Like the world at large, schooling is a bit of a mess right now in these pandemic times. For students at home, that means missing out on precious laboratory time. Science Journal was a Google app that let amateur scientists use the sensors on their phones to perform simple, yet valuable experiments. We say "was" because open-source microcontroller designer Arduino has acquired the app and we have just learned from Google when a big transition will take place.
João Dias — better known to the world as joaomgcd — has just announced the beta version of a new Tasker plugin called the AutoArduino. The AutoArduino is just the latest in a series of over a dozen apps from the developer, and it lets owners of the programmable circuit board use Tasker to control any one of its countless digital and analog pins with nothing more than an Android phone or tablet.
The video published by joaomgcd shows a fairly basic demo of the plugin being used to light up an LED in various colors, but in principle there's no reason an Arduino-savvy user couldn't use the AutoArduino to carry out more complex tasks like pouring an espresso or controlling the window blinds in their house.
Ever since Amazon announced the Echo, the platform and Alexa's voice commands have been expanding and adding more partners and features. They haven't, however, gained the magical ability to control your house's manual window blinds. It has though become possible to connect Alexa to an Arduino board, which increases the potential uses for the platform.
An enterprising guy has used that to his advantage, MacGyvering his way into smart window blinds with an Arduino (he uses a SmartThings shield for his Arduino to connect it to the rest of his smart home system), a servo, and some lasercut gears. He details the whole process, which I'll be honest in saying I don't understand the first thing about, in an Imgur post that I'll link below.
There comes a time in every person's life when he or she must decide what to do with the time they've been given on earth. Will it be used to benefit mankind, or to destroy it? Will it be to help or to harm? In Google engineer Paul Carff's case, he went for both. Thus, KegDroid was born. This gorgeous Android statue, with beer taps for hands, dispenses home brew at the touch of a screen.
The keg comes complete with flow control, so you can select what size drink you want and the bot will pour it automatically. It uses NFC tags to ensure that only approved users can get at your precious booze supply.
In a very awesome and useful display of the innovative genius that we've come to expect from Android developers and modders, Interaction Designer (how awesome does that sound?) Michael Fretz and his team have come up with a bicycle navigation system that can only be described as ingenious. The awkwardly named Punkt.Fizen is a truly creative, original idea that utilizes the power of the Android platform and the versatility of the Arduino.
When I first read about the idea, I wasn't too sure about it but, after reading the intro and description, I got interested:
How does one orient oneself while biking, for example as a tourist?