Make: Volume 77 — Machine Learning

From an exciting array of low-cost hardware to more plug-and-play training modules, it’s easier than ever for makers to incorporate machine learning into personal projects. In Make: Volume 77, we take a look at new tools you can use to train AI modules right now like Tensor Flow, Edge Impulse, and Lobe, and show how to use frameworks like Tensor Flow Lite to squeeze trained AI onto a Raspberry Pi or Arduino. 

Our cover story details how to make an AI-empowered artificial nose that can sort coffee from tea, or identify whatever else you train it to smell. Next in this section we show: how to build a teddy bear that listens and Tweet-shames you when it hears a swear word, how to make a trash-sorting camera using Lobe and Raspberry Pi, and how to monitor your 3D printer for failed prints with an AI watchdog.

Plus, get the inside scoop on Tesla coil-powered band ArcAttack’s new mini musical coil kit.

Also find 23 projects inside, including:

  • Track meteors entering the atmosphere with a Raspberry Pi
  • Modify a vintage iPod to stream music from Spotify
  • Make an animated light-up skirt with 120 hidden full-color LEDs that respond to your movements
  • Add some arctic ambience to your home with a quick Arduino-powered Aurora Borealis light setup
  • And much more!

On the Cover: Benjamin Cabé’s electronic nose uses artificial intelligence for aroma identification.

Table of Contents



What happens when your devices break up with you?Page 06

Made on Earth

Backyard builds from around the globe.Page 08


Struck Twice

When Covid killed ArcAttack’s live performances, they pivoted to create a DIY musical Tesla coil kit. Then the pandemic struck again. Page 12

Shop Tour: Nemo Gould

Take a peek inside the Oakland, California-based artist’s workshop and his impressive collection of tools and treasures.Page 20

Machine Learning

Deeper Learning

Level up your AI skillset and dive into the deep end of TinyML — machine learning on microcontrollers. Page 22

Second Sense

Make a smart sniffer that can sort coffee from tea, choose your favorite booze, or whatever else you train it to smell!Page 32

The Swear Bear

Cute but evil, it listens for curse words — then internet-shames you and your foul mouth. Page 38

Clean Up Your Act

Use Lobe and Raspberry Pi to build a machine-learning rig that directs items to the right waste bin. Page 44

The Spaghetti Detective

Let AI watch your 3D printer’s every move and alert you when it fails! Page 48



Takashi Kaburagi made a Rubik’s Cube that can solve itself. (Oh yeah, and it levitates.) Page 60

Digital String Art Portraits

Make an old craft new with algorithmic designs that produce amazing artworks from thread. Page 68

sPot: The Spotify iPod

Hack a 17-year-old iPod to stream Spotify with the most satisfying user interface — the click wheel. Page 74

Raspberry Pi Meteor Camera

Build your own fireball tracker and become a citizen scientist in the Global Meteor Network. Page 82

Exploring the Microverse: DIY Conservation Tech

Protect wildlife — or just learn your neighborhood creatures — using mighty microcontrollers. Page 88

Remaking History: Galileo’s Sector

Make and use the simple but powerful mathematical tool behind Renaissance art, architecture, and artillery. Page 94

Next-Level Air Rockets

Chutes? Electronics? You can help design the next upgrades to this popular rocket kit.Page 100

New From Make: Projects

See some of our favorite builds from here — and share your own!Page 102

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Fun With Pop-Up Stamps

Re-create this trick postage stamp to make pop-up toys and cards.Page 104

1+2+3 Arduino Borealis

Add some arctic ambience to your home with these northern-esque lights. Page 106

1+2+3 Home Phone Fun

Assemble a simple intercom system using your existing landline wiring. Page 107

Skill Builder

Pixel Knitting

Hack a classic 1980s knitting machine to knit your own patterns and photos, from simple image files.Page 108

Talk to the World

Amateur digital voice puts ham radio over the internet to let you communicate clearly around the globe.Page 118



Gear up with the latest tools and kits for makers.Page 122

Over the Top

Geeky Beach Gadgets

Even a relaxing day at the beach is a perfect opportunity to deploy new builds and technology.Page 128