Save the date for the European Maker Faire that takes place from 3 to 6 October in ROME, Italy!
Massimo Banzi, one of the inventors of Arduino, is promoting and hosting this cool Make Event in October. It will be the perfect event for meeting the community of DIY activists and Makers all over Europe. The deadline for submitting your own Make projects and creations has been postopened until end of June. Submit your own Arduino projects here.
Maker Faire showcases the amazing work of all kinds and ages of makers—anyone who is embracing the do-it-yourself (or do-it-together) spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience. Topics for the Maker Call are: 3D Printing, Robot, Education, Design, Fashion, Arduino, Crafts, Science, Digital Fabrication, Green, Transportation, Interaction and Young Makers (under 16);
In his 8th tutorial video, Massiomo Banzi explains how to build a touch sensitive lamp, by using the electronics parts from his Arduino Starter Kit, which is available on RS Components (see my Arduino Starter Kit unboxing article). Banzi also explains how to use libraries within your own Arduino development project, in order to speed up development of Arduino program code. External Arduino libraries are available for many different purposes and since the Arduino community is larger than any other maker and DIY electronics community there are a plenty different libraries available for free.
In this weeks episode of Massiomo Banzi’s official Arduino tutorials he shows us how to build a magic crystal ball by using his recently released Arduino Educational Starter Kit (The Arduino Starter Kit). Banzi’s electronic version of a Magic 8 Ball is built by using an LCD screen and a tilt sensor. Everytime the user is shaking the tilt sensor, the Magic 8 Ball will return a randomly generated answer.
In his latest Arduino tutorial video, Massimo Banzi explains how to control a motorized pinwheel without damaging your Arduino board. As DC motors can generate power spikes, that can damage electronic circuits, Massimo Banzi explains how to use a diode to overcome this issue. A DC motor works at a higher voltage than the Arduino. This means that it requires more current that an Arduino pin can provide. Within this video tutorial Massimo will also explain how to provide enough current to drive the DC motor.
Today, i received one of the first samples of the new Arduino Educational Starter Kits by RS and i have to admit that beside it’s cool design this educational starter kit is one of the most exiting collections of electronics i have ever tested. It comes in combination with an Arduino Projects Book that gives a detailed description of each Arduino experiment on more than 170 pages. For each project, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino gives an online video instruction, in which he explains the details. The tutorials start from the very beginning, how to set up your Arduino development environment and explain in simple incremental steps how to build more complex examples, that include all kinds of sensors, motors and even a LCD display (all part of the Arduino Starter Kit).
Unboxing my new Arduino Starter Kit
The entire Arduino Starter kit really contains an impressive collection of electronic components and all parts you need to start immediately. It consists of following major parts:
Arduino Projects Book
Arduino UNO Board
LCD screen 16×2 characters
Lots of LEDs
H-bridge motor driver
Diodes and resistors
Here are some pictures i took during the unboxing of the Arduino Starter Kit.
Today, i connected my Arduino Uno board to a really cheap Bluetooth serial module ($7 at ebay) in order to communicate with my Android smartphone (tribute to Massimo Banzi for this fantastic piece of engineering, see a tutorial video about starting with Arduino). The image below shows my $7 Bluetooth serial module. It offers 4 pinouts (5V, Ground, RX and TX), that you have to connect with the right pins on your Arduino Uno board. No additional electronic parts are necessary.
Cheap Bluetooth Serial Module for Arduino
So if you have already written a simple Arduino Blink program (equivalent to a typical HelloWorld program), it should be an easy task to connect your Bluetooth serial module to your Arduino Uno board.
You will need to identify the 5V and Ground Arduino pins on your Arduino, in order to provide the power source for activating your Bluetooth serial module. Connect the Bluetooth module’s RX pin to the Arduino’s TX pin. Connect the Bluetooth module’s TX pin with the Arduino’s RX pin.
Connect Arduino to Bluetooth serial module
After connecting the Bluetooth serial module with your Arduino you are able to pair the Bluetooth module with any Bluetooth enabled device. Use ‘1234’ as pairing key.
This new Arduino Starter Kit offers an UNO board along with a huge collection of sensors and actuators to learn to experiment with the Arduino board from the scratch. The Arduino StarterKit was intended by it’s creators with the precise intent of learning how to use an Arduino and the base of electronic by discovering. The starter kit contains everything a beginner needs to build simple to complex electronic experiments without additional hardware costs.
As an additional benefit one of the initiators of the Arduino movement, Massimo Banzi, is giving stepwise video tutorials. These video sessions were started today with a brief session, how to setup your Arduino development environment and to get an introduction into your new Arduino educational development kit:
The goal of Luke’s Kickstarter project growerbot can be summarized by one simple statement:
Automate growing food and share your real-world farming activity with your friends. Grow faster and better by sharing!
Growerbot combines the growing of food in the real world with enhanced social any community activities. It keeps your friends and followers updated about late braking results in your automated greenhouse. Luke’s Arduino powered desktop greenhouse couples the power of automation to keep food growing optimally. By adding gamification to get you excited about gardening, you’re going to grow better food with less effort and more fun than ever before.
This project reminds me on a similar project that was presented at the Prix Ars Electronica festival. The project was called Telegarden and it allowed the community growing of seeds by using a remote controlled (through Web) growing of seeds:
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.
Did you ever thought about selling one of your hardware creations? Maybe some gadgets built on Arduino, Raspberry Pi, 3D printed artefacts as well as specific shields, boards, sensors or complete kits.
Emile Petrone founded a marketplace, tindie.com, where makers and hardware creators can offer their creations. There are already some really interesting creations on tindie, such as an Angry Birds-playing robot, MicroFTX USB-Serial Breakout or a Netduino Go! Relay Module.