Arduino makers project - Nelson

Made with Arduino Micro

arduino Micro

Authors |


Nelson is a tiny connected module designed to bring life remotely to everyday objects. It's based on a very simple forward and backward movement as we do in the everyday life, like pushing a switch. Connected on the internet it allows to trigger setups the user made beforehand. Designed and built with the help of the designer Arthur Didier, this project is the completion of my studies, by working toward most of the fields of Interaction design and industrial design to mix them in an innovative creation.

Tutors: Alain Bellet, Cyril Diagne, Gael Hugo, Christophe Guignard,
Vincent Jacquier
Assistants : Matthieu Minguet, Laura Perrenoud, Tibor Udvari
ECAL / University of Art and Design, Lausanne Switzerland


What have you made?

I made a « Lifehacking IoT module ».

What gave you the initial inspiration?

I took a look on the IoT scene and projects, and i found out most of products were super specifics and were dictating the usage. My point was to make a totally open, hackable and customizable product which wouldn’t cost too much.

What is the original idea behind this project?

The original idea is basically inspired by mechanical toys I use to have when I was a kid, I always have been fascinated by how with mechanics you can start with a super simple movement (i.e. rotation) and transform it in more complex and elaborate sequence. The point of Nelson is to be the initiating « super simple movement » of more elaborate structures the user is making.

How does it work?

First you set it with your smartphone.

There are multiple features:
You can Control it remotely.
You can set a move pattern and trigger it.
You can set a timer to trigger a pattern.
Then you make your installation, you can put it almost anywhere thanks to magnets on each face, and set up your chain reaction.

Finally the movement will be activate as you sat it and initiate your scenario.

How long did it take to make it real?

I would say 4-5 month (my diploma semester) for having a first functioning prototype.

How did you build it?

The structure is laser-cutted PMMA, with 3D printed small parts to connect and fill the edges. inside we have an Arduino, which is the brain, an ESP-8266 module to connect the Arduino on Wi-Fi, and a Servo motor and gears to make the movement. Also there are on each faces pretty strong Neodyme magnets. And Finally there is a totally customizable paper cover to make it fit in any situation, you can print and cut your own model if you want to camouflage it on your wallpaper.