This one was an unusual project for me… Some of my friends, like me, like to play these Encounter urban orienteering games and those friends occasionally make a game themselves.
Usually the game is made of virtual riddles and puzzles, but sometimes it’s very cool to have physical puzzles in the game and they are called artifacts.
So I was asked to make some artifacts for the game that fit a retro theme. One of those was this toy dog from way back… 2010 perhaps. I had this toy saved when I found it in an old basement for such an occasion as if I knew this day would come :D
At first I had no clue what it does, what it is supposed to react to.
First step is analysis. I connected it to a regulated PSU and gave it some juice (6 volts) just to check if it’s not dead already and for sure it became alive – started barking and moving in a robotic manner, but what now?
Thankfully this was a pretty popular toy back in the day, so there are plenty of information on the internet about it. I learned that it’s called “FurReal Friends GoGo My Walkin’ Pup” and oh boy it even had a commercial that screams 2006 :D (video file is here in case YT removes it).
Last year I wrote about how we built a monster fog machine in Kaunas Makerspace for a NoTrollsAllowed hackercamp and during that event we noticed that sometimes it’d be nice to have it automatically dispense smoke so that we wouldn’t have to always be around to do it. Now that this year’s hackercamp is coming we thought of making this add-on until the event.
We wanted to make it as simple as possible and to be able to control it remotely with any device. For those reasons we chose ESP32. It would need to have a web interface and a captive portal for easy access.
The features that we wanted are pretty basic – to manually release smoke by pressing a button and to make it do that automatically by setting delay and duration times.
For it to actually work, ESP32 needs to communicate with the machine somehow. That is the controller needs to see when the heating blocks are ready and needs to see the liquid status.
So some time ago I was asked to make this apparatus – a (flash?) light with intensity controlled remotely. The idea was that it could be hanged in some place and aimed at what needed to be illuminated and after that you should be able to remote-control the light intensity.
The light source (doesn’t need to be very bright) must be able to have enough power to last for at least a week sitting in idle (only listening to radio signals) and a few hours of constant illumination at night. Depending on the darkness of the night the light source intensity could be adjusted. However the distances over which it would be controlled are 200-300m.
The whole receiving and lighting part needs to be modular – battery, controller and light must be separate for easier handling.
This is pretty easy, fun and a straight-forward task to do with arduinos, but the radio modulation presented a challenge, since it’s the first time I have touched these and SPI as well.
Turns out that there aren’t many solutions to this. There exists a few radio modulators, but they all go up to 100m at best AFAIK. However there is one – LoRa and that’s what I used.
Reading different sources I could gather that a normal distance for LoRa is a few kilometers and that’s what it was designed for. The distance you could reach obviously depends on the environment you’re in, the equipment you use (antennas, power source) and the settings you set for modulators.
LoRa is able to reach such distances with the cost of transfer speed. Meaning it’s ideal to send some sensor values from time to time and not for something that needs to pass a lot of data or pass that data very fast.
So I got to know all the requirements and started to sketch out ideas of how I might construct this.
Greetings. Christmas is coming and at work we often make something funny/interesting for this period of the year. About last year you can read in a previous post here, although it wasn’t all that interesting.
This year we decided to make some kind of an interactive thing and use the arduinos that we had laying around. So the idea was like this: To make a box that had a camera and 2 push-buttons. One button would play some kinda Christmas music, another button would take a picture through the camera and upload it to our website, where we could display them all.
Yeah, it’s a bit late to post about it now… but end of 2016 is coming, and we have some new awesome things planned how we’ll decorate the office, so this post is to remember how we had decorated last year.
Nothing too fancy, we only did it at the last moment, but everyone liked the result.
We broke out some keyboards, glued their keys to a motherboard and some graphics cards. Found a lot of DDR rams and chained them up into a garland. Some PS2 mouses were painted red and hanged on the office lights.
The best thing was hanged on our door – a wreath made of DDR ram, LED strip, an Arduino motion sensor and a Piezzo buzzer.
The motion sensor would detect whenever someone was walking past our door and trigger an Arduino to play one of the two programmed Christmas melodies through the buzzer. To connect everything we used an ethernet cable. It was fun and simple.
The other day I have bought a Teensy2 to play around with. My goal was to make it launch my payloads as fast and as stealthy as possible.
I have never coded for arduino and right after I received my teensy in mail I started researching and reading up on arduino programming. I was surprised at how easy it was to begin with it. The PJRC tutorial was a good starting point.