Willden started with a servo motor and some mechanical linkages, which he connected to an Arduino UNO microcontroller development board. He then connected a light sensor to one of the microcontroller's analog inputs.
What a great story! It is very cool to see that Jeremy's older daughter drove the project with her idea to have the mailbox open by using a sensor to trigger it. Dad had a great opportunity to have some awesome family time with his daughters while stimulating in them a desire to learn about electronics. What a great combination! And the cuteness factor is off the charts!
These are great! And certainly more high tech than anything I ever did for Valentine's Day when I was a kid. What a creative and a wonderful way to teach your children about gadget-building while providing enjoyment at the same time.
Isn't that the truth, Mydesign?? I remember when my school project was to build an American settler house with toothpicks! We have come such a looooonnnng way from that. It's amazing how tech savvy kids are today. Sometimes a bit frightening, even!
These two mailboxes are definitely neat! But why in the world waste time and effort using an Ardunio module to control them? A dual comparator chip and two transistors could simply duplicate the functions described, and do it with a lot less standby power consumption. Beside that, it would be a far more educational exercise.
Our 18 month-old great grandson came home from the office the other day, announcing that NASA had chosen him to write the code for the main booster ignition system for the new HEAVY-LIFT rocket which is going to propel some Argonauts to a distant galaxy. The chief software engineer at NASA said that our boy would have complete control over the project, and that he could choose any "efficient language" to program the system.
So!, being the smartie pants that he is, he's decided that he will program the code in ARAMAIC, which is a new language that he's been working on for about 3 weeks already. Before leaving his high chair after his mother gave him his afternoon bottle, he said that he would be retiring to his lab to finish work on the compiler. He expects ANSI to give it a final approval in about a week, at which time it will have received the formal certification, so it will be qualified under NASA administrative rules.
what a lovely rainbow of responses to this application of excess from the cutesy to the crotchety. There are a galaxy of ways to build a jack in the box.
I had a comparable project when I started with an outdoor solar powered water pump that kept burning out because it was allowed to run dry.
By the time I'd come up with a circuit to detect water and protect the pump in the event of dry conditions, I had a 10 Ahr 6V lantern battery involved with all the overhead of weatherproofing that came with.
The final analysis was I really needed a thermal protection circuit on a 6Volt 80 mA, 1 foot lift 15 gal./hour submersible pump. Problem there was its operating temp. bordered on the seize temp.
Mind you, an $18 pump.
We bought more pumps and tried to pay closer attention to the water level.
Ever wanted to see light beyond what's detectable by the human eye? You can with DOLPi - a homemade Raspberry Pi-based polarization camera. You can even use it to detect unseen objects like landmines, IEDs, pollutants, and maybe even UFOs.
A Design News contributor takes on the challenge of building an old-fashioned metric clock that uses French Revolutionary time, which divides the day into decimal units, and shows you how to build your own.
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