Archive for June, 2011

Arduino Wireless Animatronic Hand

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Very interesting project found in instructables.

A custom made robotic hand build by a Easton Lachappelle that allows him to control the hand in real time with his own movements. It contains some sewed some flex sensors onto a glove and a custom Arduino shield he built. The Arduino is also connected to an XBee radio, allowing it to interface with the animatronic hand wirelessly.

The project was submitted at the regional science fair in Durango Colorado and was given the 1st place in the Air Force Engineering!

More details and instructions here.


Muscle Sensors for Arduino!

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Measuring muscle activation via electric potential, referred to as electromyography (EMG) , has traditionally been used for medical research and diagnosis of neuromuscular disorders. However, with the advent of ever shrinking yet more powerful microcontrollers and integrated circuits, EMG sensors have found their way into prosthetics, robotics and other contol systems.

Advancer Technologies is now selling  low-cost muscle (EMG) sensors to be used with microcontrollers. These sensors are designed to be used by hobbyist, backyard tinkerers and students alike.

The muscle is measured by sensing the voltage between the muscle and its tendon. The result is a fairly fine-grained sensing of the output – more than enough to provide some analog control for a project.

The board itself is relatively simple – an INA106 differential amp is used to sense if a muscle is flexing or not. This signal is then amplified and rectified, after which it can be connected to the analog input of an Arduino!

PossessedHand: Techniques for controlling human hands using electrical muscles stimuli

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Researchers at Tokyo University, along with some help from Sony, created a device that straps onto your arm, sort of like a blood pressure cuff, and sends electrical signals to your fingers that can move them in precise ways.

The PossessedHand, as it is named, uses an Arduino and 28 electrode pads that are applied externally. There have been other devices that do this sort of thing, but they’ve often been pretty clumsy, needing electrodes to be inserted into the skin (ouch!). The PossessedHand is entirely external and painless, and, according to PhysOrg, “is said to feel more like a gentle hand massage.” The signals are also not unpleasantly strong, apparently feeling more like a nudge to move rather than a forceful automatic movement of the fingers and wrist.

More info here.

NAVI – Using Kinect (and Arduino) to Aid the Visually Impaired Navigate Indoor Environments

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

In their course “Blended Interaction”, Master’s students at University of Konstanz, Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber have been working on a very different approach to use the Microsoft Kinect. Since we liked their project so much and their helmet-mounted Kinect is such an eye-catcher (check out the video! J), we asked them to write about it for our blog. Here is what they wrote:

“NAVI - Navigational Aids for the Visually Imparied – aims to use the Kinect as a means of detecting the surroundings of an individual who isvisually impaired in order to easily navigate indoor environments. The technology and set up involves using a Kinect camera strapped to a helmet that sends data captured from ones surroundings to a computer that producesvibrotactile feedback to a waistbelt which in turn assists with navigating around a rooms layout.”

For this, depth information from the Kinect is mapped by their software onto three pairs of Arduino LilyPad vibration motors located at the left, center and right of the waist. These pairs of vibration motors are hot glued into a fabric waist belt and connected to an Arduino 2009 board. To increase the impact of the vibration motor they were put into the cap of a plastic bottle. The Arduino in the waist belt is connected via usb to a laptop that was mounted onto a special backpack-construction, which has holes for cables and fan.

More info here.

Haptic GPS sneakers for the visually impaired

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Anirudh Sharma and Dushyant Mehta have developed a haptic feedback shoe design during an MIT Media Lab Workshop. In its current form, Google Maps and GPS data is sourced from an Android device, which is fed to an Arduino via Bluetooth. The Arduino then activates one of four LEDs mounted on a shoe insert that are used to indicate which direction the individual should travel in order to safely reach their destination. While the current iteration uses LEDs, they will be swapped out for small vibrating motors in the final build.

MindWave Hack with Arduino

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Another Brain Machine Interface demonstrating how feasible it is with Arduino and low cost EEG Sensors like the MindWave headset from NeuroSky.

Daniel Bertner uses the Arduino to control a servo and some leds with his mind.

Arduino can be directly interfaced with the headset according to manufacturer’s instructions here.

More info here.

DIY DNA Analysis with OpenPCR and Arduino!

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Guys at Pearl Biotech have made a great work and developed the OpenPCR.

OpenPCR is a affordable, personal PCR machine. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a foundational tool for virtually all of modern molecular biology. It is a method of replicating DNA. It is capable of taking a small amount of DNA, or even a single molecule, and amplifying (copying) a specific region exponentially, such that once the reaction is finished, there may exist up to 230 copies of each starting molecule. This is important because DNA of interest often exists in quantities too small to detect, or may be mixed in with other DNA. For example, an accurate test for HIV must be able to detect a single virus particle in 50,000 cells. PCR is able to do this by targeting a small region of DNA that is specific to the HIV virus. If the virus exists in a sample, amplification will occur which can be easily detected. If no virus is present, no amplification will occur.

The specific region of targeted DNA is determined by how the reaction is setup, based on the specific “PCR primers” added to the reaction mixture. Virtually any sequence of DNA can be targeted.

Cool apps include:

  • DNA Sequencing – PCR is used to generate enough DNA for the sequencing run. You can have a look at some of your own genome!
  • DNA Barcoding – Determining the species based on DNA. Can be used to identify plants, screen for agricultural pests, investigate airplane bird strikes, and check that sushi is legit. What about testing your food to see if they contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)?
In the heart of OpenPCR one can find an Arduino UNO!
The arduino is used to control the heating and the cooling of the DNA samples through the thermocycler, to control the LCD, etc..
Here is a cool video demonstrating what OpenPCR is and what it can do:
Check OpenPCR website for more info and orders!

The rise of wearable electronics

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Very interesting article by Make magazine wich present the evolution of wearable computing through time and some latest achievements including our favorite LiLypad :)

Another heartbeat monitor

Friday, June 24th, 2011

that uses an arduino clone and the Polar Heart Rate Monitoring Interface, which is very cool evaluation board cooperatively designed by danjuliodesigns and SparkFun electronics. The Heart Rate Monitor Interface (HRMI) is an intelligent peripheral device that converts the ECG signal from the Polar Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) into easy-to-use heart rate data. It implements a sophisticated algorithm for computing an average heart rate even with noisy or intermittent data from the transmitter.

The project provides all details about the circuit, wiring and software as well:



More info at:

Arduino assisted mind-controlled television using EEG

Friday, June 24th, 2011

This guy (only resource is the following video) has interfaced an EEG headset and an arduino with an IR LED to control his television set with the powe of his thought!

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

Nice demonstration of how a brain interface can be built with Arduino :)