Your Physical Interface with Uber!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Want to see/hear how far the closest Uber is from you? All you have to do is press a button on an AWS IoT connected device. I created this project to allow anyone to have access to Uber even without a smartphone and for those with different capabilities.

I used the Arduino Yun and the Grove Starter Kit for Arduino to build a physical interface with Uber services. The full project details are available on Hackster.io and GitHub.

The Fiverr Project Jingle

Here’s an update to The Fiverr Project. We now have a jingle produced by Soulriter. In this Fiverr Gig, I consulted with Soulriter to record a jingle for The Fiverr Project. I will be using Fiverr to produce a short film. This project will take awhile to create, but it will be fun. I will share the results along the way.

Here are the lyrics to the jingle:

I wrote this jingle for The Fiverr Project
5 bucks gets gets you a song from a guy like me
Happy to be on The Fiverr Project
20 seconds is all your gonna get you see

Experimenting with Fiverr: The Fiverr Project

My new experiment is with a website called Fiverr. I call it, “The Fiverr Project”.

Fiverr is a service that links users to producers. Many producers will do anything for a minimum of $5. Sometimes they will hold a sign for you, write a blog post, or draw a cartoon. It is interesting on what people will do for $5 and what people are requesting. A lot of producers will offer add-ons that speed up the order or add enhancements that are not included in the base price of $5.

The Fiverr Project will try out Fiverr and I will only choose the minimum of $5 per thing I get produced. Then, I will share the results.

My dream has always been to see myself as a Simpsons cartoon. When I first started to browse Fiverr, I noticed a producer named Aldodel that offers such a service. He was advertising, “I will draw your full body as a tv cartoon for $5”. I took him up on the offer and for $5 and a photo, he produced me as a cartoon.

The Fiverr Project

 

Pour-over Coffee Making with Hario

My family, my fiancée, and her family went together this past Christmas and got me coffee related gifts. Everything from fresh, small-batch coffee from Pour Richard’s Coffee Co. in Devon, PA to a pour-over coffee maker by Hario.

I watched a number of videos on how to make coffee using a pour-over coffee maker. It seems rather simple. But, I the devil is in the details along with a much better cup of coffee. I recommend watching a view videos and then trying it out.

Here are some notes that might help you get to a better cup of coffee quicker:

  • Choose a ceramic pour-over coffee brewer
  • Use a burr coffee grinder
  • Use fresh roasted coffee if you can
  • Use a gooseneck water pot to control the water pouring over the coffee grounds
  • Use a little water to heat up the brewer and cup before starting the brewing – this helps keep the coffee hot throughout the process
  • When you start the pour-over brewing process, pour water over and allow the coffee to bloom – you will see a “foam” of bubbling up from the grounds – stop pouring water and let it foam up a bit – the fresher the coffee the more bloom you will see
  • Have fun trying things out

I am still learning and want to keep taking this further. The one thing I keep seeing people doing is weighing everything out on a scale – including the water. As I experiment more, I might have to try that so I can control the quality, but in general I have been making some very good, full-flavor cups of coffee without precise measurement.

EL Pumpkin is Spanish for Electroluminescent Pumpkin

EL Wire is a flexible wire that glows when you apply electricity to it. I am seeing more and more things trimmed with EL Wire and it makes for interesting effect. If you watched America’s Got Talent you might have seen a finalist called Team iLuminate. The iLuminate team used EL Wire to create animations and lighting effects on top of group dancing.

My nephews and niece were in town for Halloween and I was struck with the idea of adding a little animation to our Halloween Pumpkin. I wanted to make a pumpkin that changed expression. We made a basic smiley face and angry face by carving grooves into the face of the pumpkin. Then, we laced the EL Wire in and out of the grooves. We used red for the mad expression and blue and green for the smile expression. It was pretty easy to do and I had fun sharing my bits knowledge with the kids. It was rewarding to hear them come up with their own ideas – “We could hook an MP3 player up to this and scare people” or, “What if we added motion detection?”. It was also fun to hear my 5-year-old niece Zoey say, “Electroluminescent”.

Parts:

Notes:

I think the Blue EL Wire worked the best and looked the best. The red looks a little orange. The Green EL Wire sometimes didn’t illuminate. You can only illuminate 2 strands of EL Wire at a time with the stuff I had from SparkFun. I need to experiment more with EL Wire and get an EL Wire controller to do some more intricate animations. I will post future projects if I come up with anything interesting.

Always start with sketches when you start your project. It’s important to have a plan to allow yourself to stray knowingly.

EL Pumpkin Sketches
EL Pumpkin Sketches

EL Wire is LED of the future if you ask me…

iTurn – iPhone and iPod Touch Hack

Since my toaster has been on the Internet Twittering my toasting habits, I have been flooded with email asking what I was going to do next. To be fair, most of the email suggested that I had too much time on my hands. My mom got me an iPod Touch for Christmas (she gave it to me a few days early). I have not had the thing out of my sight since she surprised me with a wonderful gift. She also gave me Batman which I transferred to the iPod. I turned the screen about 44 times a minute while watching The Joker and The Dark Knight try to out smart each other. This got me thinking, “Could I control a motor with the movement of the iPod?” I had my next hack.

The iPhone or iPod Touch has an accelerometer that detects how the device is oriented. As the devices moves off axis (from straight up and down) the screen rotates. I want to use that feedback to control the position of a motor or servo or cause specific events to happen depending on the device’s position.

Taking the ioBridge IO-204 module, I connected the servo controller and a servo to one of the channels. On the servo I taped a Best Western hotel pen to show the movement of the servo. I found from hours of testing that the Best Western worked the “Best” and Hampton Inn worked slightly worse.

iTurn Setup
On the ioBridge website, I created 3 widgets that corresponded with the orientation of the iPod. “Left” for when tilted towards the left, “Right” when I turned right, and “Forward” when I was holding the iPod normally (straight up and down).

Warning: The next part involves some light programming. I made a quick HTML file with some JavaScript that detected the orientation of the iPod and called the appropriate widget. The orientation code is below for those of you that are interested in trying this for yourself:

function updateOrientation() {
switch(window.orientation){
case 0: widgetExecute(“Upright Widget ID”);
break;

case -90: widgetExecute(“Right Widget ID”);
break;

case 90: widgetExecute(“Left Widget ID”);
break;
}
}

Load up the completed HTML file on your iPhone or iPod Touch and now you can control a servo with the turning of your iPhone. I call it “iTurn” (didn’t see that one coming, did you?).

Here is a YouTube video of the iTurn project: