Chameleon Jacket Project Aims to Let People Experience The World Like An Animal

The Interacket from Drap og Design that mimics chameleons.

The Interacket from Drap og Design that mimics chameleons.

Four Students from Oslo School of Archetecture and Design decided to enter a cool project into the Hackaday competition. Their project, called the Interacket, attempts to give the user an experience of how animals experience and view the world around them.

It would be hard to recreate a bats power of sight through sonar using technology, so this bunch has decided to mimic the way chameleons blend in with their environment. It is a simple and effective design that gives an inkling of superhuman possibilities and can change your perspective of the world around you. They have a video of their Interacket in action on Vimeo

http://vimeo.com/103967347

A diagram of how the Interacket works.

A diagram of how the Interacket works.

 

The picture above show the design for the Interacket and the components involved. Two Arduino Unos are used as the micro-controllers for the jacket (one for each arm) alongside 9v batteries to power the board and the LEDs. LED strips are housed inside the jacket, down each arm. Adafruit’s neopixel libraries and code was used to control the LED strips based upon data obtained from the RGB color sensors worn on each hand of the user.

They used TCS34725 from Adafruit as a RGB color sensor with IR filter and a white LED. All of this allows the user to touch objects within their environment to change the color of their jacket: blending into their surroundings like a chameleon. If nothing else, it would make a great novelty.

The Arduino Uno and LED strips that are housed inside the jacket.

The Arduino Uno and LED strips that are housed inside the jacket.

 

The photo above shows the Arduino Uno and LED strips functioning outside the jacket. The jacket itself is made very simply of painter coveralls lined with aluminum foil to reflect the light of the LEDs outward. Hopefully the jacket didn’t get too hot for the wearer either. They are currently working on the Interacket 2.0. Check out their Hackaday.io page or drapogdesign.com


Raspberry Pi and Arduino Home Automation

Home automation made easy with the help of Raspberry Pi and Arduino

Home automation made easy with the help of Raspberry Pi and Arduino

Everybody knows that good things happen when you pair a Raspberry Pi with an Arduino, which includes everything from a Star Trek-like tricorder to a kegerator interface. One Instructables user (Electronichamsters) decided to take the boards and design an extensive home automation platform that’s able to monitor just about everything inside and outside of user’s homes.

Instead of using the boards for simple things such as automated blinds or lights, Electronichamsters ‘Uber Home Automation’ platform can monitor for water leaks, loud noises and even alert users when the mail arrives. His design makes use of a series of cheap wireless sensor nodes (PIR, heat, light, sound, etc.) that can be placed anywhere and on anything that needs monitoring. Those nodes relay the data to a wireless gateway and an Ethernet gateway (an Arduino Uno), which in turn sends the data to the Raspberry Pi.

Electronics basic design schematic gives users a rough idea of how the platform works

Electronics basic design schematic gives users a rough idea of how the platform works

The RPi then uploads the data to the internet where users can monitor using their smartphones. It even sends alert emails when something is amiss, allowing users to view the issues through a web cam. The whole setup costs a little over $270, assuming users already own a Raspberry Pi. Those that want to see the build process can head over to Instructables, which has a detailed list of parts and code to get things up and running. Want to know more… head over to project’s Indtructables page.

Ahh... the adhoc project enclosure... It may look crude but this sound sensor is very effective and can be placed anywhere

Ahh… the adhoc project enclosure… It may look crude but this sound sensor is very effective and can be placed anywhere

 


Replace Your Car’s Clock with an On Board Diagnostics Display

dash-display

If you’re a car lover, or simply someone who is bothered by not knowing what’s going on in your “machine” at all times, you might be interested in having a customizable diagnostics display. If so, you would probably like it to look as close to a stock part as possible. Instructables user JustinN1 decided to do just that by replacing the internal clock with a selectable display that shows an assortment of car data. After all, you’ve already got the time on your phone!

The video below shows the user scrolling through several engine statistics, and how it starts up by saying “Not A Clock.”  Good to know.

Various components are used to make this display, like the ubiquitous Arduino, but what I thought was extremely interesting was the OBD-II UART board from Adafruit. This allows one to plug into any car made after 1996 and display engine data. You can then feed this into your microcontroller or computer of choice and do whatever you want with this data. JustinN1 naturally encourages experimentation his creation, even linking up more code that he wrote for something he refers to as the “robot meter.”

It’s always cool to see various “maker” disciplines come together. Sure, more horsepower can be fun, but being able to hack the electronics and computer code involved can lead to something truly unique!


DIY Automatic Fish Feeder Using Arduino Nano

Yep, that’s a drill bit and it helps to deliver the right amount of food to your fish.

Yep, that’s a drill bit and it helps to deliver the right amount of food to your fish.

 

There are all kinds of automatic fish feeders on the market, however most just dump the allotted food in one lump and typically can’t be programmed for an entire week of use. While this may not be a problem for some aquarium enthusiasts, it was for Brian (from Belgium). The fish enthusiast has a rather large 100-gallon tank complete with live plants and colorful breeds of aquatic life but he has a very busy life and spends large amounts of time away from home.

While maintaining the plants or the cleanliness of the water aren’t issues when he leaves for a week, the fish still need to be fed on a regular basis. Obviously, there are automatic feeders on the market but hardly any with the ability to be programmed for long periods of time while delivering the correct food amounts.

The completed housing fish feeder with compartments for the motor assembly and food compartment.

The completed housing fish feeder with compartments for the motor assembly and food compartment.

Like the saying goes, ‘if it doesn’t exist, build it yourself’ and build it he did using a simple plastic container, an Arduino Nano, stepper motor and a drill bit. The fish food sits on an angle inside the bin and the Arduino is programmed to start and stop the motor, which turns the drill bit that ‘pushes out’ the prescribed amount of food. It’s used in conjunction with an ordinary electric timer that supplies the power for those prescribed intervals. It’s safe to say his fish will be fed anytime he needs to leave, however the tank still can’t clean itself. Brian posted his design on Instructables for anyone interested in building their own.


Rana: A Biologically Inspired Hexapod

Rana, which is Italian for “frog,” is really an interesting six-legged robot design. The locomotion, which according to their writeup, has never been used before and combines the walking methods of an ant and a frog.

This kind of locomotion, as opposed to three-servo based ‘bots that simply rock back and forth allowing the front and back legs to move, requires ten servos. Two servos are attached on both pairs of front and back legs, while the middle legs receive only one servo each.

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Although the robot’s motion is complex, the mechanical housing and legs are kept simple.  Pieces of wooden rod are used for all the legs, while a larger piece of balsa wood (presumably for weight savings) is used for the body. As no other linkages are used, this may be a surprisingly easy walker build for those wanting to build one.

Although it looks like there is a plan for the robot’s walking gait, the code is not released yet. As the write-up states that “programming is one of the hardest steps,” the code is apparently not done or not to a state that the author is ready to let others look at. Hopefully we’ll see some further development on this interesting project!

 


How To Make A Silly String Candy Trap For Halloween

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b9OPJII8oo

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays for one reason. Candy! However by the end of the night, the neighborhood kids have usually picked over my candy bucket. This year I’m going to change that! To keep kids away, I’m going use an Arduino to detect when someone has their hand in the candy bowl, and use a solenoid to shoot silly string at the candy thief. To detect when a hand was in the candy bowl, I used an infrared LED and infrared sensor to create an invisible beam on the opening of the plastic pumpkin.

Pumpkin with IR Beam

When the beam is broken the Arduino will send a command to a power switch tail which in turn makes a solenoid push down on the silly string can.

Silly String Spraying

I mounted the solenoid and silly string to a few pieces of foam board so the solenoid hits the silly string every time.

To allow for easy connection of the solenoid and IR LED and sensor, I mounted a terminal block on a project enclosure. The Arduino and 9V battery sit inside the project box and the terminal block connects to the Arduino through short jumper wires.

terminalblock

 

The Arduino code for this project can be found at my GitHub page


How-To: Hocus Pocus Book Replica

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Remember the spell book from Hocus Pocus with the creepy moving eyeball? Since it is the season of Halloween-movie-replica-prop-making, I’ve found a great DIY tutorial that covers the steps required to make a pretty accurate copy!

This tutorial doesn’t include how to make the eyeball actually move, but I would love to see someone hack it with a servo to really up the creep factor! Using something like this Arduino controlled rig created by Tod Kurt.

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Onto the prop making! This tutorial uses a combination of air drying and baked polymer clay for almost all of the details. A mold was used to create exact copies of some of the books embellishments– very smart!

Check out Mizerella’s blog for the full how-to on this project.

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This next book prop is not specifically a Hocus Pocus replica, but I give it two big warty thumbs up for creative use of materials. Those eyeballs are just magazine cut outs with clear glass gems glued on top! This was spotted over at Design DNA.

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Animating A Halloween Door Knocker with Digispark

This $5 plastic doorknocker wasn’t scary until Digispark made it scary

This $5 plastic doorknocker wasn’t scary until Digispark made it scary

Walmart isn’t known for their scary Halloween decorations, but that doesn’t mean they can’t ‘become’ scary. That’s the idea that software engineer Charles Wolfe had in mind when he designed his animated doorknocker using a 5-buck decoration and a Digispark development board. To get the knocker to look and function as something the Addams family would have, Charles cut the eyes out of the plastic face and inserted a pair of RGB LEDs to give it a more frightening look.

The Digispark, LEDs, battery pack and actuator fit quite nicely inside the plastic head

The Digispark, LEDs, battery pack and actuator fit quite nicely inside the plastic head

On the opposite side of the monster’s mouth is a small servo that actuates the doorknocker, which is all controlled by a Digispark development board. In fact, even an Arduino board can be used as long as it’s small enough to fit inside the plastic head. While this may be enough to scare some kids this Halloween, Charles plans on upgrading it to scare the kids next year (who may have caught on that it’s not exactly possessed) with a motion sensor and scary sound via a Bluetooth connection. See more about this project, and to build one yourself after this link.

Charles used a Dremel to cut away some material for easy access to an on/off switch

Charles used a Dremel to cut away some material for easy access to an on/off switch

 


Flora-Powered TARDIS Dog Costume

Have your Halloween costume ready for this year? How about one for your pet?

Doctor Who fans and dog fans will surely love Adafuit’s Flora-powered TARDIS costume for dogs. With a knit TARDIS sweater for toy dogs purchased on Etsy, a Flora wearable processor and a VS1053 MP3 music player module which plays the sound (found on this site) of the TARDIS from Doctor Who are added in. The project lays flat to make it wearable. A Flora NeoPixel is used for the blinking blue light on the top, and an infrared receiver is added for the ability to mute the sound when wanted, or switch between different audio tracks if set up with more coding.

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To keep all the electronics secure in the outfit, you’ll make a 5 inch square bag that you can sew in or secure with velcro, and to protect the wearer, a small inner bag is sewn in. For a full guide, list of the parts you’ll need, diagrams, and codes, you can visit the Adafruit page.


Tinkernut’s Lamp Comes To Life Using Ultrasonic Waves

Tinkernut’s Motion Controlled Ultrasonic Lamp takes uses sound to detect motion

Tinkernut’s Motion Controlled Ultrasonic Lamp takes uses sound to detect motion

Anybody can go to the hardware store and pick up a motion activated light but that’s so 80’s and the only thing involved with installing them is talent with a screwdriver. Ultrasonic waves are better at tracking movement, at least when it comes to ninja attacks and other unseen entities, which is where Tinkernut’s Motion controlled Ultrasonic Lamp comes in. The lamp uses ultrasonic waves to not only detect movement but also the direction it’s coming from.

The lamp is outfitted with three ultrasonic sensors housed in a control box that sits underneath the lamp itself, which uses to servos to move in the direction of the sound it detects. Those sensors are connected to a simple breadboard with an Arduino Uno running the show. A double-A battery pack powers the unit, which is toggled on/off using a simple switch.

Everything needed to build your own Motion Controlled Ultrasonic Lamp minus the dremel

Everything needed to build your own Motion Controlled Ultrasonic Lamp minus the dremel

Everything wired up and ready to be attached to the lamp

Everything wired up and ready to be attached to the lamp

Obviously, the lamp is nothing without the code to run it and Tinkernut provides everything users need to get the ball rolling. Will it actually detect ninjas? If they’re worth their salt, yes. You can never be too careful. See the plans after this link.