Comunikino, an Arduino based communication system

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Social "things" have replaced traditional ways of communication like sms and mails. One day i needed a new, fast, mobile and snappy way of communication. So i made Comunikino.


It consists of two main parts, a script in python that runs on the PC and a box that goes on desktop connected through an USB cable used for data and power (no external power needed if you use a 500mA capable usb port!). You need to create a mailbox for Comunikino with pop access, i raccomend to use gmail as many providers don't offer pop access for free mailboxes.

Using Comunikino is simple, just send a mail to its mailbox and the subject will be printed to its LCD (max 16 chars). Who reads the message can use one of three Comunikino's buttons to send a mail back to the address setted in python script to say yes, no or readed (this button can also to be used to say: “hey! I'm thinking of you”). Simple, isn't it?

What You'll Need

  • 1 Arduino (I've used a 2009)
  • 1 Basic Servo
  • 1 LCD screen (I've used a 16×2 LCD based on SPLC780D chip which is totally compatible with Arduino LCD library that is made for HD44780 chip. Its voltage must be 5V!)
  • 3 Push-button (Momentary normally open push button)
  • 1 Rotary Potentiometer (Rotary Shaft Potentiometer; see datasheet for maximum resistance)
  • 1 Metal or plastic box (I used a 13,5×7,5×5,5 cm metal box but you can use anything similar.)

Built instructions




The flag

Can be made by wood, mdf, or cardboard.


Putting things together

(you can note a recycled hard disk flat cable used to connect LCD, ricycling is good!)


Setting up software

Now get the code (Linux and windows version available) and configure python script with the data of the mailbox you have created for Comunikino (gmail is highly recommended). You can do this just editing the script with a text editor. At the beginning you will find variables that you have to change, read comments for explanation! You need also to download and burn into Arduino the sketch comunikino.ino. Remember, before launching python script you have to connect Comunikino to PC or it will quit with an error. I advice you to leave Comunikino linked to the computer and make the script run on start up. Comunikino will inform you that it is ready to communicate with a mail every time computer is turned on.

Final result

Comunikino is ready!