Guest post: 5 Test Tools to Make with Your Arduino

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An Arduino is an ingenious electronic microcontroller board that requires only simple user friendly hardware and software for creating interactive tools. A built-in array of sensors provides the Arduino with the ability to detect environmental changes. Applying simple electronic components to the board enables responses to these changes through the use of actuators, lights or motors. Build projects that stand alone or function in combination with computer based software. Electronics hobbyists may design and create boards manually or purchase preassembled Arduino Kits.

EMF Detector

This simple project combines the basic Arduino board, resistors, a piece of wire and an LED light. Attaching the components in the appropriate locations on the board creates a DIY EMF detector. When approaching an electronic device, wall outlet or other possible source of electromagnetic output, the bare wire acts as an antenna. Upon detecting EMF flow, the LED on the device lights up. Beef up the project with a Proto Sheet, a series of resistors and a LED light bar. Now you have an EMF detector comparable to the professional gadgets commonly seen on paranormal investigation shows.

Ultrasonic Distance Sensor

Combine a three pin, five volt PING sensor with an Arduino board and a Proto Shield using simple jumper wires. Connect the board to a computer using a USB cable and venture to the Arduino website. Download the PING code software and the sensor begins detecting motion and transmitting the signal as digital data to the computer. With these components and configuration, users might create motion detectors or combination motion detector and response alarm systems. The device might also equip an automated robot with collision prevention technology.

Oscilloscope with Graphic Display

The frustrating thing when developing and debugging electronic circuits is that you can’t look inside the circuit to see what is happening.  You could have the circuit open in front of you with power and still not know why it is not functioning as you had hoped.  This is when oscilloscopes prove to be a very useful part of your workshop. This basic oscilloscope design enables the device to detect electronic emissions and converts the signal into a visible wave on screen. Combining an Arduino board, software and a computer, users can develop a tool with numerous advanced capabilities that include having a panoramic view of current and saved waveforms, frequency and logical analysers and filtering.

Super Pedometer

Connecting generic pedometers with Arduino kits, data loggers and a temperature/humidity/time detector creates superfluous devices guaranteed to make someone’s heart swell with pride. Pedometers measure footsteps through the movement of a tiny weighted arm. When the device detects movement from the hips, gravity lets the arm fall, which closes an electrical circuit. Connecting peripherals to this circuit enables users to record data to a SD card for later analysis.

Automated Cocktail Mixer

While many party goers enjoy a mixed drink, the majority of events do not feature a bartender willing to take the time to accommodate guests. The inventor of this automated drink mixer eliminates the hassle. Affectionately dubbed “The Inebriator,” this advanced hi-tech device displays the extent of possibilities when people’s creative juices flow. The robotic bartender has the capability of mixing 15 different pre-programmed beverage recipes using 9 liquors and 7 mixers. The creators of this much sought after unit currently remain in the process of building an upgraded version.

The Arduino appeals to all ages and genders that enjoy working with electronics and many others who are simply seeking a solution to a technical, creative or engineering project. Tech geeks appreciate the device and accompanying peripherals as a means of expressing creativity through electronics. From the company website to private blogs, numerous tutorials illustrate and explain the various building projects made possible with this little Italian piece of technology. Improve upon an existing device or create something totally new and different.

Here is a short video showing you some of the things you can make with an Ardino:

Written by:

Christopher Parkinson’s interest in electronics stem from an early age, I remember watching my father using a multimeter to test my Scaletrix which had stopped working.  At that time this was the most fantastic thing I had ever seen bear in mind I was 6 and so very easily impressed.  I went on to study microprocessor design theory before working for a company repairing mobile phones.

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