic keycaps, this is quite the elegant solution.
This lovely little macro pad is built around the ESP8266, specifically the WEMOS D1 Mini V4. However, the most vital part to get right is the screen, which must be a 128 x 160 TFT display in order to line up with the 3D printed frame that divides it into fourths. Custom parts like the acrylic keycaps and the carbon fiber top plate are available on Tindie if you don’t have access to a CNC.
Operationally, Open Deck has a nice-looking GUI. Once programmed, each shortcut is capable of having three beneath it, with the fourth button reserved for Home. Be sure to check out the extremely satisfying build video after the break.
Want a stream deck, but don’t want to build it? Just dig up an old phone or tablet.
Continue reading “Open Deck Is Your Window To Shortcuts”
The old adage that you’ll make a fortune by developing a better mouse trap is not super realistic, as the engineers behind Sony’s Betamax video tape standard could tell you. However, you can still learn a lot building your own, as this project from [ROBO HUB] demonstrates.
The trap is intended to catch mice in a humane fashion, without injury to the animal. To that end, it uses an Arduino Nano armed with an ultrasonic distance sensor to detect when mice have entered a plastic container. The container’s hinged door is is held open with a servo. When a mouse is detected, the servo trips the door to snap shut under the power of an elastic band.
The key to making this design work well is ensuring that there are no gaps in the closed container that the mouse can use to escape. They’re wily creatures able to squeeze through positively tiny spaces, so it’s important to get this right. Besides that, you want to check the trap regularly, lest any caught mice simply claw and chew their way out.
We’ve seen a few mousetraps around these parts before, too. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Arduino-Powered Trap Hopes To Catch Mice”
Do you know how you see those cheap telescopes at the department store? The box has beautiful pictures that probably came from the Hubble. What you will see is somewhat different. You have to carefully look at [upir’s] Arduino thermal camera project because it intersperses pictures of what you expect an 8×8 sensor will produce with images produced by a much better camera.
The actual project — watch the video below — is undoubtedly neat. An inexpensive 8×8 IR sensor and an 8X8 LED panel join to form a crude but usable thermal camera.
Continue reading “Low Res Arduino Thermal Camera”
For as popular as the Arduino platform is, it’s not without its problems. Among those is the fact that most practical debugging is often done by placing various
print statements throughout the code and watching for them in the serial monitor. There’s not really a great way of placing breakpoints or stepping through code, either. But this project, known as eye2see, hopes to change that by using the i2c bus found in most Arduinos to provide a more robust set of debugging tools.
The eye2see software is set up to run on an Arduino or other compatible microcontroller, called the “probe”, which is connected to the i2c bus on another Arduino whose code needs to be debugged. Code running on this Arduino, which is part of the eye2see library, allows it to send debugging information to the eye2see probe. With a screen, the probe can act as a much more powerful debugger than would otherwise typically be available, being able to keep track of variables in the main program, setting up breakpoints, and outputting various messages on its screen.
The tool is not without its downsides, though. The library that needs to run on the host Arduino slows down the original program significantly. But for more complex programs, the tradeoff with powerful debugging tools may be worth it until these pieces of code can be removed and the program allowed to run unencumbered. If you’d like to skip needing to use a second Arduino, we’ve seen some other tools available for debugging Arduino code that can run straight from a connected PC instead.