Tag Archives: microcontroller

Open Source Home Automation with Esp32 and Home Assistant (Hass.io)

ebook Open Source Home Automation - Introduction to Home assistant and Esp32 based automation

As a dedicated Home Assistant user for years now, I came to write an ebook covering all the important topics around home automation and tinkering your own Esp32 based
sensors and actuators. Home Assistant is Open Source, written in Python and a lively community maintains over 3000 custom made components that allow you to control nearly everything in your home.
For everything else there is the cheap and handy Esp32 microcontroller that comes with builtin wireless network support and the capability to control any hardware you can think of.
Soldering your own Esp32 bases sensors is really fun and allows you to add a lot of flexibility to your home automation. With a very low price tag of 5$ the Esp32 microcontroller is a practical basis for all your custom made sensors and actuators.
Read more about the details on how to solder your own sensors and how to attach them to your own home assistant system in my brand new eBook: ‘Open Source Home Automation‘.

Arduino Controlled Drawbot

DRAWBOT

image source: www.marginallyclever.com/

One of the highlights of the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire was Dan Royer’s drawbot kit in action. Dan sells his Drawbot kits online. The kit includes a 3D printed pen holder, 2 stepper motors, a 12V 2A power supply, 2x 3D printed bobbins, an Adafruit Stepper shield. The whole drawing bot is based on an Arduino UNO. The kit requires no soldering or wire cutting, and is perfect for use in a classroom.

Drawbot is even easier to use than any other machine of it’s kind. Choose a picture from your computer and the Java program will prepare it for you in 10 minutes or less. It also understands GCODE, the language used by 3D printers and industrial fabrication machines. You can even take the GCODE and send it to your RepRap or Makerbot.

Kickstart a neuro dreaming mask

A little bit retro, but on Kickstarter you can now support the recreation of a neuro dreaming mask. Through ambient music and gently fading lights the NeuroDreamer sleep mask weaves a subtle spectrum of brainwave frequencies — the same spectrum that naturally appear in a person as they fall asleep. These frequencies are produced using binaural beats embedded within beautiful music, and synchronized with fading lights – all generated by the NeuroDreamer sleep mask’s microcontroller, which is concealed inside the mask’s memory foam. Simply close your eyes and listen to the music, and let your brainwaves do the rest.

XBee-Enabled Ice Fishing Pole

Dave Olson built an XBee-equipped ice fishing rod that sends him a msg if his rod catched a fish. This device can save you hours of waiting 🙂

The tip up alerts the fisherman when they have a fish in real time via text message. The tip up uses electric current switch magnets attached to an XBee DIO Adapter, which reads when a fish is caught. Sending this information through a cellular gateway, your phone receives a “fish on!” text message. The solution can be used with multiple tip ups and/or a ZigBee mesh network.

 

Using the MakerShield – LCD Display

An LCD screen can bring a whole new level of interactivity to your Arduino projects. They can provide instant data without using your computer and give visual feedback about your project. Normally, you would use a separate breadboard to hook up an LCD but using a MakerShield and this tutorial from Make: Projects, you can make your own LCD shield!

LCD screens look complicated but using an Arduino it’s not too bad at all. This tutorial will teach you how to hook up an LCD display to an Arduino using a MakerShield. All the components you need for this build are included in the Ultimate Microcontroller Pack.

You can pick up an Ultimate Microcontoller Pack from the Maker Shed, Micro Center, and select RadioShack locations. Call me crazy but I love the look of all those jumper wires!

More:
Using the MakerShield – Button
Using the MakerShield – Servo Control

Microcontrolled, customizable Espresso Machine

For a coffeholic like me this already successful  Kickstarter project sounds like a dream became reality. That guys (Gleb Polyakov and Igor Zamlinsky) design a microcontroller based espresso machine (i expect that all major espresso machines are in some way controlled by one but you do not have access to their code). As consistent pressure and temperature through the entire pull is the key to getting a perfect espresso.


There are basically two kinds of home espresso machines on the market today. The affordable models have no good mechanism of temperature or pressure control. These machines can’t pull consistent shots. So if you’re serious about espresso, you’ll need one of the higher-end machines – they make great coffee, but they also start around $700.

This espresso machine offers high-end quality, PID-controlled customizable temperature and pressure, pre-infusion, or shot-time settings, for around 400$. Gleb and Igor already successfully pledged a budget of $369,569 from 1,546 backers.

Physical Computing with your Android Phone


One of the most interesting aspects for every maker is to remote control physical things by using a wireless connection. If you plan to communicate with a microcontroller over large distances and without a WLAN base station, you have to consider to use a GSM/UMTS modem or a smartphone instead. As GSM communication prices became quite low in the last years, using a smartphone for remote communicating with your microcontroller or with your mobile bot seems a pretty good choice. Unfortunately it is quite hard or even impossible to simply connect a smartphone with a typical microcontroller, such as a ATMega or an Arduino.

With the new Sparkfun IOIO board (pronounced “yo-yo”) communication with your Android smartphone gets really easy. You just have to connect the IOIO board with your smartphone over USB or Bluetooth and the board is completely controllable out of your custom Android App. So you are free to implement applications such as remote controlled bots or a remote intruder detection system. No embedded programming or external programmer is needed to program the IOIO board. The IOIO board contains a single microcontroller that acts as a USB host and interprets commands from an Android app. In addition, the IOIO can interact with peripheral devices in the same way as most microcontroller. Digital Input/Output, PWM, Analog Input, I2C, SPI, and UART control can all be used with the IOIO. This is really an amazing little board that opens the implementation of completely new and autonomous physical computing applications!