Great Projects

This new section of the blog will link to projects and products that I have found interesting for one reason or another.

I will highlight some of the factors I believe make the featured projects great, if you agree, disagree, the project is yours or think I have missed something, please use the comments.

Feel free to suggest your own project or someone elses as well.

Conways Game Of Life by R0D0T

Conways game of life has been around since 1970 but has rarely looked as fresh as this -

For more details and a game based on the same set up see R0D0T's Tumblr pages -

R0D0T has an enviable sense of design, everything about this Arduino based game of life is stunning, from the steam punk style leather enclosure to the presentation of the spawning sequence and the game of life itself.

Its a masterclass in detail and online product presentation.

Some simple observations we can all take away from R0D0Ts work -

No narrative, if its good, you don't need to explain it.
Your audience wants to see or hear what a project does, people have a limited amount of time and will make a quick decision on whether they give it to your project. If you open by explaining the technical challenges or the components used you will actively push people away.

A good example of this problem can be seen in many drum machine projects that start out with a build up.

Don't build up. Get your best content into the first twenty or thirty seconds, then you can earn the right to show how you got there and you really do need to earn that right.

If you wait till 4:30 to get to your best content most of your potential audience will have left four minutes ago.

Enclosures really matter

Would I be sharing R0D0Ts work if it was on bread board ? No. We all know what a jumble of jumper wires looks like, we have our own and do not need to see yours, sorry but its true.

What we want to be entertained by is clever enclosures, that fit the project theme.

Here is a great example of an effective enclosure from Lucas Zanella - the addition of two metal arms and a drawn on smile have transformed this otherwise boxy robot into something which has been viewed 28,000 times on youtube. Take away the arms and the smile and that little forward lean that makes him look like he really really needs to get somewhere and you could probably take away 25,000 of those viewers.

Another example of a great enclosure together with a very clever user interface here from Arduino Forum user Kiwimew. A really nice feature of this clock is the fact that it has no buttons, every mode including setting the time is accessed through a hidden accelerometer which senses the clock position. It is also the best use of a toothbrush holder you will ever see, yes, the enclosure is a bamboo toothbrush holder which looks fantastic in clock form.

You can find more about this project here on the Arduino forum -,120432.0.html

Totally appropriate music or no music at all.

The dark tone of the music used by R0D0T is totally appropriate to the project, in the case of the smiley little robot above, some 8-bit chip tunes may have worked.

The important point to consider here is how would an 8-bit chip tune have effected your perception of the game of life project ? Not in a good way. If you can't find the right track, no track might be the best option.

Get Straight Into It

I work in the software industry and one of my pet hates is people explaining the login procedure during a demonstration. Everyone who uses a computer knows what a login screen is, what it does and how to use it so why take my time to show me yours ?

A common example of this -

Connecting a battery at the start of your video - Please stop this madness !

If you want to add anything to the points above, found it useful or want to suggest a project that should be featured, feel free to use the comments below or contact me - user name DuaneB on the Arduino forum

Duane B


  1. I think your point about the battery/login demo really depends on your target audience. Sure showing the battery connection to someone who has made circuits or currently has electrical knowledge is likely going to be redundant, just like your login example where you find login information useless as your likely already a highly competent computer user.

    Now show that same information to someone with little or no prior knowledge and those little details can become key to their understanding.

    So sure, I wouldn't present how to login to a room filled with developers, but if the room was full of managers I would reconsider.

    Considering the arduino is a first step into the world of electronics for many I don't think you can overdo it with details.

    So please, keep those battery connections comming!


  2. Hi Scott, I have been reconsidering that point - while search for synthesizer ideas, I found that some of the videos with a brief silent set up at the start actually build my interest and anticipation.

    Duane B

  3. Fantastic job one spain men , regadss.