21 Popular Hackster Projects From 2021

As we get ready for 2022, let's take a look back at some awesome projects uploaded to Hackster over the last 12 months.

To commemorate the end of 2021 and another spectacular year of this community's awesome projects, we have compiled a list of 21 popular posts that were made over the last 12 months. Do note that these entries are in no particular order, and every single one is a great achievement.

1. Arduglasses

Created by Kevin Bates, inventor of the Arduboy, the Arduglasses are the next leap forward in terms of homemade wearable gaming. They feature a pair of transparent OLED displays housed within frames that are also PCBs. Best of all, the glasses are fully Arduboy-compatible, so any existing games can also run on them.

2. Machine learning-powered speed trap

In order to catch people who were speeding down a residential street, Rob Lauer came up with a device that uses a Raspberry Pi and camera module, along with machine learning, to identify vehicles driving past. Once a speed is detected with radar, the data is streamed to the cloud where it could then be monitored.

3. The Forest Guardian

Illegal logging of forests is a large problem, with nearly 19 million acres being destroyed per year. As his solution and winning submission to the Challenge Climate Change contest, Pratyush Mallick created the Forest Guardian that utilizes machine learning and a microphone to determine when trees are being cut. Best of all, the whole thing is powered entirely by a solar panel and transmits its findings wirelessly.

4. Detecting plant droopiness with TensorFlow Lite

When plants begin to dry out, also known as drought stress, their leaves lose turgor pressure and start to droop. The device built by Salma Mayorquin and Terry Rodriguez combines an Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense with an ArduCAM module to classify plants and determine when they need water. This has the added benefit of preventing overwatering since water is only provided when necessary.

5. The Vectron VGA Plus

Based on his first iteration of a VGA graphics generator, Nick Bild's Vectron VGA Plus was created with the intent of providing a graphics adapter to retro computers or microcontrollers. The large PCB contains a plethora of 74-series as well as far more RAM for storing the framebuffer.

6. Pick-N-Place Wheel

The process of assembling a PCB by hand with SMD components is tedious and can lead to mistakes. The Pick-N-Place Wheel by Ahmed Oyenuga solves many of these problems by combining a pair of concentric wheels with two rotary encoders to track component locations. This allows someone to enter their parts list and where each part is located on the wheel for a more seamless experience.

7. Recognizing leukemia with a Jetson Nano

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of leukemia in children, so being able to detect it both early and accurately was of great importance to Adan Milton-Barker. His device uses a Jetson Nano, an Intel NUC Kit, and plenty of labeled images to determine if a sample is cancerous by passing them through a TensorRT model.

8. Avoiding obstacles with the Azure Percept

Goran Vuksic's Perceptmobile is a great demonstration of how creative one can be when making a robot car. The system involves taking images from the Percept's camera module, identifying obstacles in the way, and sending commands to the Lego Boost chassis over HTTP to quickly dodge them.

9. The Ahmsville Dial V2

The Ahmsville Dial V2 is a massive improvement from the previous version of Ahmed Oyenuga's custom controller. Fully 3D-printed, this device houses capacitive touch, wireless communication, tactile switches, haptic feedback, programmable LEDs, and five degrees of motion. Best of all, it comes in four variants that can contain only a subset of the previously mentioned features for a smaller footprint.

10. Modern jukebox

This modern take on the classic design of the jukebox was created by Hackster user thisoldgeek. It not only allows for people to wirelessly stream their music, but also see what's currently playing on a large touchscreen. The set of diffused RGB LEDs on the sides add a layer of ambience reminiscent of the jukeboxes everyone is familiar with.

11. Putting tic-tac-toe on a business card

It seems like gaming consoles keep getting smaller, and that is exactly the case here with Ryan Chan's clever use of the typical business card. His pocket-sized game uses a grid of blue and red LEDs, as well as an ATmega328P, to play tic-tac-toe with your next possible business associate.

12. Mini Pupper robotic dog

Based on Boston Dynamic's Spot, this robot prototype, called the "Mini Pupper," is a surprisingly advanced platform for experimenting with robotics. Built by MangDang, this system features various walking patterns, facial expressions, and can even be expanded with Lidar and/or a camera for object and spatial tracking.

13. Talking fennec fox companion bot

Earlier this year, our very own Alex Glow has come out with another companion bot named F3N. Like Archimedes, the shoulder-mounted robot can talk, move, and recognize a few partial phrases. Hopefully, we'll get to see it do even more things in the coming months as Glow refines its design.

14. Autonomous litter detection robot

No one likes coming across litter, especially since it leads to pollution and can harm animals through plastic waste/disease. This is what inspired Kutluhan Aktar to make an autonomous litter detection robot that uses a camera and Edge Impulse to recognize litter and alert someone to its presence on the ground.

15. Ariel forest fire detection

As their first-place winning entry in the Eyes on Edge contest, project creators Nathaniel Felleke, Toren Andersen, and Erik Sampat came up with a system that uses an autonomous long-range drone to look at the ground and spot forest fires with TinyML. If one is detected, the results can be sent over 40km with its onboard RFD900x Telemetry Modem.

16. A pumpkin that breathes fire

For this year's Halloween celebrations, Zachary Fields turned up the heat (pun intended) by incorporating a flamethrower into his jack-o-lantern. It's based around the Swan microcontroller from Blues Wireless and can be triggered remotely via a cellular connection. In terms of safety, this pumpkin comes equipped with an ultrasonic distance sensor to ensure people don't get too close.

17. Intelligent indoor herb harvester

To get a better handle on how his herbs are growing, Mithun Das added a Seeed Wio Terminal, along with several sensors, to a planter. This setup allowed him to control exactly how much water is being added, in addition to monitoring light/humidity levels. All of this information is displayed in real-time on the front of the planter box.

18. A joke-sending telephone powered by a Raspberry Pi Pico

This telephone, built by Sai Yamanoor and Srihari Yamanoor, comes with a special feature: the ability to text you a joke! Whenever someone enters a phone number followed by the # character, a webhook is sent which tells Twilio to grab a joke and send it to the number entered.

19. Displaying graphics across multiple SPI screens

Walls made from many television panels have been around for a while now, but Josue Alejandro was able to expand this idea to an array of SPI-driven displays. Typically, this is used to show a clock, although it can also showcase other images/GIFs the user wishes to use.

20. Marker-based augmented reality system

Showcasing the power of the Ultra96-V2 from Avnet and Xilinx, Mario Bergeron's project incorporates high-speed video processing with augmented reality tools for a marker-based AR system. It is primarily for color calibration which takes a color matching card and compares it to the colors read by the camera.

21. The smallest E Ink reader

To end this list, Roni Bandini's Haiku E Ink Reader is an amazingly small reading device that contains just an ESP32 dev kit and a 2.9-inch E Ink display from Waveshare. It works by loading in bitmaps of the virtual pages being read, and Bandini has hinted at adding SD card compatibility for a more expandable system.

Looking forward to 2022

2021 was a great year for projects that do everything from letting users play games in a new way to saving our planet by reducing litter and deforestation. We at Hackster look forward to seeing what our community can create in both the next year and beyond.

Arduino “having11” Guy
20 year-old IoT and embedded systems enthusiast. Also produce content for Hackster.io and love working on projects and sharing knowledge.
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