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Tag Archives: Arduino

  • A Little History of the Maker FaireApril 9, 2015

    Last week we made a little summary about every Maker Faire in April to keep you posted about what you can find in them. Now, we thought you might like to know a little bit more about Maker Faire History and how it all started.

    Make Magazine

    Maker Faire is an event created by Make Magazine in 2006. Make is a bimonthly magazine which covers subjects related to do it yourself (DIY) projects involving electronics, computers, science, home crafts or art and design. It was founded in 2005 by Dale Dougherty, inspired by the tinkerer spirit from the mid-20th century and reflected in magazines like Popular Mechanics. This kind of publications helped people to learn new skills and talk about their hobbies, and werethe seed for what years later would become the maker movement.

    It launched its first issue in January 2005 targeting readers interested in making things on their own. The magazine focuses on step-by-step projects, but it also includes reviews of books and tools or a teaching section, The Skill Builder, which covers different topics like welding, electronics, robotics or woodworking techniques.

    It has a digital edition that gives you free access to projects, articles, news, videos and blogs.

    Maker Faire – Bay Area

    Just a year after the magazine was published, Maker Faire held its first edition on April 22 – 23, 2006, at the San Mateo County Event Center in California.

    It has since grown in scale and has expanded through the US and later around the world. Over the next years a couple of Maker Faires were held in Austin and two more in Detroit. In 2010 New York joined in and have organized the World Maker Faire for five editions. These Flagship Faires (Bay Area and New York) are by far the largest events: last year 215,000 people attended.

    In 2014 there were a total of 14 Featured Maker Faires and 119 Mini Maker Faires (smaller and independently produced) in cities from the US, China, Japan, Spain, Italy, Norway, etc.

    Bay Area Maker Faire 2015 Web Badge In their own words, it is the Greatest Show and Tell on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. The event was launched as a response to the increasing community of makers and hobbyists willing to learn and share in hands-on activities. It included workshops, DIY competitions and demonstrations in six exposition pavilions and over 100 exhibiting makers.

    But it is not exclusive for people experienced in electronics or engineering, it is open to newbies and children and covers science, art, performance and craft. For instance, on the last edition of the Maker Faire Bay Area you could enjoy performances like the Tesla Coil Music from ArcAttack (video below) or the Life-Sized Mousetrap.

    Mr Dougherty has said about the Faires: “It's a pretty simple formula, one based entirely on talking to people who make things, seeing those people do, and nurturing the diversity of ideas that come together in a community space.”

    We'll be posting more info on the Maker Faire Bay Area on the next weeks.

  • Next Thursday, April 9th, is IoT DayApril 6, 2015

    The fifth annual Internet of Things day will take place next April 9th. But what is the IoT?

    The Internet of Things

    IoT is a concept regarding the connection of objects to the Internet. This objects or things can be anything from a person or animal to any kind of machine or device, embedded with electronics and sensors and with the capability of transferring data over a network. Each object has a unique identifier and is able to operate within the Internet infrastructure without human interaction.

    An example of this object could be a parking sensor that detects a free spot and wirelessly transmits the data so drivers can check this info on a cellphone, or a pH sensor to remote monitor water quality.

    Open hardware platforms like Arduino or Raspberry Pi, along with open source software, gave a decisive boost to the IoT and have contributed to create a community of developers.

    Find out more here.

    The IoT Day

    This day is intended to be a celebration where the Internet of Things Community get together to share their experience and knowledge. Started in 2011 as an annual meeting point where you can learn about the latest technologies and attend to conferences on security, innovation, applications or data management and privacy. Watch these pictures from past IoT Days.

    It's a meeting open to anybody willing to participate, from engineers and entrepreneurs to designers or amateurs regardless of your experience on this matter. You can participate in this world-wide event by visiting one of the many places where you will find lectures, workshops or demos (last year there were events in 18 countries). You can also create and organize an event yourself, check these map and list with every event for this day.

    IoT Day 2015 Events

    IoT Live

    Can't get to an IoT venue this year? Don't worry, IoT Live gives you the chance of following online discussions featuring participants from the Global IoT Community. In the second edition of this virtual conference you can watch demo sessions of products and platforms, and enjoy talks and keynotes sessions from leading companies.

    IoT Day 2015 Live

    This live sessions start off in Europe at 13:30 CEST (7:30 EDT) and goes throughout the day, last session finishing on the west coast of North America at 23:15 CEST (5:15 EDT).


    Waspmote Products

    Waspmote is Libelium's solution for the Internet of Things.

    It is an open source wireless platform designed to monitor your environment and focused on autonomy and low consumption. Its horizontal and modular approach is ideal to collect data through the sensors plugged into the different accessory sensor shields (Smart Cities, Agriculture, Smart Metering, Gases). You can connect to any Cloud Platform, using a wide range of wireless technologies.

    Check all the Waspmote products here.

  • Arduino Resistor Cutting Robot - CH Team HacksMarch 31, 2015

    Today we bring you a project built by Pablo (surely you remember Pablo, don't you?), who works in the production department of Libelium. They go through a lot of resistor tapes every day in this department and they have to cut them manually with scissors so they can handle them more comfortably. This certainly takes a little bit of time and effort and he thought there had to be a way of making this easier and faster.

    And what better way than Arduino?

    Searching for a solution he came up with a resistor cutting robot controlled, obviously, by Arduino. He built his own robot based on the prototype made at Oomlout. This was an open source project, so, if you want to give it a go yourself, you can download the design files for the housing here.

    Arduino Resistor Cutting Robot

    He used a cnc machine to cut the wood fiberboard to assemble the housing for the robot and to make every part in the machine.

    To load the resistors there is a groove that is approximately as wide as the resistors tape, so it keeps the tape centered at every moment.

    A stepper motor controls a set of rollers and gears to move the resistor tape forward and then it stops after a preset number of steps. You can choose how many pieces you want in your tape by setting up the specific number of steps that the motor has to turn.

    After the set group of resistors have moved past the blades the stepper motor stops, and two servos control a pair of box-cutter blades to slice both sides of the tape. Servos can be precisely controlled and positioned so they're perfect for this purpose: the blades move down and, in the end, outwards to slice both sides of the tape, providing this way a more maneuverable strip.

    Check the video!

    You can see the Arduino Resistor Cutting Robot in action in this video.

    OK, I like it. Where is the code?

    The robot is controlled by an Arduino Uno Board and an A4988 driver is needed for the stepper motor.

    We are happy to share the code with all of you, our fellow readers.

    MegaServo Servos[MAX_SERVOS] ;
    #define SPEED 12000			// Speed for the stepper motor delay
    #define SERVO_PIN            5		// Pins for the servos		
    #define SERVO2_PIN           6
    int steps = 13;				// Pins for the stepper motor
    int gyre = 9;
    int units = 220;			// Number of steps for 10 resistors

    Download the complete code here.

    You can check more CH Team Hacks, for example this realtime GPS+GPRS tracking of vehicles using Arduino.

  • 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.

  • A new update on e-Wheelchair project using e-Health Sensor PlatformMarch 25, 2015

    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 part1 – part2).

    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...

    Phil wearing his glasses

    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.

    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

    Complete eWheelchair and sensors

    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.

    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.

  • The 12 Maker Hacks Challenge - Getting Used to the EnvironmentMarch 23, 2015

    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.

  • 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

  • Arduino Day 2015 - Ten years of ArduinoMarch 18, 2015

    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.

    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!
  • Where is my car? Use Arduino for realtime GPS+GPRS tracking of vehiclesJuly 29, 2014

    If you have ever been victim of a car burglary and lost your car forever, you will be happy to know that Cooking Hacks has the solution for you: using geolocation tracking we will teach you how to prepare an useful gadget that will send you a SMS with your car location - and even will mark it in Google Maps - in case you get your car stolen.

    How does it work?

    This works as follows: you just call to the gadget, hidden previously in your car (in the trunk, the glove compartment or under your spare tyre, for example), and it will get the position data and send the realtime position to a web server. You can track your stolen car in realtime or even locate it in Google Maps.

    Use Arduino for realtime GPS+GPRS tracking of vehicles

    The heart of the gadget: the GPRS + GPS Quadband Module (SIM908)

    What is required to prepare this cool gadget is a Geolocation Tracker (GPRS + GPS) with SIM908, an external GPRS-GSM Antenna, an external GPS Antenna, a 9V Alkaline Battery, a 2300mA/h Rechargeable Battery and a Barrel Jack Adapter. With this materials, you can follow now our complete step-by-step tutorial that will guide you through the assembly and coding process.

    We will be happy to hear how this gadget have helped you recovering your stolen car. And use your imagination: we are sure you can use this gadget or a similar one to track other moving objects.

    Start now preparing your own realtime GPS+GPRS Tracking of Vehicles Gadget using Arduino with our complete tutorial.

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