Category Archives: Projects

Build a Tinkercup, an IoT starter project for your office desk

Tinkercup is a coffee cup connected to the internet that shows the user the temperature of his cup and how many cups he is drinking per day. The project was created by our colleagues at IXDS for the fresh German edition of WIRED.


You can build your own Tinkercup with the kit that’s available now from Tinkersoup Berlin for 39,90 € — including the Spark Core.

The latest issue of WIRED also features an interview about IoT and the Tinkercup with the founder of IXDS, Reto Wettach and managing partner Nancy Birkhölzer.

Get yours, connect it, drink coffee and share your temperature with other – and most importantly, start tinkering!

An Intel Galileo Shield: Data Monster

The Data Monster by Lucas Ainsworth is a robot arm that can move in any direction, actuated by servo motors. As he puts it: „Datamonsters are creatures that respond to you. They can see you and respond to your presence and movement. In addition to responding to immediate interactions, they can also be influenced by events happening in the world outside.“

Lucas’ Intel Galileo code for the Arduino IDE to get you started can be found on GitHub. With the code you can calibrate and control the monster and get basic reactions to objects.

A video from Lucas’ first test with the Data Monster.

To make it way easier to attach the required components easily onto the Intel Galileo board we now created a Galileo shield for it and produced it with our Fritzing Fab service. We used the new Galileo shield template that is part of Fritzing.

Get the full Fritzing file including board design from its Fritzing project page.

Galileo DataMonster Fritzing Shield

Spark Core Shield: Toilet Hack

Another great use of shields for creative electronics especially for  offices and shared flats is the toilet hack that we created during an internal hackathon event at the office.

Well, it most certainly is very useful: who doesn’t know the situation when you really need the toilet only to find that it is – occupied. Again. But those times are over now. Your mobile phone becomes even more useful and indispensable as the toilet hack app enables you at any given time to see right from your seat if the toilet is occupied or not. If your workmate is taking too long, just use the app and the toilet hack knocks the door for you.


Bildschirmfoto 2014-07-24 um 17.34.02

What is needed to bring it to life? Use the Spark Core Microcontroller and the according shield made by us. Further ingredients are: some cables, a tilt sensor, a little solenoid motor and something to hold the motor.

Attach the tilt sensor to the shield where it says lock and the motor where it says knock. Then just get creative and build something to hold the motor in place to knock at the door; we used a styrofoam block for it, made a hole for the motor and just taped it to the door.

Find all source files in the project gallery!

Hackers, win a trip to SPACE!

Hey hackers, engineers and designers! Your chance to WIN A TRIP TO SPACE!

The DIY page offers a maker competition where you can actually win a trip to space (or take the cash option of nearly $200,000 instead)! Even if you don’t win the Grand Prize, to be left with a milling machine, 3D printer, a flight to Japan or or or is not too bad either.

But what do you actually have to do? The hackaday guys wondered about that too: „We’ve been vague up to this point on purpose, because spouting specific categorization stifles creativity. We want you to Build the Future — not fit inside of a tiny box made of disqualifying restraints.“ So your official task is to build the next evolution of hardware.

Heat up your soldering iron and start hacking!

Auf die Plätze, fertig, loooooos!


ZUtA Labs: The Mini Mobile Robotic Printer

Mini Mobile Robotic Printer

Ever needed to print out that one document very urgently but a printer was nowhere near to be seen? No more hectically running around to find the closest copy shop because here it is: a tiny mobile print robot! Yay! Finally.

Unsurprisingly it is not (yet) as fast as your average giant home printer and the resolution of 96 x 192 dpi has still room for improvement but this is a promising start.

To use it, you simply place it on a sheet of paper with the tip pointing at the spot where it should start the printing process. It will then roll over the paper by the help of a wheel system.

Even without mobile use I’d be happy to call that little printer my own – who wants those big and ugly printers anymore, filling up our rooms, constantly getting clogged with dust far too quickly and going haywire way too soon and too often? And those cables!

Agreed? Check out ZUtA Labs Kickstarter campaign!


HPSTR Pyramid


The HPSTR Pyramid is an attempt to create an alternative — but native to digital world — interface, to conventional knobs and slide controls. It’s an approach to have the same basic and generic functionality a knob has but to achieve it with a more natural interaction.

The HPSTR Pyramid has no visible interface but is the interface itself. The tetrahedron is played by pressing or tapping its sides and by altering the spatial orientation.

For somebody who does not know what the instrument does and how it is operated it is nearly impossible to find out by only looking at it. But once the pyramid is played or seen in action the functionality becomes very obvious.

You can recreate the Pyramid electronics with the data on our Website.

The HPSTR pyramid was developed by Flavio Gortana within the scope of the “Musical Interfaces” class 2012/13 at FH Potsdam.

Twitter: @flaviogortana   Mail: [email protected] 

Fashiontech by Anouk Wipprecht

What does fashion lack? “Microcontrollers” – this states dutch fashiontech designer Anouk Wipprecht on her website. And if you have a look at her portfolio, you will most certainly agree.

Intimacy for example is the name of a dress which thanks to smart e-foils becomes transparent based on personal interactions.

Another one is the Pseudomorphs dress: At first an innocent white, it soon becomes unique  and quite colorful, when ink trickles out of diverted medical equipment and tubes to find its way down the dress, creating a new pattern every time.

The Melodic Scribe

How can you make music visible? Jihye Kang and Victor Gonzalez explored this question and developed the Melodic Scribe, which drops paint on  porcelain plates according to the melodies and notes of the music played.


Every platte pattern is unique like the music is with every different musician.

melodic scribe #1 from Jihye Kang on Vimeo.

You can access the Fritzing Data and Arduino Code on the Fritzing Website and build one yourself!


A project of the FH Potsdam, class “Musical Interfaces” by Stefan Hermann, 2012/13.

Who wouldn’t want to try the Pee Analyser?

Wow! That is an awesome idea!

In 2012 alone Singapore had to face over 2100 cases of drunk driving, some with disastrous endings. The club Zouk engaged an agency to keep their guests from driving when they definitely should not drive anything anymore by themselves and they managed to come up with a fun way to do so: the Pee Analyser.

Former parking cards were replaced with RFID cards. As soon as the drivers used the toilet the cards got activated through a urinal testing device that measures the alcohol level in the urine. If they were hammered, they got the strong recommendation to take a taxi or could even use the clubs’ drive home service.

The Little Black Midi


We thought we should delight our readers a little by showing some dainties of creative electronics. Yummy.


doku deckblatt

This week we want to start with the awesome Little Black Midi.

The Little Black Midi is a dress for singers and instrumentalists performing on stage. Equipped with copper plates, it will activate midi samples being played when the singer touches the plates with his/her copper ring. The dress enables the musician to combine singing, making music as well as dancing while being on stage.

The Little Black Midi was developed by Naomi Knopf while doing a class on musical interfaces held by Stefan Hermann in 2012/13 at the FH Potsdam.

Here you can see her performing a song with the dress:

The dress was realized with the Arduino software, a teensy, the Ableton programme and a lot of patience and trial and error. Congratulations on the dress, Naomi!