Thursday, December 31, 2009

L298 Motor Controller

L298 is a very famous H-Bridge IC for controlling DC/Stepper motors. It is essential for making wheel robots. If you plan to build a robot in year 2010, you should check this cool tutorial by PyroElectro. It teaches you all the important things to know about this motor controller and show you some samples codes.

Tutorial here:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Robovie-II Shopping Assistant.

We will be old sometimes later, and we may need help on shopping in super market. Japanese researchers show us the "Robovie-II", helping you to find what you want in the huge super market and also help you to carry the goods.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wheels Robot Tutorial.

Making autonomous robot with wheels is one of hottest project in the electronic DIY list. I want to make one in the near future, and I found out a very good tutorial on wheels robot design. It covers the basic design of 2 wheels, 3 wheels and 4 wheels robot design, and also motors and basic mechanics. It is worth to read if you want to build one!

Small robots drive trains By Ibrahim Kamal

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The next level of illusion.

Sparkfun did a very cool project, using a robot and video projection to make a very awesome effect. The robot equipped Infrared LEDs moving around, while the IR camera is keep tracking the robot position and project the patterns in front of it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Connecting Camera to your AVR (MCU)

The uCam (microCAM) produced by 4D systems, is the easiest to connect to your AVR or MCU. It is a camera module with JPEG compressor ASIC integrated, you can grep the JPEG data (image frame) via UART interface which available on most of the MCU. The simplicity of interfacing comes with a price:) it costs US$59. Let see the demo here:


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Android on Beagleboard.

Recently, Moto announced the Android Media Platform (based on TI OMAP processor) which you can get started with Android. I looks good to me too, but no information on the pricing yet.

I tried the porting of Android on OMAP, which is called "rowboat" project. I followed the instructions there, you can build from scratch or simply download the binaries there. It works very well on my BeagleBoard. If you are interested in running Android on your beagleboard, I strongly recommend you to check this out:

Android for OMAP3 (rowboat)

A cool video showing the Android running on BeagleBoard:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

School Girl Robot Dance

In robo-one international exhibition, a schoolgirl robot perform dancing, it is very cool, but I think it can be better!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009



TI eZ430 Chronos Wireless Watch!

With the success of TI beagleboard, open source hardware project. The next move is TI wireless watch development tool, a watch that you can program with wireless capability.It includes all the development tools, and it costs only $49.

I am so excited to see how people make their own watch, and with capability to talk to your computer wirelessly, more cool applications can be developed.

It is coming on Mid-Dec, and the world wide version is coming on Feb, 2010.

More Info:


Playful Luminodot.

Luminodot is a puzzle like toy by BANDAI Japan. At first sight, it looks like a big color led matrix display to me. But it is only a plastic panel with many holes for you to put a colorful transparent tube to it. You can make any patterns on the panel and grow it in the dark. Sounds fun? let see the details.

What is inside the box?
1) Black Plastic Panel
2) Few bags of colorful tubes
3) DC power supply
4) Demo pattern sheets (from Disney in my version)

Close up of the colorful tubes:

You can see the tube is very long, so it is easy for you to put it into the hole and also useful for lighting it up.

Check out the black plastic panel:

Front View:


There are few high brigtness LEDs mounted on the bottom, when the led lights up, the silver reflector would make the lights distributed through out the box. The colorful tubes will light up too.

How to play:

Put a reference sheet in the middle layer of the box. Reference sheet is a paper with color pattern printed on it, it is a guide for you to put the color tubes.

Now you make it dots by dots:) Work hard.


Turn on the power, and now you can have a growing picture frame. There are 9 different lighting effects for you to choose also. More fun:)

Video Demo:

The luminodot website also provides a simulator to make your own pattern and print it out for your lumindot.

More information:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chumby Guts Kit.

Makezine presents the Chumby Guts Kit.

What is the different between the guts kit and the ordinary Chumby device? One of the "Big" difference is that it doesn't has a fancy enclosure and you have to build it from scratch.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Growng Dress with 24000 LEDs.

Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz, whom made the "Galaxy Dress" with 24000 LEDS. They picked some very small RGB color led (2mmx2mm) to make this dress thin enough.

See the shinning dress:


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Speech to LED matrix marquee (Voice2LED)

Connecting a LED matrix to a computer, so you can program any text from computer to the LED matrix in real time is not new, but Josh got another cool idea combining the use of Google Voice.

Basically, you can dial to the Google Voice account and leave a message, the Google voice engine will convert the speech to text and send back to Josh's LED Matrix:)

The detail explanations and source codes are avaliable on Josh blog.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Talkie Walkie with Arduino.

The Lip-sync paper puppet made by martins with Arduino. ( is very cool, it used a sound sensor to capture human voice and only one servo to control the paper lip. The design is simple, but it has a lots of fun ;)

check out the video:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jumping robot

Tomotaka Takahashi, who is famous in japanese robotic research, released a new jumping robot. The movement of the robot is much smooth, it is really cool!

Check out the video:

Monday, October 19, 2009

SenseCam for someone with memory loss.

SenseCam is a digital camera for someone with memory loss. The patient carries it everyday, it captures photos automatically through out the day. When they forget somethings, they can check the images on the computer. I love this simple idea which has a big meaning to those who needed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hard Disk Propeller Clock (HDDClock)

Got some old hard drives? You can make a cool clock with the HDD parts. Using one ATMEGA128 and some RGB Leds, you are ready to make a cool HDDClock.

Author Page:

Source codes & Schematics:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Piano can talk.

A computer control some mechanical hammers to play the piano to simulate sound like a human talking. Simply awesome:)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

UCSD stairs climbing robots.

The Coordinated Robotics Lab, UCSD developed small robots that capable to climb stairs and even overcome large obstacles. The robot has to be small, so this special constraint brings them to design robot in an unique way.

Check out the video @ IEEE Spectrum

UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Halloween project made with PIR motion sensor.

Halloween is coming, and people are working hard on making somethings scary to "celebrate!". PIR motion sensor is very useful for this purpose, as you will like your scary machine to operate only when someone is passing. Let's check out this "Jan in the Pan" project, you may get the ideas:)

Details of the project is on this website.

Monday, October 5, 2009

PIR motion sensor saves Energy?

I have few projects interfaced PIR motion sensors, it is a real fun. In reality, you will find the PIR motion sensor commonly used in lighting system.For example, the lamp will be on when there are people walking. Planet green listed out some scenarios that motion sensor would help to save energy for you, but also pointed out that there is a case would waste energy. Huh? the argument is that the sensor consumes electricity, if you always remember to turn off the light in your room, then the power consumed by the sensor is not necessary:) But if you are absent-minded, install the sensor!


PIR motion sensing project

Green Planet

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gyrowheel - self balancing bicycle for your kids.

When we were young, we use "training wheels" on the back to learn how to ride a bicycle. Nowadays, there is Gyrowheel. It is a wheel that can balance itself with battery powered. Self balancing technology is not new, we have segway, honda ux-3 etc, but it is interesting to see how this piece of technology can be used in new area in our daily life.

Video time:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Power Loader - the real life human mobile suite.

A Power loader is designed by a Japanese company "ActiveLink", the mobile suite is inspired by the power loader machine appeared in the movie title "Aliens". By using this mobile suite, you will have extra powers. Check out the demonstration video belows:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

AVR Embedded Microcontroller Resources.

Just found out a good site for AVR resources, it includes the following sections which may help on your AVR studies:

1) Basic Information
Link to sites cover most of the basic ideas of AVR MCU.

2) Project Ideas
Link to sites for some cool AVR projects.

3) Development tools.
Get your hand dirty, links to the development tools for AVR.

4) OS Kernel
Some cool RTOS links for AVR.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Bubbles - Android Game.

I finally finished my first Android game. It is a simple game that uses the microphone to play. It is not so hard to code as many open resources are on the Internet, Android phone may be good for your next interactive art project.

Available freely on Android Market.

More Info:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Robot that JUMPs extremely HIGH.

A robot designed to across high barrier. Pretty funny to see it jumps high.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mona Lisa is watching you (Processing Project) - Haunted Portraits, Good for Halloween!

Halloween is coming, it is time to prepare a halloween project. There is an urban myth that when you enter a castle or old house, the portrait painting on the wall would have one scary effect, the eyes are always following you! it tracks your movement. How about using a big LCD monitor and a web camera to make one "Following-Eye" portrait to scare people:)

I used Processing with Opencv to make this "Following-eye" portrait project, and the famous painting "Mona Lisa" is used for demonstration.

The demonstration goes here:

To make it more real, I suggest you can put the monitor in vertical orientation and run the project in full screen. Of course, if you can add a wooden frame on top of the monitor would be prefect! Send me a photo if you make one!

The processing project can be downloaded here: (source codes)

Have Fun!

Monday, September 14, 2009

LOVE ASIMO web ( launched.

Hi everyone, ASIMO is one of my favourite robot, I am a huge fans of this masterpiece. Finally, I decided to make a dedicated fan site for collecting information of ASIMO and share to all the ASIMO lovers, and here we go: Hope you will visit it sometimes and leave comments there:) I am excited to see the next generation of ASIMO, I believe the "Power of Dreams"!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Old tape counter reborn with Ardunio.

The tape counter exists in old cassette player, but nowadays we will see LCD display rather than this old mechanic design. But we all love old days, it is awesome to see the tape counter is getting a remix with arduino:)

(Pointless) Arduino powered cassette tape counter from Tom Whitwell on Vimeo.

Adafruit Industries Interview.

One of the famous electronic DIY kits producer, Adfruit industries, got an interview with Rocketboom Tech. Check out the interview video belows, it is nice to have a look:)

Monday, August 31, 2009

First run of Processing, project "Cube-cam"

Processing is a programming framework/language for whom like to program images, videos and human interactions. Many artists used the Processing to make their interactive arts. It is designed to be easy to use and powerful.

The best way to learn programming is by writing programs. I started the project "cube-cam". It captures images from the web camera and converts each pixel to a rotating cube. The cube is in a 3D space which rotating itself.

Some highlights of my program:

1) Capture is done by using Opencv library, you can do it with the Processing bundled video library. I prefer to use opencv because it can do more image processing stuffs. To install opencv for Processing, please check out the opencv port link.

2) Grabbing image pixels and process one by one.

3) Construct 3D cubes.

4) Used Moviemaker library to record the demonstration video, it is very handy to show your works to your friend.

import processing.opengl.*;
import*; // Imports the OpenCV library
MovieMaker mm; // Declare MovieMaker object
float a;

OpenCV opencv;

PImage myimage;
boolean gray=false;

void setup() {
size(800, 600, P3D);


opencv = new OpenCV( this );

opencv.capture( 80, 60 );
mm = new MovieMaker(this, width, height, "",
30, MovieMaker.ANIMATION, MovieMaker.LOW);


void draw() {;


if(a > TWO_PI) {
a = 0.0;

if (gray)
opencv.convert(OpenCV.GRAY); // Converts to greyscale

myimage = opencv.image();
for (int j = 0; j < 60; j++) {
for (int i = 0; i < 80; i++) { // For each pixel in the video frame...
color c = myimage.pixels[i+j*80];


mm.addFrame(); // Add window's pixels to movie

void mouseClicked() {
gray =!gray;

void keyPressed() {
if (key == ' ') {
mm.finish(); // Finish the movie if space bar is pressed!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

LEGO Mindstroms Sudoku Solver.

A robot made with LEGO Mindstroms can scan the text on a sudoku game sheet and control a pen to write the answer back. It is really amazing. It involves many complicated tasks, like motor control, image processing and character recognition.

Demonstration video:

Project website:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cheap wireless communcation with Infrared.

JSR,self-taught artist, made a cheap wireless communication circuit for his music project using adruino, he made a simple circuit to convert the normal UART port to infrared signals. A wireless serial port is born! The circuit and codes are simple, please check out jacob's website here.

For the transmitter, looks like:

Very simple and clean!

Video demonstration:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trackballer interfacing.

Sparkfun got another cool stuff here, the trackballer which is used in smartphone like Blackberry and also HTC Magic android phone. Trackballer contains 4 LED inside (red, blue, green and white), which used to indicate the phone status like miss call, sms etc. The hall effect sensors inside the trackballer help to detect 360 degree movement. For detail schematic, and datasheet, please find it in sparkfun store:here.

If you wonder how cool is it, please play the demonstration video below:

Pete Lewis shows off the TrackBaller from Sparkfun on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FUWA (Fudan Intelligent Robot)

We are familiar with Japanese-made robot. Today, we would like to introduce a robot developed in Fudan University of Shanghai, China. It is designed to be a service robot, which can help you on some stuffs like pouring water, opening doors etc. It would be very useful to help the elderly and disabled.

Friday, August 7, 2009

World Record: "The longest distance covered by a battery-operated remote-controlled model car“

Panasonic, one of the battery maker in Japan, have a marketing campaign to show off their long battery life. The battery "EVLOTA" is used to power up a robot rider, which rides on a car track for 24hrs non-stop! Finally it runs about 23.726km, and sets a world record!


Official Site:
Evolta: World record

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cute Beatbots, dance with heart.

A funny and cute robot (KeepOn) developed by Hideki Kozima and Marek Michalowski, it has 2 cameras and one microphone to capture sounds and also movements. It is pretty cool. Check out the video below:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Toyota's humanoid robot.

We are familiar with the Honda "ASIMO" robot, one of the most advanced robot nowadays. I have visited the Honda welcome plaza and see the real ASIMO running, it is awesome. If you missed my post on ASIMO, do check it out here.

Toyota is not lagging behind in the robotic research, the new robot prototype showing a impressive 2 leg balancing and also it can run @ 7km/hour which is a little bit faster than the Honda ASIMO. Please check out the video below.

The robotic research is a hot topic in Japan, even the hobby RC humanoid robot is also available to the public, e.g. Robo-one. May be after 10-20 years, a humanoid robot is ready to serve you, and it is a Japanese branded robot of course:)

Friday, July 24, 2009

AVR Touchscreen interfacing. made an AVR based USB Touchscreen Mouse, basically you attach a resistive touch screen to AVR IO pins and get the x and y coordinates with some calculations, after that sent to your computer using serial or usb port. So you will have a touch screen mouse or drawing pad. They used a PSP touch screen which also ready @ sparkfun store, the tutorial is very detail and clear, codes are included too, thanks guy who sent in.

Check out the demo video:

USB AVR Touch Screen from Sparkfun on Vimeo.

The AVR based USB Touchscreen Mouse

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 for both students & parents / IEEE is an introductory website to engineering field by IEEE. If you are curious about what is engineering, how is engineering career, it is a good start. It also includes some educational resources for engineers.

By the way, IEEE is celebrating 125th anniversary! Check out the 125th anniversary website below.

IEEE's 125th Anniversary

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gyroscopes VS Accelerometers.

Accelerometer is now very famous because it exits in most of the smartphones like iPhone, Android and Palm Pre. Recently, I got a RC mini-helicopter with built-in gyroscope to detect the rotational movement, it makes me interested in the differences between the two sensors. After some Googling, I found a good video tutorial that compare the two sensors. The InvenSense, whom made the Wii MotionPlus, using Gyroscopes and Accelerometers to capture precise human hand movement. The comparison video goes here:

My cheap RC mini-helicopter:

The single-axis gyroscope inside the helicopter:

It is used to detect if the helicopter rotates left or right unintentionally while the main blade is rotating. The MCU inside the helicopter would try to control another motor to rotate another blade to counter the rotation if necessary based on the gyroscope reading.

Here is my video showing the balancing control of the helicopter:

Furthermore, there are some articles worth to read:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

ARDUWAY - Segway-like lego bot with Arduino Brain.

ADRUWAY is a segway-like, self balancing two wheels bot, which used a gyroscope to detect the tilt angle motion. Let's check out the cool video here:


Friday, July 17, 2009

Re-Design internet router.

Internet router is a device exists in most people's house nowadays. Goldsmiths' folks decided to re-design this home device into a beautiful and functional device that can place in your home nicely. Please check out the video:

The last design is called "Jelly Fish", it is quite pretty.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Motors control with MCU.

Guys from, presents "Motors and Microcontrollers 101". The tutorial covers some basic idea of motors:

Check out the complete tutorial here:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting Started with BeagleBoard, with Angstrom distribution

Beagleboard is very small but powerful, with the nice integrated Anstrom distribution, you can turn this little board to a desktop like environment! I followed the beginner guide "HowToGetAngStromRunning" and successfully make it works within 30 minutes!

The good things are that all the drivers are pre-built, so whatever I plugged a USB ethernet, or a USB mouse or keyboard, all works like a charm.

Let's check out some screenshots:

1. Firefox running, I copied my Chinese TTF from my Desktop Linux to it, so it can display Chinese as well.

2. WORD processor & Game.

3. Native ARM development, with the GNU toolchains built-in the distribution, you can work in a complete ARM development environment.


Monday, June 22, 2009

BeagleBoard from Digi-Key.

I received the beagleboard from digi-key. Beagleboard is a low-cost TI ARM development board, featuring ARM Cortex A8, only $149 US. I haven't play it yet, Let's put some unbox photos here first:

1. Very small, but powerful!

2. With SD card slot, USB OTG, USB host, HDMI and audio!

3. a small box with cute beagle sticker.