Introduction: CLIFF BAR CLIFF MEASURER : How Tall Is a Cliff? + How High Can You Throw?. Find Out Using DIY Arduino Using Newtonian Kinematics!

About: Just a college student trying to learn some new things and teach some things too.


There have been multiple times in my life where I have either wondered how high I can throw something in the air OR wondered how high a cliff is. To solve this problem I created a program that will tell you exactly that! And You’ll be using a little bit of physics!

How it Works: (Quick Physics Lesson) If you’ve taken physics you may know this, but if you have not or simply don’t remember, EVERYTHING FALLS AT THE SAME RATE. That rate is the acceleration due to gravity. Example: Find something large or heavy like a rock and something that’s less heavy like a small toy or an eraser. Drop them at the same time, from the same height, and they are guaranteed to hit the ground at the same time with negligible difference due to air friction. When I first learned about this I thought this was nonsense because if I drop a piece of paper and huge textbook the same way, the paper always hits last. This however is only due to air resistance and friction from the air. My high school physics teacher showed me a little video of a bowling ball falling in a vacuum next to a feather. Check it out...

So How can you solve for height?

Good question, ever learned about that guy Sir Isaac Newton, he was running around doing math in the 17th Century. Well he derived all these equations for projectile motion where the acceleration is constant. And what do you know, Our acceleration is constant. Therefore if we use the first we can solve for distance. And by we I mean the Arduino.

Some Things to note and assumptions:

  • Both programs do not take in account air friction therefore any height above about 150 ft will get less accurate.
  • The Drop program where you drop an object, you must not throw the object at the ground simply let it go and leave the rest to Gravity! ( Why would you want to do that extra work anyway, Gravity has got you covered).
  • The Throw program where you see how high you throw, try to catch the object you are throwing at around the same height you threw it for the most accurate result.
  • Measured distances are from highest point during time recorded



For the electronics Computer to Upload code

The following can all be obtained in Elegoo Super Starter Kit Link:

Or separately if preferred:

  • Arduino Uno
  • Power Supply Module (If you want it Portable)
  • Breadboard Push Button
  • LCD Screen
  • 10K potentiometer
  • 10K resistor
  • 330 K resistor to lcd if powering to power supply
  • Wires

You don't need a housing but it does make it more practical:

  • Box for the housing, Cliff bar Box preferred
  • Another box to fit everything fit more comfrotably
  • Tape

Step 1: The Code

There are some notes in the code to guide you, I refrained from making any functions other than reset(); so that you could logically see what goes on.

Step 2: The Circuit Board Set Up

Here is a schematic of how I set up the Arduino, and A photo of my breadboard

Check out TinkerCad if you don't have an Arduino, you can use a virtual one! Here is the link to this project on TinkerCad!

*You do not need a power supply unless you want it portable: the schematic with no Power supply is the last photo

Try to make it as compact as possible. Trouble shooting:

  • If backlight is lit but nothing shows up on the screen, make sure that the potentiometer is fully inserted and turn potentiometer until you can see words.
  • Make sure your pins are defined in the same place as your code.
  • If button is not acting right, switch the way you put it in, the prongs pointing towards each other should share a column.
  • Make sure your battery is not dead.

Step 3: The Cliff Box

  1. Empty your box.
  2. Place another smaller box inside the cliff box to make the lcd easier to access ( I covered it with paper to make it look nicer)
  3. Insert the Arduino and the bread board carefully so that no wires come loose.
  4. Power on and check if the everything still works. If everything turns on but the display isn’t working, again make sure the potentiometer isn’t loose, this was what my problem usually was.
  5. Tape the Bread Board, Mine has a sticker but I will use this breadboard in the future so I kept my sticker on =)


Get out there and go see how high you can throw things or how high a cliff is.

Arduino Contest 2020

Participated in the
Arduino Contest 2020