Again just a little side project with the kids. We got 6 pumpkins this year from the garden. Let’s see how many we manage to carve…
THIS IS THE CONTINUATION OF THE PROJECT:
It always takes a little time until I finish my works, but I finally made it.
From my last post, the next step was painting the background, clouds, mountains, rock, etc.
Then I had to create back spikes from silicone, since the led strip from the back had still to be visible through the spikes. I added also the electronic parts: light resistor on the right wing, proximity sensor on the nose, side uv led strips and 2 blue leds in the mouth.
Finally the painting looks like this:
I guess there are not many kids theese days who don’t know him: Toothless from “How to train your dragon”. I thought I give it a try, since after the firefighter truck for my son, my daughter now also wants some “light effects” in her room.
So the original ideea was to create a Toothless model from the 2nd movie, which can also light up in blue. The final model will be a painting around a toothless model, with blue leds in the mouth to simulate the plasma, a short blue led strip on top of Toothless to light up the spines, 2 uv blacklight led strips on the side to simulate the light on the scales (which will be painted with blacklight paint) a photoresistor which detects day/night (at night it will turn on a night light by default) and an infrared distance measuring sensor on its nose, as a trigger for the “plasma” and to cycle through all programs.
So I started to model the dragon in Blender, and prepared it afterwards for printing in Pepakura. After some hours of work it was cut out and sticked together.
The next step was a layer of paper mache for it to get stronger, and some black spraypaint as the base color.
Then I used some almond seeds and again paper mache to make the teeth. And for the eyes I used a part from a plastic bottle and the printed eyes.
Now for the electronic part, I started to put everything together on a board. Mainly an Arduino Pro Mini will do all the tricks described at the beginning. It is easy to use and can be easily reprogrammed if changes are needed. I just really need to work on my electronics layout and soldering skills 😉
After putting it all together, it looks like this:
Like the title says, this is only the first stage I tried to finish before the vacation. It still needs a lot of work.
- paint details on Toothles (nicer teeth, scales, uv paint, edges of eyes, edges of mouth, spines etc.)
- paint the background (mountains, rocks, tree, sky) and the rock it stands on
- put all lights on and wire all the electronics together
Having some leds lying around lazy, I had to put them to work 😉
This is just a quick side project. We have a lovely hibiscus home which has quite a high sentimental value to us. But sadly it hardly got any flowers. I thought it is time for a little help.
I read some articles which point out that wavelenghts of 630 nm (red) and 460 nm (blue), are very good for the growth of a plant. 70% red, 30% blue would be ideal for getting flowers and a strong plant. This matches almost to the point the wavelenghts of the led strip I got.
Next I wanted to preserve the day-night cycle which a plant needs, which schould remain the real day-night cycle. For that puprose I developed a little light sensing electronic part, which turns the leds on if it is day outside, and back off at night.
Hope we get some flowers soon 🙂
So I managed to get my virtual reality controller to the next step.
Took some time to find the best blueooth adapter, but i finally got one to act easy as a HID: Bluefruit EZ-Key. This is a very easy to use component, which can be used even without an Arduino, just a few buttons soldered on the right pin. For my purposes a serial communication between a microcontrooler and it is crucial, since I don’t need only the basic buttons handled.
As a gyroscope + accelerometer I sticked to the GY-521 which is a breakout board for the MPU 6050 chip. This one is more tricky since it requires I2C communication, which is totally new to me.
The programming of the Arduino was not so difficult, only the I2C part took some tinkering, but I got it to work since I didn’t need to learn only some parts.
Finally it can be used to connect to any BT device like PC, Arduino phones and tablets, and play games which handle mouse/keyboard input.
Todo in the next step:
- try to make a glove out of it
- replace Arduino with Atmega 328
- solder everything on 1-2 perfboards
- add on/off switch
- add buttons to fire/action
- add some tilt sensor for moving forward/backwards
Just the beginning of another of my projects.
Some time ago I thought about making a staircase illumination using a programmable LED strip, which should only light up near the person going up/down the stairs.
So the last idea was to use an ultrasonic ranging module to find out the persons position on the stairs, which then triggers the corresponding LEDs to light up.
- Ultrasonic ranging module HC-SR04
- WS2812B programmable LED strip
- make some trailing effect for the LEDs to go out smoothly after person passes by
- put strip in a frame and minimize the electronics
- replace Arduino with ATMega328
And another long overdue project of mine, which started with us painting my son’s room.
My son also wanted to have a firefighter truck painted on his wall. But since I had some electronics stuff on my mind which I wanted to try out anyway, I promised him much more than a painting.
The idea behind, is to have a somehow 3d painting, with lights, and more states of programming. I decided to go with this:
- Idle mode: all lights are off, but if the light sensor senses no light, the headlights go on 20% of their power
- Headlight mode: headlights go on 100%
- Action mode: all lights animated somehow like a real firefighter truck (see video)
Cycling through all actions is done with a touch sensor on the lower left part, near the wheel.
Very bad weather outside, kids lost interest in most of the toys, so we had to try something new. Actually I am glad that they still can be delighted by ideas like this. And it’s not like I don’t enjoy something like this either 😉
Quickly put together a smartphone stand “hobo”-style, to hold the smartphone in one place. had to stick it to the table too.
Then I downloaded a few stop motion apps from the market and tried until I found something easy to use for children.
And then the fun began. My kids started making stuff from dough, and the we animated them together.
Not a wasted weekend at all … 🙂
All the fuss theese days about VR really put me in the mood to try at least something from all the offers which appear on the market. Of course you can go directly for a Oculus, but even that is still only a development kit. So I decided to start small not spending too much from the start, since I didnt know if I like it. So I bought a Google Cardboard. This one is about the cheapest VR you can get 🙂 since you put your phone into it, load some special apps and games, and you have VR. And I have to say I was amazed.
If you want more than just cardboard, you can go for Durovis Dive, which is basically the same thing 5x more expensive, but, and here comes the interesting part, it comes with the Dive SDK for Unity3D which allows you to make a 3D world for the glasses in about 10 minutes. And it really didnt take longer.
Ok, now you have a full VR experience (if Oculus, Dive or Cardboard) but your hands still hanging there, your actions are still limited on (in my opinion) very old-school HIDs (keyboard, mouse, gamepad, etc.).
Some times ago I started to tinker around with electronics components. Still have pretty basic knoledge about electronics, and don’t understand most electronics signs 🙂
And it got me thinking. Given an Arduino, a bluetooth module, some sensors fixed on my body (like tilt sensor, gyro sensor, compass module, and a few buttons), what could stop me to make a next gen game/fitness/generic controller?
My ideea is to do a lot of stuff with it: make a fitness app which will be controlled by running on a treadmill (or using a workout bike). Something like the old Nintendo Wii and the running game from Sports. Or a game like Temple Run, in which running the treadmill faster, gets you faster in the game. Or a shooter where you really run… etc.
For this I would like to create a game controller which records the leg movements, direction, body position, etc. which would then influence the actions in the game. A lot of detals I still need to work out.
I would like to be able to record more then a conventional controller does (more than just up, down, left, right, etc) that’s why I would like to build one and not buy one and break it apart and hack into it. That, and for kicks 😉
STEP 1: Gather all hardware needed
Well, not as easy as it sounds. I started with an Arduino Uno thinking it will be enough. Had to upgrade to Arduino Mega since it has 3 serial ports, and the SoftwareSerial support on the Uno wasn’t working so smooth. And the reason is the next module. Until now I thought a HC-05 bluetooth module would be enough. And it is up to a point. It only supports SPP for communication. It wasn’t hard to write a little code on the Arduino, connect it to my smartphone, and use it as a little chat aplication. But as soon as I wanted to connect it as a keyboard or mouse, the trouble started. Using AT commands I configured every relevant flag on the HC-05, only to find out the it actually doesn’t support the bluetooth HID profile, which would allow me that. For that I would need at least a Bluesmirf RN42-HID or a BlueGiga WT12 module, which support both SPP and HID. Or to flash a new firmware on the HC-05 (a really messy solution)
So I can either upgrade to a better bluetooth module, or use the HC-05 in SPP mode, and write an andoid driver app, which converts the messages from Arduino into HID events and deliver them to any Android app. But for this a rooted phone is needed (no problem either).
(… to be continued)