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Arduino Starter Kit Competition INDEX:


Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 1

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 2

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 3

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 4

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 5 (motor fun)

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 6

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 7

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Final Part and Conclusions


Project Book - 13 Touchy-Feely Lamp


This project in the Arduino Projects Book makes use of a library by Paul Badger which utilises two of the Arduino's digital pins to sense capacitance. The project builds an LED lamp which when a metal plate (e.g. the lamp's base) is touched will toggle the LED illumination. I wired mine to my Gerber Multitool - partly because I didn't want to go and find some tin foil(as suggested in the book), partly because it was easy to attach the wire (I just gripped it) and partly because I thought it could be expanded to make a really cool/interactive tool board. The circuit and accompanying sketch are:


#include <CapacitiveSensor.h>

CapacitiveSensor capSensor=CapacitiveSensor(4,2);

int threshold=500
const int ledPin=12;

void setup() {

void loop() {
  long sensorValue=capSensor.capacitiveSensor(30);

  if (sensorValue>threshold){
  else {



Summary of Project 13 TouchyFeely Lamp

Yet another totally different project idea and one that introduces the wider concept of community libraries and the capacitance library. The project book allocates 45 minutes for building this although it took much less. As you can see the circuit is really quite simple...but worked flawlessly. Other ideas would be to include the MOSFET driver from previous projects to drive a higher current LED or a motor.


Project Book - 14 Tweak The Arduino Logo


This is a totally different project to those before and one that uses the Arduino to send data to the user's computer....using a Java based programming Integrated Development Environment (IDE) called Processing. Unfortunately I couldn't install the Processing software (I'm on Windows 10 and double clicking the EXE file resulted in nothing happening) - similar to this unanswered post on their help forum. The code for the Processing software effectively reads the data from the Serial port (as sent from the Arduino) and changes the background colour of a logo on the user's computer.


However, it isn't a nice feeling giving up so I thought if there was an alternative way I could read the serial port; I decided to use Visual Studio.NET and C#. I made some code last night and tested it out this evening, corrected some errors and finally have a working project similar to that in the project book. For anyone following a similar route: remember you have to close the Arduino IDE and leave the Arduino running the basic Sketch (writing continuously the potentiometer value to the serial port). If you don't your computer 'reader program' will fail as the COM port will appear as busy.


The bytes sent from the Arduino are used in my code to vary the blue component of the Arduino logo's RGB value from 0 to 255 (0 giving a white background). Several screenshots for byte values received of 0,160 and 255 are:




Summary of Project 14 (Tweak The Arduino Logo)

This project took much longer than the stated 45 minutes!  However, it still shows some really useful ideas in that you can output data from an Arduino and use it in your computer....we control the logo colour but it could be temperature data, wind speed, pressure, servo position, motor speed etc. It is a shame the Processing software doesn't install and that might cause issues for people following the book. Hopefully they will stumble upon this (or other similar workarounds) and realise what the chapter is trying to show.


[ Onward to the last part of the Arduino Project Book....  ]