I've become very interested in this subject:
it is an open, flexible platform that opens the doors to a lot of automation projects:
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. The microcontroller on the board is programmed using the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring) and the Arduino development environment (based on Processing). Arduino projects can be stand-alone or they can communicate with software on running on a computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP).
The boards can be built by hand or purchased preassembled; the software can be downloaded for free. The hardware reference designs (CAD files) are available under an open-source license, you are free to adapt them to your needs.
Arduino received an Honorary Mention in the Digital Communities section of the 2006 Ars Electronica Prix. The Arduino team is: Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, and David Mellis. Credits
Autonomous Paintball Sentry Gun
What is the best thing about making a computer program that targets and kills anything that enters its sight? Why giving it a weapon, of course! No, we are not talking for real, but the next best thing, an Autonomous Paintball Sentry Gun.
The autonomous part of the device comes from a pc on the sideline and is fed input though a standard webcam. The feed is ran though a processing script where, once accustomed to the background has the option to fire at anything it sees moving, or a nice point n click manual mode.
The Arduino part is in a the role of driving the servo motors for X/Y movement and a trigger and is powered by a fist full of D cell batteries to give plenty of time for fun. Also, be sure to check out our other sentry guns, one using Microchip PIC, and another sporting a super compact computer running Ubuntu
Smartphone operated garage door is beginning of Arduino home automation system
[Tim] is showing off the first step in his home automation projected with this smart-phone garage door interface. In the video after the break you can see him open and close the garage door with the touch of a button. There’s also an open or closed indicator that he can check when away from home.
An Arduino takes care of a portion of the control for this project. Like the post we saw yesterday, he’s using PHP code on a webpage to manipulate the Arduino via its USB connection in order to open and close the door using a relay. The door status is also monitored by the Arduino and sent to the PC over the serial connection. The computer uses a Python script to monitor the incoming data and update a text file which is merged into the web interface using a PHP include. Future plans for the system include adding control for heating and air conditioning systems.
If you’re looking to do something like this but wirelessly here’s some advice on ditching the Arduino and using an XBee module instead.
NAVI project turns Kinect into a set of eyes for the visually impaired
While we've looked at a couple of efforts to upgrade the humble white cane's capabilities, such as the ultrasonic Ultracane and the laser scanning cane, the decidedly low tech white cane is still one of the most commonly used tools to help the visually impaired get around without bumping into things. Now, through their project called NAVI (Navigation Aids for the Visually Impaired), students at Germany's Universität Konstanz have leveraged the 3D imaging capabilities of Microsoft's Kinect camera to detect objects that lie outside a cane's small radius and alert the wearer to the location of obstacles through audio and vibro-tactile feedback.
The vibrotactile wistbelt
Debug view of the software used to tune the parameters for depth processing
The Kinect camera mounted on a sugru socket and fixed with duct tape
The backpack used to hold the laptop
That's right, I said "wearer" because the system created by Master's students Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber places the Kinect camera atop the visually impaired person's head thanks to a hard hat, some sugru and a liberal application of duct tape. The image and depth information captured by the Kinect cameras is sent to a Dell laptop mounted in a backpack, which is connected via USB to an Arduino 2009 board glued to a fabric belt worn around the waist.
The depth information captured by the Kinect camera is processed by software on the laptop and mapped onto three pairs of Arduino LilyPad vibration motors located at the upper and lower left, center and right of the fabric belt. When a potential obstacle is detected, its location is conveyed to the wearer by the vibration of the relevant motor.
A Bluetooth headset also provides audio cues and can be used to provide navigation instructions and read signs using ARToolKit markers placed on walls and doors. The Kinect's depth detection capabilities allows navigation instructions to vary based on the distance to a marker. For example, as the person walks towards a door they will hear "door ahead in 3, 2, 1, pull the door."
The students see their system as having advantages to other point-to-point navigation approaches using GPS – which don't work indoors – and seeing-eye dogs – which must be trained for certain routes, cost a lot of money and get tired.
For their NAVI project, the Universität Konstanz students wrote the software in C# and .NET and used the ManagedOpenNI wrapper for the Kinect and the managed wrapper of the ARToolKitPlus for marker tracking. The voice instructions are synthesized using Microsoft's Speech API and all input streams are glued together using Reactive Extensions for .NET.
Arduino geiger counter brings open source radiation detection to the geeky masses (video)
Arduino hits the battlefield — for real
We’re not sure if this is the first time, but here’s some pretty solid proof that Arduino has found its way into the weapons of war. The creators, [Derek Wales], [John Eischer], and [George Hopkins] are all Electronics Engineering majors at West Point. They came up with this idea after seeing video footage of a firefight in Afghanistan where combat soldiers were calling in artillery strikes using a compasses and GPS devices. It’s an all-in-one unit that can provide the same information quickly and accurately. The prototype above, which they call the DemonEye, contains a laser range finder, digital compass, and a GPS module. The article also states that it contains a mini-computer but we recognize that as an Arduino Mega (thanks to Miguel over at Areopago 21 for noticing this first and sending in the tip about it).
The prototype apparently comes in at $1000. Okay, it seems a bit high but not out of the ballpark. What we can’t understand is how the second generation of devices was billed out at $100,000 for five more units. What’s the going rate for laying out military-grade PCBs?
Now that Siri's protocol has been freshly dissected and laid bare for the world to behold, hackers have been busy finding ways to move Apple's personal assistant beyond the realm of the iPhone 4S. That task may be getting easier, however, now that a developer has created his very own third-party proxy server, designed specifically for Siri. The dev, known by his Twitter handle @plamoni, demonstrated his brainchild in a recent video clip, using a plug-in to control a WiFi thermostat with only voice commands. As @plamoni explains, the hack won't require users to jailbreak their iPhone 4S, but it won't let them port Siri over to earlier iPhones or iPod Touch models, either -- not yet, at least. The idea, according to the developer, is to make it easier for other hackers to experiment with and build upon Siri's functionality. Head past the break to see the demo video for yourself, or if you're up for it, grab the source code and instructions on how to create your own server, at the source link below.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
If you can dream it, Arduino can help you build it -- perhaps with a dash of MakerBot thrown in for good measure. The latest homebrew project to hit the ol' inbox sounds an alarm whenever you leave a room without a registered item. Doh (named in Homer Simpson's honor, we presume), uses a trio of devices to track items that you usually travel with, like your keys or a cellphone. After you've assembled the rather complex contraption, you affix color-coded RFID tags to your gadgets, before registering them with the Arduino-based host. If you leave the room without all of the items that you've registered as a "grouping," a door handle-mounted display will indicate what's missing by flashing its color and sounding an alarm. If you've forgotten multiple items, the display will cycle through the associated colors. There's also a two-way "buzzing tag" that beeps until it's found, if you wish to add that to your collection. It's not a turnkey solution by any means, but unlike Homer, at least you're not being tasked with preventing nuclear meltdown. And if you're looking for a time-proven alternative, a pen and a pad of stickies should do. Jump past the break for a demo video, banjo-equipped soundtrack and all.
so much awesome.
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