Win the new Arduino MKR1000 32bit Wi-Fi enabled IoT board

The "World's Largest Arduino Maker Challenge" is happening right now through a partnership between, Atmel, Adafruit, Arduino and Microsoft. Here is a video presentation of the context by Massimo Banzi, CEO of The contest will run in multiple phases, the first being an idea submission, by January 15th, 2015. A 1,000 lucky makers with the best proposals will win the newly released Arduino MKR1000 (US only) and Genuino MKR1000 (Outside US) boards that is scheduled to come out on the market in February, 2016. In the next phase, you get to actually…continue reading →

Programming ATtiny ICs with Arduino Uno and the Arduino IDE 1.6.4 or above

In previous posts I covered the steps on programming ATtiny85 and ATtiny84 chips using an Arduino Uno as programmer and the Arduino IDE Software with two different  "libraries".  At that time the process of adding new boards to the Arduino IDE was fairly complicated and manual. As of version 1.6.4 of the Arduino IDE, the "Boards Manager" has been added, which makes adding third party boards (like the ATtiny) much easier. The awesome guys at the MIT Labs High-Low tech group have created the required file for the ATtiny ICS (ATtiny85, 45, 84 and 44) and provided installation instructions on…continue reading →

A Halloween Arduino project

A simple Halloween themed project to add some animation and sounds to a cardboard skeleton cut-out. A PIR sensor at the top right corner (somewhat hidden under a clump of fake spider web) detects movement and triggers a hobby servo that rotates the torso of the skeleton. The eyes are a pair of red LEDs and the sound effects come from a WTV020SD-16P sound module. The "brain" of the operation is an Arduino Nano. reading →

Arduino script for MPU-6050 auto-calibration

I while back I did some work on a self-balancing robot using and Arduino Uno and the InvenSense MPU-6050 6DOF sensor. Using the sensor is easy, thanks to Jeff Rowberg's  I2Cdev library and sample code.  If you look around line 200 of the MPU6050_DMP6 example arduino sketch that comes with the library you will see the following: // supply your own gyro offsets here, scaled for min sensitivity mpu.setXGyroOffset(220); mpu.setYGyroOffset(76); mpu.setZGyroOffset(-85); mpu.setZAccelOffset(1788); // 1688 factory default for my test chip I did some further reading on the I2CDev forum and found several threads on calibrating the MPU-6050 sensor and…continue reading →

Access your Raspberry Pi Terminal and Graphical Desktop remotely using SSH and VNC

This post will cover the steps necessary to set-up remote access to the Raspberry Pi terminal and graphical desktop environment from a Windows, or Linux PC. I do not have a Mac, but the steps should be very simillar. In some posts this is referred to as running your Raspberry Pi "headless". I want to put my Raspberry Pi 2 on a small mobile robot platform, so I can't have it drag a mouse, keyboard and monitor around.  The steps below will work for Raspberry Pi models B, B+ and 2. My starting point was the official Raspberry Pi documentation…continue reading →

Experimenting with Sound Localization and Arduino

Today I'm going to walk you through my experience trying to localize the source of a sound using Arduino. My goal with this was to add a feature to my robot that would make it more interactive and look more "alive". Beta 1 What you normally see people doing, as an easy approach, is to measure the volume level from two microphones in which the amplified output is connected to the Arduino analog inputs. Whichever input is higher determines the source direction of the sound. On the practical side this proves to be…continue reading →

Raspberry Pi 2 Initial set-up and configuration with NOOBS / Raspbian

Unlike the Arduino, the Raspberry Pi is not a micro-controller, but rather a small, bare-bones computer that needs an operating system in order to run. The most popular OS for the Raspberry Pi currently is a version of Linux, called Raspbian, specifically optimized for its hardware. I plan to use Raspbian exclusively on my new Raspberry Pi 2 and this posts assumes you will be too. Things you will need to set-up your Raspberry Pi 2: A computer with internet access to download the required software for the Raspberry Pi. An 8 gig (for some…continue reading →

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: 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 →