Robot Sunflower Follows The Sun

Real flowers do it, and even the Beatles did it. [Robo Hub] now has a plastic sunflower that tracks the sun using, of course, an Arduino. It may not qualify as a real robot, but it does mimic a real sunflower. The electronics aren’t earth-shattering, of course. An Arduino, a light sensor, and a servo motor are all you really need. But we enjoyed the whimsy and the artistic sensibility. This would be a great school project, for example. Interesting enough to get kids interested but not so hard as to be undoable. You can see a video of the ersatz flower below.

There are actually a pair of light sensors, as you might expect. That way you can determine which sensor is getting the most light. Obviously, these can’t be on-off sensors. They are, in fact, light-dependent resistors, so you get a nice analog reading.

Of course, you might not need an Arduino for this. A 555 driving a servo and a handful of discrete components could measure a bridge with the photoresistors and get the same effect. On the other hand, a microcontroller these days is inexpensive and versatile, so why not?

Usually, people tracking the sun are trying to get more energy. That doesn’t have to be any more complicated, though.

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Gorgeous Sunflower Macropad Will Grow On You

Once [Hide-key] saw the likes of the banana and corn macro pads, they knew they had to throw their hat in this strange and wonderful ring. Some family members suggested a sunflower, and off they went looking for inspiring images, finally settling on a more iconic and less realistic design which we think is quite beautiful.

This lovely little macro pad has seven keys hiding under those petals, with the eighth major petal concealing a XIAO RP2040 microcontroller. The rest of the major petals actuate a low-profile Kailh choc in — what else? — brown. Don’t worry, the middle isn’t a wasteland — there’s a low-profile rotary encoder underneath. Part of the reason this flower looks so great is that [Hide-key] started with SLA prints, but the paint choices are aces as well. If you’d like to grow your own sunflower, everything about this garden is open-source.

Oh yes, we totally covered the banana and the banana split, though we must have missed out on the corn. We hear that when you try it with butter, everything changes.

Via KBD #109