Tag Archive: arduino


Project Tacit: Sonar For The Blind from Grathio Labs on Vimeo.

Bat vision – yes!  A very clever gentleman called Steve Hoefer has posted a bloody incredible tutorial on how to make your own wrist mounted sonar sensor, which you can wave around the place and near-instantaneously recieve feedback on how close objects are to you.  Super-awesome (and the red-neoprene makes it sleek and sci-fi looking) and so well written up, I’m tempted to try making one.  The only thing that puts me off is that it’s classed as an intermediate project, and I’ve barely dabbled with Arduino electronics projects in the past.

But it would be so cool to have bat senses on my wrist.  To point my arm out, and have little rubber-tipped motors gently press on my skin to say “To close!  Beware!”

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How excited am I allowed to be about this, without getting sectioned?  Ah, who cares.  The video above shows the operation of a computer controlled bioreactor and integrated vending machine for spirulina – a form of blue-green algae and all round science celebrity!

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I love things that glow; that flicker and twinkle, fade and pulse.  Obviously then, I love LEDs!  Soft circuitry and electronic clothing facinates me, but like great swathes of fashion, I’m convinced that they’re usually doing it wrong.  The LEDs you see on clothing, frequently flashes, blinks or blinds – these LEDs I do not care for.  How, and why, I made the gentle glowing LEDs above, is below.

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Image of a glowing blue brain, exploding with shimmering beams

Unfortunately, not a photograph of my brain. Any free MRI’s gratefully accepted!

My mind is nearly overwhelmed by the sheer number of ideas bopping around in it – I’ll write them down here as a sort of pressure release valve:

Piezoelectric Energy Generation

Facinating stuff, inspired by fields of waving grasses in the wind.  The sort of thing going around in my head is like this video of the beautiful, silky, wind-waveforms in crop fields.  I only discovered today that wood is piezoelectric!  As well as silk, bone, and other natural materials.  Imagine breeding grasses for piezoelectric generation!  From what I can see, they’ve not figured out why such natural materials would evolve to be piezoelectric generators, but the suspect it’s being used somewhere.  My ideas are also inspired by hair/fur – each follicle connected to a nerve sending signals.  I’ve got a piezoelectric element in the post, on the way here, to do experiments with.

Raising Silkworms

(See previous post on colored silk).  I’m not sure how the piezoelectric nature of silk works, but artificial silk doesn’t exhibit the same characteristics – we’ve not figured out that bit yet 🙂

3d Printing Stuff

Improving the design of my attempts at 3d printable vertical turbine blade elements.  I’ve dabbled with this, but improvements can be made!  Also, some new 3d printed containers for all the multitudes of game pieces that come with Mansions of Madness.  So many little cardboard bits!  Oh!  And I also want to try a new version of the 3d printed spherical chocolate mold I was trying.  I ate the (one and only) complete sphere I made today – I’l assembled it into a Cadbury’s style creme egg planet, with blue icing seas and green gel continents.  I didn’t realize that the gel wouldn’t harden, so I only managed Asia, Africa and Europe.  Australasia and the Americas were on the other side of the ball – sorry guys.

Assorted Shenanigans

  • Designing a new coat – there’s an Etsy shop that will custom make a coat, and I’m having a go of that.
  • Getting a new Lilypad Arduino and some LEDs to potentially create some glowing appliqués.
  • I’ve got Pokemon Black to play, and just received Okamiden through the post.
  • Alpha Centauri is still whispering its planet-dream at me from the corner of the room too.

And that’s just today – a Wednesday.  By the weekend, I’ll probably have more on the go!

Plans and Ideas for Lamp Making

Team Droid's inspirational crystal in a lightbulb

I intend to make myself a bedside lamp – so here’s the plan.  I’ll hollow out some lightbulbs, stuff them full of quartz crystal points, inelegantly shove some LEDs into drilled holes in the quartz, and attach it all using some painted gubbins onto a hollow wooden box with an arduino brain inside.  I’m still trying to hammer out the details.  My influences, and inspiration include the following:

I have the quartz points (ebay), I have two rather funky faceted light-bulbs from my local Home Depot (they look a little like diamond shaped bulbs), I’ve got the wooden box, a collection of strange copper fittings from the plumbing aisle, a rotary tool with brand new diamond coated bits (quartz is a 7 on the Moh hardness scale – very hard indeed!  I melted a steel bit on it.)  Ready to sit at the heart of it all, is a Arduino Uno experimenters kit from Sparkfun electronics.  Until I finish this, I have no bedside lamp – so wish me and my eyes luck!