Organize and Share your Electronics the way you want. Sign-Up for a free account now. It takes only 30 seconds!

Retrofit your old appliances with new controls

Retrofit your old appliances with new controls

Unfortunately, home appliances aren’t a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. What works for some may not always work so well for others. With this in mind, Raf Ramakers and the Autodesk Research team have developed a system that will enable you to retrofit your everyday devices with new controls that better suit your needs. RetroFab provides even the most non-tech-savvy users with a design and fabrication environment through which they can easily repurpose their existing physical interfaces with the help of 3D scanning, printing and basic electronics.

We present RetroFab, an end-to-end design and fabrication environment that allows non-experts to retrofit physical interfaces. Our approach allows for changing the layout and behavior of physical interfaces. Unlike customizing software interfaces, physical interfaces are often challenging to adapt because of their rigidity. With RetroFab, a new physical interface is designed that serves as a proxy interface for the legacy controls that are now operated using actuators. RetroFab makes this concept of retrofitting devices available to non-experts by automatically generating an enclosure structure from an annotated 3D scan. This enclosure structure holds together actuators, sensors as well as components for the redesigned interface. To allow retrofitting a wide variety of legacy devices, the RetroFab design tool comes with a toolkit of 12 components.

After loading the 3D scan, you can highlight and select the device’s controls on the model. The system then creates a 3D-printable rendering and offers redesign suggestions. From there, RetroFab automatically generates a housing that fits over the original interface and holds a series of actuators, motors, LEDs and other components, which are all connected to an Arduino.

The individual Arduino microcontrollers that control the enclosure structures run a generic firmware that handles the GPIO pins as well as the wireless communication. Even for retrofitted devices that do not intercommunicate, user input and sensor data from the retrofitted interface is first transmitted from the Arduino microcontroller to the central PC. This module then decides to turn on specific RetroFab actuators and sensors, controlled by the same or a different Arduino microcontroller. This approach makes it possible to change the behavior and interconnect retrofitted devices even after the design and fabrication is completed.

Using its accompanying mobile app, RetroFab also lets you easily interconnect and remotely control your gadgets — whether it’s setting the time on a retrofitted alarm clock or turning off a light switch right from your phone. You can read all about the project in its paper here, or watch the video below.

Read more Here







 

More Articles to Read

An Arduino round word clock
An Arduino round word clock
The Sandwich-o-Matic will make your lunch automatically
The Sandwich-o-Matic will make your lunch automatically
An Arduino-controlled automated whiskey distillery
An Arduino-controlled automated whiskey distillery
The Rex800 looks like a dinosaur Terminator
The Rex800 looks like a dinosaur Terminator
Wrist thrusters let you fly through the water effortlessly
Wrist thrusters let you fly through the water effortlessly
Adjusting clock with alarm, hygrometer & thermometer on 1.8″ ST7735 display
Adjusting clock with alarm, hygrometer & thermometer on 1.8″ ST7735 display
Adding an “extra sense” with rangefinders
Adding an “extra sense” with rangefinders
This wireless game controller looks like a rug
This wireless game controller looks like a rug
How to run your ESP8266 for years on a battery
How to run your ESP8266 for years on a battery
Making beats on a tiny Arduino DJ controller
Making beats on a tiny Arduino DJ controller
This Arduino machine will judge how sick your ollies are
This Arduino machine will judge how sick your ollies are
Turn an old payphone into a boombox for ’90s hits
Turn an old payphone into a boombox for ’90s hits
QuadBot is a 3D-printable walking robot for everyone
QuadBot is a 3D-printable walking robot for everyone
An Arduino tachometer for your older vehicle
An Arduino tachometer for your older vehicle
Harry Potter fans create a fully-functioning smart wand
Harry Potter fans create a fully-functioning smart wand
A 3D-printed lunar phase clock for your nightstand
A 3D-printed lunar phase clock for your nightstand
Create your own Red Dwarf Talkie Toaster replica
Create your own Red Dwarf Talkie Toaster replica
The Orbitalochka is a solar-powered satellite synth
The Orbitalochka is a solar-powered satellite synth
Building a “laser sky” effect generator with Arduino
Building a “laser sky” effect generator with Arduino
Teslapathic! Hackers build a brain-controlled Tesla
Teslapathic! Hackers build a brain-controlled Tesla

Top


Shares