It’s that time of the year (again) when parents would be scouting for dance, music, art, cricket and all sorts of classes that can keep the little ones busy. And why not, summer vacations are probably the best time to learn something new. Just like every other kid, even I was sent to a dance class, followed by a dose of Harmonium and Drums classes followed by Computer classes and finally ended the day with Cricket coaching. This was my routine almost every summer till I went to boarding school. However during my college days, I stumbled upon this amazing thing that allowed me to virtually control everything around me. From TVs, Lights, Doors this tiny device allowed me to make some exciting projects.I’m talking about the Arduino DIY board.
I’ve worked on Arduino board for quite some time – New Summer Hobby – and learnt the way of writing programs and using various sensors. From creating sketches to control lights and fans with a normal TV remote to complex programs using Java to interface with Arduino. I take pride to say that my code for RXTX Serial Communication with Arduino is still among the top results on Google. I had written that post way back in 2013 and has garnered a lot of eyeballs ! So here are some great Arduino Project Ideas that you can implement this summer vacations.
What is Arduino ?
Skip this section, if you are already aware of this. Arduino is a micro controller that allows you to ‘talk‘ to the real world. You can think of it as a ‘mini motherboard‘. It has a set of input and output pins. So all you actually do is, send something to the input pins and see something happen at the output pins. Arduino, I would say is a simpler version of the famous Raspberry Pi. There are a lot of variants of Arduino with slight difference, but I used Arduino UNO. Getting things done on an Arduino isn’t rocket science. This is a wonderful piece of technology that will help you build some really cool projects. And hence I feel that Arduino is probably the best way to spend summer vacations and that’s why I thought of sharing few Arduino Project Ideas.
How to work with Arduino ?
Well, do begin with you need some very elementary knowledge of computer programming. But even if you don’t, I’m sure it won’t be a daunting task for you. You can purchase the Arduino kit (shown below) as it comes with a variety of attachments and sensors that you can play around with. All you need to is, power on the Arduino and connect it to the computer. Next you would need to download the Arduino IDE where you can write your program and upload to Arduino. Once the program is ready, all you need to do is burn the program to Arduino and see the magic !
Arduino Project Ideas
Well, there are a lot of things that can be done with the Arduino as I said before. However here are some really cool Arduino Project Ideas that you can implement. I haven’t worked on all of these, but have done a few of these. So here are some simple / complex Arduino Project Ideas.
- Simple LED Blink – this is a simple LED blink program. Equivalent to ‘Hello World’ of other programming languages.
- Motion Detector Alarm – you will need a buzzer and motion sensor for this. The buzzer will make a noise when something moves.
- Remote Controlled LEDs – you will need an IR sensor and any IR based remote control. Press a button to change the state of LEDs. Here’s something that I had done earlier.
- Temperature based Ambient lighting – you will need a Temperature Sensor along with few LEDs. As the temperature fluctuates, the LEDs should change their color.
- Message Board – you will need a LED display for it. Scroll a message of the display board usinyg Arduino
Relays: Relays are devices that help you control heavy-duty electrical appliances using the Arduino. There are a couple of options to get this. Either you can make one or simply get a Relay Module that is available online.
- Sensor based lighting – similar to motion detector. This will turn the lights on/off when someone walks in/out of a room.
- Automatic Window Drapes – if you have motorised window drapes, you can use your Arduino to pull them down/up based on the weather outside.
- Safety Drawer – you can use your Arduino to raise an alarm when someone opens your drawer.
Internet based Arduino Project Ideas
For these type of projects you will need an Ethernet shield for Arduino. The same can be purchased online.
- Remote Home Controller – You can turn your Arduino to listen to messages sent over the internet. This way you can turn on the AC when you are leaving office so that you arrive to a cool house.
- Bird Tweeter – this has already been implemented by many but I love the concept. You need a camera and a motion sensor for this one. Place the devices at an area where birds come frequently. The motion sensor senses if there is anything moving, if there is it will ask the camera to click the photo and post it to Twitter. You can see a working example here.
- News Reader – you can configure the Arduino to receive RSS feeds from new channels and display them on a LED display board.
So these were a few Arduino Project ideas that you can start with. From the basic ones to really complex ones. I’m very sure that these Arduino Project ideas will be a great learning this summer vacation. So while your other friends are busy eating and watching movies, why don’t you create something new with the cool Arduino Project Ideas ?
Share your projects in the comments below and I’ll be more than happy to witness the cool work you have done. If you have already developed something, tweet to me @atulmaharaj and I’ll be glad to spread the word !
Happy Holidays !