Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 19:01Advanced Beer Carrier, or How To Get Beer Onto A Plane
[Badmonky] was facing a life crisis. How could he enjoy the hard-to-find German beers from his homeland while living in Princeton, New Jersey? Sure, you can find many good imports if you try, but that may come at a hefty price. Plus, the lesser known beers are completely unavailable in the States. Of course the solution is to import them himself after each trip home. He just needed a way to get as much beer on a plane as he possibly could.
We’d have no problem walking down the aisle with a couple of cases of cold ones, but let’s be honest here. Security won’t even let you on the plane with a bottle of water these days much less a case of tallboys. [Badmonky] hacked together this custom carrier so that it could be checked as luggage while protecting the frothy goodness. Two limiting factors to consider are size and weight. He started with the latter, calculating that 24 bottles would remain under his 50 pound limit. From there he selected a sports bag and picked up sheets of foam which were perforated using a hole saw. Alas the size constraint forced him to leave three of the (now empty?) vessels behind.
The bottles ride upside down and made the international voyage without incident. In retrospect he would have picked a roller-bag as this thing is hard on your shoulder after a trip through the airport and the public transit ride home.
The real question in our mind: why didn’t he check a keg?
Filed under: Beer Hacks
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 16:00MobilECG goes open source
After a failed crowdfunding campaign, MobilECG has gone open source. MobilECG is a medical grade 12 lead electrocardiograph. A 12 lead system is quite a bit more complex than some of the ECG systems we have featured in the past. [Péter], the founder and designer of the device attempted to fund it through an Indiegogo campaign. While MobilECG is relatively cheap, medical certifications are not. The campaign didn’t reach its goal of $230,000 USD. [Péter] tried again with a grass-roots donation round at his website. That round also fell short of [Péter's] goal to keep working on the project. Rather than let his hard work go to waste, [Péter] has made the decision to release his hardware and software to the community. The hardware is licensed under CERN OHL v1.2. The software is released under the humorously named WTFPL.
While we’re not ECG experts, the basic hardware design appears to be sound. MobileECG is based around the Texas Instruments ADS1278 octal analog to digital converter. Two AVR microcontrollers are used, an ATTiny24, and an ATUC64. The analog design incorporates such niceties as lead off detection and defibrillator protection. It should be noted that there are some known bugs in the design, [Péter] mentions he can be contacted with questions. The software seems to be in an early state, and would require quite a bit of work to get it to a final design. While we do wish [Péter] had better luck with his campaign, we’re always glad to see designs released into the open source community.
Filed under: Medical hacks
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 13:00Workbench With Built-In Solder Fume Extractor
There’s nothing quite like getting an eye full of solder fumes, but when it comes to solder fume extraction, the most common solution take up a whole lot of work area. Here’s a very clever solder fume extractor that doesn’t get in the way, and can be perfectly positioned over the acrid brimstone of a soldering station.
The build consists of a cheap bathroom vent fan built into the back of the workbench feeding into a long PVC pipe that blows the exhaust to the floor a few feet away. The fan is controlled by a simple wall switch, but the intake is where this build really shines. It’s a series of hard, flexible plastic segments that allow the intake to be precisely oriented above the work piece, or wherever it’s most convienent to suck solder fumes from.
This solder fume extractor is just a part of a really amazing electronics workbench. A lot of thought went into this workspace, from threaded inserts in the work surface to mount a panavise to an amazingly thoughtful equipment rack for computers, monitors, and other assorted heavy equipment.
via Hacked Gadgets
Filed under: tool hacks
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 10:00Vintage DACs And A Raspberry Pi
Before the days of iPod docks in every conceivable piece of audio equipment, most devices were actually built very well. Most shelf top equipment usually came with well designed circuits using quality components, and late 90s CD players were no exception. [Mariosis] heard of some very nice DACs found in some of these units and decided to take one out for a spin. He’s using a Raspberry Pi to play audio with the DAC found in a late 90s Kenwood CD player.
After fortune favored a CD player with a dead drive on [Mariosis]‘ workbench, he dug up the service manual and found some interesting chips – a PCM56 DAC, a little bit of logic, and an SM5807 oversampling chip that does all the conversion for the DAC.
This oversampling chip uses an I2S – not I2C – bus to carry the data from the CD to the DAC. There is, of course, an I2S driver for the Raspi, but the first attempts at playing audio didn’t result in anything. It turned out there was a problem with what the oversampler expected – the ‘standard’ I2S signal delays the data one tick behind the LRCLK signal.
There are two ways to fix this problem: programming a kernel driver, or building some custom logic to fix the problem. Obviously breaking out some flip-flops and NOR gates was the cooler option, giving [Mariosis] a great sounding stereo with a vintage DAC.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 09:00Thai mobile app “Sai Fah: The Flood Fighter” teaches kids flood safety
From grappling with runaway crocodiles to avoiding electrocution, a new mobile phone app aims to teach children across the Asia-Pacific region how to stay safe when floods strike.
Following the deluge in Thailand in 2011, which killed more than 800 people, the UN agency Unesco’s Bangkok office has teamed up with software developers OpenDream to create Sai Fah: The Flood Fighter. Players can follow the cartoon hero Sai Fah as he battles a flood on his way to meet his mother, with each level of the game offering a lesson in flood safety.
Gaming is hugely popular among Thai youth. A recent study found that 72% of youngsters own a mobile phone and 49% use their device for gaming. “In Thailand, people love mobiles, particularly iPhones and Android, so this was the target audience,” explains Ichiro Miyazawa, the Unesco Bangkok programme specialist for literacy and lifelong learning. “We wanted to make characters in the game cute so people feel an attachment to them.”
Sai Fah: The Flood Fighter was launched in Thai language last month; this week the game was released in English on iOS and Android platforms.
OpenDream’s project manager, Nathalie Sajda, says the biggest challenge while designing the game was balancing entertainment with education: “To integrate learning lessons in a fun interactive way with the player – this is what makes the game interesting.”
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 08:00FingerReader: A wearable device that reads to you
The FingerReader is a wearable device that was designed by researchers at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group. It is meant to be used as a tool for those who are visually impaired or as an aid for translation:
The FingerReader is a wearable device that assists in reading printed text. It is a tool both for visually impaired people that require help with accessing printed text, as well as an aid for language translation. Wearers scan a text line with their finger and receive an audio feedback of the words and a haptic feedback of the layout: start and end of line, new line, and other cues. The FingerReader algorithm knows to detect and give feedback when the user veers away from the baseline of the text, and helps them maintain a straight scanning motion within the line.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 07:00Brain Implant Lets One Monkey Control Another, Offers Potential Cure for Paralysis
In a rather unsettling sounding experiment, scientists have managed to create a brain implant which allows one monkey to control the body of another monkey using thought alone. Working under the study author Ziv Williams, a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, the researchers developed a brain to spinal cord prosthesis that connected the two monkeys in an “Avatar” inspired setup. From LiveScience:
The monkey that served as the master had electrodes wired into his brain, while the monkey that served as the avatar had electrodes wired into his spine. The avatar’s hand was placed onto a joystick that controlled a cursor displayed on the master’s screen.
The avatar monkey was sedated so that he had no control over his own body. Computers decoded the brain activity of the master monkey and relayed those signals to the spinal cord and muscles of the avatar monkey. This allowed the master to control the cursor by moving the hand of the avatar. The master received a reward of juice if he successfully moved the cursor onto a target.
While this may sound chilling, the scientists have emphasized that their goals are to help develop treatment for patients with spinal cord injuries and paralysis. Currently, brain to machine interfaces exist that have allowed patients to control computer screens or mechanical limbs, but the hope is that patients will one day be able to regain control of their own limbs.
“the hope is to create a functional bypass for the damaged spinal cord or brainstem so that patients can control their own bodies,” Williams told Live Science.
“We envision putting a microchip into the brain to record the activity behind the intent for movement and putting another microchip in the spinal cord below the site of injury to stimulate limb movements, and then connecting the microchips,” Williams said.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 07:00[Dino] Brings the Waterproof Fire
For many of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, the things we consider hacking, making, and doing weren’t just for fun. They were important skills that could help one survive. This week [Dino] shows us something his dad taught him: waterproof fire starters. The trick is paraffin wax. [Dino] starts by melting down some wax in a pot. He then dips strips of newspaper in the liquid wax. Several strike anywhere matches also get the wax treatment, are then placed on the newspaper. The newspaper and matches are rolled up into a tight bundle, which is itself dipped in wax several times.
The resulting small bundle of waxed newspaper and matches is safe and easy to carry in pocket or backpack. It also becomes the perfect wet fire starter. The “newspaper shell” is torn off into strips of waxed paper, which burns slowly and allows the tinder and wood to catch. [Dino] demonstrates his pioneering skills by starting a fire at the end of the video. When the inevitable zombie apocalypse hits, we definitely want [Dino] at the Hackaday compound.
Filed under: classic hacks
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 06:01Say hello to Project Tango
Project Tango is an exploration into giving mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.
What if you never found yourself lost in a new building again? What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address? Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character. Imagine competing against a friend for control over physical space with your own miniature army.
We hope you will take this journey with us. We believe it will be one worth traveling. To find out more, and apply for a development kit visit http://g.co/ProjectTango.
Johnny Lee helped us with the Kinet hacking, he’s one to watch for big things!
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 06:00Alarm App Helps Researchers Fight Disease While You Sleep
New Android App, Power Sleep utilizes a user’s phone’s down time to solve difficult protein sequences from the Similarity Matrix of Proteins (SIMAP) database to contribute to scientific research aimed at furthering medical advancements in areas like genetics, biochemistry, and cancer research.
From The Verge:
Power Sleep — which was backed by Samsung, and made by its former in-house marketing agency Cheil — doubles as an alarm clock designed to replace whatever alarm people were using before. Once set, the app begins grabbing packets of data to crunch, which are about 1MB in size, then sending them back when the process is complete.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 06:00Homemade small paring knife
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 04:01Remote Controlled Lawn Mower Lets you Sit Back and Enjoy The Show
“Its hard to find people that actually WANT to mow their lawn.” A more true statement has never been made. [Kurt's] project turns an old lawn mower into a remote control lawn mower.
The first step of this build is to replace the front drive wheels with mini-bike tires which have built-in gear tooth sprockets. The rear wheels were then replaced with large caster wheels. The 12-24V DC motors and gear boxes used come from National Power Chair. While we have seen more complicated RC lawn mowers before, this project is a great way to get started. All that [Kurt] wanted was to make lawn mowing more fun, we believe that he has succeeded. This thing is very mobile and can turn on a dime. Check out the demo video after the break.
What’s next? Add a GPS, a Raspberry Pi, and a few other odds and ends. Tie it together with some clever programming and you will have your own autonomous lawn mower. Have you already created a completely autonomous lawn mower? Let us know!
Filed under: wireless hacks
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 01:01Breadboardable WS2812 LEDs
Hackaday sees a ton of projects featuring the WS2812 series of digitally controllable RGB LEDs, in the form of bare chips, RGB LED strips, or some form of Adafruit’s NeoPixels. All these WS2812 LED products have one thing in common – they’re chip LEDs, making some projects difficult to realize. Now there’s a new member of the WS2812 family – a through-hole LED version - that should be available through the usual sources sometime later this year.
The key difference between these and the usual WS2812 LEDs is the packaging; these are 8mm LEDs with pins for power, ground, data in, and data out. With the preexisting libraries, this 8mm LED should work just the same as any other WS2812 LED.
Aside from a through-hole package, these new LEDs are very diffuse and aren’t as blinding as the normal chip LEDs. If you want to pick up a few of these LEDs, they’re available here, 13 LEDs for $15. There’s a lot of potential here for RGB LED cubes, something we hope to see sooner rather than later.
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 22:53Project Morpheus
The multi-center Morpheus Team successfully completed Free Flight7 (FF7) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) on Monday, February 10, 2014. FF7, the 5th free flight of the Bravo vehicle, flew to 467 feet (142m), altitude and then traversed 637 feet (194m) in 30 seconds before landing in the hazard field. Initial data indicated a nominal flight meeting all test objectives. The vehicle flew its pre-planned trajectory flawlessly, reaching a max ascent velocity of 13 m/s, and landing with no appreciable deviation from its intended target 74 seconds after launch. The Morpheus Team again demonstrated engineering and operational excellence, relying upon training, discipline and experience to ensure today’s success.
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 22:00DIY Ceiling Rack Keeps your Bikes Out of the Way
Need to optimize some space in your garage? Why not build a ceiling mounted winch-assisted bicycle rack!
[Mathieu] already has a rather spacious garage, but wanted to make it even more organized. He built the bicycle rack out of 1″ square aluminum tubing, and it’s all bolted together (no welding required!). The bikes sit in aluminum U-channels to be secured in place. The entire rack is hinged off of the back wall, and a pulley system using a little ATV winch raises and lowers the rack for easy access to the bikes.
It’s currently powered off a 12V motorcycle battery, which he plans to add a trickle charger to — that being said, it has lasted for more than 6 months and he still hasn’t had to recharge it! He threw together a little control circuit featuring two relays (up and down) and a 2 channel remote control. The motor is a little slow, but it does the job quite well. If he wanted to get it going a bit faster, he could probably double the voltage to allow for a quicker movement — since it’s only on for short periods of time it should be okay. Seeing hacks like this has us wondering just how many winch-driven extras you could build into a single abode.
Check out the following video of it in action!
Filed under: transportation hacks
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 19:01A Cheap Honeycomb Table Replacement for your Laser
CO2 lasers make use of a honeycomb table which allows you to support parts you are cutting — without cutting into the bed too much. Unfortunately they are a consumable part, so they will eventually wear out, and they aren’t that cheap. [Claptrap] came up with an excellent alternative.
A few months ago, his radiator blew in his station wagon, and it had to be replaced. He was about to throw it out when he realized the similarity of the radiators cooling fins, to that of his honeycomb table… He cut it down to size, pressure washed it (though he notes you should probably wash it first before cutting) and put it in place. It works great!
The only caveat we have is that you should probably flush the radiator with a water pump first — you don’t want to be heating up any residual radiator fluid inside the radiator channels!
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 18:19Hangout with Tim O’Reilly and Kevin Kelly, Talking about Makers and Cool Tools
This coming Monday, Feb. 24 at 2pm PST, Kevin Kelly (founding executive editor of Wired, former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog, and founder of the excellent tool review site, Cool Tools) will be chatting in a G+ Hangout with Tim O'Reilly about a number of interesting things, centered around the topics of makers and cool tools. "I expect it will be an intense conversation," writes Kevin.
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 16:00FLUX 1440: A Highly Impractical but Awesome Clock
One our tipsters just sent us this great project — it’s a unique style of clock that we haven’t seen before. It was completed as part of what we think was a post-graduate program by [Felix Vorreiter]. This is FLUX 1440 (translated).
It uses 1200 meters of marked rope that is fed into the clock and strung between various pulleys and gears. Every second, the rope is moved 1.3cm. Every 57 seconds, the time is readable across the strands of rope — but only for 3 seconds. After that everything goes “back into the river”, a metaphor for chaos.
The explanation behind it is in German, but we’ve tried to piece together a general statement about the meaning behind it. Of course, we’d love if one of our German readers could provide a better translation!
FLUX 1440 displays time as a spatial dimension and counts the length of a day using a long segmented rope. The length of each minute is felt physically, as the viewer must wait as the shapes change until the current time reveals itself from the chaos of the markings.
Stick around for an extremely well produced video demonstrating it — it’s also in German, but we think you’ll be able to piece together the meaning.
Filed under: clock hacks
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 13:01Listening to a Smart Scale
[Saulius] couldn’t find a cost-effective wireless scale that did what he wanted, so he reverse engineered the communication protocol for an off the shelf model to get weight data himself.
[Saulius] bought a cheap Maxim 29-66SH scale that uses infra-red to communicate to a detachable digital readout. Using the USB IR toy, [Saulius] intercepted the messages that were broadcast. After a little reverse engineering and with the help of some Python scripts, he soon discovered the protocol his scale was using to encode weight messages.
Since all the communication is through IR, there is no need to do any invasion of the scale as the receiver can be placed anywhere in line of sight from the transmitter on the scale itself.
Check out the demo video for the whole thing in action. If patching into the scale isn’t hard enough, you should just build one from scratch.
Filed under: home hacks
Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 10:01Smart Reflow Oven is Over-Engineered
[Linas] reverse engineered an AMOLED HTC 800×480 screen and interfaced it with an STM32 micro-controller, along with some other components, to make a gorgeously over engineered reflow oven.
Under the hood there is a PSoC5LP PID controller to control the 800W IR heating coil and two K-type thermocouples for sensing.
The real beauty is in the relatively small STM32 chip powering the HTC AMOLED screen. The AMOLED screen is high contrast and has a wide viewing angle, giving it a clear crisp view from all front facing viewpoints. Though pushing the limits of what the STM32F429i can do, [Linas] managed to make a very nice “home-grown” user interface, complete with user configurable settings and current temperature graphs.
The user interface looks very responsive and using some clever programming, [Linas] was able to make use of the potential of the screen to provide beautiful plots and interface widgets.
[Linas] goes into quite a bit of detail about the programming involved with rendering to the screen, so be sure to check out the video after the jump.