Archive | May 2013

Voice-controlled Smart Home system

The Arduino platform lends itself well to home automation (for example) and another example of this has been demonstrated by university students Jiayuan Wang and Sheng Zhang. They have used a voice-recognition IC to enable user input to control various lighting, heating and entertainment devices in their test system. Furthermore the voice-control section of the system is connected to the main unit wireless via XBee data transceivers, allowing a more user-friendly approach. 

Considering this was a university project, it shows promise and is an excellent demonstration of the concept. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you found the project above interesting – but not sure how to start with Arduino – then the best way to learn is with our Experimenter’s Kit for Arduino:

The package includes a wide variety of parts, sensors and modules including: a servo motor, lights, buttons, switches, sound, sensors, breadboard, wires and more. Furthermore a Freetronics Eleven Arduino-compatible board is included to make this an extensive hobby experimenter, inventor and starter kit. However we don’t leave you alone to figure it all out, included is a great project and instruction booklet, plus access to a supporting web page and software examples. In other words – this is everything you need to get started for a fun range of electronics and Arduino related projects! 

So to get started or for more information and to order, check out the product page. 

Choose your own adventure with the “Choosatron”

In the past the “Choose your own Adventure” series of novels were popular with younger readers, due to the interesting twists and turns in the stories. In the spirit of these books, Jerry Belich has brought this concept into the 21st century with his “Choosatron”. This is an Arduino-controlled device which prints passages from CYOA books with a thermal printer, then offers the reader a choice which they select with a numeric keypad, at which point the story continues. Futhermore Jerry has published details on how to format other stories to suit the Choosatron, allowing more varied use. For a quick demonstration, check out the following video:


For more information on this outstanding project, click here. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.


If you’re new to Arduino, the first step is a solid board for your projects – our Freetronics Eleven – the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs:

DIY Arduino-controlled Gas Chromatograph

If you’re interested in using gas chromatography on the cheap, this project may be of interest. Before moving any further, gas chromatography is (according to Wikipedia):

… a common type of chromatography used in analytical chemistry for separating and analysing compounds that can be vaporized without decompositionTypical uses of GC include testing the purity of a particular substance, or separating the different components of a mixture (the relative amounts of such components can also be determined). In some situations, GC may help in identifying a compound. Inpreparative chromatography, GC can be used to prepare pure compounds from a mixture.

Arduino forum member “Harristotle” has documented the build and sketch for his own version of a GC machine, which uses borosilicate glass pipe filled with silica gel to separate and identify halogenated alkanes. The pipe is inserted into a custom oven whose temperature is controlled via the Arduino. 

It’s an interesting device even if you don’t have a use for it, or if you do – log in to the Arduino forum for details and discussion. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you’re making a similar project and need to control large currents with your Arduino digital outputs – you’ll need a MOSFET. We’ve got you covered with out NDRIVE: N-MOSFET driver/output module:

This high-power N-MOSFET module lets you switch high-current loads using a tiny microcontroller. Perfect for controlling that set of traffic lights mounted in your living room! Works brilliantly for automotive projects such as switching high-power 12V lights and high wattage LEDs. For more information and to order, visit the product page