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Cooking Hacks Blog

  • Arduino Day - Weekly Recap

    Posted on March 27, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    So tomorrow is Arduino Day, ten years already! To celebrate this event we bring you some Arduino hacks that will surely help you through this day to have the best time possible.

    Arduino Digital Magnetic Compass

    You should know by now there's a lot of Arduino Day events scheduled for tomorrow. Maybe you're not really sure how to get to one. This first project is ideal for you: a digital magnetic compass developed with Arduino that will guide you around.

    M. Vasilakis build his own circuit, based on Arduino, using a HMC5883L sensor board and an ATmega328p.

    The HMC5883L is a triple-axis digital magnetometer designed to detect magnetic force. It communicates through I2C and it's important to keep it on a flat surface and parallel to the ground.

    Arduino Digital Magnetic Compass

    It uses an old Nokia 5110 display to plot the data and a couple of push buttons to select the type of visualization and to turn on the display LEDs.

    Posted in Instructables.

    Watch it on YouTube.

    Be a good host: Automatic Tea Maker

    Maybe you are helping to organize an Arduino Day event and you want to make a good impression. This project is perfect for such an occasion: an automatic tea maker.

    Automatic Tea Maker

    The enclosure and the parts that clip on the cup and do the tea dipping are all 3D printed . It is powered via USB cable and controlled with an Arduino Mini and a servo.

    It includes a potentiometer to select the time you need for your tea and a 16x2 LCD to visualize it (it also gives you advice on the most appropriate kind of tea for a selected time). It has a start button and a speaker to warn you when your tea is ready.

    Find out more here.

    Pet Feeder

    Are you going to be out all day tomorrow? If you have a pet you surely know the consequences it may have. Don't worry, the Croccolino Pet Feeder is the solution.

    Arduino Pet Feeder

    This project is a little bit more complicated than the usual but it has everything you need. It is built around an Arduino Yun and it allows you to select up to 8 scheduled feeds a day and the quantity for each feed. It shows the water and food levels in a Nokia 5110 display and you can adjust the time and scheduling with a panel of buttons.You can even record your voice to call your pet to eat with an amplified speaker and it has an integrated web server.

    The list of materials, apart from the plywood to make the enclosure, is huge: an Arduino Yun, a microSD card, two weight cells, a SD 1820 audio module, etc.

    Check out the complete project, it's really worth the effort.

    You can read more Arduino hacks here.

    This post was posted in Weekly Hacks Recap

    and was tagged with Arduino

  • A new update on e-Wheelchair project using e-Health Sensor Platform

    Posted on March 25, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    The e-Wheelchair project

    For almost a year now we have been following and supporting the e-Wheelchair project by Philip Case. You will certainly remember this amazing project in which Phil, aka “The Captain”, is developing a mind-controlled wheelchair using Neurosky products, Vuzix smart glasses, Mindwave Mobile and the Mindflex EEG and implementing Cooking Hacks e-Health Sensor Platform for body monitoring (e-Wheelchair project part1part2).

    What's new?

    The e-Wheelchair has a logo: Phil and his wife have designed a logo and a slogan. It's inspired by the glasses and the mind controlling the wheelchair. The slogan reads: “Power on your mind, move to freedom... ”. Hopefully it will help to bring the project to light and to stand out now that he's starting to promote it.

    Power on your mind, move to freedom...
    Power on your mind, move to freedom...

    Ups & Downs and Go Fund Me campaign

    Sarah Bennett, who is helping Phil and writing about him on her blog Tech and Toast, started a Go Fund Me page in order to collect everything necessary for the e-Wheelchair. Phil uses a Panasonic Toughbook because of its rugged design and shock protection but unfortunately somebody stole it while he was undergoing surgery. This Toughbook is essential for him since he only has use of one hand. Another drawback on this courageous journey was that last month Phil fell while getting into the chair. He hurt his back and has to have surgery again.

    Phil wearing his glasses

    But it's not all bad news, of course. Last thing we know is that the laptop has been funded by Vuzix, a technology firm that's supporting Phil, and the project keeps moving forward. He is using the Vuzix M100 smart glasses that he won in a competition. These glasses are controlled by voice and gesture and give you the functionality of a smartphone so it's very helpful to enhance the user experience. They also support native Android Apps so the e-Health Sensor Platform application is displayed on the glasses for real time view.

    More good news: Phil has now a Prusa i3 printer. A 3D printer is important because he can make himself the housings for the wheelchair and any customized parts he needs instead of having to buy them all.

    Another improvement to the wheelchair is the add-on kit. Now the project becomes portable and that way more affordable for people that don't want to buy a new wheelchair or don't have the funds.

    The e-Health Sensor Platform Expansion Box

    As we said before, the e-Wheelchair includes the e-Health Sensor Shield to monitor vital signs such as Airflow, Galvanic Skin Response or ECG.

    Complete eWheelchair and sensors

    Phil has designed and built an Expansion Box for the e-Health Platform. It's in a special built housing, covered in liquid rubber and waterproof. He included a display to visualize the data. The shield is powered by renewable energy through solar panels and a pair of dynamos.

    He also incorporated an additional part so that only the user or medical professionals can view it, since data protection is now a priority.

    The e-Health Sensor Platform has been extended in lengths so that patients can move from the e-Wheelchair to their bed and still be connected for monitoring Body Position, Airflow (Sleep Apnea), ECG, Body Temperature, SPO2 and Blood Pressure.

    The next stage Phil is looking into is to make the Blood Glucose system wireless. He is going to use a CGM device (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) with transmitter and receiver connected to the e-Health Platform in order to display the data on the Expansion Box, the M100 SmartGlasses and sent it to the cloud for either a doctor o carer to have access to. All of this focusing on protecting people's personal and confidential details.

    After these intense months Phil keeps working hard and carries on with his project. What started as a small plan is getting bigger and bigger. Now he's looking at exhibiting it as much as possible.

    We will be following up Phil's work and keep you posted about the e-Wheelchair progress.

    This post was posted in Customer Hacks, General

    and was tagged with Arduino, e-Health, GPS, IR

  • The 12 Maker Hacks Challenge - Getting Used to the Environment

    Posted on March 23, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    A while ago Javier, our Digital Marketing Manager, accepted the challenge of becoming a maker. He committed to following 12 useful practical examples that a newbie starting from scratch could try to become good maker.

    After much struggle at the beginning he kind of put it off for the time being, but never truly retired. This time Alejandro, the new guy, has come to the rescue and is here to help him out. So after a few months he has decided to resume the challenge and this time he is determined to succeed.

    Alejandro explains to Javier some basic ideas about Arduino

    So, where were we?

    Back then Alejandro decided that the first thing he should do was to get used to the Arduino IDE and environment, and after that to know the main components in the complete Arduino Starter Kit. The idea is to give him a background so he can get going with his first designs. For this we will need an Arduino compatible board, the Arduino software (IDE) and a USB (A-to-B) cable to plug it to the computer.

    But what is Arduino anyway? Javier might think. Arduino is an open-hardware platform based on a microcontroller board and easy-to-use software used to write your code and upload it to the board. It is basically a board you can program to control different actuators (motors, lights, etc) while reading sensors connected to it (temperature, pressure, motion). Practically any sensor can be connected to the board – a photocell, a temperature sensor, a motion sensor – and you can program the microcontroller to perform different actions with the actuators plugged to the digital outputs.

    It was developed as an educational tool so students could try out their projects and ideas on a pretty affordable board, making it user-friendly for everybody. To program the board you have to use the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) of Arduino.

    Arduino IDE

    This IDE makes use of a Processing-based language which is very easy to learn for somebody with a basic C/C++ knowledge. Even if you don't have any programming experience you can learn the basics very quickly.

    Your written program in Arduino is called sketch, and you can write it, debug it and upload it on the board with the IDE.

    So first thing you have to do is to install the Arduino IDE in order to write your first sketch.

    To do so you have to download it from the official website ( choosing the suitable OS you are using (Linux, Windows or Mac OS). Follow up the instructions for setting up the Arduino software and connecting it to the board. Last version is the Arduino 1.6.1 and it works fine with any Arduino board.

    Arduino IDE

    As you can see it's a very straightforward and clear environment. There is a text editor where you can write your code: the setup function contains the code that runs only once at the beginning and the loop function which contains the program itself that runs over and over. The sketch is saved with the file extension .ino. A message area gives you info when you save and export and displays errors. You can see on the console information about the environment, like error messages when you verify your code. We will be learning more about this when we write our first sketch. The bottom right-hand corner informs you of the board and serial port you are using.

    On top of the tab you have five menus available (File, Edit, Sketch, Tools and Help) and several useful icons:

    Verify: Checks your code for errors
    Upload: Compiles your program and uploads it to your board
    New: Opens a new sketch
    Open: Opens a menu with every sketch in your sketchbook
    Save: Saves your sketch
    Serial Monitor: opens the serial monitor.
    Starter Kit

    Maybe that's enough about the IDE for now. Apart from the board and the IDE you will need something else to carry out any project you have in mind. So we thought Javier might need to know a little bit more about every component in the Arduino Starter Kit.

    Arduino Starter Kit

    This kit includes an Arduino Board and some basic components for you to set off in the maker world. You can assemble very simple circuitry that will help you to know and handle the IDE and to understand every functionality in the board :

    • Arduino UNO Rev.3: this board should be more than enough to start off. It has 14 digital I/O (6 PWM outputs) and 6 analog inputs, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header and a reset button.
    • A USB cable in the kit to plug your board into the computer so you can upload your code (this cable also powers your board).
    • A clear breadboard: It has 2 power buses, 10 rows and 30 columns. You will put your circuit together on this board very easily.
    • Jumper cables (4 lengths): these wires are perfect for prototyping and very easy to plug into the breadboard.
    • 30 Resistors (470 / 1K / 10k): these components are used to limit the current in your circuit. Their value is color-coded.
    • 4 Variable resistors (1K / 100K): these three terminal resistors are called potentiometers. It has a rotating knob that gives you a variable resistance. Later this will be very helpful to use as an analog input.
    • 5 Push Buttons: a push button allows you to connect two parts of a circuit when you press it.
    • 1 LDR sensor: this is a light dependent resistor. Its resistance changes depending on the amount of light, being very high when it's dark and very low with intense light. It doesn't give you very precise data but it allows you to detect if it's dark or not.
    • 1 NTC Temperature Sensor: it is a resistor whose value decreases significantly when temperature raises.
    • LEDs (10 Red / 10 Green): these are light-emitting diodes. When a suitable voltage is applied to the diode it emits light.
    • 1 6AA Clip Battery: if you don't want your Arduino to be powered via USB, you can use a external power supply through the power jack or in this case connect the leads of the battery clip to the GND and Vin pins. The recommended range for external supply is 7 to 12 Volts.

    Now, all this should be plenty for this first challenge. The starter kit contains everything you need to carry out your earliest projects: you will be able to read some magnitude in an input (temperature, light) and then do something depending on its value or use your push buttons to control some LEDs.

    We will be talking about all this in the next few weeks when we will try to teach Javier to complete his first full project: he will give it a go to the “Hello World” of Arduino, blink an LED.

    We'll keep you posted about his progress.

    This post was posted in Makers Hacks Challenge

    and was tagged with Arduino

  • Arduino & Robots Hacks - Weekly Recap

    Posted on March 20, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    Arduino Day is in sight. It's just a few days left to celebrate ten years of Arduino so this week we thought you might like to know about some really cool projects and hacks involving Arduino, robots and 3D printing.

    3D Printed R2-D2

    James Bruton from Xrobots is designing and assembling a 3D printed R2-D2 robot from Star Wars and he's documenting it through a series of videos and tutorials. He is attempting to make a complete R6 droid with motors and all the distinctive lights and sounds.

    So far he's finished with the body frame, central foot, the shoulders and the outer legs and feet. To control the servo motors that move the legs and central foot he is using Arduino. He has recently reached part seven of this project and decided to release the CAD files for 123D for free so you can print your own and try to make one yourself.


    Follow his progress on his YouTube channel and Xrobots.

    You can download all the files from GitHub.

    Posted in Adafruit.

    Chess Robot

    Are you feeling lonely? Don't have any plans for this weekend? Don't worry. Oriol Galceran, a 17-year-old student from Barcelona, has the solution: he has built ChessM8, an Arduino-controlled chess robot.


    To detect the pieces there's a network of reed switches (magnetically activated) and it uses a claw to grab and drop and a CoreXY system to position them. He's using an Arduino Mega to connect to the PC via a Python script and the AI can run with any of the chess engines that use the Universal Chess Interface protocol.

    Watch the ChessM8 running on YouTube.

    Posted in Hackaday.

    Arduino Nano based Hexbug Scarab Robotic Spider

    Another hack regarding Arduino and robots. In this case a programmable robotic spider built from an Hexbug Scarab toy. The control board was removed from the board and replaced with and Arduino Nano to control the motors and sensors. To measure distances and detect obstacles it has Ultrasound and Infrared sensors, an accelerometer is used to correct its position and a laser pointer to indicate the direction it is moving.


    This robotic spider is programmed to move forward and backward, to keep direction and to rotate. It detects being upside down, avoids obstacles and flash LEDs to indicate what it's doing.

    When it detects an obstacle it randomly does three different moves to avoid it, check it out in this video.

    Read all about this hack on Instructables.

    This post was posted in Weekly Hacks Recap

    and was tagged with Arduino

  • Arduino Day 2015 - Ten years of Arduino

    Posted on March 18, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    When is the next Arduino Day?

    Next March 28th is Arduino Day. It's a celebration of the first ten years of Arduino in every part of the world. It's an event organized by the community where people interested in Arduino share projects and knowledge and get together to learn new things.

    Arduino Day 2015 special discounts
    To celebrate the Arduino Day Cooking Hacks is making a 10 % discount in some Arduino shields and products. Check out the complete list here.
    Be sure to place your order soon, this promotion lasts only till Arduino Day, March, 28th!

    It's open to any group, makerspace, hackerspace or association. It's not just for professionals, if you are new to this world or you are just curious about it you will be more than welcome to participate.

    Five official events will be arranged by Arduino in Torino, Malmo, Bangalore, Boston and Budapest. The rest of the events are coordinated by the community and supported by the Arduino crew. Arduino provides a map where you can locate every event around the world so you can find one close to you. New events will be added up until Saturday 28th so keep an eye on it. Find out more.

    Arduino Day 2015 Map

    Arduino Day  2015

    Arduino Day Zaragoza 2015

    eTOPIA, the Center for Art & Technology of Zaragoza, will host the second edition of the Arduino Day Zaragoza. A group of local engineers, but mostly Arduino lovers, have gathered to celebrate and organize this very special day. They all want to share with you this opportunity to be part of an international community where you can learn selflessly and support Open Source and Do It Yourself Movements. Participants will be explaining their projects and talking about their experiences with Arduino and you'll be able to join in various workshops depending on your skills.

    It is an event where everybody is welcome, brought to you by a bunch of people spending generously their free time so you can enjoy lots of activities. Meet the organizers here.

    Cooking Hacks, together with eTOPIA and Zaragoza's Hackerspace DLabs, is supporting and helping to organize the second edition of this Arduino Day event. We will have our own stand where we will be more than happy to show you our shields and products for Arduino. We are going to talk about our Radiation Sensor Board and we are making a workshop demo where we will show you our e-Health Sensor Platform and the GPRS module.

    Check some Arduino Day Zaragoza 2014 photos:

    Arduino Day Zgz 2014
    Arduino Day Zgz 2014

    All throughout the day there will be a prize roulette, you can participate for free just by entering the event. Additionally, in order to give everybody involved in the organization of this day the reward they deserved, there will be prizes for best stand, best workshop and best talk.

    Moreover, if you have developed a project with Arduino recently or even during the Arduino day itself you can participate in three different contests: best Arduino project of the year, Line follower robot and Line follower robot development.

    Cooking Hacks is contributing to these activities providing all the rewards in every competition, there will be three prizes for each contest (Arduino Uno Boards, Bluetooth Modules and many more).

    Check all the contests and requirements here.

    Don't miss this very special day!

    This post was posted in Contests and Promos, Maker Events

    and was tagged with Arduino

  • Pi Day Hacks - Weekly Recap

    Posted on March 13, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    As you probably know next Saturday is Pi Day. But this time is no regular Pi Day, it's 3/14/15.

    To celebrate this funny and special date we bring you some of the coolest hacks and news we have found around the web regarding the Pi world.

    But first things first: What is Pi?

    Pi is one of the most famous numbers in mathematics. It is an irrational number (infinite decimals 3,1415...) that describes the ratio between a circle's diameter to its circumference. Florian Born and David Friedrich have designed and assembled a machine that calculates the number by mechanically controlling an old calculator. Check out this project here.


    Vintage and nostalgic application with Raspberry

    Here's another example of how you can re-use old technology and integrate it with Raspberry Pi. Voidon took a rotatory phone and converted it with a Raspberry Pi to VoIP. He removed the parts he didn't need to make room for the board and used a USB-sound card for the microphone and handset audio.

    He used the GPIO for to read the rotatory dial and to detect on/off hook of the phone. Posted in hackaday.


    Find somewhere to Pi

    Lots of Raspberry Pi events are going to be held next weekend all around the world. Make sure you find yourself one close to you so you don't miss the chance to share your projects, learn new things and interact with the Pi community.

    Find your Raspberry Jam: these Jams are events organized by the community around Raspberry Pi. You can locate events near you (there are plenty this Saturday) or you can promote and organize your own Jam.

    Find out more here.


    This post was posted in Weekly Hacks Recap

    and was tagged with Raspberry Pi

  • Integrating the New Raspberry Pi 2 Model B with the Arduino Shields: 3G / GPRS / XBee / RFID / NFC / e-Health

    Posted on March 11, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    Last February Raspberry released their second generation Raspberry Pi 2 Model B to replace the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+. We have been testing our Raspberry Pi to Arduino shields connection bridge for the past weeks to be sure it is fully compatible with the new model.

    Compared to the previous board its main features are:

    • A 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU (6X Faster)
    • 1GB RAM so you can run more powerful applications (512 Mb on the previous B+ board)
    • Same board layout and footprint as the Model B+ (40 GPIO), so any board or shield designed for it should be compatible
    • 4 x USB 2.0 sockets and MicroSD card socket for storage
    Our Raspberry Pi to Arduino shields connection bridge

    Our bridge board was developed to function as a link between Raspberry Pi and Arduino, making it possible to use any shield, board or module designed for Arduino in Raspberry Pi. With our bridge you can connect any analog or digital sensor using the Arduino pinout but taking full advantage of the new RaspberryPi 2 capabilities.

    Our Raspberry Pi to Arduino shields connection bridge

    At the same time we created the arduPi library in order to use the Arduino code in Raspberry. We have implemented conversion functions so you can control any I/O interface the same way as in Arduino: analog, digital, i2C, SPI, UART… An updated version of this library is available here (compatible with Raspberry Pi 2).

    It includes a socket so you can connect any Arduino wireless module (XBee 802.15.4/XBee ZigBee, RFID, NFC, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Pro, WiFi). You can also connect any sensor with a precision of 16b through the integrated ADC or complex sensors through i2C and UART buses.

    The new Raspberry is powered via microUSB socket (+5V @ 2A) so it can meet higher current requirements than its predecessor. For example GPRS and 3G shields occasionally demand high current peaks and this new board can provide them easily.

    Testing our bridge with the new Raspberry Pi 2 model B

    Since the layout of the new model remains unchanged, with 40 GPIO and all of the connectors in the same place with the same functionality, our shield connects with it perfectly. We have been testing every Raspberry Pi tutorial on our website to ensure every functionality works fine and haven't noticed any kind of problem so we are pretty happy with the outcome.

    You can still use the same ARMv6 Raspbian on both Raspberry Pi 1 and 2, and because it has and ARMv7 processor, it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10.

    A real application of the bridge: use our e-Health sensor platform with Raspberry Pi

    This connection bridge allows to use our e-Health sensor platform with Raspberry Pi. With the e-Health shield you can monitor up to ten different biometric and medical parameters and create applications where body monitoring is needed. The complete kit features ten different sensors: pulse, oxygen in blood (SPO2), airflow (breathing), body temperature, electrocardiogram (ECG), glucometer, galvanic skin response (GSR - sweating), blood pressure (sphygmomanometer), patient position (accelerometer) and muscle/eletromyography sensor (EMG).

    Use our e-Health sensor platform with Raspberry Pi

    Here you have some interesting cases:

    Our Raspberry Pi to Arduino Shields Connection Bridge works perfect with the new board (you can pre-order the new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B board here). You can purchase Raspberry Pi to Arduino Shields Connection Bridge here.

    You can also purchase our e-Health sensor platfom here.

    This post was posted in Arduino, General, News and Events, Raspberry Pi

  • 3 Open Source Projects Nominated - 4th Annual IoT Awards

    Posted on January 15, 2015 by Cooking Hacks

    e-Health, Open Garden and Open Aquarium nominated

    We are happy to announce that three Coocking Hacks projects have been nominated in the Best Open Source Project category, in the 4th Annual IoT Awards hosted by

    The Projects

    We think it is a good opportunity to make a quick overview of all of them in order to remind you, our fellow users, the main features and functionalities of such a good projects.


    The e-Health Sensor Shield V2.0 allows Arduino and Raspberry Pi users to monitor biometric and medical parameters and create applications where body monitoring is needed. The complete kit include up to 10 different sensors: pulse, oxygen in blood (SPO2), airflow (breathing), body temperature, electrocardiogram (ECG), glucometer, galvanic skin response (GSR - sweating), blood pressure (sphygmomanometer), patient position (accelerometer) and muscle/eletromyography sensor (EMG).

    Open Garden

    The Open Garden platform allows to control the state of the plants by sensing several parameters depending on the kit: Soil moisture (Indoor & Outdoor kits), Temperature + Humidity + Light (All kits), and Water sensors: pH, Conductivity, Temperature (Hydroponics kit). Three different kits are available, each ready for a specific kind of growing plant scenario: indoor (houses and greenhouses), outdoor (gardens and fields) and hydroponics (plants in water installations).

    Open Aquarium

    Open Aquarium helps you to take care of your fish by automating the control and maintenance tasks that take place in the fish tanks and ponds. Two different kits are available: Basic and Aquaponics, and many several extra accessories.

    We are very happy just for the recognition of being included in 2014 best Open Source projects category of these awards. We will continue in 2015 helping to the Maker Community to create different hacks, sharing new projects, products and ideas.

    We invite you to vote for these projects in these 2014 IoT Awards (clic above in each link). Just till 22th January.

    Thank you very much for your continuous support!

    This post was posted in Arduino, General, News and Events

  • Maker-ry Christmas!

    Posted on December 19, 2014 by Cooking Hacks

    Cooking Hacks Team wishes you Maker-ry Christmas!

    Check the screenshot below including some of the Cooking Hacks fellows... :) You can see all the photos here.

    Remember you can follow us in our Instagram and Twitter Channels!

    Christmas Shopping Last Days - We wish you a Maker-ry Christmas!

    A quick reminder: Till next 23th December, e-Health, Open Garden and Open Aquarium Kits will be 10% OFF and the rest of kits and Communication Shields 5% OFF.

    Check all our Christmas products sales here.

    This post was posted in General

  • Christmas Shopping Last Days - We wish you a Maker-ry Christmas!

    Posted on December 11, 2014 by Cooking Hacks

    e-Health, Open Garden and Open Aquarium Kits 10% OFF. Just till 23th!

    We all know that sometimes is difficult to find the most suitable Christmas gifts for your family. That's why we have selected some kits and products that can help you to choose the perfect gift for any of the members of yours.

    Till next 23th December, e-Health, Open Garden and Open Aquarium Kits will be 10% OFF, 3D Printers 33% OFF and the rest of kits and Communication Shields 5% OFF.

    Check this infographic to know which of our products best fits every member of your family!

    Christmas Shopping Last Days - We wish you a Maker-ry Christmas!

    Check all our Christmas products sales here.

    This post was posted in 3D Printer, Arduino, General, News and Events

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