Autopilot System

Curtis Olson has developed a low cost DIY autopilot system that supports the AuraUAS autopilot flight code and firmware.

This version of the hardware is the latest in his continuing evolution of a DIY autopilot system.  Each version has had improvements in both performance and features.  In the latest version Curtis switched to using KiCad for the PCB layout to gain more flexibility in ordering PCBs.

The basic design of the system uses a “little” (Teensy 3.2) and “big” (PocketBeagle) working together as a distributed system.  The Teensy handles all the hard real time sensor I/O tasks while the PocketBeagle does the heavy lifting – control, navigation, logging, etc.

Be sure to check out the Github page for the project for more details as well as code, PCBs files, and build instructions.

Notes and Volts Teensy-Synth

Dave over at Notes and Volts has published a great series of DIY tutorials called Teensy-Synth.

In the first episode Dave walks you through assembling your Teensy and Audio shield and how to use the audio library.  He also makes code available to help you get going.

The next 7 episodes progress to controlling your synth with Pure Data software, connecting a USB-MIDI keyboard, code optimization, adding an ADSR envelope generator, adding waveforms, filters, pitch blending, and more.

If you want to get started building your own synth, this series is a great place to start.





Burning Man Art – Flaming Palm Trees

Monica Houston built these awesome flaming LED palm trees for her camp at Burning Man.

This was Monica’s first fire art project.  Her motivation for the project was to impress her friends and having something fun to take to festivals and parties.  It was important that it be interactive so a control panel was made to allow people to generate poofs of flame.

Two controllers are used.  A Teensy 2.0 controls the propane valves and sends messages to a Teensy 3.2 animating 1200 LEDs in sync with the flames.  Complete source code is available on github.

Check out this album for more photos and videos of the project





Moon Germs Hand Held Synth

Kenneth Marut made a very cool, battery powered, hand held, digital synthesizer – Moon Germs.

This compact synth uses a combination of buttons and triggers to produce different waveforms and effects. An 8×8 LED matrix shows information while use.  It also uses an IR proximity sensor to modulate frequency.  In recent updates to the project he synth engine was restructured to include a Low Pass Filter and Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO).

As a lifelong musician Kenneth wanted to explore digital synthesis and experiment with unique ways of interacting with a synth using minimal buttons and knobs.  He hadn’t really explored digital synthesis before and decided dive in using a Teensy 3.2 and audio shield.

Be sure to check out the HackaDay project page, it has a lot of great information.

Code for the project is available on GitHub


Halloween Singing Skulls

Rob Reynolds over at SparkFun whipped up some singing skulls just in time for Halloween.

Inspired by a recent trip to Disney World and seeing animatronic magic, Rob grabbed a Teensy 3.6, an audio shield, and some plastic skulls and got to making. He created 4 solenoid circuits using mosfets to trigger the singing skulls.  To top it all off, googly eyes were added to the skulls, because googly eyes make everything better.

QWERTY Keyboard

Pete Prodoehl built a custom QWERTY keyboard in homage to the typewriters of old.


The inspiration for the project came from Pete’s interest in keyboards and typewriters as well as as a fascination with machines, and how people interact with technology .  He grew up in Milwakee, the birthplace of the first successful typewriter.  Coincidentally, he also lives near a street named fro Christopher Latham Scholes, the primary inventor of the QWERTY keyboard.

His QWERTY keyboard is made of wood, just like the early prototype of the Sholes, Glidden, & Soule typewriter.  While Pete feels that he doesn’t quite have the woodworking skills of his father, he is good at creating thing digitally.  He asks a compelling questions – are we losing the ability to craft real-world objects in exchange for creating digital objects?  He suggests that maybe digital fabrication is the answer and perhaps it can bridge the gab between the two.

Some additional information can be found here and here

Turnado MIDI Controller

Liam Lacey created an incredible custom MIDI controller for Turnado, a powerful audio effects software program.

This custom controller provides a sleek interface to the Turnado audio FX software giving a performer easy access to the software during live performances.   Not only are all the controls optimally mapped to the software, but a TFT display provides the real time value of the knobs as well as displays a menu for configuring the controller’s MIDI settings.

Liam has a great write of the project as well as a build log (complete with schematics) on his HackaDay project page.   Code for the project is available on GitHub.