Archive for November, 2010

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