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Cooking Hacks Blog

Electronics for DIY and the Internet of Things (IoT) Community. Arduino and RaspberryPi Hacks and Tricks. Open Source Sensor Networks for developers and students

  • Meet us at Maker Faire Berlin - October 3 & 4September 28, 2015

    Autumn is a pretty busy time for makers, full of hackathons and faires everywhere. Here in Europe we have one of the largest events, Maker Faire Rome, where more than 90 thousand people attended last year, and apart from that, just in October our friends in Denmark (Aarhus), Turkey (Istanbul), Spain (Santiago de Compostela) and Finland (Espoo) will enjoy their own mini maker faires.

    In the 2015 edition of Maker Faire Berlin over 120 booths will be available for companies and makers to present their inventions and devices. All throughout the weekend there will be talks and showcases, and workshops where you'll be able to learn about 3D printing or how to connect your sensors to the Internet.

    Look for the IoT Spartan

    Maker Faire Berlin 2015

    We will be visiting Maker Faire Berlin 2015, where we will promote the IoT Spartans Challenge, among other things.

    A while ago we decided in Cooking Hacks to focus extensively on technical education. This was made to meet the increasing demand for IoT developers. An article by Gartner predicted 4.9 billion things connected to the Internet in 2015, and up to 25 billion by 2020. IoT is already having a large impact on industries like utilities, manufacturing and transportation and expanding more and more to government and city councils.

    We thought we had to do something about this situation, so we prepared 20 new kits, specially oriented to education and covering all kind of sensors and wireless technologies. Theses kits, along with over 100 step-to-step tutorials, provide a solid basis for students and future IoT developers.

    Another initiative from Libelium and Cooking Hacks in this aspect is the IoT Spartans. This challenge, to be launched later this year, will identify and give public recognition to the best developers. Libelium will give webinars on Waspmote, where participants will learn how to use this platform as a development tool for the IoT.


    After that, the Spartans will take several tests where they will prove their skills, and will be later ranked monthly in a public list with the top developers. The best 3 developers and the best university will have money prizes at the end of the challenge.

    Don't forget to look for the IoT Spartan around the Maker Faire (logo on the left) and join in!


    Follow us and stay tuned on @iotspartans

    Read more about Libelium IoT Training here.

    Maker Faire Berlin will take place at Postbahnhof am Ostbahnhof, Straße der Pariser Kommune 8.Check a map here.

    Check our visits to previous Maker Faires: Maker Faire Rome 2014 - Maker Faire New York 2014


  • Cooking Hacks will be at Maker Faire Rome October 16-18September 1, 2015

    Once again we will be at Maker Faire The European Edition in Rome, on October 16-18. We are looking forward to meeting you there and tell you all about our new projects and devices. Maker Faire Rome is one of the largest maker events in Europe, last year over 90,000 people attended and around 600 inventions were displayed for the public.

    New Website and Strategic Orientation

    New Starter Kit

    One of the news that we will be sharing with you is our new website. A few months back we launched a new site, but it was more than just a simple redesign. It was part of CH response to the increasing demand for developers in the IoT.

    We have redefined our Starter Kit, we have included some new products in it, and you have the chance to customize it and choose the platform you want to work with (Arduino, Raspberry Pi or Intel Galileo). Now you can find 20 new kits in our shop, everyone of them with all the components from the Starter Kit and covering some of the most demanded IoT technologies.

    To learn how to use all these new kits and to support our commitment with technical training we have prepared new tutorials, that makes over a 100 in total. This should provide you with a solid background for you to be able to develop your own wireless and sensor applications.

    Besides, we have reorganize our kits, and now they can be sorted by Platform, User Level and Category. In addition, we have developed a new search tool that will help you navigate through our tutorial list.

    Read more about this new Strategic Orientation here.

    IoT Spartan Challenge


    Another project that we will be presenting is the IoT Spartan Challenge, to be launched in the next few months. This is a Libelium initiative to identify and give public recognition to the best IoT developers.

    Cooking Hacks, Libelium open source and education division, is strongly supporting this project that will allow developers and students to participate in a contest in order to be one of the best IoT developers.

    You can already join the challenge by registering in After that Libelium will give free webinars on Waspmote as a development tool for the IoT, and will exam the participants to rank them monthly in a public list with the top 300.

    When the challenge is over, there will be prizes for the best University and for the best 3 developers.

    Make sure to meet us on "IOT SPARTANS CHALLENGE – A LIBELIUM INITIATIVE", a talk where we will explain everything about this challenge. October 18th, 11:00 am, on room 6.

    Read more about Libelium IoT training.

    You can see here some photos of our participation in Maker Faire Rome 2014.

    MFR15 will be held at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, see it on a map here.


  • Cooking Hacks will be at the Campus Party EcuadorAugust 25, 2015

    Cooking Hacks will be at the fifth edition of the Campus Party in Quito, Ecuador, from Sept 30 to Oct 4. Founded in 1997 as a gaming event, has since evolved into one of the largest events in the world on innovation and technology disclosure. This year's edition will have more than 260 hours of contents, over 30 workshops and 18 participative forums. Besides, CEPC5 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" and will be inspired by his visionary perspective of the world.

    2015 is the innovation year on tech entrepreneurship and smart cities development, this is why two complete areas will be exclusively dedicated to explore the world of makers in START UPS & MAKERS and SMART CITIES.

    e-Health Sensor Platform


    Luis Martín, Cooking Hacks R+D engineer will be talking in IoT revolution: IoT Accessible for Everyone about the fact that being able to connect any device to the internet is opening an endless world of possibilities, and for the first time thanks to low cost platforms and DIY makers can now compete on equal terms with large corporations.

    Particularly, one of the most restricted areas for makers and startups has been eHealth, due to the high cost of sensors in this field. Cooking Hacks will introduce the e-Health Sensor Platform, a low cost medical sensor platform designed for investigation, prototyping new devices and even as a diagnostic tool.

    This shield is designed for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Intel Galileo and allows you to perform biometric and medical applications where body monitoring is needed with 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/electromyography sensor (EMG).

    In order to send all the biometric data to the cloud and store it or visualize it in real time, six different wireless connectivity options are available: Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, 802.15.4 and ZigBee.

    A related case study will be presented with a live demo of this platform. This talk is scheduled for Oct 3 at 10 pm, more info here.

    Read about some real applications of the e-Health Sensor Platform:

    IoT Student Kit

    Luis will later give a workshop introducing the Iot Student Kit and Waspmote, Libelium solution for the Internet of Things. It is a wireless sensor platform specially designed for monitoring your environment and highly focused on autonomy and low consumption. It has a modular and horizontal approach that allows to collect data with more than 100 sensors available and several specific sensor boards that help to easily use these sensors (smart cities, gases, smart water, etc). You can connect all these sensors to any cloud platform using one of the 15 radio technologies available, from LoRa to WiFi, ZigBee or Bluetooth.

    The IoT Student Kit was designed in response to the increasing demand of developers for the IoT, and to empower Libelium's campaign to support technical education on wireless sensor networks and electronics. In addition to this campaign, Libelium will launch in the next months the IoT Spartan Challenge, an initiative to identify and give public recognition to the best developers.

    The kit includes a waspmote board and a sensor board, several sensors, a battery and ZigBee 802.15.4 modules. This workshop will make use of waspmote as the brain of a project that will be capable of monitoring our environment and wirelessly send all the information.

    IoT Student Kit

    The workshop will start with a presentation of this sensor platform and its role in the IoT, including a basic explanation on how to program a microcontroller. It will follow with some advanced functions like SD, accelerometer, interrupts or real time clock, and after that a description and several tests of temperature, luminosity and presence (PIR) sensors.

    The last step of the workshop will be to equip the project with wireless connectivity through an XBee module, so the information gathered from the sensors can be wirelessly sent for storage or visualization. This should provide the participants with some basic knowledge in order to be able to develop any IoT application they can imagine. The workshop will start on October 2nd at 8 pm, see the content here.

  • RFID / NFC - Weekly RecapAugust 14, 2015

    RFID stands for radio frequency identification. This technology makes use of electromagnetic fields to identify objects in a contactless way. It is widely used in access cards and public transport cards.

    Here you can find some examples of what you can achieve with RFID and Arduino.

    NFC Door Lock

    This is a very common application for NFC. With a card, a reader and some additional components you can make your own contactless door lock. This door lock is controlled by a Qduino Mini, because it fits perfectly, but any Arduino compatible board will do the job.

    Qtechknow used a servo to drive the locking bolt, and several 3d-printed parts to make a housing and mount everything on the door. So the NFC shield, the board and a LiPo battery are placed inside this casing on the door lock.


    Now you just have to put your card close enough to the reader, and when the NFC tag is detected the board activates the servo and it unlocks the door.

    See more pics and download the code for this project on Instructables. Via Adafruit.

    RFID Lamp


    Here's a completely different project, nothing to do with security or access control. Philippe made his own interactive RGB/RFID lamp from scratch.

    By placing different colored tags close to the hidden reader you can change the color, a black disc is used to turn off the lamp and a white disc to make a white light. The lamp changes color randomly when it doesn't detect any tag.

    The lamp is controlled by an Arduino Uno board and all the different colors are made by a strip of RGB LEDs, driven by the PWM pins of the Arduino. The pins are connected through Mosfet transistors, and controlling the voltage in each channel you can change the color.

    The RFID reader is connected to digital pins 8 & 9, and the system is powered by a 12V wall transformer. A small LED, connected on digital pin 7, indicates when the RFID reader is ready to read, and a piezo speaker on pin 10 is used to add sound to the lamp.

    He designed with frizting a custom shield integrating all the electronics for the lamp. The shield is a single side PCB and is mounted on top of the Arduino.

    The housing of the lamp was designed with SketchUp and made out of plywood and pine pieces, and the LED strip is wrapped around a PCV pipe.

    The Arduino with the shield are attached at the bottom of the wood box and the RFID reader is placed under the disc holder.

    The color discs are also made out of plywood, each one containing a different RFID tag.

    Posted on Instructables. Visit Philippe's blog to see more projects like this one:

    Take a look at our own LED Lamp controlled with RFID tags here.

    RFID Car Starter

    This is a pretty cool hack of a car starter system. Pierre wanted to customize his new car and added this incredible feature to start the engine with an RFID tag.

    He placed a 13.56 MHz RIFD reader on the dashboard, so the tag has to be held for over a second and the car starts. Then to turn it off he just have to hold it again for a second.

    An Arduino Nano receives the info from the reader and controls a relay module with two relays that start or shut down the engine. All the components are cleverly hidden under the armrest and on the dashboard so it is amazing to see it working. Check it out in the video above.

    Posted on Hackaday.

    Don't forget to take a look at our own RFID/NFC kits and modules for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Waspmote and Intel Galileo. Click here.

  • Weekly Recap - e-Health HacksJuly 31, 2015

    Here we have some projects and application related to Arduino and health. Obviously, most of what you can find in this area is not going to be a certified medical product, but it can be very helpful to research or to try out body monitoring.

    Measuring Heart Rate with a Piezo Vibration Sensor

    Heartbeat Sensor

    If you're thinking about developing a medical application this is one of the basics. Thomas was trying to make a water flow detector by measuring the vibration created by water in the pipe and ended up with a very simple yet effective pulse sensor.

    He wondered what would happen if he tapped the sensor to his finger, and surprisingly it was a pretty solid electrical signal of his heart rate.

    The sensor is a standard piezo. This kind of sensors respond to strain changes by generating an output voltage, so all he had to do was connect it to an analog pin of the Arduino board.

    After that he defined a threshold value to measure every heartbeat, and to monitor the heart rate he measured the time between two consecutive beats to make the calculation. After that the value is printed on the serial monitor.

    Check the Pulse and Oxygen in Blood Sensor from the e-Health Platform.

    Read the complete project and see the code here. Via Hackaday.

    Posture Sensor with Ultrasonic Module

    We all spend a lot of time sitting on a chair in front of a computer, so Max thought it would be a good idea to have some sort of device that would monitor our posture and warn us to avoid back pain.

    He considered using an accelerometer to measure the angle at a certain point or several pressure sensor in the chair, but he needed something relatively simple and cheap. So he finally decided to use a common ultrasonic sensor to measure the distance of the head to the back of the chair.

    Posture Sensor

    These are easy to use modules that are precise enough for this application. He used Arduino to program an ATtiny85 that reads the info from the sensor, and depending on the distance it beeps a small piezospeaker to warn you. The device is powered by 3 button cells and mounted on a piece of fabric to hide it on the chair.

    See the Patient Position Sensor for the e-Health Platform, that allows the user to monitor up to five different patient positions.

    Detailed description of the application here. Via Hackaday.

    Breathalyzer with MQ-3 sensor and Arduino

    Here's another useful application with some basic components, Daniel made a Breathalyzer that helps you to detect breath alcohol content. The idea is quite simple: read the alcohol content and make a visual indication with some LEDs.

    An Arduino mounted on a breadboard reads the data from a MQ-3 sensor. This sensor provides an analog resistive output, it needs a 10K potentiometer to calibrate and then it is connected to an analog pin in the Arduino.


    The board transforms this alcohol content data and depending on its value lights up the LEDs to make a bar graph indicating the alcohol concentration. Each LED is connected to a digital pin of the board and to ground through a resistor.

    Check this interesting application including the e-Health Platform: the e-Wheelchair.

    See the e-Health Sensor Platform Tutorial to find examples and applications of how to read and visualize up to ten different parameters.

  • Introducing some New KitsJuly 28, 2015

    As you probably know by now, we released a new version of our website a few weeks ago. Apart from the visual aspect (we hope you're enjoying it), we have seized the opportunity to focus on technical education. Read about it here.

    This means a lot of new kits and tutorials for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Waspmote and Intel Galileo. Now we would like to tell you a little bit more in detail about our new kits.

    Our best shields and modules for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Galileo have now their own kit. For instance, there's a Bluetooth Kit for the Bluetooth module Pro, a Tracking Kit for the GPRS+GPS Quadband Module or the Extreme Range Connectivity Kit for the LoRa module (868MHz/900MHz).

    3G+GPS Mobile Kit

    HVAC & TV Infrared Control Kit

    3G+GPS Mobile Kit (left) & HVAC & TV Infrared Control Kit (right)

    We have completely rearranged our idea of kits and included everything you need in a kit to develop full applications. Apart from the shield itself and some components, every kit contains a few accessories to be used with the shield: as you can see in the image above, the 3G+GPS Mobile Kit comes with GPS and 4G antennas, a thin speaker, an internal speaker, a microphone and a 2MP videocamera.

    In addition to all these new kits we have classified them by Platform, User Level and Category, so you can quickly find the right kit according to your experience, and depending on the field you want to work in.

    Customize Your Kit: Choose Your Platform

    Apart from having put together all these new kits, we also give you the chance to choose the platform you want to work with: Arduino, Raspberry Pi or Intel Galileo. Obviously, if you already have any of these boards and you just want to buy a kit with no platform it's fine.

    As you can see, we tried to supply in this platforms everything you need to program and power these boards, so you can start working right away without having to buy additional items.

    Arduino Platform

    Raspberry Pi Platform

    Arduino (left) & Raspberry Pi (right) Platforms. Include one of them in your Kit

    Starter Kit

    The Starter Kit has been upgraded and now has a few more components than it used to. Apart from a bunch of resistors and jumper cables, you can find some other basic components like push buttons (4x), potentiometers (2x),a piezo speaker or a breadboard.

    There's also some LEDs (red, green and RGB), sensors (LDR and Temperature), a transistor and a 9V to barrel jack adapter.

    New Starter Kit

    Additionally, we have included a Micro Servo, a Hobby Motor and an LCD screen. These items open a whole new world of applications for your projects: the LCD will allow you to visualize any data from the sensors, and the Motor and Micro Servo, along with the accessories, will provide you with tools for controlling any moving part of your project.

    You can buy this kit separately, but we thought it would be a good idea to have all the items of the Starter Kit in the rest of the kits. This way, if you buy any of them, like the Smart Cards Kit (NFC/RFID 13.56MHz), you will find everything from the Starter Kit in it, so you can make a specific application but with all these common and useful items.

    If you want to check everything you can accomplish with these new kits take a look at the tutorials we have prepared.

    Learning Kit

    The Learning kit is the first step for beginners in the Arduino world. Just like the rest of the kits you can buy it with or without the Arduino platform.

    Similar to the Starter Kit, it contains fairly common components like resistors, LEDs, an LCD display or some push buttons. The difference is that the shield comes unassembled, so you have to place and solder every component yourself (you will need extra tools).

    Learning Kit

    The idea is that you can learn step by step the basics of the through-hole soldering, and once the kit is assembled, you can program several applications to get started with Arduino, like controlling the LEDs with the buttons, displaying the temperature in the LCD or making a real life alarm clock.

    You can follow this detailed tutorial where we tell you how to prepare and solder the shield, download the libraries and complete every example.

    Robot Kit

    This one is also a brand new kit, and, as the Learning Kit, it is supposed to help you improve your soldering and programming skills. The Robot Kit contains everything you need to assemble your own tracked robot, small enough to qualify for Mini Sumo. It has two micro gear motors and a pair of silicone tracks. For detecting impacts and tracking orientation it has a 3-axis accelerometer, and an array of six infrared reflectance sensors enables line following and edge detection.

    Robot Kit

    The Robot is powered by 4 AA batteries and controlled with an Arduino Uno and a motor driver Zumo shield. This kit has its own tutorial where we explain what you need and how to solder and configure the robot. You can find libraries that will make it a little bit easier to control the robot and a few examples to get started, like a border detector, RC robot or a line follower.

    And there's more to come!

    We hope you like our new or upgraded Kits, and find them useful. Stay tuned to know more about our new kits: more to come in this blog. In the meantime, you can check a complete list of all our Kits here.

  • Weekly Recap - GPS HacksJuly 17, 2015

    This week is time for GPS hacks, whether you are trying to make a security project to track stolen goods or help your pet to exercise you will find some very interesting stuff here.

    Arduino GeoSteamPunk

    Here's a good example of how to make your own customized geocaching application. Folkert wanted a cost-effective GPS device so he decided to make one himself and gave it a personal steam punk look.

    He bought a GPS module and an Arduino nano to control it. He's using as well some switches, a beeper, a LiPo charger, a couple of analog meters and place everything in an antique wooden box.


    After a lot of programming he managed to reuse the meters for indicating direction (the one in the left) and distance (the one in the right). A rotary encoder allows to show the current longitude and latitude and to set a new target, an the beeper increases frequency when approaching the target.

    Check our GPS module for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Intel Galileo

    Read about this project and see some more pictures on Folkert's website.

    Posted on Hackaday.

    GPS Tracked Bike Lock

    This is a very common application for GPS modules: tracking stolen goods, in this case a bicycle. Stbennett could reuse some old parts for this project and built everything around an Arduino Uno.

    The tracker is composed by a GSM shield (with SIM card) and a GPS module mounted on a prototyping board. He included a LiPo battery to power the device and make it autonomous.

    GPS Tracked Bike Lock

    The retractable lock has been modified to be an electrical part of the circuit, this way whenever the lock is disengaged or cut the Arduino turns on and the tracker starts working. When this happens, after a short delay, it will send a text message that reads "Your bike has been stolen" and when the GPS module gets signal you should start receiving GPS location coordinates. So paste that data into Google maps and see where your bike is.

    Take a look at our own vehicle tracking project, using the GPRS+GPS Quadband Module.

    Posted on Instructables. Via Hackaday.

    GPS Dog Collar

    Becky Stern at Adafruit was worried her dog wasn't exercising as much as she should so she built a little GPS collar that tracks your dog and calculates the total distance.

    She used a Atmega32u4 Breakout Board and a GPS module to do the tracking, and a OLED graphic display. The code detects when you are moving and adds the distance to the running total.

    Besides, the OLED displays the walked distance in miles (easily convertible to km) and a little bar with the progress towards a set goal, so you can quickly check if you keep up the daily exercise.

    Posted on Adafruit.

    Tracking project by CH: Geocaching Santa.

  • Weekly Recap - PIR SensorsJuly 3, 2015

    A couple of weeks ago we were talking about Infrared projects with Arduino. Today we bring you some IR related hacks, this time with PIR Motion Sensors: a couple of security applications and an energy-saving project.

    Motion Sensing Water Gun

    Now this is not the usual home security system. Ashish made a motion detector that sprays water on the intruder, and after that, to embarrass him/her a little bit more it takes a picture and uploads it to twitter.

    First thing he needed was a motorized water gun. He opened it and soldered two long pieces of wire. It has a motorized pump and he's using a MOSFET to drive it. A Lightblue Bean, an Arduino-compatible microcontroller board that is wirelessly programmed over Bluetooth Low Energy, controls the water gun and reads the signal from a PIR motion sensor.


    When the PIR sensor detects an intruder it sends a signal to the Bean, then the Bean switches on the MOSFET to turn on the water gun. The Bean is connected via Bluetooth with a computer, then with Node-RED it monitors the Bean serial and, if the PIR sends the signal, a Python script takes a picture and a second script uploads the photo to the twitter account.

    Don't forget to check their Twitter account.

    Posted on Instructables, via Hackaday.

    Raspberry Pi Motion Sensitive Camera


    This is another security camera project, but this time is built around a Raspberry Pi. Bruce made this camera to keep track of what his cats are up to when he's not home. To do so, he used, apart from the Raspberry Pi, a Raspberry camera module, a PIR motion sensor and a USB WiFi adapter, and he made a wooden case himself with a laser cutter.

    When the Raspberry Pi is switched on it runs a Python program that checks the PIR sensor signal to detect motion.

    If the PIR detects something moving the camera takes a photo or records a short video, then it is uploaded to a DropBox account, so the user can see it in any device.

    Another Python program monitors a shutdown switch on the camera and controls an LED that indicates when the camera is running.

    Also, it blinks and stops the software when the switch is pressed and after that the LED turns off to indicate you can unplug the camera. The camera is mounted on a tripod and powered with a USB AC adapter.

    Check the complete project on Instructables.

    PIR Motion Sensor Lighting

    After all this security projects, here's one that might be helpful to save energy. Steve used an Arduino and a PIR sensor to detect motion. The idea is that the lights turn on automatically when you walk into a room, and when you leave they turn off after a little while.

    Apart from the PIR sensor, he used a solid state relay. This SSR is needed to control the power of the lighting appliance and isolate the AC load from the Arduino.


    He also included a manual switch to override the PIR sensor. A SPTD switch is connected to 5V, and to the Arduino pins 11 and 12 so it can manually turn on and off the light.

    The program is continuously reading the PIR sensor and, depending on the SPTD switch, it turns on or off the lights. This is a clever yet simple way to hack a home appliance that makes use of some common and cheap components.

    Check the complete project on Instructables.

    Visit Steve's blog: Arduinotronics.

  • Weekly Recap - Watering HacksJune 26, 2015

    So summer is here and we all have a lot of things to do but not the time. Here are some hacks that will surely help you to take some time off your daily tasks, this projects will automatically take care of your plants for you.

    e-Waste Watering Can

    This hack started as a project to teach a group of students about electronic waste and reusing technology. First thing they did was taking the CD drive out of a desktop computer. The idea was to control the amount of water by opening or closing the CD drive. They also recycled a plastic bottle to store the water and used a tube to irrigate the plant and a 12-16V power supply.


    After that, they soldered the leads of the drive to a relay, and connected it to an Arduino Uno to be able to control it. They included a sensor to measure soil moisture with the Arduino board and, depending on this value, they used the CD drive to clamp the water of the bottle.

    As you can see the components for this project are cheap and mostly reused and recycled, so it's easy to make one yourself!

    Check our solutions for taking care of your plants here.

    Read about this project on Instructables. Via Adafruit.

    Automated Plant Watering System

    Shane built another system to water your plants. He used a car door actuator with a small DC motor to activate a water bottle pump. This up and down movement of the electronic actuator, which transforms a rotary motion into a linear motion, rises the pressure in the jug.

    When the pressure is high enough, a servo, mounted on the same wooden structure, activates a lever that sprays the water through a hose. Watch it in the video below.

    The servo activating the lever is connected to a dsPIC microcontroller, which also controls the door lock actuator with a DC motor driver. Just a few components and reused equipment!

    Take a look at Open Garden Indoor, our alternative to remotely control your indoor plants.

    Find all about this hack here. Via Hackaday.

    Watering Garden with Arduino

    OK, now we're getting serious. This project is a complete watering system for your garden. It is build around an Arduino Uno and a soil moisture detector. It is planned to use up to 8 electrovalves, but as he explains you can adapt it to your needs and use as many as you like.

    The watering system is composed of flexible water pipe, connectors, splitters, electrovalves and a sprinkler. He is using an 8 relay shield (9V or 12V) to control the electrovalves and an AC adapter to power everything but the Arduino Board, which is connected to a USB power adapter.


    The Arduino monitors the soil moisture with the sensor, and depending on this value it activates the relays and waters the garden. It is a simple way to automatically take care of your plants.

    Check our kit for garden watering: Open Garden Outdoor.

    Posted on Instructables.

  • Cooking Hacks at the Sónar 2015June 23, 2015

    Cooking Hacks was part of the recent Sónar Festival 2015 in Barcelona. Sónar is a three-day long electronic music festival that was founded in 1994, and has since evolved into a multi-themed event that includes all kind of artistic performances and multimedia exhibitions, enhancing creativity and technology.

    It is divided into Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night and, unlike most summer festivals, it does not take place in a field. Sónar by Day is located in the city centre (Fira Montjuïc), and apart from concerts and dj's it hosts showcases and expositions, and the Sónar+D, an international conference focused on creativity and technology, and the digital transformation of the cultural industries involved. It gathers not only artists but entrepreneurs, researchers and companies seeking to integrate music, technology and business.

    Watch below the intro video for the Sónar+D.

    Sónar by Night is located at Fira Gran Via de L'Hospitalet, far away from the city centre, with most part of the live shows and dj sets until late at night.

    Libelium attended Sónar with "Sensors for the Next Generation of Artists", a demo of some of our products and the projects explained below, and participated in the "European Commission: Open Digital Science and Art Workshop", which featured representatives from principal institutions involved in research, art, technology and culture.

    Zero Calories Can Dispenser

    So this is what we brought to the table. This project is a mind controlled fridge, so you can get a cool drink without physical interaction. A mindwave sensor measures brainwave signals and monitors the attention level of the user. This sensor uses the Bluetooth module PRO from CH to send the data to an Arduino Uno board.

    Zero Calories Can Dispenser 1

    Zero Calories Can Dispenser 2

    Zero Calories Can Dispenser

    The Can Dispenser is controlled with the Arduino Uno, which collects the data from the Mindwave and displays your concentration levels in an LCD screen and an analogic gauge meter. So all this means that when you concentrate hard enough you get your drink: Inside the covering there is a thermoelectric cooling that uses the Peltier effect together with a fan to create a flow of fresh air.


    This application could turn out to be really useful in a festival like this one. Build once again around an Arduino Uno, it is actually a portable medical station for measuring Galvanic Skin Response (sweating) and Pulse and Oxygen in Blood (SPO2):

    • Galvanic Skin Response Sensor (GSR - Sweating): Skin conductance, also known as Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) is a method of measuring the electrical conductance of the skin, which varies with its moisture level. Skin conductance is used as an indicator of psychological or physiological arousal.
    • Pulse and Oxygen in Blood Sensor (SPO2): Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive method of indicating the arterial saturation of functional hemoglobin. Oxygen saturation is defined as the measurement of the amount of Oxygen dissolved in blood, based on the detection of Hemoglobin and Deoxyhemoglobin.

    The Arduino Board reads the data from the sensors and sends it to the printer with our RS-232 Serial/Modbus Module. This module allows to connect console ports and special purpose equipment. So, in the end you will get a ticket from the printer with the measured levels and depending on them it automatically assigns you a party level: relaxed, normal, semi-altered, altered or super-altered.

    Partymeter 1

    Partymeter 2


    The Partymeter makes use of the e-Health Sensor Shield, a board by Cooking Hacks that allows Arduino and Raspberry Pi users to perform biometric and medical applications where body monitoring is needed by using 9 different sensors.

    Radioactive Percussion

    Radioactive Percussion

    This project was developed by Cooking Hacks and it converts ambient radioactivity in a musical rhythm.

    It detects radiation with a Geiger-Müller tube, a type of particle detector that measures ionizing radiation. It is able to detect the emission of nuclear radiation, including alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays.

    The Geiger Counter is integrated in the Radiation Sensor Board. This board is compatible with any tube that works in the range of 400V - 1000V and, in this case, is mounted on an Arduino Uno, but it is also compatible with Raspberry Pi and Intel Galileo.

    It has 5 LEDs and an LCD to indicate radiation levels and a piezo speaker that allows to hear the typical "chirp" in radioactivity counters.

    To quickly detect increases in radiation levels we use a Vaseline glass bead. This is a safe way to test your Geiger Counter: Vaseline glass contains a small amount of Uranium (less than 0.2%) so it is slightly radioactive but completely safe to handle.

    The Arduino and the Radiation Sensor Board are placed inside a covering, so put some Vaseline glass bead next to it and the music starts to play.

    We are very much looking forward to the next edition of this festival. We'll see you there!

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