Like most people, I remember the first Arduino project I made. I was on the internet of things events, and I built an Arduino from scratch. (sometimes called «Arduino shrimp») to which I attached an LED. Then I wrote a simple program to make this LED blink — in essence, hello world from Arduino.

I remember it well. I also remember thinking: «What’s next?»

When you first learn to program, you approach it iteratively. You write something in the console. Then you will learn about variables and functions. Then you’ll learn how to write more adventurous programs by incorporating the code other people have written into your projects.

But building products for physical computing is not the same, because there is no such thing as logical progress. You just have to experiment and work things out as you go. I think it helps to have something to strive for and something to strive for. These six Arduino projects fit the bill.

Arduino Powered Tea Maker

Some stereotypes about the British are not true. For the most part, their teeth are in order. They’re not all stupid, polite aristocrats, nor are they all football hooligans either. Although they love tea, this stereotype is true.

I came across this Arduino kettle on Reddit. It is essentially a movable arm, powered by some servos, and made of metal and cardboard.

You can see how it works in the video above. He plunges the sachet into a glass of boiling water until the tea has dissipated enough. Then he deftly shakes the sachet into an empty bowl to dispose of later. It’s basically a Rube Goldberg hot drink machine.

Version 2.0 automatically dropped the sugar cube into the cup.

Unfortunately there are no instructions to follow, but it doesn’t have to be too much difficult to find out.

If you’re ambitious, you can improve this design by adding some much-needed features. You can install an immersion heater to keep the water warm, a color sensor to check that your cup of tea is brewing optimally, and even some speakers to periodically scold people who pour milk last.

Phone Controlled BB8 Droid

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, despite fan division, was a highly coveted (and highly anticipated) shot in the arm for the franchise. It quickly broke box office records, and for the first time since «The Phantom Menace Star Wars toys are once again a sought-after Christmas gift.

Perhaps the most requested toy was the Sphero BB-8 toy (our review of the acclaimed toy for ), which was quickly snapped up and resold on eBay multiple times at the asking price.

If you still can’t get your hands on one, why not make your own? One guy on YouTube did just that by building his own using an Arduino and a few household items.

You can see him do it in the video above. If you want to make your own, the creator has created his own how-to guide at Instructables.com.

Arduino-Powered Solar Lamp

Waking up can be difficult. Especially when it’s dark outside and you just want to stay warm in your bed. It is for this reason that sales of rising alarm clocks have gone through the roof.

These are alarm clocks, but with one significant difference. They contain an LED light bulb that mimics a natural sunrise and gently wakes you up in a room flooded with natural bright light.

Unfortunately, they cost a lot to buy. The cheapest Philips Wake-Up Light costs about $70 on Amazon, which is a lot of money to spend on an alarm clock.

It’s cheaper (and probably more fun) to build your own. One YouTuber created his own using a dimmer, servo motor, LED lamp, and Arduino.

While he didn’t upload any specs or code, he did explain how he did it on a Reddit thread.

Arduino Light

Alternatively, our own DIY editor James Bruce has written his own guide to creating a night light.

LED pong clock

One of the most unusual Arduino projects I’ve seen is this clock. Yes, time will tell. But he will also play pong with himself. No, I don’t know why either. but looks cool.

To build it, you first need to buy a real list of parts, including two LED displays, a real-time clock chip, a crystal oscillator, and more. A complete list of components and instructions can be found on the official Instructables page.

But then you just need to assemble the parts, reprogram the code on the Arduino and turn it on.

Pumpktris

A couple of years ago we wrote an article that talked about how you can use your Arduino board in your Halloween decorations. How we missed it is beyond me. This is madness.

Yes, someone has been able to turn a pumpkin into a fully functional Tetris game with high scores, a display made from 128 LED lights and controlled by a pumpkin stem turned into a joystick. Watch the video below to see it in action.

Yes, it’s simple insanity but it represents what is so great about Arduino. This allows people to literally transform anything into art or play. You can find out how it was done on the creator’s personal blog and in Instructables.

GameBoy Printer

The GameBoy had a whole bunch of peripherals. You could get a GameBoy camera that would take grainy selfies and display them on an even grander LCD. There was even a GameBoy printer that let you print those selfies on thermal paper. It’s like the paper you print receipts on.

One company, Mad Catz, sold a cable that allows you to connect your computer to the camera. Unfortunately, it has since been discontinued and only worked with older versions of Windows anyway.

But with an Arduino, you can connect it to a computer and print from it. The video below shows this in action.

The code for this is on GitHub, as are the instructions. If you want to try these but don’t have a GameBoy printer, you can get them on eBay. They’re also smaller than you’d expect, with most around the $20 mark.

Inspired yet?

The above products are not easy to make and they are certainly ambitious. But they showcase what can be built with these tiny, affordable microcontrollers.

Have you found the Arduino projects you want to make? Were you inspired by someone else’s work? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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