× Principles and Practices Group Project Choosing my wand FabISP Milling the board

Mohit Ahuja's Fabacademy 2021

Principles and Practices

First week of Fabacademy! I have helped Fabacademy students in the past at Fablab CEPT, Ahmedabad, but doing this on my own is a completely different feeling. My brain has been bursting with ideas about what to make for my final project. Which is perfect because that is exactly what we need to talk about in this week's assignment.

My background in various fields such as electronics, CAD, programming and teaching gives me a unique advantage when it comes to thinking about ideas. Since I can break down my ideas into the processes that will be required to make them, it allows me to quickly deduce if a project is doable or not in the duration of the Fabacademy. Although I am afraid that it might also limit me from thinking of radical ideas that might seem unrealistic to me.

Here is a couple of ideas for projects that I want to make for Fabacademy 2021.

  • Natraj - Music from Dance: A device that combines the voluntary and involuntary actions of the body to create music in interesting ways. For instance, using the heartbeat as a source of tempo, using body temperature or skin resistance or muscle electric impulses for some synth, or using a flex sensor or piezo disc sensor etc for cymbals or some kind of a string instrument. Or using a flow sensor for a wind instrument, or using potentiometer in the form of exoskeletons to measure movement and track that to some kind of a fretless instrument.

    The inspiration of this project actually came from reading about the Hindu god Shiva who is the god of destruction, but also of dance, hence the name Natraj, which breaks down into "nat" i.e. dance and "raj" meaning ruler, implying that Shiva is the ruler of the dancing artform.

    Surprisingly, there has been some work done in this field, atleast producing music from gestures and other non-conventional inputs has been achieved to some degree. Here is a video of the popular Indian music composer AR Rahman using Intel Curie's gesture sensing technology at a concert to do an instrument-less concert:

  • Camera Slider: A battery powered, easy to assemble and dis-assemble camera slider for travelling. This idea was actually a requirement of a close friend of mine who likes to trek and biking.

    This is already a very well covered topic, as you can see below:

    These two projects are especially interesting because they build a camera crane instead of a slider:

  • Better Meter: A multimeter that contains functions of costly multimeters but with a maker friendly interface and can be expanded by attaching more modules. It can be in the form of an Arduino Shield.

    This project idea arose from a personal need for measuring capacitances and inductances and other non standard parameters.

    Many youtubers have already done a lot of work on this and made oscilloscopes and multimeters using arduino:

    There was also this article on hackaday that I found pretty interesting:


    And the video of the multitool in question:

    A Hackaday article featuring a build of a 6-digit precision multimeter

    An Instructable for making an Arduino based multimeter

    Another amazing build of an Arduino-based multimeter or "Ardumeter" as coined by the creator of this project.

    An Instructable called Multiduino that acts as a multimeter as well as a components tester.

    This is an inspiring instructable that adds a HUD to a multimeter.

    A Fabacademy Final Project on making a modular multimeter

    I was also imagining a multimeter + oscilloscope watch. That would be cooooool! And as far as I know, there have been very few projects related to this.

    A link to a commercially available multimeter watch

    A user on the r/diyelectronics subreddit looking for contributors for his ESP32 based smartwatch multimeter.

  • WebIt: A Robot Spider that can make webs. This idea came to me a few years ago when I was imagining different combinations of existing diy projects. Somehow the thought of combining a Quadruped robot with a 3D Printer hotend came to my mind. In retrospect I might have been inspired by multiple pre-existing projects such as the awesome spider-like web printing robotic arm, and the assemblers that Neil showed to Adam Savage on his Makerspace tour series. I'll link those videos down below.
  • Raspberry Pi Hackerstation: I have always been fascinated by the sheer smallness of the package in which the Raspberry Pi expertly packages an entire CPU, and also provides GPIOs. So I wanted to try my hands at making a portable hackerstation with Raspberry Pi at its heart.
  • Computer Aided Design Aid: This was an idea that I came up with when I saw one of our instructors try to teach us about CAD design, and how she had to awkwardly switch between using the mouse and keyboard and teaching with gestures to teach us about the CAD software that she was using. So I came up with an idea to incorporate the keyboard and mouse into a single wearable glove so that one could do the typical actions such as zooming, panning, rotating and moving objects etc. through preprogrammed gestures. This was the idea for CADA which is short for Computer Aided Design Aid. Here are some sketches of the initial idea:

    Different types of inputs that could be used to detect the gesture inputs

    The block diagram of the circuit that I might need:

    And here is what people have made before me:

    This is what I decided to be my Final project Idea.