5 DIY Tech Projects That Make Living Fun and Easy – MakeUseOf

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There are hundreds of tech DIY projects that make living easier. When done right, these projects can be beneficial for you and everyone else in your household.

From a sustainable smartphone charger that uses fire to an IoT-based coffee machine, here are five awesome tech DIY project ideas to try in your free time.

1. Add Wi-Fi to Your Mirrorless Camera

Manually transferring images and videos from your DSLR to PC and then to your smartphone is a task every DSLR owner dreads. Buying a Wi-Fi-enabled DSLR, on the other hand, isn’t always an option as they’re pretty expensive. Luckily, there are two simple DIY ways to add Wi-Fi to your mirrorless DSLR.

The first one is through a Wi-Fi-enabled SD card. Next, you’ll download an app for either Android or iOS, key in the activation code on the card, and leave the app open. After that, every image or footage you capture is automatically transferred to your smartphone or PC.

If your mirrorless DSLR lacks SD card compatibility, use manufacturer-specific or third-party adapters to add Wi-Fi to your mirrorless DSLR. For manufacturer-specific adapters, check out the company’s website for instruction as these vary.

For a third-party adapter, connect it to your camera’s USB hub, turn it on, and create a network between it and your device via wireless network settings, and you can now use it to control the DSLR wirelessly.

2. Sustainable DIY Smartphone Charger

Whether you’re always hiking or out of power due to a storm, this sustainable DIY smartphone charger will make living easier for you. It harnesses energy from a real fire! For this, you’ll need a thermoelectric module (it harnesses energy from the fire), an empty coffee can, a bendable rod, a smartphone charger, and a large wire.

Using a utility knife, cut out a four inch square hole on the can and drill two holes, about three inches apart on one side of the can and two more on the opposite side. Next, bend the rod into a U-shape, and put it through the holes you just drilled, and drill six more holes on the can’s bottom for ventilation.

Next, cut off the USB connector on your charger, and solder the exposed negative and positive wires onto the thermoelectric module. Attach the hot side of the module on the coffee can using the wire, and start a fire using kindling.

Plugin your phone and wait for the module to build up enough heat to charge your phone. You can even make a snack on the fire as you wait. Indisputably, this is a tech DIY project that makes living easier, especially if you’re always off-the-grid.

The best bit? It’s sustainable.

3. DIY Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Robotic vacuum cleaners like Roomba are incredibly efficient but come with pretty hefty price tags. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave a dent in your budget buying one since you can always DIY it. You will need an acrylic base to mount the smartphone-controlled robot and ultrasonic sensors for obstacle detection.

Get an Arduino Nano to serve as the vacuum cleaner controller, a Bluetooth module to remotely control the robot with your smartphone, a large LiPo battery for power, and a HEPA air filter to expel air and dirt. The body is 3D printable, so you can create any design you fancy.

4. A Homemade Projector

Love watching your favorite movies on a large screen but can’t afford to buy multiple TV screens for every room in your home? Then this homemade projector is a tech DIY project that makes living easier for you. What’s more exciting is that you’ll be using easy-to-find items that are probably even in your home.

You’ll only need a cardboard shoebox, electrical tape/hot glue gun, magnifying glass, and your smartphone. Start by cutting out a hole big enough to fit your magnifying glass on one end of the shoebox, and attach the magnifying glass to the hole using an electrical tape or hot glue gun. Ensure you attach it tightly, and then using your paperclip, create a tiny stand for your smartphone. You can also use a firm board to make a stand for your phone.

Place your smartphone upside down, or rotate the screen through device settings so the image is upright when it goes through the magnifying lens. Then, put your favorite movie on, close the shoebox, get some popcorns, and enjoy.

5. An IoT-Controlled Coffee Machine

Imagine waking up to a cup of ready-made, perfectly-brewed coffee ready every morning? It may sound impossible, but this DIY IoT-controlled coffee machine project makes it a reality. Compared to other tech DIY projects that make living easier on our list, the project is slightly complex, but it’s something you can do.

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • A controller IoT board like the Atmega 328P
  • ESP8266 WIFI chip
  • Relay circuitry
  • Transistor
  • Connecting cables
  • MQTT protocol
  • NTP server- syncs device system clock with coordinated universal time
  • Window/Linux/macOS operating system
  • Python 2.7

Once complete, a Linux-based machine runs the Python script, comparing real-time with your desired coffee-making time. The expected time is written into the script, and once real and desired times are in sync, an “ON” command is sent to your coffee machine, prompting the relay to turn it on and make the coffee.

The machine will then turn off after a designated period. Note, besides the Python script, the IoT board also does a lot of heavy lifting. It controls the relay and communicates with the script via the MQTT protocol. The board is connected to the internet via the Wi-Fi module.

Have Fun Building Your DIY Device

There’s a lot of fun to have with the five tech DIY projects that make living easier above. You can try them out alone, with a friend, or even your kids. What’s more, you can customize each project according to your circumstances or use it as an inspiration to create something even better.



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