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Weekly Hacks Recap

  • 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.

    NFC_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

    arduino_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: basbrun.com.

    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.

    breathalyzer

    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.

  • 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.

    GeoSteamPunk

    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.

    BLE_water_gun

    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

    RPi_Camera2

    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.

    9212_pir_sensor

    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.

    WaterCan

    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.

    WateringGarden

    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.

  • Infrared Hacks - Weekly Recap June 19, 2015

    Infrared Remote Control Tester

    Surely you had this problem. You tried to change the channel on your TV and nothing happened, but you are not sure if it's the batteries or the remote. Rui built a circuit for testing infrared remote controls.

    The circuit is pretty simple but it can turn out to be really useful. To record the IR commands he included a Vishay V34836 IR receiver. He made the PCB with a CNC machine and used a 12F683 microcontroller from Microchip.

    The circuit is powered by a couple of AAA batteries and is glued to the battery holder. As you can see in the video above, a red LED lights up when the circuit is switched on and not receiving any IR signal. If it's receiving continuous data the green LED indicates that the remote is fine, and the yellow LED will indicate that the data stream is broken, so the remote is not working properly.

    Take a look at our own IR Remote Module.

    Check this helpful project here. Via Hackaday.

    Infrared Tachometer using Arduino

    This project is again simple but very resourceful. [Pinodisco] made a tachometer out of some basic components: a couple of resistors, a motor and wheel assembly and an infrared LED and Phototransistor.

    He placed the IR LED and Phototransistor (receiver) facing each other and close, so the receiver can read the signal through the window in the wheel.

    tachometer

    He is using an Arduino Due to read the signal from the Phototransistor: the IR receiver is connected to the analog pin A0 in the board, and the IR LED is connected to 5V through a limiting resistor.

    Then the code counts the time between two signals from the receiver, it converts the value to rps/rpm and prints it in the Arduino IDE serial monitor.

    Read more on Instructables.

    Infrared Pulse Sensor

    Obviously, this isn't a medical device, but it's pretty amazing. Just like in the projects above it is built around an infrared emitter and detector which are placed close to each other.

    This time they are used to detect your pulse. As they explain, when the heart pumps, blood pressure rises and the amount of IR light that gets reflected back to the receiver increases when you press your fingertip against the sensor. So with an amplifier circuitry they can output a signal to the Arduino board.

    The signal is taken to the analog pin A0 and then the data can be viewed through the Arduino serial monitor. Finally they even prepared a sketch so you can visualize the data on your computer with Processing.

    Check our own medical platform: e-Health Sensor Platform.

    Find out more about this step by step tutorial on MAKE

  • IoT & Cloud - Weekly RecapApril 17, 2015

    This week in Libelium, our main Cloud Partners and Distributors have come to our headquarters to participate in our first IoT Cloud Week. The aim of this meetings was to provide specialized Cloud training for distributors. Find out more here.

    Following this week's theme we have been searching for cloud related hacks and projects. Here's what we have found.

    Cloud-Enabling a Bathroom Scale

    Summer is getting closer and we all want to watch our weight. Darryl Tan shared a pretty cool hack that could help you out. He came across a scale with a wireless (infrared) display that can be detached, so you can see your weight on it.

    Darryl had some experience with IR signals so he used a 38kHz IR receiver and a 38kHz IR receiver and a logic analyzer and found out it was encoding the data by pulse distance coding. To decode the data he captured the waveform of several amounts of weight and exported the values until it looked like increasing hexadecimal numbers, then he figured out how the weight was represented and the bytes corresponding to the status and checksum.

    CloudScale2

    Then it was time to connect it to the cloud to be able to plot the data. He used a Raspberry Pi and wrote a Python script to monitor the IR receiver. The script checks the status byte to send the data (weight and time) to the Google Docs Spreadsheet. He added a small LED to indicate when the data has been saved.

    Don't forget to visit Darryl's blog.

    Posted on Adafruit.

    Solar tracker

    This is an Internet Cloud connected Solar Tracker. This project came up after the need to automate the irrigation of a vegetable garden. The objective was for the garden to be kind of self-sufficient, so a solar panel for tracking means the garden can water itself when it needs to. On the other hand, to make the tracker efficient it had to be inexpensive.

    The project is built around a wooden two-axis platform, wooden gears and re-used curtain pole. It includes a 90 Watt solar panel, a rechargeable battery, accelerometer, magnetometer and stepper motors. It is connected to the Cloud via WiFi, and the system is controlled by an Electric Imp.

    Find out more in Instructables about this multi-themed project.

    Cloud Based Smart Water Meter

    You probably know about the severe drought California is facing at this moment. Here's something that can be helpful to avoid wasting water: Team H20 built and programmed a smart water meter to track the amount of water you use at home. They 3D printed some custom parts and used a servo, an Ultrasonic Sensor and an Intel Edison to control the system.
    h20_schematic

    This project allows to read water flow to send the data to the cloud (Microsoft Azure). They also developed an app that shows the data to the user in order to make a more responsible use of water.

    Via Hackster.io

    Here at Cooking Hacks we also have our own Arduino-based platform for water monitoring: Open Aquarium. It is designed to automate the control and maintenance tasks in fish tanks and ponds. It can detect water level and leakage and measure temperature, pH or Conductivity. It also includes several actuators: fish feeder, heater, LED lamp and water pump.

    On the other hand, we have the Waspmote solution provided by Libelilum: Smart Water. It is a wireless sensor platform for water quality monitoring. Oriented to Smart Cities, it enables to measure multiple parameters (pH, turbidity, temperature...). and features autonomous nodes that connect to the Cloud for real-time control.

    See a comparative review.

    Check these IoT related hacks.

  • Internet of Things - Weekly RecapApril 10, 2015

    Yesterday was the Internet of Things Day, and this week we have searched for hacks and projects that will surely get you interested and bring you closer to the IoT world.

    IoT Enabler

    The IoT is basically any device you can imagine (sensors, home appliances, cars) that collects and receives data and is connected to the Internet.

    First thing you may think when approaching this topic is that it has to be expensive or complicated. But nothing further from the truth: here you have an example of how easily you can read temperature and humidity and send it to the Internet.

    IoT Enabler

    This project is build around a ESP8266 WiFi module and it reads the temperature and humidity with a DHT11 sensor. It has a 3.3V voltage regulator and a 5V relay. You can power the board through a 5V power socket or via USB cable.

    This standalone board can send environmental data through a WiFi network and at the same time can control a relay with the input received.

    Read about this on Instructables.

    Automatic Garage Door Opener

    Here's an example of home improvement with the IoT: Jamie built a garage door opener connected to Internet. He based this project on Arduino and developed an Android app to open and close the door, to see if it's open or not and even to crack it open.

    Garage Door Opener

    It uses an ATMega328 in the circuit board and an Arduino Ethernet shield to connect it to the home network. A reed switch and a magnet are installed in the door and connected to the board to detect when the door is open. The garage opener is wired to the circuit so the board can open and close it.

    Find out more about it on this well documented tutorial.
    Posted on Hackaday.

    Networked Flower Pot

    Waspmote Products

    This project was developed last summer in the “Networked Embedded Systems” course at TU Berlin.

    It is based on Waspmote, Libelium's solution for the Internet of Things, and simulates a wireless irrigation system in a greenhouse.

    A group of three nodes are connected via Xbee 868. One node is used for sensing soil moisture, temperature, humidity and luminosity. Another actuator node controls
    a valve to supply irrigation and a third control node is in charge of computing the user input.

    The user can either select a specified time to water or a desired soil moisture range. When the plant is too dry, it is automatically watered until the preset moisture value is reached or for a selected time.

  • Arduino Day - Weekly RecapMarch 27, 2015

    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 on 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.

  • Arduino & Robots Hacks - Weekly RecapMarch 20, 2015

    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.

    ROBOT2

    Follow his progress on his YouTube channel and Xrobots.

    You can download all the files from GitHub.

    Posted on 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.

    CHESSM2

    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 on 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.

    SpiderRobot2

    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.

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