Slide the “time clock” into position with Arduino

Years ago, if you wanted to track employee hours, you needed to have them punch a time card. Saunders Machine Works, however, uses a facial recognition system running on an iPad for this purpose, meaning they had to figure out how to sense employees of different heights. What they came up with is a fixture that automatically raises and lowers the tablet, using a stepper motor and linear rails.

The project employs a Lidar sensor on the bottom of the device to detect employee presence, and another above the iPad’s mounting hardware to sense when it’s at the correct height, moving until the top sensor is clear. Control is provided by a pair of Arduino Nanos.

Be sure to check it out in the video below!

Arduino Blog

New search engine and Arduino reference!

The Arduino web team has working hard behind the scenes improving our legacy systems. Now, it’s time to work on something more interesting for the team and more useful for our community! From here on out, we will update you every month on the latest and greatest activities…

Today, we are announcing a pair of major features that are only a mere preview of what you can expect to see from an Arduino user’s point of view:

  • The blog has a new search engine that is much faster, more precise, and allows readers to filter results.
  • The Arduino reference is now quicker,  mobile-friendly, and completely open to contributions. You can check out our GitHub reference repo here.

Let’s look at how those two features work and how they are implemented. The search engine is powered by our provider Algolia, offering an impressively fast search engine and enhanced UX. Our goal is to integrate it with each of our websites and finally have a unified search for all Arduino-related content.

We are going to be testing the search engine for a bit on the blog and eventually roll it out to our websites.

Perhaps what we are most proud of, though, is the new reference engine:

  • Arduino users can directly contribute to the reference by creating a pull request here.
  • We are going to support multiple languages. In fact, some users have already helped us in creating French, German, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish versions.
  • As soon as a new pull request has been merged, the system deploys to our website automatically, and if someone modifies the English version of the reference, all other language repositories are going to be notified as well.

This is just the beginning with much more to come. Stay tuned!

Arduino Blog

3D-printed miniature roller coaster powered by Arduino Mega

While many enjoy roller coasters, few can claim the same dedication of engineer Matt Schmotzer, who 3D-printed a 1/25th scale replica of Invertigo, a boomerang coaster at Kings Island in Ohio.

As reported on 3D Printer Chat, the CAD model took only a week to complete, but 3D printing this 4’ x 8’ creation took an incredible 450 hours. This doesn’t include the countless hours spent assembling and debugging it.

The coaster runs on an Arduino Mega, using 42 of the 54 available IO pins. This allows it to not only lift and drop the coaster, but also feature details like actuated gates and restraints to keep the tiny imaginary passengers safe.

Be sure to check it out in the video below!

Arduino Blog

Eliminate shop dust automatically with Arduino

What’s the best way to dispose of the dust that is produced when cutting with power tools? YouTuber Bob Claggett’s answer is to automate the process entirely, using a series of PVC sewer pipes to transport air to a central vacuum system, along with an Arduino Uno for control.

Airflow is regulated via a blast gate for each power tool, which is opened and shut using a hobby-style servo and custom linkage system. The powerful dust collector is controlled with the help of a relay.

Cleverly, a voltage sensor is employed for each power tool needing dust collection, allowing the Arduino to turn on the system and decide which gate to open without any human interaction.

Want a similar system for your workshop? Be sure to check out Claggett’s entire build in his write-up here and in the video below!

Arduino Blog

Come and visit Arduino at Maker Faire Rome this weekend!

Starting tomorrow, Friday, December 1st, the Arduino team will be exhibiting at the 5th annual Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition. Those heading to Rome over the weekend (December 1st -3rd) are invited to swing by our booth at Pavilion 7 (Interaction) and join us for some inspiring talks. This year, Arduino will also be operating the official Maker Shop with plenty of products and ideas that can help you find original gifts for the holiday season.

The Booth

We’ve been preparing a series of demos for adults and kids at the booth to showcase the new Arduino Education products and programs, as well as the latest developments of the MKR family boards and IoT solutions. Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the AUG (Arduino User Group) Program, meet the winner of the Arduino MKR FOX 1200 Contest, and play with an interactive installation by Supsi University!

The Store

At Pavillon 7 (close to the Arduino booth), there will be a Maker Shop by Arduino selling most of the Arduino products (including the recently announced Arduino MKR WAN 1300 (LoRa) and Arduino MKR GSM 1400). You’ll also find some other interesting kits and holiday gift ideas for kids, makers and developers, plus a selection of Arduino goodies.

Talks

Our team will even be a part of Maker Faire Rome’s program with several talks and presentations on Arduino innovations, new products, and partnership programs. The schedule is as follows: 

We look forward to seeing you all at Pavilion 7! (Check out the Maker Faire map here.)

Arduino Blog