One of the great things about Arduino is having the ability to create so many fun and exciting things. We can automatically post on Twitter, publish things online, and even control devices through the Internet. Arduino is accessible to beginners or experts, making it an ideal platform for prototypes and experiments. There are countless tutorials and example projects online to get you started.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some fun projects that can help you make the most out of your movie watching experience. While this article is an example of projects, it doesn’t include everything you need to complete these projects. Most of these projects can be found online in one form or another, but it’s best to create your own, which you can refine and improve as you learn more about the Arduino platform. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, because that’s what learning is about. This first project can be set to a movie or used as you listen to music.
And just as a reminder from a real-life developer, don’t forget to keep notes as you learn and develop. As you experiment, it’s easy to lose track of the changes you’re making. Some project iterations could be in the hundreds or thousands.
Want greater immersion when you’re watching movies? Using an Arduino board, we can make an ambient lighting system behind the screen with different modes of operation to enhance our movie watching. As we watch our movie, the lights will change colors in coordination with what’s happening on-screen.
Essentially, we take a series of RGB LED strips and attach them along the edges of the back of our monitor. Then, with our controller, we can change the colors and speed of changes submitted to the lights. Once we mount the strips behind our monitor, we are ready to enjoy the show.
There are a few different versions of this online and only require a quick search to find. You just need to figure out how much RGB you’ll need for your display size.
Automatic lighting system
An automatic lighting system lets us control our lighting to set the tone for our movie. We can set a timer to determine when to dim the lights or manage things manually using the controller. We can use switches, buttons, or a micro-controller that is programmed with specific functions such as dimming the lights when our projector screen comes down or when the movie begins to play.
This system works by connecting a relay to each lighting fixture you want to control. The Arduino board is a small computer, so we can program it to perform the functions we need, like controlling output devices or relays. To make our lighting system work, we need to connect our relays and sensors to the Arduino board. Once connected, we can write the code to read the sensors or control a relay that collects data, processes calculations, and controls the relay.
Projector screen controller
Watching movies on a big screen is a great experience, and there’s something about watching movies on a projector screen that captures that movie theater experience. This project will allow us to control our projector screen that can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. The objective here is to create a motorized screen that we control with our Arduino board. By pushing a button, our screen drops from the ceiling and we’re ready to enjoy the show.
For this project, we need the Arduino Uno, an Arduino motor controller, a strong motor, and a potentiometer to use as a limiting sensor. Depending on the size of the motor, you may need more power. The motor connects to the screen and the leads go to the potentiometer. From there, it goes to the Arduino Uno with a switch to send the screen up or down. The code is relatively simple, and once you have the basic structure, it’s possible to make it wireless using Bluetooth and your phone. Experiment with different variations and see what works best in the space you have.
3D printed glasses
Have both a 3D printer and a 3D movie you want to watch at home? Arduino has the ability to control a 3D printer and print 3D glasses. All we have to do is connect the board to our 3D printer to the board using the included USB port and cable. We, of course, have to use a computer first to send the code to the Arduino, but once that’s done, we can connect the 3D printer and start creating our glasses.
Once we’ve printed our glasses, we just need to add the colored lenses in order to view the movie in 3D. This project is a little more advanced for a beginner, but with the proper guidance, it’s totally possible. It’s even possible to build a complete 3D printer using Arduino — but that’s for another article!
While we didn’t get into the technical side of these projects, we still learned what is possible using an Arduino. If you are interested in finding out more, search for Arduino tutorials, and visit sites like Github that can help explain the code and provide examples. You can ask questions and become part of a greater community that hosts a wide variety of open-source projects.
Writing code for Arduino does require an understanding of C or C++, if you want to access the complete Arduino API and platform. There are other languages you can use with Arduino as well, such as Python or C#. There are also lots of scripting languages for those without much coding experience.
Plus, some Arduino starter kits come with accessories, so you might consider getting an Arduino that has a lot of parts and pieces. That way, you can jump right into even more projects beyond movie-watching. No matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, there’s always something fun to learn when creating projects using Arduino.