Here at Electromaker, we've got a lively staff blog that features editorials, tutorials, and news posts. In addition to our internal staff blog, we feature cool community projects. Anyone (even you!) can (and should!) share your maker creations on Electromaker. In May, 2021, we saw loads of awesome projects uploaded. Check out the best Electromaker community projects, 2021 edition!
The Raspberry Pi is a fantastic single-board computer (SBC). With its low power draw and small footprint, the Raspberry Pi works particularly well for Internet of Things (IoT) applications or situations where energy-efficient electronics are required. As such, the Pi is an awesome maker board for off-grid projects. But you'll need to make sure the Pi is optimized for off-grid power consumption. DIYer Rob Lauer takes a look at various strategies for optimizing the Raspberry Pi for an off-grid IoT solution, including connecting the Pi to a power bank.
Smart home tech is all the rage. While you can buy many off-the-shelf smart home devices ranging from thermostats and security cameras to smoke detectors, you can also build your own connected devices. Using Blues Wireless, Twilio, and a Raspberry Pi Pico, you can create a remote alerting system for your mailbox to let you know when the post has arrived. When mail is delivered, you'll receive SMS alerts to your mobile device alerting you that you've got mail.
Midi controllers are fun for music-making. There are loads of midi controllers on the market from the likes of Novation, Akai, and other manufacturers. However, you can also build your own midi controller with an Arduino. With CircuitPython, you can even create a do-it-yourself Bluetooth Low Energy midi controller that works wirelessly with Windows. It uses an Adafruit microcontroller, but any NRF82540 board should be suitable.
Arduino microcontrollers are incredibly versatile. With an Arduino, you can create many different projects. But microcontroller units (MCUs) like the Arduino are especially great for smart home projects such as environmental sensing. Using an Arduino Uno, you can create a device to read and display ambient temperature.
Charis Cat is one of our maker inspirations. The clever DIYer is the genius behind an Arduino-powered granular synthesizer. And now, Charis Cat has designed and built an awesome After Eight Step Arduino and Max-powered 8-step sequencer. Leveraging machine learning, it's an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered musical instrument. Whether you're into AI, music-making, or both, this is a seriously awe-inspiring maker project.
The Nvidia Jetson Nano is an excellent SBC for AI and machine learning. Using an Nvidia Jetson Nano, one clever maker engineered a Jetson Nano-powered COVID-19 face mask detection system. Using object detection capabilities, this device is able to identify when individuals are wearing face masks. It's a nifty means of maintaining social distancing and monitoring face mask usage with AI. In my tests, the Nvidia Jetson Nano proved itself to be an amazing maker board for both beginners and seasoned artificial intelligence enthusiasts alike.
Usually, programming an Arduino microcontroller requires a wired USB connection. However, there are wireless methods for interfacing with an Arduino MCU such as Android IDEs. But using a Bluetooth module, it's possible to wirelessly program an Arduino microcontroller.
SpaceX launches have attracted a cult following. Many SpaceX buffs enjoy monitoring SpaceX launches. And with a Raspberry Pi, it's easier than ever to track SpaceX launches. This nifty project pairs a Raspberry Pi Zero W with an e-ink display. The tracking program itself uses Python and Pillow libraries. It's an easy-to-build, inexpensive, incredibly functional DIY project.
Bird watching can be a fun hobby. With a Raspberry Pi and TensorFlow Lite, you can create a remote birding device. TensorFlow Lite provides artificial intelligence capabilities for identifying birds. Boasting a cellular connection and solar power, this Raspberry Pi-powered remote birding build is completely off-grid capable.
A bedside clock is a bedroom must-have. Don't buy one, though, build one instead! Using an Arduino, you can cobble together a bedside lamp and digital clock combo. What's more, you can outfit this DIY clock and lamp with touchless controls that respond to gestures.
Arduino microcontrollers are extremely versatile. Using a Magicbit ESP32 Arduino-compatible microcontroller, Magic Blocks, and NeoPixel LEDs, you can create an animated story. This particular project is an animated Jathaka story that teaches life lessons based on the birth of Guatama Buddha. But you can always animate a story of your choosing. Bring storytime to life with an ESP32 MCU!
Although your phone and PC probably have calculator apps built-in, a separate calculator is a necessary household item. Sure, the Ti-83 is a good choice that can even run DOOM. But with an Arduino, you can program the 8BitCADE XL to feature calculator functionality. It's a fun means of learning more about Arduino programming while creating a useful everyday object.
May 2021 saw our NXP Cup Electromaker Innovation Challenge wrap up. While we were wowed by all of the participants, we managed to narrow down the competition to three winners. The Trawlerbot self-driving car took first place. Rocking a rad 3D-printed chassis, the NXP-powered Traslerbot was an ambitious project built from the ground up with solid execution and fantastic documentation.
The Model M autonomous vehicle impressed us quite a lot. Mating a Teensy board with ultrasonic sensors, the Model M makes wonderful use of a Pixy2 CMUcam5 line-following camera. What's more, the team behind the Model M went so far as to rewrite Pixy2 code. From both a hardware and software perspective, the Model M is a true masterpiece and well-deserving of second place in our NXP Electromaker Innovation Challenge.
Although Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was not involved in this maker project, we loved the Fast and Furious. For starters, the name reminds us of one of our favorite film franchises. Additionally, the Fast and Furious touts impressive 3D-printed components and a neat design built around the LPCXpresso54628 board. The Fast and Furious team rewrote the ESC electronic controller documentation themselves, no small feat. As such, the Fast and Furious took home third place in our NXP Cup Innovation Challenge. Peruse all of the NXP Cup Electromaker Innovation Challenge entries for more autonomous vehicle awesomeness.
Best Electromaker Community Projects May 2021 Edition
While these were the top Electromaker community projects uploaded in May of 2021, there are loads of other projects to view. And you can also check out our thriving staff blog of tutorials, editorials, and news articles. Want to be featured in our next Electromaker community projects roundup? It's simple - just submit a project (or multiple projects!) to Electromaker, then keep your fingers crossed and hope that we pick you!
Your turn: Which Electromaker community creations are your favorites?