A multipurpose business card

First impressions matter, but what about… the second ones? Say you have met a potential employer or business partner, awed them with your skills, personality, knowledge (or your interactive name tag) and it’s time to give them your contact information. You hand out a business card. So why not make that one stand out as well?

The world’s first Android autonomous vehicle

Team Pegasus created an autonomous vehicle that utilizes machine vision algorithms and techniques as well as data from the on-board sensors, in order to follow street lanes, perform parking maneuvers and overtake obstacles blocking its path. The innovational aspect of this project, is first and foremost the use of an Android phone as the unit which realizes the image processing and decision making. It is responsible for wirelessly transmitting instructions to an Arduino, that controls the physical aspects of the vehicle. Secondly, the various hardware components (i.e. sensors, motors etc) are programmatically handled in an object oriented way, using a custom made Arduino library, which enables developers without background in embedded systems to trivially accomplish their tasks, not caring about lower level implementation details. The use of a common mobile phone, instead of specialized devices (i.e. a Linux single-board computer), offers much higher deployability, user friendliness and scalability. Android-based autonomous vehicles, which could be deployed on the road, were not found in the literature, therefore the team behind it believes this avant garde work, can constitute the basis of further research on the subject of autonomous vehicles controlled by consumer, handheld, mobile devices. This article will cover details on the development […]

Breakout for the HM-11 BLE module

A month ago, I was researching ways to increase the connectability and compatibility of devices that I make. More particularly, that of a vehicular platform, I have been working on for the past couple of months and will write soon about. I considered the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as the way to go, since it’s the technology that is becoming the new standard, with the latest Android and iOS devices supporting it. I stumbled upon, some relatively cheap and small BLE modules, called HM-11, based on CC2541 by Texas Instruments.

DIY, easy & cheap wireless presenter!

During presentations, I avoid being stationary and generally like to walk around in order to increase the interaction between me and the audience. However, I was constantly being faced with the burden of having to go back to the laptop, in order to change a slide or tell a person sitting by the laptop to do that. Not cool! This problem is usually solved by devices, called remote clickers or wireless presenters, which consist of a handheld controller with buttons that sends signals to a USB dongle plugged in the computer. After looking around to buy one, I could not find any decent option costing less than 10€. So why not make one?

ATtiny85 workshop in Gothenburg

Last Friday, I organized a workshop on the ATtiny85 microcontroller. It was a great experience and I believe everyone had a lot of fun and learned a few things.

ATtiny85 line following truck

I am organizing a workshop on ATtiny85 programming this week, so I built a model truck that can either be remotely controlled or tasked to follow a line! Read on for the story behind it, schematics, photos and videos.

DIY interactive name tag

Exams are over, so there was some time to make this peculiar interactive name tag. It consists of an I2C LCD screen, an ATtiny85 microcontroller and a microphone. If you are attending a conference, a workshop or something similar and you want to make an impression, keep reading!

8$ RC kill switch!

In this article I will cover the basics of a remote controlled kill switch that you can deploy in your house, your embedded project, your autonomous vehicle or anywhere else you see fit!

Make your own 10$ trackable keychain

Have you seen advertisements of small, usually Bluetooth powered, tracking devices such as the TrackR bravo? Well, now it’s time to make your own… cheaper! 

DIY Bluetooth enhanced, spider robot

Lurking around AliExpress listings looking for cheap polypod, spider-like chassis to make something interesting out of, I stumbled upon this, for about 10$. The problem: it was “dumb”. All it does is to walk towards one direction, as you can see in the following video from 0:27. Its default functionality was not good enough for me, however the price and potential were, so I purchased one. After assembling, it became evident that there is a limited space problem and also that the – too hard to replace – motor does not operate with voltages much higher than that of an AA battery. Challenge accepted! The microcontroller of choice for this project, was the ATtiny85 based Adafruit Trinket. It had just enough pins and was small. Movement in two directions Out of the box, the motor rotates towards a single direction. So, a half bridge that allows us to reverse the polarity of the motor was needed in order to get it to move to both directions. I did not have any PNP transistors or diodes, so I followed a less conventional approach and made one out of two relays. You can find the schematics and all code involved on the bottom of this page. Turning aroung Since there is only one motor […]