Secret Make Controller project

Secret Make Controller project


My friend Usman Muzaffar and I are going to collaborate on a project using the Make Controller (MC). We decided to set a few constraints at the outset and then create something within those constraints.

  1. the controller be hidden inside a hollowed out book.
  2. take advantage of enough of the MC’s features so as to differentiate it from an Arduino project. No sense building on a $109 platform that which you can build on a $35 one.
  3. keep it untethered from a computer (no USB or Ethernet cables plugged in). If we want data I/O we’ll have to use a wireless component like a ZigBee Xbee.

I brought this to the 2008 Bay Area Maker Faire and solicited project ideas from a bunch of people who came by the Make: magazine booth. From this feedback and some brainstorming with Usman, we are homing in on an idea: The book will sit on your coffee table watching you watching TV. It will sense your IR remote and somehow battle you for control over the TV, perhaps providing you with literary quotes on a display embedded in the book. I’d love to have it open with servos. If we can find the time, we’ll try to build this before the 2009 Maker Faire.

2 thoughts on “Secret Make Controller project

  1. charlie says:

    #2 will not be easy. sure, an arm7 has a lot more power than an atmega, but good luck putting it to use. these are best left to mass produced electronics coordinating flash memory, video decoder ic’s, full color displays, and high-speed data transfer. (pda, digital camera, dvr, etc.) most hobbyist projects don’t nearly take advantage of all the power of the humble avr. the ir emitter + detector + lcd idea just wont cut it. …and something to “battle you for control over the TV” is called a woman, and we all know better that to give one of those a remote.

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John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He builds project for Adafruit Industries. You can find him at and twitter/IG @johnedgarpark

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