Category Archives: Projects

Remember the colours – a game

The following article is based on this entry on Newton’s blog (in Polish). All the pictures, program code and the video clip came from there.

This project’s goal was to use as many parts from the Arduino Starter Kit, as possible. So, what is this project exactly? As the title itself suggests, it’s a game, whose object is to remember a colour sequence and recreate it. At the very beginning the sequence consists of 3 colours only, hovever, the difficulty level increases – an extra colour is added each time. Every colour has a different tone assigned. This tone is emitted from a buzzer when the corresponding colour is displayed, so the game involves two senses, both sight and hearing. User interface consists of: RGB LED diode displaying the colours, 8 red LED diodes arranged in a row to display which colour in turn we are setting and two microswitch type buttons. By pushing both in the same time we are starting the game, the left button chooses the colour, the right – accepts. There are two more LED diodes, indicating whether we have recreated the sequence properly (left LED), or not (right LED).

Whole device mounted on a breadboard looks like the following:

Device mounted on a breadboard

You can see (and hear) how it works on this video clip. Hereunder is the circuit schematic made in Fritzing:

Circuit schematic

Circuit schematic

All the resistors used are 220Ω and the IC in the centre of the breadboard is 74HC595 shift register, which allows to drive eight LEDs using only three Arduino digital pins. This was described in “Shifted LEDs” article.

When everything is connected, we should take care of the code. At the beginning we must declare where we have connected what (to which input/output). The following code is responsible of it:

int latchPin = 8, clockPin = 12, dataPin = 3; //shift register
byte data = 0; //register data

int led8 = 7, led9 = 6; //additional LEDs
int ledR = 11, ledG = 10, ledB = 9; //LED RGB
int buttonLeft = 5, buttonRight = 4; //buttons
int speakerPin = 13; //buzzer

Here comes the initialization part – setting pin as input/output, turning internal pull-up resistors on and so on:

void setup()
  for(int i=3;i<=13;i++) // setting all the pins
    pinMode(i, OUTPUT); // from 3 to 13 as outputs
  pinMode(buttonLeft, INPUT); // setting the button pins
  pinMode(buttonRight, INPUT); // as inputs

  digitalWrite(buttonLeft, HIGH); // turning internal pull-up
  digitalWrite(buttonRight, HIGH); // resistors on
  randomSeed(analogRead(0)); // initializing the pseudorandom number generator
  // with the value read from analog input no. 0 
  // - each time it's different

If you are wondering what stands for such a strange notation:

 a ? b : c

here is the explanation.

The main loop of our program looks like the following:

void loop()
  if(waitForButton() == 3)

  for(int j=3;j<=8;j++)
    if(!playLevel(7, j))

Consecutively: at the beginning, effect() function turns on visual and light effects, clearLeds turns all the LEDs off. After that, unless the user pushes both buttons at the same time, what will cause a reset, playLevel function starts successive levels of the game, increasing the second parameter (number of the lights to remember) by 1. The first parameter denotes the total number of colours (from 0 to 7). Of course, we can lower it, but then the game will become too easy. It’s better to add another colours using setColor function (changing parameters in setRGB) and upgrade it. Then, we can put the total number of colours (remember – the numeration starts from 0!) as the first parameter of playLevel function to make the game more difficult and hence – more addicting ;).

The whole program code with comments is available here. I think it’s clear enough and doesn’t require any additional explanations.

Arduino’s eye, or about a photoresistor, not Tolkien’s mythology

Arduino’s eye – sounds like a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien, while it’s about connecting photoresistor to Arduino. With this article I would to begin short course dealing with basics of electronics.

Photoresistor is a element whose resistance is dependent of amount of light falling on it. What only remains is to measure this resistance. In which way?

For a playful use we will ignore accuracy, assuming simplified model.

How it looks?

Simple circuit built on breadboard

Simple circuit built on breadboard (click on the picture to see notes on Flickr)

Circuit diagram looks like the following:

Circuit diagram

Circuit diagram

What is depicted here is so called voltage divider. You can read on Wikipedia, how it works.

Briefly speaking, voltage on the junction point between two resistors will be varying according to resistance of the photoresistor. And this is what we will be measuring with our program.

This is its code:

// pin, from which we read the voltage
int photoPin = 0;
//the reading
int val = 0;

//initial configuration
void setup()
  pinMode(photoPin, INPUT); // setting the pin as input

void loop()
  //reading and standarizing to range 0-7
  val = analogRead(photoPin)/128;
  for (int i=0;i<=val;i++) {

Program (as hardly every on Arduino) consists of the section preparing the device to work (setup) and main loop (loop) evoked as long as the power is available…

In main loop the voltage is measured, then the reading is converted in range 0-7 (because Arduino reads voltage as a number from 0 to 1023, so dividing it by 128 and rounding down gives digit from 0 to 7) and appropiate number of diodes is lighted up. Short break, and loop again…

The result:

Arduino IDE during execution of our program

Arduino IDE during execution of our program

While the program is running, I’m covering the photoresistor with my hand, changing its resistance, and thus the voltage being read by Arduino from pin 0. The number of dots is proportional to the reading.

Part list:

Coming soon – how to physically show varying reading.

LED diodes – how to flash and light

Recently there was silence on Starter Kit, because before holidays I was preparing to Bootstrap 9.4, what took most of my free time. Now, taking advantage of free day I’m making up for it.

Previously, we were dealing with reading from external sensor (photoresistor). Now we will try to show this reading.

We will use 7 LED diodes arranged in a line making a kind of indicator – the more light falls on the photoresistor, the more diodes will light. Beginning from the end – how it looks in action:

Arduino’s Eye from Starter Kit on Vimeo.

Forgive poor quality, but mobile phone camera is the only tool I can use to perpetuate my experiments with Arduino.

But despite of that the effect is visible. Behind the frame I zoom in and out the photoresistor to a lamp as the diodes are lighting up and fading out.
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