An Arduino-controlled Team Fortress 2 sentry gun prop

If you’ve played Team Fortress or its sequel TF2, you’ve certainly run into a sentry gun. This unit can be set up by an engineer character to guard various positions, and looks like something that could make an amazing prop.

YouTuber “henry3136” apparently agrees, and spent an estimated 400-500 hours building and programming his own out of cardboard, plastic bottles, and a few 3D-printed bits.

His Arduino-controlled gun pans back and forth using a servo and “fires” whenever it senses a target with its ultrasonic sensor. An Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board helps produce some fun effects, while the barrel moves in and out to scare off the bad guys.

You can see it in action below!

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Remotely control a sumo bot with a gaming wheel

Using an Arduino Uno, Nano, and two Bluetooth modules, engineering student “Roboro” can now remotely control his sumo robot.

Like many hackers, Roboro had an old gaming controller that he wasn’t using, in this case an Xbox steering wheel and pedals. Naturally, he converted it into a controller for his sumo robot, which can now be driven manually. This involved wiring the wheel controls into an Uno; the smaller Nano was used onboard the bot.

Rewiring a controller is nothing new, but what is also quite interesting from a hack point of view is that the Arduinos communicate over Bluetooth. When initiated, the controller connects itself to the robot, which can then be driven around (as long as it doesn’t get stuck in the hardwood).

You can see more details of this build on Roboro’s project page.

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Heat up a small pool with this solar-powered system

Imgurian “ElectricYFronts” has created an Arduino-controlled solar heating system for his kids’ paddling pool.

Small semi-portable above ground pools can be fun, but are generally not heated. The “Solar Paddle” system, however, raises the temperature of the pool from a chilly 68 degrees Fahrenheit to a much warmer 83 degrees (20 to 28 Celsius). It does this by piping water into and out of the pool, then heating it in over 200 yards of black watering pipe on top of a shed.

Water is cycled via an impeller pump, which is powered by a solar panel along with a battery to keep power even over fluctuations. A few buttons and an LCD panel allow things to be changed around without opening up the Arduino Uno’s enclosure.

You can see more on how this heater was made on Imgur.

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Laptop control box provides speedy access to apps

If you need to quickly launch certain apps on your MacBook Pro, Carl Gordon has your solution using an Arduino Nano.

Although the TV ads for your notebook computer would perhaps have you believe that everyone who uses it is a DJ, artist, or rock climber, chances are you just use it for a handful of programs and folders over and over. If this sounds like you, you can at least speed up access to them using Gordon’s “Laptop Control Box.”

As seen below, the box acts as a grid of shortcuts to your favorite applications, with a button to select sets of programs and an embedded RGB LED module to show you which set is active without having to look at the screen. Control on the computer side is accomplished with Processing, and though it might look like its window needs to be active in the video, it can work in the background as well.

This version currently gives me to access 24 different functions which are divided into six categories of four functions for ease of use, these categories include: tools, media, browser, utilities, social and lifestyle. Categories can be navigated through using the small button on the side and each category is visualized with a unique color by an RGB LED within the device, illuminating the plastic buttons from underneath.

Check out how to make this handy little gadget in Gordon’s Instructables write-up here.

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Need desk lighting? How about 1,200+ LEDs?

After he’d just finished a project using RGB LEDs, Imgur user nolobot’s brother mentioned he needed a new computer desk. Most people would probably just let their brother buy one, others would make something out of wood, but nolobot instead decided to create something truly amazing using more than 1,200 WS2812 RGB LED modules, an Arduino Mega, aluminum extrusion, and translucent polycarbonate.

The Mega controls these LEDs with the FastLED library, which are sandwiched between a base piece of plywood and a strip of polycarbonate using custom spacers. This diffuses the light nicely, allowing for beautiful light animations directly on the desk’s surface.

You can find more on this awesome build on the project’s Imgur page!

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