Raspberry Pi 2 for Robotics

I just got a Raspberry Pi 2 in my hands and hope with its help to add some cool features to my new robot projects, beyond the capabilities of the trusted Arduino. The specific goal, besides just tinkering around with something new, is to get basic computer vision working, using OpenCV and a webcam, or the Raspberry Pi Camera board.  Here is a great project by Samuel Matos for inspiration: https://youtu.be/O6XkH84JYjU You should check out his Electronics and Robotics blog for more details. I will document my progress, as I slowly get my bearings with the Raspberry Pi and all required…continue reading →

Arduino Joystick Module Example

In one of my rather frequent eBay visits, I came across a nifty little joystick module, much similar to the analog thumb-stick on the PlayStation 2 controllers. The module is very easy to use with an Arduino uno and only costs a few dollars. Several different versions are available from eBay, Adafruit, Sparkfun and other vendors, but they essentially work the same. Overview The module has 5 pins: Vcc, Ground, X, Y, Key. Note that the labels on yours may be slightly different, depending on where you got the module from. The thumbstick is…continue reading →

Soldering tutorials, tips and tricks

Breadboards and hook-up wires are great for prototyping and testing out basic circuits. At some point though, you will want to create something more permanent and robust. Robots move around, bump into things, shake and vibrate and wires tend to disconnect way to easy. Soldering will help fix that! The best part is that even though it may look a bit intimidating, soldering is actually quite easy. All it takes is some practice and using the right tool for the job. Below is a collection of soldering videos and tutorials that helped me…continue reading →

Programming ATtiny84 / ATTiny44 with Arduino Uno

My order of ATTiny84 chips from Mouser arrived yesterday, so it is time to load the Arduino Blink example sketch onto it. I made a small line follower using the ATTiny85 a while back, and quite liked the idea of having a smaller, cheaper IC that can run simpler Arduino sketches. The ATTiny84 comes with extra 6 I/O pins (see datasheet), so it should be an even better replacement of an Arduino for smaller projects. Here is a beautifully rendered mapping of the ATTiny84 / ATTiny44 pins courtesy of  Alberto (PighiXXX):ATTiny84 ATTiny44 pinout (more…)

How to connect an Arduino Uno to an Android phone via Bluetooth

The purpose of this tutorial is to cover the basics of setting up a connection between  Arduino Uno and an Android phone via Bluetooth. Smart phones pack a ton of cool features (camera, accelerators, speakers, microphone, a nice screen to show data from your sensors, wi-fi adaptor...) that will make an excellent addition to a robot, or any other Arduino project. I will use Blueterm a basic free Android terminal emulator app to send a single digit (zero or one) from a phone to a BlueTooth module connected to the Arduino Uno via a serial…continue reading →

How to program ATTiny85 with Arduino Uno (part 2)

This is the second part of the tutorial on how to program an AVR ATTiny85 chip with Arduino Uno. All the hard work has already been covered in Part 1, so make sure that you have completed the steps in that section before you continue!By default, the ATtiny85 runs at 1 MHz. You need to do an extra step to configure the microcontroller to run at 8 MHz. This is a requirement for using some popular libraries (like Software Serial), as well as to take full advantage of your chip. (more…)

How to program ATTiny85 with Arduino Uno (part 1)

UPDATE, November, 2015: The article below was written for Arduino IDE versions, prior to 1.6.4. If you are currently using Arduino IDE 1.6.4, or later, follow the instructions in blog post instead.
This tutorial is based on the steps I took to program an ATTiny85 with my Arduino Uno and use the nifty little chip for a small line following robot. The idea for using the ATTiny came from the MAKE magazine and more specifically their "How-To: Shrinkify Your Arduino Projects" YouTube video.The ATTiny libraries for the Arduino IDE come from the High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab. They have some other interesting materials for Arduino on their site as well.

Step 1: Collect all necessary hardware components

  • An Arduino Uno (or compatible board)
  • An ATTiny85 IC
  • One 10 uF capacitor
  • Breadboard and jumper wires