Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 20:12The Lego Standard: Combining Building Sets to Make Better Projects
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 19:08Three Lego Books to Inspire and Explain
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 19:00Mario Doorbell Guaranteed To Drive A-You A-Crazy
Is your doorbell not exciting enough for your guests? [Joe] wanted to provide a little entertainment for his visitors, so he redesigned his doorbell with a Mario theme.
Whenever someone presses the button—which carries the Mario coin image—the segment display increments and the Mario coin sound plays. To add variety, the life-up sound plays at every 10 coins and the mushroom upgrade sound plays upon reaching 100. [Joe] tried putting the life-up sound at its appropriate 100′s place and the mushroom sound at every 10, but he decided the brevity of life-up was more tolerable in the 10′s slot.
The project was divided into two components. The door button has a PIC16F628A microcontroller with a dual 7-segment LED display, a button, and a homemade circuit board. All this lives in a simple box covered by a Yoshi’s Island-themed decal. The button’s board connects to a separate ringer board—based around a PIC16F87—with a MCP4822 DAC and a 25LC1024 EEPROM. Button presses on the first board prompt a request for a sound clip read on the EEPROM. Keep clicking for a demo video below.
Filed under: Microcontrollers
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 16:00Driving RGB Pixel LEDs With CAT5 Cable
[Teknynja] was working on a project where he needed to drive a few strips of Adafruit Neopixels – WS2812 LED strips – that were located several feet apart. These LED strips draw a lot of current, and are very timing sensitive; anything more than a few feet of wire between the microcontroller and the LED strip will probably result in missed data, voltage drops, dimming LEDs, and possibly a non-functional strip.
The solution, as in all matters concerning long distance transmission of data, was CAT5 cable. [Teknynja] used RS-422 drivers and receivers to pull this task off, with 75174 line drivers receiving signals from a Teensy 3.0, and 75176 bus transceivers reading everything at the other end of a 20 foot cable.
For the power drop issue, [Teknynja] is feeding 12V into a few of the wire pairs in the cable and using a cheap LM2596 buck converter to step everything down to 5V at the strip.
With a fairly simple circuit, [Teknynja] was able to drive a few strips of WS2812 LEDs through 20-foot lengths of CAT5 cable with ease; it worked just the same as if the pixels were connected directly to the Teensy on a workbench.
Filed under: led hacks
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 15:42Pickle Power – Bompas & Parr Present the World’s First Gherkin Chandelier
“We always knew there was scientific magic contained within the humble pickle,” says Sam Bompas, one half of the experimental culinary duo, Bompas & Parr. “Everyone is pickling right now, and we were interested in pushing it to the extreme. We knew the time had come to create the world’s first gherkin chandelier.” Directed by David Lane of the London-based food journal The Gourmand and co-directed by Jeremy Valender of Pundersons Gardens, the luminous show-and-tell film unpacks the science behind the steampunk-esque contraption, boasting over 60 pickles in explosive, electrical sequence. “The sodium chloride or salt contained within gherkins reacts to an electric current, lighting up, fizzing and crackling while forming a burnt vinegary smell,” says Bompas, whose previous projects with partner Harry Parr include inventing such creations as glow-in-the-dark jelly, scratch-and-sniff cinema and a boating lake filled with gin. “It’s mind-bogglingly dangerous. If you’re near it when it is turned on you will certainly be electrocuted.”
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 15:40Dyson invests £5m in robotic vision lab
Dyson, the engineering company best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, is to invest £5m in a robotics lab at Imperial College, London.
The research will focus on vision systems that can help robots understand and adapt to the world around them, the company said.
Dyson has been working on robotics with Imperial’s Prof Andrew Davison since 2005, and he will run the new lab.
The research will cover domestic robots as well as robotic vacuum cleaners.
Sir James Dyson said: “My generation believed the world would be overrun by robots by the year 2014. We now have the mechanical and electronic capabilities, but robots still lack understanding – seeing and thinking in the way we do.
“Mastering this will make our lives easier and lead to previously unthinkable technologies.”
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 13:16On a Roll: Lego as Muse
The space Lego and the NASA space shuttle became a fused memory for me. This led to a lot of photos and doodles of minifigs and later to the drawing I've been using for the posters and on the hardwood longboard skateboards I build.
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 13:00Using A Computer To Read Braille
[Matthiew] needed to create a system that would allow a computer to read braille. An electromechanical system would be annoying to develop and would require many hardware iterations as the system [Matthew] is developing evolves. Instead, he came up with a much better solution using a webcam and OpenCV that still gets 100% accuracy.
Instead of using a camera to look for raised or lowered pins in this mechanical braille display, [Matthiew] is using OpenCV to detect the shadows. This requires calibrating the camera to the correct angle, or in OpenCV terms, pose.
After looking at the OpenCV tutorials, [Matthiew] found a demo that undistorts an image of a chess board. Using this same technique, he used fiducials from the ARTag project to correctly calibrate an image of his mechanical braille pins.
As for why [Matthiew] went through all the trouble to get a computer to read braille – something that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think about it – he’s building a braille eBook reader, something that just screams awesome mechanical design. We’d be interested in seeing some more info on that project as well.
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 10:00Upgrading Home Automation to Home Anticipation
[Bithead's] already built some home automation to control the lighting and temperature in his house while he’s away, but he wanted to take things a step further and have the house automatically anticipate his arrival and adjust the environment accordingly. The project takes advantage of geofencing to create a perimeter around the home that listens for a transceiver in [Bithead's] car. We featured a similar project with a Raspi a few months ago, which locked the doors upon driving away.
[Bithead's] implementation uses a pair of Digi Xbee Pro XSC radios with U.FL antennas to provide an impressive 2+ mile range of communication. The home-based Xbee hooks up to a Parallax Xbee USB adapter and subsequently into his computer—its antenna sits in a nearby window on the top floor of his house to maximize range. For his car, [Bithead] originally opted for an Xbee shield and an Arduino Uno, but he’s recently overhauled the build in favor of an Arduino Fio, which reduced the footprint and increased the range. Check out his page for the build log specifics and more pictures.
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 07:00Adding an RPM Readout for a Home Made CNC Mill
[Rui] recently put the finishing touches on his homemade CNC mill, which utilizes a dremel-like rotary tool. The problem with using rotary tools for this kind of application is you don’t really have an accurate speed readout… so he designed his own RPM gauge.
The sensor is in itself very simple. He’s using a TLE4935L hall effect sensor, a spare 16FE88 microcontroller, a Nokia LCD, and one tiny neodymium magnet. The magnet has been carefully epoxied onto the motor fan, with the hall effect sensor close by. He’s also built a guard around it, just in case the magnet decides to fly off at high speeds.
During testing he hooked up the hall effect sensor to both his home-made circuit, and an oscilloscope to confirm his findings. Once he was assured everything was working properly he sealed it off and mounted the LCD above the spindle as a nice digital readout.
Filed under: cnc hacks
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 04:00Pneumatic Powered Flight Simulator
Remember that feature a few days ago about the Cessna 172 flight simulator? It was pretty awesome. But do you know what it was missing? It was missing this. A fully motion-controlled, pneumatically driven, flight simulator cockpit.
[Dominick Lee] is a high school senior, and he was able to whip together this awesome flight simulator made out of PVC pipe, pneumatic cylinders, an Arduino, a projector, and a gaming PC — in just a few months time! He calls it the LifeBeam Flight Simulator, and he’s released all the information required to make one yourself.
It’s most similar to a Stewart platform simulator, which features 2 degrees of freedom, but instead of 6 actuators, this one runs on only two pneumatic cylinders. It works by exporting the roll and pitch (X and Y) data from the game, and then parsing it to an Arduino which controls the pneumatic valve amplifier, powering the cylinders.
It’s an amazing project, and it sounds like [Dominick] had an awesome physics professor, [Dr. Bert Pinsky], to help mentor him. Don’t forget to check out the demonstration video!
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 03:01Tools on Display at Kickstarter
The only thing I like better than creating my own tools is helping someone else do the same. These four recent Kickstarter projects interested me because to a great degree they're tools--helping you do things better.
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 01:00Building A Tape Recorder In 1949
After telling a few stories about how he built a tape recorder as a 16-year-old boy in post-war Germany, [Hans] was finally cajoled into retelling this story in a proper form, giving the Internet one more example of how clever old-school tinkerers could be.
In 1949, [Hans] was but a wee lad of 16 and having built a crystal and tube radio set at 13 and 14 respectively desperately wanted a tour of the local radio station in Hamburg. A kind engineer responded to a letter and a month after requesting a tour [Hans] and his friend found themselves being guided around a proper radio station. One of the most impressive pieces of technology at the time was a tape recorder, which the engineer demonstrated by recording and playing back the voices of [Hans] and his friend. This was the first time [Hans] had ever heard his voice played back and instantly knew he needed to build one of these for himself.
Technical details on the theory and operation of a tape recorder were sparse, but [Hans] managed to come up with an amplifier, tape transport mechanism, a recording and playback head, and homemade magnetic tape made from a reel of iron filings glued to a reel of 8mm film stock.
Testing the equipment, [Hans] and his friend found the device simply wouldn’t work; the homemade magnetic tape was simply too thick, and you couldn’t just go out and buy a reel of magnetic tape. Undeterred, they mailed BASF, the only manufacturer of magnetic tape, and after a month received a 1000m reel of tape.
With tape that worked, [Hans] set about improving his recorder with a tape transport mechanism built from a turntable and a new recording head. This time, his tape recorder worked. When word got around of this amazing machine that could record music, [Hans] was invited to record the local symphony and the speeches for a senior group.
The first commercial reel to reel recorders were released in Germany a little more than a year after [Hans] completed his project, making this one of the more impressive DIY projects we’ve seen.
Filed under: classic hacks
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 00:53The Making of PAIRD: A Lego Action Film
Dimanche, Février 9, 2014 - 00:32Tutorial: Bluefruit “BlueFoot” Wireless Foot Switch
This is a quick and easy project that will be speed your work on future projects. By combining an Adafruit BlueFruit EZ-Key with a foot switch, we end up with a wireless, hands-free scroll button. No need to put down that hot iron to see the next step in the tutorial. Just give the pedal a tap with your foot to scroll down the page.
Works with any operating system (Mac, Windows, Linux), tablet or phone (including iOS & Android)!
Would you rather have it jump to the next page instead of scroll? No problem. The BlueFoot can be configured to send any keycode you want. Program as many as 12 keycodes into the EZ-Key and use a jumper to quickly switch between them.
Samedi, Février 8, 2014 - 22:01Improve Your HT Ham Radio by Adding a Counterpoise Antenna Wire
We found an interesting tip that might just improve the performance of those small affordable handheld ham radios called a “Handy Talky” or HT for short in ham vernacular. [RadioHamGuy] posted an interesting video on adding a counterpoise antenna wire to an HT. He claims it will noticeably improve both transmit and receive by making a quarter-wave monopole into a makeshift dipole antenna system.
Per his instructions you basically add a short wire to the antenna’s outer ground connection or to an equivalent case screw that’s electrically connected to the antenna’s ground side. Apparently this can be referred to as a Tiger Tail and does make it look like your HT has a tail. You would construct a counterpoise antenna wire 11.5 inch for VHF, 6.5 for UHF and about 19.5 inches for an OK performing dual band VHF/UHF radio.
Normally with a handheld radio the counterpoise (ground) is your own body as you are holding the HT. This is because the capacitance of your body makes a good counterpoise under normal conditions. It would be interesting to hear what others find for performance when adding a counterpoise antenna wire.
You can watch [RadioHamGuy’s] full construction tutorial video for multiple radio types after the break.
Samedi, Février 8, 2014 - 19:04A Cartoon How To On Making Robofingers #Robotics
What happens when you take a comic book artist, an inventor, and a toy designer? You get Howtoons. Our mission is to provide engaging content that teaches kids how to build things, combining instructions with storytelling. Howtoons has a foundation of science and engineering education, inspiring creativity through art and imagination.
The primary contributors to Howtoons are Nick Dragotta(comic artist), Saul Griffith(inventor), Ingrid Dragotta(toy designer), and Joost Bonsen(the big kid).
Samedi, Février 8, 2014 - 19:01RasPi Powered ADM-3A Dumb Terminal
[Andrew Curtin] tipped us off to another excellent resurrected vintage one piece ADM-3A dumb terminal. [Andrew] not only resurrected this sexy machine by breathing life into her once more after 37 years but he also got it connected online to retro.hackaday.com for those coveted retro Super Nerd bonus points.
As with other ADM-3A terminals we have seen on Hackaday, the terminal screen can be interfaced over an RS-232 serial connector to a laptop, however, [Andrew] didn’t have a laptop to sacrifice so he utilized the now popular laptop stand-in RasPi. It’s a clever form factor solution which makes it appear more like a standalone computer for the first time in its life.
To make the hack work he needed a serial adapter to link the ADM-3A terminal to the Ras-PI so he constructed one for himself. It’s another clever solution but he didn’t share much information on this build. Maybe he’ll comment below or elaborate on his site with more details on the construction and utilization of the adapter board from the Ras-PI so others could easily repeat this fun hack.
Samedi, Février 8, 2014 - 16:01Behold Lil’ Screwy, A Homebrew 100-Ton Press
Here we have a magnificent example of the power of the inclined plane. [Chris] has built Lil’ Screwy, a 100-ton home-built press for about $35 plus scrap on hand. He demonstrates its frightening power by punching a 17-mm hole through 8mm-thick steel using an Allen key.
As [Chris] explains in his hilarious video waiting for you after the jump, the force comes from using really big screws. Lil’ Screwy uses four 1-inch L7-rated ready rods with eight threads to the inch. The bolts run between two 1″ steel plates to form the press. In the top plate, he drilled 1″ holes. The bottom holes are drilled out 7/8″ and tapped so the two plates clamp together with awesome crushing power when you twist the giant coupling nuts.
[Chris] milled a pocket in the underside of the top plate for a big neodymium magnet that will keep, for instance, a 17-mm Allen key in place while you punch a piece of steel with it. He has a ring of smaller ones embedded into the bottom plate to hold supports in place for broaching.
As a special bonus, [Chris] shows you how to stick it to the man when it comes to using that last bit of Never-Seez in the can, and also how to make your decals temporarily repositionable.
Filed under: tool hacks
Samedi, Février 8, 2014 - 15:00Fuse-Works: Some Assembly Required @ Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn, NYC (Feb 8th to Mar 5th) #opensource #diykits
If you are in Brooklyn this week, check out the opening raception for this curated show of artist “kits” at the Open Source Gallery. Thanks to artist Tom Burtonwood (included in show, see his video at bottom) for the tip.
On View: February 8th -March 5th
Opening Reception: February 8th, 7-9pm
The curatorial initiative Fuse Works, which exhibits and promotes artists multiples, presents a new group of editions with the emphasis on artists “kits”. Requiring participation rather than simple observation, most of the works in this show must be cut, pasted, cultivated, filled in, filled out or otherwise completed by the collector. Some are useful objects in a very literal sense, while some propose use as philosophical objects – to be employed as a part of one’s cognitive tool kit. Of course kits have art historical precedence, from Duchamp’s Box in a Valise to Fluxus boxes and Flux-kits. But the impulse to create work that is used and/or completed by the viewer speaks to the aspiration of contemporary art to embody forms of communication beyond the passively visual. At the same time, the creation of artworks that come to life as they are manipulated and altered by those other-than-the-artist undermines the tendencies toward rarification and commodity entrenched in today’s art.
Some Assembly Required includes: Tom Burtonwood, Celeste Fichter, Chuck Jones, Christina Kelly, Mariano Chavez, Piers Watson, Glen Einbinder, John Marriott, Peter Feigenbaum, Gary Kachadourian, Cadence Giersbach, Sara Bouchard and James Leonard.