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Published on: October 7, 2013 / Comments: None

Wirelessly controlled flaming Halloween pumpkin uses an Arduino

Halloween is a great time for makers, we get to make all kinds of cool costumes and spooky things.  Sometimes we get to play with fire.  Well at least Chris Lee does.  This flaming pumpkin is enough to keep them pesky kids from toilet-papering your house, or catching it on fire after they do.

The pumpkin is triggered by an Android phone, talking to a RFU-328 radio and Arduino.  The Arduino triggers 2 relays, 1 to activate a furnace igniter, the other activates a solenoid that releases the flow of gas.   The spray mechanism comes from an AirWick room spray and is filled with butane.

Chris made a comment about maybe converting this to shoot silly string out during actual Halloween, either way it’s a cool project.

Published on: September 11, 2013 / Comments: 2

Mico – a different way of talking to Arduino from your phone

micotechMico is an Arduino shield that talks to your cell phone.  Literally.  It connects via the audio jack on your cell phone, and has the ability to read DTMF tones for control.  It also can answer the phone by using the same technique your old wired headset does.

Some of the applications the mico guys have put together are it answering the phone and reading out sensor data.  It has a audio playback library so with some crafty recordings you can do cool things.  They even have a demo application of the shield talking to Siri on IOS in order to do more functions like send text messages.

Interesting concept, I think it’s still missing something like a little more control but I give them props for being different.

The project currently has a kickstarter going to launch a large production run, there’s also source over at github.

Published on: September 5, 2013 / Comments: None

The $45 CuBox-i might be your new XBMC box

If you’ve ever run XBMC on your Raspberry Pi, you’ll notice it can bog down a little bit and get a little slow.  The new CuBox line might just replace that.  The CuBox line comes in a couple flavors with different options and starts out at $45 bucks.  The base model sports a Freescale i.MX6 solo @ 1ghz, 512MB of DDR3, HDMI/Ethernet, optical/spdif, and an infra-red receiver.  It also has video acceleration so it should be able to push 1080p video out.

It’s boasted that it can run Android or Linux and open source.  It looks like it comes with a case already, and if it comes with a power supply too, then price wise it’s almost cheaper then running a Raspberry Pi.

The upgraded models add more features like dual and quad cpu cores, more ram, an eSATA interface, and even an infra-red transmitter.

Linuxgizmos has a more in-depth feature list here.  I feel the CuBox’s web site doesn’t lay the details out very cleanly.  They are taking pre-orders on the CuBox site right now.

Published on: September 3, 2013 / Comments: None

Another Android remote controlling your Raspberry Pi

Previously I mentioned a similar project that used a python daemon to talk to an Android app to remotely control the Pi.  Well there’s always more than one way of doing things.  As with the other project, the implementation on this one is a little different.

First off you have your Android app (which is available on the Google Play store here).  Next you have the server piece (available here, with instructions and demonstrations) that runs on your Pi.  The Android app connects to the Pi via SSH (over WIFI usually) and executes the pre-configured actions that you have assigned to with your Android application.

It currently has the ability to control and monitor GPIO, talk via I2C, manage processes, and stream video via MJPEG.   According to the site they are busy adding more features such as XBMC support, and voice control.


Published on: August 28, 2013 / Comments: 1

DIY home automation with Souliss

[su_quote]… it runs over AVRs microcontrollers and include all the libraries and drivers required for a complete a distributed intelligent network, it also includes an Android user interface.[/su_quote]Ever wanted to make your home smarter ?  Or just remotely control basically everything in your home ?  Souliss is here to help.  It’s a framework for DIY home automation.

What I like about Souliss versus having used traditional home automation hardware (like Z-Wave) is you aren’t restricted to what modules are available.  You can craft your own using a lot of familiar hardware like Arduino’s (and I’m sure Raspberry Pi’s in the future).  It’s not restricted to specific methods of communication either, you can do wired or wireless or wi-fi or serial or whatever you can use to get your devices to communicate.  Great project!



Published on: August 26, 2013 / Comments: None

Data into smart phones and tablets via audio

You have probably seen those little dongles that let people swipe their credit card on their smart phone or tablet.  These little dongles transmit data to the device via the microphone jack.  The audio recorded is then examined and the data is either a one or a zero.

In the example described by the article, they are using a PIC and the data is encoded via manchester encoding.  A resistor and a pot are used to tweak the output level.  This is a great way to send data to a smart phone or tablet without making any crazy custom dongles but you are limited in capabilities.

Schematic and example source code is included in the post.

Published on: August 19, 2013 / Comments: None

A Gameboy emulator running on the ChromeCast

What I find really funny about new hardware coming out is people generally do three things first.  First they try to root or jailbreak it.  Second they try to put Linux on it.  And the very next thing they do is port emulators to it.  Following in succession here’s a Gameboy emulator running on the Google ChromeCast.

While it’s not the craziest hack, the ChromeCast is hot now and this is just a foresight of what’s to come.  It’s a port of JSGB, a Gameboy emulator running in JavaScript.

Source code and instructions available here.