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Arduino | Nick Hardeman

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Morning Monster Alarm Clock

The Morning Monster is a plush electronic alarm clock. He has all of the normal alarm functions, set time, set alarm, snooze, etc. However, what makes him a monster is his ability to shine the sun on your face when the alarm goes off by opening the blinds. The blinds are also manually controlled my moving his left arm up and down and he will never over-crank them!

The code implements Rob Faludi’s open source Arduino clock project, and he made a post on his blog.

The video gives an explanation and demonstration of how it works.

Morning Monster from Nick Hardeman on Vimeo.

Morning Monster Source

Nove Bit

Nove Bit is an interactive 3 x 3 matrix that allows users to record sequences of light and save them as 9 bit memories. Nove Bit addresses human to computer interaction by allowing the user to physically input the memory as 9 bits, as opposed to the traditional 8 bit computer memory. Nove Bit also touches on the notion of a personal memory by recording a users’ thoughts in time and replaying them as a pattern of lights. The visual memories are stored as 9 bits, represented by a corresponding button. Compared to 8 bits, 9 bits also allows for a visually even distribution of the memory as a square. The “Nove”, which means nine in Italian, also references the Arduino Duemilnove, one of the two micro-controllers that control the unit.

The programming mode is entered as soon as the user presses any button. The user can program light sequences by simply pressing buttons in the desired pattern. Patterns are recorded after several seconds of inactivity from the user. The patterns are replayed by fading the leds on and off inside the translucent white buttons. The buttons are placed in a wooden facade, while the square, white plexi-glass case forms the base and houses the Arduino and the TLC 5940 micro-controllers. The unit is powered by a wall adapter and can easily fit on a desk, nightstand or other flat surface with limited space.

The TLC 5940 was a little tricky, but thanks to Peter Macky and his source code, I could get it working.

The source code is available for download if anyone is interested. This older post shows all of the guts and an older, crappier video.

Nove Bit from Nick Hardeman on Vimeo.

Squaremin – Theremin Style

“Squaremin ” name thanks to Collin Cunningham from his post at, this project is also featured on This battery powered electronic musical instrument is a descendant of the theremin and can be played without contact from the musician. This small instrument contains two infared (IR) sensors that measure proximity. One sensor controls the note, while the other controls the octave that is played through the speaker in the front. The tone is reflected by one of seven colors that illuminates the center area and highlights a small indicator located on the top panel.

The instrument can play seven octaves each of notes C – B, C ranging between 65 hz – 4160 hz. The notes are being generated based on some code from the arduino site. It’s not incredibly accurate, but gets the job done.

The instrument utilizes two short range Sharp IR sensors (GP2D120). This article clarifies just about everything pertaining to these sensors.

One of the most challenging parts was the time-line, to be completed in a week and also fitting everything in without time to build custom pcb boards. I utilized a boot-loaded atmega chip in a breadboard and more info can be found at Here is the source code if anyone feels like putting one together.

Theremin Closed

Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)

Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)

Recently I put together a digital to analog converter (DAC) based on this tutorial from, so that I could get these sounds into my computer. The tute was straight-forward and easy and it works like a gem. Sorry this pic looks like crap, it was taken with my iPhone cam.

Smooting and Mapping Values from a Sensor in Arduino

For my computation class, we were asked to give a presentation and some sample code for smoothing an IR sensor in the Arduino environment. I wrote this code that averages the values of the last ten readings. It drops the highest and lowest values, to help control the noise and make sure that it does not influence the averaging.


LED Passage of Time with Arduino

LED Passage of Time from Nick Hardeman on Vimeo.

There are 6 blue leds, controlled by an arduino that uses digital pwm. These leds are supposed to symbolize an organism breathing. There is a red led in the center that symbolizes the heartbeat and is also being controlled by a digital output.