Category Archives: Stupid Pet Trick

Minim & Leap

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 1.05.36 AM


This is super late (sorry Dan!) but here’s a stupid pet trick. Although this doesn’t involve the Arduino, it does involve the LeapMotion. I had originally wanted to include the Leap in my final project, but didn’t have the time to actually play around with it and figure out the environment.

This is a mashup/side project with my other minim post — I think that the Leap would be fun to use with music-based applications. It only draws when your fingers can be detected – if they’re not over the Leap, then it stops drawing. It draws either an ellipse (if your touch mode is ‘touching’) or a rectangle (if your touch mode is ‘hovering’). Modes are also printed in console so you know what’s happening. (It’s much harder to get ellipses drawn…maybe I just have very shaky hands.)

My iMovie isn’t working at the moment, so this video doesn’t have audio…but the song that is playing is “Salty Sweet” by Ms Mr.

Until I get that fixed, here’s a temporary, but very short Instagram video of it (with sound).


Flappy Bird, Remembered

This is a rudimentary model of the iPhone game, Flappy Birds. I originally wanted the pipe  structure to be automated by a motor, but that system had too many complications. Thus the version you see in the video is simply hand-operated. Don’t hit the pipes or the ceiling or your flappy bird will fall.

The green LED indicates that the game is on, while the red LED indicates that the game is over.

To the flappiest of the birds, you will be missed.

The motor (if it had worked)
The entire setup
Are you ready to play?



Truco estúpido de la mascota

My stupid pet trick used the photosensor to determine how many LED’s should be lit. Pretty simple concept, but I’m proud of myself for figuring out how to code it into the Arduino. Check out the video.


Though I’m not sure how practical something like this is, I imagine we can come up with some cool ideas on how to extend this project in class. I was thinking:

-Auto-adjustment for darkness of an environment (think about how an iPhone can auto-adjust its brightness)

-LED variation based on a different input e.g. sound, number of tweets, weight in an elevator (this how amplifiers/receivers have LEDs that indicate decibel output of different parts of a sound)

Here is the nesty code:



Graphite Variable Resistor


This week I created a switch that is itself also a variable resistor.

It turns out that graphite is conductible. So I hooked up an LED and watched how I got a different brightness reading on the LED depending how far away my power and ground wires were to each other. It makes sense, the farther away the two wires were, the more resistance and therefore the less output on the LED. The closer the two wires were to each other, the less resistance, and the brighter the LED became.

This is possible without software because it is totally controlled my where the power and ground are physically to each other. The next step would to be figuring out how I could create an interesting result to how much output is created by the LED.

Also, graphite is hardly conductive, it took a lot of effort to create a conductible image. I’m wondering if I can create a variable resistor from graphite based on the intensity of graphite…?


Movie on 2-24-14 at 12.36 PM


Does Charlie Even CARE?!

For my stupid pet trick I decided to make a board that tested whether or not my cat was interested in sniffing the Arduino. To my surprise, the buzzing of the motor got her interested enough to try the setup out for herself!

Playing with Cardboard

Charlie gets in on the action



Frère Jacques


For my stupid pet trick I decided to make an alarm. Lately I’ve been making an effort to wake up earlier every day so it’s easier to do on days I have to, circadian rhythm, all that jazz. Since spring finally seems to me coming (sort of) and the days are getting longer, this alarm will be triggered by the sunrise.

It’s a pretty basic setup: 2 LEDs, a piezo buzzer and a photo cell. When light hits the photocell (assuming daylight, though in this case I used the brightness on my computer), first a yellow LED is triggered, as a warning that it’s time to wake up. Once more light hits, the red LED is activated. When it is finally bright, and time to get up, the piezo plays the tune of Frère Jaques, a song about waking up, which also happens to feature just a few simple notes.

Here is the code, it’s a little long-winded because of the song, but easy to follow. In it, I use two ways of initializing the variable and a few if/else statements.

A Shake of the Hand




I kind of hate it when I meet someone and they give me an unnecessarily strong handshake, so my stupid pet trick deals with that pet peeve of mine. I attached a force sensor to the palm of my hand. When the handshake is too hard, a red light pops up. When it’s just right (or too soft) a green light pops up. Simple as that.


Here it is



A Salute to Arduino

saluteFor this project I used a flex sensor attached to the inside of my elbow to tell a servo motor where to point. When my arm is down, it commands me to salute. When I salute, it tells me to be at ease.  You can watch the video but it’s essentially the same as the gif.


Music to My Ears

Introducing the world’s most annoying instrument! I made an audio-visual musical instrument whose pitch changes depending on how hard to press the force sensor.


ASL to LED (AKA American Sign LED-uage)

For my project I wanted to combine American Sign Language and what we’ve been working on in class. So I decided to translate the sign language alphabet into Morse code (done through flashes on an LED). I used two flex sensors, one on my thumb and one on my forefinger to do so. For this project I only did the letters A through H because to go past that I would need another flex sensor as well as an accelerometer to accurately transmit the letters. However, for A through H only the thumb sensor would technically be needed, but for accuracy (and I bought the thing so I figured why not) I used the one on the forefinger as well. It took me a while to figure out exactly how to code it and I feel like there would be a way to shorten down the code, but I did not know how at this point. But the biggest time consumer was figuring out the sensor ranges needed to code. And here is the video explaining some of this and a demonstration.


Urgency Alert

Using what we learned last class, I decided to use three red lights to alert the workers at the library when something needs to be checked out.  The idea is that when there are more items stacked in the box, or if there is just a heavy item, more of the red lights will light up letting the workers know.

The censor is undisturbed, indicating that nothing is in the box.
The censor is undisturbed, indicating that nothing is in the box.
One red light comes on.
One red light comes on.
Then the second.
Then the second.
Then the third!
Then the third!



Stupid Bend Trick

I added a flex sensor into the analog input, and then outputted it into a super annoying little speaker. Ugh shut it up.