Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Going cellular with your Arduino projects

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

going-cellular-with-arduino

It will be more interesting if we can get our projects connected, via wires or wirelessly. It can extend the functionality of the project itself. Here, i would like to share some useful stuff in order to add functionalities to your Arduino project.

You can add a huge measure of extensibility to a project by using a cellular connection. Anywhere the device can get service you can interact with it. In the past this has been a pretty deep slog through datasheets to get everything working, but this tutorial will show the basics of interacting with phone calls and text messages. It’s the 26th installment of what is becoming and mammoth Arduino series, and the first one in a set that works with the SM5100B cellular shield.

We love the words of warning at the top of the article which mention that a bit of bad code in your sketch could end up sending out a barrage of text messages, potentially costing you a bundle. But there’s plenty of details and if you follow along each step of the way we think you’ll come out fairly confident that you know what you’re doing. Just promise us that you won’t go out and steal SIM cards to use with your next project. Find part two of the tutorial here and keep your eyes open for future installments.

courtesy hackaday

Save sensor data to Google Spreadsheets by Codebox

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

I found this is really a good way to gather data, since Google Spreadsheets is free and can be accessed from any places in the world as long as connected to the internet. Plus, you can share it with selected persons you want. It’s quite useful for scientific researchers to share and analyze their findings. Check this out (completed with the codes):

The “Hello Arduino” section in Chapter 11 of Getting Started with Processing shows how to read data into Processing from Arduino. In a nutshell, the Arduino code (example 11-6 in the book) reads data from a light sensor and writes it out to the serial port. The section then goes on to describe a number of increasingly sophisticated sketches that retrieve and visualize the sensor data using Processing’s Serial library.

This Codebox shows you how to save this sensor data to a Google Spreadsheet. The cool thing is that you can then use any of the goodies that Google provides (charts, gadgets, maps, etc) directly with your data. While the light sensor is pretty basic, you can use this basic setup to record data from more sophisticated sensors, such as a Parallax GPS receiver module into Google Spreadsheets, and then create a map of where you’ve been that you could post as a gadget.

The sketch relies on the Google API Client Library for Java, which is a set of code libraries for interacting with various Google’s services (not just Spreadsheets). In researching this article, I found Processing guru Jer Thorpe‘s article Open Science, H1N1, Processing, and the Google Spreadsheet API a great inspiration. While it’s based on an older version of the API (version 1.0, while the APIs are now up to version 3.0), it’s a great introduction to interacting with Google.

Courtesy Make

GardenBot Is Monitoring Your Garden

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

how-to_module-map courtesy of gardenbot.org

Amazing work, and very interesting solution (of an experience of nature-lovers and DIYers) to keep an eye on your garden:

GardenBot is a garden monitoring system. This means that you put sensors in your garden, and GardenBot will show you charts of the conditions in your garden — so you can see the world the way your plants see it.

I did… er, I mean hi. My name is Andrew Frueh. Me and my wife, Melissa, like to garden a lot. We’re always experimenting with different methods in our garden and compost. We already were using a soaker hose for our garden. Last year, we used one of those mechanical timers to turn the soaker on for a pre-determined amount of time. But then…
I discovered Arduino, and immediately became engrossed. Arduino is a little computer (called a microcontroller) about the size of a business card. It has a bunch of analog and digital inputs/outputs so you can hook up various sensors, buttons, switches, audio/video devices — it’s pretty friggin’ cool. See the parts page for more information.
Anyway, considering my interests, I thought “gee, it sure would be neat to use the Arduino board to control the watering in the garden”. But then one thing led to another… and now we get to the (somewhat complete) GardenBot system that you have before you.
Like a lot of DIY-ers, I am entirely self-trained. So, there are a lot of holes in my knowledge. As I hunted around for information on the web, I found that too often the information in various tutorials was written by someone who failed to remember that lay-people (incidentally the target audience for any tutorial) don’t know the jargon, and therefor can have great difficulty in decoding the information. One of my goals with this project, is to have all the pieces laid out in plain language — step by step — to walk you through the whole process. Hopefully I pull that off.

check out the web, as all the resources and methods are well documented. Good job!

courtesy: gardenbot.org

Car eye-tracking system wakes you before you crash

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Car-dashboard-eyetracker

Falling asleep while at the helm of a few tons of metal and plastic going 60 miles-per-hour doesn’t end well, but there’s little the modern car can do about it. If it, say, stopped itself suddenly it could become a hazard to other drivers. The Eyetracker system knows it’s not on the car, though — it’s on you to drive safe.

With that in mind, the German-based Eyetracker watches the driver’s face for telltale signs of sleepiness, and issues a warning if it looks like you’re about to doze off. The system uses two cameras to keep tabs on the spatial positioning of the pupil and the line of vision — which would waver if you’re about to pass out. In other words, it makes sure your eyes are on the road.

What’s really exciting here is how small and easy to install the system is, which could see it put to use in ways other than keeping drivers awake (a noble cause, to be sure). Despite the picture above, the Eyetracker doesn’t need a laptop to function, and its control unit is the size of a matchbox. What’s more, it can be installed in any car as it handles all of its own processing itself.

Beyond just the automobile world, the Eyetacker could aid in medical operations where being able to keep on eye on — well — an eye is essential, or even in video games, serving as a head-tracker that lets the player look around without the aid of a physical controller.

Source: Fraunhofer

Wirelessly Automate Your Home

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

home-automation-via-router.png

I’ve stumbled across this quite simple idea of home automation using Wifi. [Mrx23] combined OpenWRT, a microcontroller, and a set of RF controlled outlet switches to add automation to his plug-in devices. An RF remote that controls the switched outlets has been connected to an Arduino. The router communicates with the Arduino via a serial connection. And the router is controlled by a web interface which means you can use a smartphone or other web device to control the outlets.

The best thing about this system is the power that the router wields. Since it has an underlying Linux kernel you have the option of setting CRON jobs to turn lighting on and off, and group settings can be established to set up a room’s lighting level for watching movies, hosting guests, etc. Combine this with the fact that OpenWRT can use port forwarding for Internet control and the possibilities really start to open up.

Courtesy Mrx23 at Instructables.com

DIY Arduino water meter with iPad display

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

TEAGUE Give Water from TEAGUE on Vimeo.

It’s another arduino stuff to be working on here. All related references are included:

Some of the folks over at Teague Labs have been noodling around with measuring water consumption. They’ve built a graphing water meter using a YellowJacket Arduino board with built-in WiFi and coolant flow meter from a PC cooling system to see how they used water around the office. Water conservation is major concern in many areas around the world. Tools that allow us to observe and correct our behaviors help us towards a path to sustainability. Schematics and source code are available if you want to try it out for yourself.

courtesy: Adam

It’s an Arduino-based speed detector

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Flash / Arduino Based Speed Detector from Mike Chambers on Vimeo.

Mike Chambers built this excellent looking arduino-based speed detector. An Arduino measures the time it takes an object to travel between two points, which is then relayed back to a computer (or smart phone), where it is converted into average speed and presented in a clear manner. The concept for the project is simple, however he wins big points for putting it all together into a working package.

courtesy: Arduino Blog

Wireless explanations

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Wireless-Internet-Security.jpg

Consumers today can choose from WHDI, wireless HD, WiDi, wireless USB and Wi-Fi Direct. Confused? Check out our guide to these emerging wireless streaming-media technologies.

WHDI

Wireless Home Digital Interface, or WHDI, was finalized in 2009 to give consumers a way to link the PC to the TV. Think of it as the wireless equivalent of HDMI. The technology has a latency of less than 1 millisecond, which means it’s good enough not just for watching movies but should also work well to stream games from your browser to the TV.

WHDI can stream 1080p video at up to 3 Gbps (gigabits per second). All you need is a wireless HDI dongle that can plug into your laptop and a little receiver that goes behind the TV. That set will cost about RM464.48 and will be available early next year.

Meanwhile, TV makers such as Sharp and LG are rolling out TVs with built-in support for WHDI standard.

Slowly, the WHDI consortium hopes to convince PC makers integrate WHDI chips into laptops, similar to the way Wi-Fi chips are built in today.

WirelessHD

While other wireless technologies focus on streaming content from the PC to the TV, WirelessHD targets the most common electronic eyesore in homes: the black HDMI cables that snake out from behind the TV towards the set-top box, PC or the DVD player.

If built into TV sets, WirelessHD can offer fast data transfers of up to 10 GBps to 28 Gbps. That makes it the fastest of the lot for point-to-point data transfer.

So far, TV makers such as Panasonic, LG and Vizio have said they will offer wireless-HD–enabled sets by the end of the year. (more…)

These Tiny Magnetometers Detect Fields Generated by Human Heart!

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

3o7tuekr.jpg

How can i imagine this tiny and ‘poor’ little thing can help a human life? hmm… I’m still thinking.

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have been working on microfabricated atomic magnetometers capable of detecting faint magnetic fields. The devices, about 1cm3 in size, were taken to the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Berlin, Germany where supposedly resides the most magnetically isolated building in the world. Using the tiny magnetometers, investigators were able to detect the magnetic signature of human heartbeats, perhaps opening up the possibility for a new modality to complement ECG.

Courtesy of MedGadget.com

A brief about Smart Home

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Smart Home is an intelligent and easy-to-use home management system that offers a richer set of home services by allowing appliances to interact with each other seamlessly. Capabilities of appliances are used as “Lego Kits” that can be mixed and matched to provide different home services for security, well-being, energy management and entertainment.

  • Built upon open communication UPnP standards.
  • “Lego Kits” to provide services to the home user.
  • A single user interface to manage appliances and customize home services.

Brief Introduction
The Smart Home project’s objective is to develop a reference implementation of a smart home system. This implementation utilities the Uninersal Plug n Play (UPnP) standard that has been adopted by major consumer electronic (CE) manufacturers as the emerging standard for device interoperability.

UPnP is an open standard (www.upnp.org) and its adoption by the CE industry consortium such as the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) (www.dlna.org) augurs well for the end consumer. Home solutions (devices, system etc) will no longer be stovepipe (proprietary, single brand) in nature, as an open standard will ensure a common playing field and consumers will be free to choose amongst the various brand offerings.

Motivation
The following set of current problems/opportunities form the basis of the motivation underlying this project.

  • Devices are standalone in nature and typically do not communicate with other devices.
  • Due to the above (1), devices cannot cooperate/collaborate to jointly provide a richer set of services to the consumer.
  • Devices are difficult to setup and configure.
  • Even if (3) was made simple, it is difficult to pair devices and provision services.
  • Home networks are becoming more pervasive. Such networks are not just confined to ICT equipments (computers, printers, access point etc). Typical home devices/equipment such as lamps, stereo set, television etc will be part of the home network.