July 2020 saw a ton of awesome community projects uploaded to Electromaker. Our fantastic community members contributed tons of inventive do-it-yourself (DIY) maker innovations. From simple yet effective Raspberry Pi and Arduino creations to prototype-level complex innovations, these are the best Electromaker projects, July 2020 edition!
Ty of Ty and Gig Builds acclaim offers this look at how to create an LED message board using a Raspberry Pi. It's a great project that lets you control WS2812B LEDs individually with a Pi board. There's a Python-based program that sends a data signal from the Pi to the LED strips and accordingly displays a message on a screen. Easy to build and really rewarding, this DIY Raspberry Pi-powered LED message board is a neat method for learning more about the Raspberry Pi's hardware and software, basic programming, and the interaction between software and hardware.
With a little 3D printing, some WS21812B LED strips, and an Arduino Uno R3, you can cobble together this DIY Arduino tic tac toe game. The classic two-player game can be played with simply a piece of paper and a pencil. But Mukesh Sanhkhla transforms tic tac toe into a fancy 3D printable, Arduino-powered portable game. While it looks so professional it could be store-bought, it's simple enough to create from the comfort of your own home with an Arduino, pixel LEDs, and push-buttons. The accompanying software is written such that Xs and Os are represented by different colors.
Elecrow makes a slew of different science technology engineering and math (STEM) products as well as general maker kits such as its excellent automatic smart home watering Arduino system. The Elecrow CrowPi is a STEM laptop is Raspberry Pi-powered, modular, and super cool. This tutorial teaches you how to create a rainbow interactive bridge with Minecraft. Although it's a game, remains one of the best programming resources for kids. With this project, LEDs are incorporated for a further understanding of software, hardware, the intersection of the two. The LEDs light up corresponding with the steps you take on the in-game bridge. Want more Minecraft fun? Try building a Minecraft video game server with a Pi!
SSH or secure shell is a network protocol for wirelessly executing secure transfers over an unsecured network. It's right useful, particularly for managing a home server. Using a Giant Board single-board computer (SBC) and Wi-Fi FeatherWing for GiantBoard as well as a few accessories such as a LiPo battery, you can whip up a wireless Linux SSH data logger. Not only is this wireless in the sense that it's outfitted with Wi-Fi, but the onboard battery means you don't even need to plug it in. It's an excellent tool for anyone running a home server that wants to monitor SSH transfers.
One of the best upgrades you can make to your home, or even apartment, is a smart thermostat. I love my ecobee4 for its ease of use and the control it affords me when traveling. Well, at least when I could travel (thanks, COVID). While I bought an off-the-shelf connected thermostat, you could go the DIY route instead. This Giant Board-powered smart thermostat can run a boiler, window A/C unit, and mini-split. It's a mind-blowingly capable device. Sure, it's complex, but packed with features such as Node-Red and Blynk control as well as monitoring. And despite the complicated build process, it's so well documented that it's quite feasible to replicate.
If you want to make music, a MIDI controller is a solid pick up. Devices like the Akai MPK Mini and Ableton Novation Launchpad are sweet MIDI sequencers. Alternatively, you can create a MIDI sequencer that utilizes a thermal camera. Essentially, its onboard thermal camera reads temperatures and takes an 8x8 thermal image that's displayed on a TFT LCD screen. Musical notes are assigned to each temperature such that songs corresponding to the temperature of an object play when a temp reading is taken. It's fun and inventive.
To call this Giant Board-powered device a maker project doesn't quite do its innovation justice. A wireless power usage tracker, it's essentially a prototype. Because most power meters can be read wirelessly with RF communications, you can make a gadget at home to read the likes of gas, power, and water meters. You could even attach it to a drone and take wireless reading from the sky. It's impressive to the point where I wouldn't be shocked if this were commercialized and used for industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications. Utility companies could use this to expedite meter readings.
If you're like me, after you run a load of laundry, the clean clothes tend to sit on a particular chair. Yeah, you know the one. No, not that one. That one. How dare anyone sit upon it. The chair is not for company, it's for clothing. Well, now you don't have to procrastinate. This automatic shirt folding machine is powered by three 12V DC motors, driven by a MD10C-R3 controller board, and the whole unit is Arduino-powered. Where can I place my order?
Bubble machines are pretty cool. Many, myself included, played with them growing up. Heck, I still love playing with bubbles. And with an Internet-connected bubble machine, you can share the fun with friends! You will need a bubble machine, and if you can find one that's battery-powered, even better. A Raspberry Pi handles switching states between on and off. Then, it's all live-streamed so that curious onlookers can turn it on and off. 8 Bits and a Byte have once again outdone themselves.
You could check weather apps and websites for the weather. But this weather-simulating desk plant tells you the current weather based on color changes in its LEDs. There are 3D printable parts that resemble clouds and sun, RGB LEDs, and an ESP8266 board. Then, the clouds and sun change color based on local weather reports. The ESP8266 collects real-time data from openweathermap.org. It's like the ceiling in the Hogwarts Great Hall, but a 3D printable desk plant.
Clever DIYer and YouTuber Gyro has wowed us with bike wheel lights, a motorized camera slider, and Casio A158W clean watch face mod. Previously, Gyro made a simple wireless keyboard for PC use. It pairs perfectly with Kodi home theatre PCs (HTPCs) for controlling and navigating your computer from the comfort of your couch. Now, Gyro iterates upon that wireless keyboard design for the Ultimate Wireless Keyboard Mark 2. Coming in a candybar remote form factor, it's processional-looking enough to rival store-bought wireless keyboards. It's customizable, features several layouts, a rechargeable battery and USB_C support, plus it's open-source. The internals are available from outlets such as AliExpress, Amazon, and Sparkfun. As such, you can easily recreate this sweet HTPC wireless keyboard remote.
Often, we're concerned with concealing our electronics and cables. While you can run cords through the wall or shove them in a box, you could instead hide your electronics in plain sight. This freeform home environment and air quality monitoring system masquerades as a piece of wall art. Sensors are incorporated into wire-based art on a woodblock for what looks like a decoration. And indeed, it is, but with a dual purpose of environmental sensing and air quality monitoring. It's a neat concept and offers ample opportunity for creativity and customization.
Best Electromaker Community Projects July 2020 Edition
We were impressed once again with the high quality of Electromaker community submissions. You can also check out the latest Electromaker staff blog editorials and tutorials. Want to be featured in an Electromaker community project roundup. Register (or login if you're already signed up) and submit YOUR project to Electromaker, then keep your fingers crossed!
Your turn: What Electromaker posts from July 2020 were your favorites?