Tinkerers, DIY-nuts and electronic manglers, hold onto your hats: there's a new Arduino in town. Everybody's favorite prototyping board has just gained a new family member, in the shape of the Arduino Nano 3.0. It drops the size down to just 1.7 x 0.7 inches while still packing integrated mini-USB, top-mounted LEDs and ATMEGA328, and in fact the only thing you're really doing without is the power jack.
While showing admirable recycling motivation, sticking a clock inside an old coffee can isn't enough to impress us; Instructables member florinc makes the grade because his DIY IllyClock adds in some color magic too. Based on a Wiseduino - an Arduino clone with an integrated real-time clock - and an LED shield, the clock lights up its numerals in different shades depending on the time of day.
Parrot's AR.Drone was a surprise hit at CES 2010, but if you can't wait for the off-the-shelf option and want some quadracopter action right now then there are a couple of DIY projects that might scratch that itch. The Quaduino NG and the AeroQuad (pictured) both rely on the Arduino microprocessor as their flight boards, combining gyroscope information with other sensors to make steady flight more straightforward.
We reckon this is a mod that could be pretty popular after the holidays, when people wonder what exactly they're going to do with the non-wireless digital photo frames they've been given. Matt Mets took one look at his and decided it would make a great DIY Word Clock, stepping through slides with the time written out long-hand; a frame that can automatically change the image every sixty seconds would even be able to do all the clock-work for him.
As iPhone remote control projects go we've certainly seen bigger than this Arduino-based iPhone-controlled tank, but it does have the benefit of being somewhat more achievable for the average DIYer than a full-sized car, say. Chris Rojas threw together the tabletop tank from a basket full of SparkFun parts, and now has a solar-powered vehicle he can control from his cellphone.
Remember the Twitter-reading robot fish from back in September? At its core was an mbed microcontroller, a $60 alternative to the Arduino intended for rapid prototyping, and we're now seeing the first of the optional baseboards for the mbed filter through. Embedded Artists' have come up with the LPCXpresso, a 'board positively bristling with connectivity and inputs that includes an OLED display, accelerometer and light sensors, joystick and wireless.
Not being a Harry Potter fan the "wearabouts clock" has passed me by, but this DIY location-indicating replica is impressive enough even without the back story. The concept is that rather than display the time, the clock's numerous hands show whereabouts each family member is, according to various locations (or situations, such as "mortal peril") around the clock face. As for the magic inside, our old friend the Arduino and a hacked Linksys router monitor Twitter for location updates.
The first generation of the system attempts to recognize the first few words in the tweet - it monitors a different Twitter stream for each hand - and then shuffles the indicators around to the appropriate point. If the message can't be interpreted that way, it points to "read me".
Electronic versions of the classic Etch-a-Sketch aren't particularly unusual, but so far this is the first time we've seen Arduino-controlled knobs with physical resistance and a proper shake-to-clear integrated into such a project. The Hack-a-Sketch takes a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop and adds the usual two Etch-a-Sketch rotary knobs; this time, though, they're hooked up to two potentiometers which control the onscreen drawing.
Ah, Arduino - is there anything you can't do? Didgeridoo enthusiast Kyle Evans decided to take his instrument of choice into the wireless age, by coupling it with a Bluetooth-capable Arduino microprocessor and custom-built externally-mounted sound modules that allow the player to manipulate the sound and control various software instruments (that, again, have been custom created). The end result looks like it should fire rockets and sounds like nothing on Earth.
Weddings are reasonably good fun for those attending, but being expected to provide an often-expensive gift can sometimes irk. So how about giving a present that demands a little more than simply scribbling a thank-you card; that's just what Mikal did for the friend who introduced him to Arduino tinkering. He constructed the Reverse Geocache Puzzle, a wooden box that would only be unlocked when within 2km of a location Mikal preprogrammed into it.