With the world opening up again, [Niklas Roy] and [Kati Hyyppä] have been busy making a public and collaborative project. Meet the Vektor Kollektor, a portable drawing machine experience, complete with a chip-tune soundtrack. It’s great to see public art meet the maker community with zero pretension and a whole lot of fun!
The build started with an HP7475A pen plotter from the 80s, one that was DOA (or was fried during initial testing). [Niklas] and [Kati] kept the mechanism but rebuilt the controls allowing for easy integration with an Arduino Nano and to be powered with a motorcycle battery.
The magic seems to be less in the junk-bin build (which is great) and more in the way this team extended the project. Using a joystick with arcade buttons as an input, they carted Vektor Kollektor to public parks and streets where they invited others to make art. The Kollekted drawings are available on a gallery website in a very cool animated form, freely available for download, on t-shirts, 3D prints, and on coffee mugs because, why not?
Some select drawings are even spray-painted on walls using a large plotter, and we really hope [Niklas Roy] and [Kati Hyyppä] share details on that build soon. Of course this comes hot on the heels of the workshop window cyborg we saw from these two hardware artists.
Continue reading “Vektor Kollektor Inspector”
We never did crack open our Etch-a-Sketch, but we did scrape out a window large enough to really check out the mechanism inside. [MrLangford] is bringing the Etch-a-Sketch into the 21st century while at the same time, bringing an even bigger air of mystery, at least for the normies.
Instead of scraping aluminum powder off of plastic by driving a stylus on an x-y gantry with a pair of knobs, this bad boy uses rotary encoders to move the cursor around and put down squares of colored light. The familiar movements are there — the left knob moves the cursor left and right, and the right knob moves it up and down. But this wouldn’t be a 21st century toy without newfangled features. Push the left encoder down and it cycles through eight color choices, or push the right one down to go through them backwards. We hope one of the colors is setting it back to darkness in case you screw up. And while we’re dreaming up improvements, it would be awesome to add an accelerometer so you could shake it clear like a standard Etch-a-Sketch.
Inside the requisite red enclosure with white knobs are an Arduino Nano and a 16×16 RGB LED matrix. The enclosure is four sheets of 6mm MDF glued together, and we like the use of protoboard to distribute GND and 5 V in the name of keeping the thing slim.
If you’re not much of an artist, here’s a TV-sized Etch-a-Sketch build that can draw by itself.
Like us, [Alberto] doesn’t compromise when it comes to a good cup of coffee. We figure that if he went to an office in the Before Times, he was the type of coworker to bring in their own coffee equipment so as not to suffer the office brew. Or perhaps he volunteered to order the office supplies and therefore got to decide for everyone else. Yep, that’s definitely one way to do it.
But like many of us, he is now operating out of a home office. Even so, he’s got better things to do than stand around pouring the perfect cup of coffee every morning. See, that’s where we differ, [Alberto]. But we do love Cafeino, your automated pour-over machine. It’s so sleek and lovely, and we’re sure it does a much better job than we do by hand — although we enjoy doing the pouring ourselves.
Cafeino is designed to mimic the movements of a trained barista’s hand, because evidently you’re supposed to pour the water in slow, deliberate swirls to evenly cover the grounds. (Our kettle has a chunky spout, so we just sort of wing it.) Cafeino does this by pumping water from an electric kettle and pouring a thin stream of it in circles with the help of two servos.
The three buttons each represent a different recipe setting, which specifies the amount of water, the hand pouring pattern, and the resting times between blooming the grounds and actually pouring the bulk of the water. These recipes are set using the accompanying web app via an ESP32, although the main brain barista is an Arduino Nano. Grab a cup and check out the demo after the break.
Got an old but modern coffee robot lying around? You could turn it into a planter with automated watering.
Continue reading “Why Make Coffee When You’re Tired? Let A Robot Do It For You”
Ok, we’ll come clean. [Design Build Destroy] didn’t really add any memory to his Arduino Nano. But he did get about 1.5K more program space when compared to the stock setup. The trick? On some Nano boards and clones, the bootloader is set to use a large block of reserved memory, but Optiboot only requires a fraction of that reserved memory. By reprogramming the bootloader and changing the configuration fuses, you can reclaim that unused memory.
Of course, you can’t easily overwrite the bootloader and fuses over the serial port to prevent you from bricking your device. The video below shows how to connect another Arduino to do the programming. You could also use any dedicated AVR programmer you happen to have. Oddly, the Uno already uses Optiboot with the same processors, and is set correctly and the video shows the differences in the configuration between the two in their default state.
Of course, depending on where you get your Nano devices and their age, you may already have this set up at which point you won’t gain anything, but you should be able to easily tell if you need to go through the steps or not. The same trick will probably work with any older Arduino boards you have laying around if Optiboot supports them. What can you do with the extra memory? Maybe speech recognition?
Continue reading “Arduino Nano Memory Upgrade With No Soldering”
We’ve all been there. Your current project has hit a wall, or the next step will take days to complete, and you need something to do in the meantime. So you start a project that you envision will fit nicely in the gap, and then, inevitably, it doesn’t. Maybe it even takes so long that the original project gets finished first. So what? There’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the filler project turns out as well as this drink temperature monitor disguised as a circuit sculpture (video, embedded below). Just put your mug on the coaster, and the weight of it activates a hidden switch, which causes the sculpture to display its secret LEDs.
[MakeFunStuff] wanted to make something that looked less like a circuit and more like art, while building a tool that could determine the relative hotness of a beverage. Such a a useful circuit sculpture sounds like a tall order to us, but [MakeFunStuff] pulled it off with finesse and style.
The circuit is based around this Sputnik-looking standalone IR temperature sensor which, as [MakeFunStuff] aptly describes, is “a single-pixel infrared camera that picks up everything in a 90° cone starting at the sensor.”
[MakeFunStuff] paired this easy-to-use sensor with an Arduino Nano and five LEDs that show how hot a beverage is on a scale from 1 to 5. The sensor is hidden in plain sight, suspended from the top of the brass rod sculpture and blending in perfectly. We love that the LEDs are hidden behind a thin layer of carefully-drilled wood and agree that a drill press would have been much easier.
The code is set up for just about every temperature scale from Celsius to Rømer, so that solves that argument. [MakeFunStuff] went with the Kelvin scale because science. Our favorite thing about this video is that [MakeFunStuff] shared their failures and fixes as they built their way toward answering the questions of how to suspend the sensor over the drink, and how best to display the heat level while hiding the electronics. Go grab a hot cup of something and check it out after the break while you let it cool off the normie way.
We admit that we would likely zone out while waiting for the LEDs to disappear. Here’s a smart coaster that uses an ESP8266 to send a message to Discord when your beverage has reached the perfect drinking temperature.
Continue reading “Wood And Brass Drink Temperature Monitor Looks Good, Has Class”
Back in the early days of the musical synthesizer, some designers who wished for polyphony in their instruments would simply build multiple tone-generators for as many notes as they wished to play. [Kevin] took that same approach with his Arduino orchestra, and set about having it play the closing number from Star Wars: A New Hope.
The build consists of twelve Arduino Nanos, each wired up to power, a speaker, and the same MIDI cable. The MIDI cable carries note data for each Arduino on a separate MIDI channel, allowing each to play its own role in the orchestra. [Kevin] then set about arranging the Star Wars music into a MIDI file suitable for the Arduinos, roughly setting six voices to high parts and six voices low. The Arduinos play the notes received using the simple tone() function. The result is a very chiptune rendition of the end of the fourth episode of the world’s most famous space opera.
It may not be neat, tidy, or efficient, but it certainly is fun. Twelve Arduinos bleeping away with their flashing LEDs and cute little speakers makes quite the conversation piece. It’s a similar approach to the Floppotron, which plays more notes by adding more floppy drives. We’ve also seen the same thing done with SEGA sound chips. Video after the break.
Continue reading “12-Arduino Orchestra Plays Star Wars Fanfare”
Portable air conditioning units are a great way to cool off a space during the hot summer months, but they require some place to blow the heat they’ve removed from your room. [VincentMakes] got a portable AC unit for his home, but he found that the place he wanted to put it was too far from the only window he could use to dump the hot air. Having too long of a duct on the hot air exhaust increases the back pressure on the fan which could cause it to prematurely fail, so [Vincent] used an extractor fan to automatically give is AC unit’s exhaust a boost on its way to the window.
Because his AC can operate at low, medium, and high speeds, he chose an extractor fan that also supported multiple speeds and took care to match the airflow of the AC and extractor fan to avoid putting too much strain on either fan. He designed a system to automatically set the speed of the boosting fan to match that of the AC using a Hall effect current sensor to measure the AC unit’s power draw and an Arduino Nano for control. A custom PCB interfaces the Nano to the Hall Sensor and control relays, and we have to applaud [Vincent] for keeping the +5V DC and 230V AC far, far away from each other. In addition to this fine electronics work, [Vincent] also built an enclosure for the fan controller that allows the fan to be mounted on top at an angle, which helps avoid having hard bends in the exhaust duct.
If this has you thinking about smart air conditioners to keep cool this summer, check out this ESP8266-powered smart AC system, or this Raspberry Pi-based system that controls both AC and blinds!