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Planet

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 09:00
    Mechanical Iris Will Make You Want a Laser Cutter Even More

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    Mechanical irises are very intricately designed mechanisms that are mesmerizing to see in action — and if you have a laser cutter, you could make one in less than 10 minutes.

    Our “Teacher of Science”, Instructables’ user [NTT] has revised a previous Instructables design on a mechanical iris to improve it. The original design used three layers of components and dowel pins for every joint. What [NTT] has done is reduced this to two layers, and eliminated half of the pins required by designing clever circular cutouts. The result is a very slick mechanical iris that is very easy and quick to build — provided you have the tools.

    Stick around to see the original iris open and close — unfortunately there’s no video of the new design — but we think you can imagine the differences.

    Or alternatively you could 3D print a version of it!

    No laser cutter, or 3D printer? We feel your pain. Luckily there is also a cardboard version of it you can make without any fancy tools!

    Filed under: cnc hacks, laser hacks

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 09:00
    Your Name in Life: Create a unique Game of Life based on your name

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    Clark DuVall has created this awesome site that takes your name and generates a Game of Life based on it. It lets you take snapshots as well as it expands and grows. You can change the font, drawing options and life options also. Above is “Adafruit Industries” in multicolor. We took this snapshot right at the beginning. Below is what we got after about 45 minutes at the “very fast” speed option. Here’s more about Conway’s Game of Life from wikipedia:

    The universe of the Game of Life is an infinite two-dimensional orthogonal grid of square cells, each of which is in one of two possible states, alive or dead. Every cell interacts with its eight neighbours, which are the cells that are horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent. At each step in time, the following transitions occur:

    • Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by under-population.
    • Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
    • Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
    • Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

    The initial pattern constitutes the seed of the system. The first generation is created by applying the above rules simultaneously to every cell in the seed—births and deaths occur simultaneously, and the discrete moment at which this happens is sometimes called a tick (in other words, each generation is a pure function of the preceding one). The rules continue to be applied repeatedly to create further generations.

    Read more about Conway’s Game of Life here and try it out on your own name here. We also sell a DIY LED project version of the game here.

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  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 08:00
    Alexander Semenov’s incredible underwater photographs of sea life

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    Alexander Semenov’s underwater photography is some of the coolest we’ve seen. You can purchase his photographs here and see more of his stunning photography here. Here’s his bio:

    In 2007, I graduated from Lomonosov’s Moscow State University in the department of Zoology. I specialized in the study of invertebrate animals, with an emphasis on squid brains. Soon after, I began working at the White Sea Biological Station (WSBS) as a senior laborer. WSBS has a dive station, which is great for all sorts of underwater scientific needs, and after 4 years working there, I became chief of our diving team. I now organize all WSBS underwater projects and dive by myself with a great pleasure and always with a camera.

    When I first began to experiment with sea life photography I tried shooting small invertebrates for fun with my own old dslr camera and without any professional lights or lenses. I collected the invertebrates under water and then I’ve shot them in the lab. After two or three months of failure after failure I ended up with a few good pictures, which I’ve showed to the crew. It has inspired us to buy a semi-professional camera complete with underwater housing and strobes. Thus I’ve spent the following field season trying to shoot the same creatures, but this time in their environment. It was much more difficult, and I spent another two months without any significant results. But when you’re working at something every day, you inevitably get a lot of experience. Eventually I began to get interesting photos — one or two from each dive. Now after four years of practice I get a few good shots almost every time I dive but I still have a lot of things that need to be mastered in underwater photography.

    And the most important thing — I love Sea.

    Read more.

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  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 07:00
    Lego-like bottle caps!

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    These lego-like bottle caps present an even-more sustainable alternative to recycling, from fast coexist:

    Every year, around 87 billion plastic bottle caps are made in the U.S. alone– and most end up in the trash. A company in Brazil hopes to help change that with this line of caps that you might actually want to keep: Each turns into a Lego-like block that can be used as a toy or to build furniture.

    “I wanted to develop a sustainable cap, and I think it’s better to innovate by looking for a problem than by looking for an idea,” says Claudio Patrick Vollers, the CEO of Clever Pack, the company that makes the new caps. “I looked at the whole lifecycle of packaging, including the recycling process, and looked for the biggest environmental problem.”

    Recycling, he noticed, takes quite a bit of energy, both for transportation and the electricity used to melt plastic. So even if a cap makes it to the recycling bin (an unlikely event in the U.S., though it’s a little more likely in Brazil) it still has an environmental impact.

    “I found my opportunity: develop a cap that doesn’t get into the recycling cycle,” Vollers says. “Making a cap with two lives–in the first it is a closure, and in the second life it becomes a block. It was important to me that the consumer wouldn’t have to do anything, like cutting, to reuse the cap. That inspired me to develop Clever Caps.”

    The caps are compatible with Legos, both because Vollers is a Lego fan and because he thought that the design would make them most likely to be used. Beyond toys, they can also be stacked into stools, tables and other furniture.

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    Read more.

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 06:00
    Monitoring your Gas Consumption with a JeeNode and a nRF24L01+

    [Sven337] just blogged about a gas consumption monitoring setup he finished not long ago. As his gas meter was located outside his apartment and nowhere near any electrical outlet, a battery-powered platform that could wirelessly send the current consumption data to his Raspberry Pi was required. His final solution therefore consists of a JeeNode coupled with the well known nRF24L01+ wireless transmitter, powered by 3 supposedly dead alkaline batteries.

    [Sven337] carefully looked at the different techniques available to read the data from his meter. At first he had thought of using a reflective sensor to detect the number 6 which (in France at least) is designed to reflect light very well. He then finally settled for a magnetic based solution, as the Actaris G4 gas meter has a small depression intended for magnetic sensors. The PCB you see in the picture above therefore has a reed sensor and a debug LED. The four wires go to a plastic enclosure containing the JeeNode, a couple of LEDs and a reset switch. Using another nRF24L01, the Raspberry Pi finally receives the pulse count and reports it to an eeePC which takes care of the storage and graphing.

    Filed under: hardware, Raspberry Pi

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 06:00
    From the Forums: NeoPixels for an Extreme Sports Zip Line Ropes Course Project

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    MattJames shared this photo of his NeoPixel rigged Extreme Sports Zip Line Ropes Course on the Adafruit Forums:

    I just finished doing a nice LED project on our indoor ropes course (I’m proud of it and like to show it off) and now I am looking to do our zip line as well. I am not looking to get LEDs on the actual line itself but to get LEDs on the “bullseye” on the opposing walls.

    Read More.

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 05:00
    “Glass brain” (video)

    “Glass brain” (video)

    This is an anatomically-realistic 3D brain visualization depicting real-time source-localized activity (power and “effective” connectivity) from EEG (electroencephalographic) signals. Each color represents source power and connectivity in a different frequency band (theta, alpha, beta, gamma) and the golden lines are white matter anatomical fiber tracts. Estimated information transfer between brain regions is visualized as pulses of light flowing along the fiber tracts connecting the regions.

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 05:00
    12 reasons robotics could be the next trillion-dollar business opportunity #robotics

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    Quartz has posted this interesting interview with Dmitry Grishin, head of Grishin Robotics, about the future of the industry. Among the other topics, they cited up Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and 3D printing as reasons why the consumer robot industry will be taking off in the next few years. We’ll post a couple here but be sure to head over to the original post for the full list.

    1.Building robots is cheaper than ever.

    We live in an era of self-driving cars, robotic vacuum cleaners, and ever more autonomous military drones. That’s because innovation comes relatively quickly and cheaply nowadays. “Let’s assume you wanted to build a robot 20 years ago,” Grishin says. “You would need to invest several million dollars to build one robot, and it might take three years.” Costs and timescales like that just don’t fly for modern VCs accustomed to putting their money in software, says Grishin.

    2. Smartphones have made the guts of robots less expensive and more effective than ever

    The biggest improvements in robotics have come from companies outside the field, says Grishin. “Right now because of smartphones, the price of components [useful for robots] is 1% what it was,” says Grishin. “Most of the components in smartphones are same ones you need in robots—sensors, cameras, batteries, processors. The biggest difference between now and 20 years ago is that the components have become cheap.”

    3. And new building blocks keep engineers from having to start from scratch

    So much of the basic infrastructure of an app or web service has already been built and is available for free or at a low cost—from hosting on Amazon to the collaborative software development at the Apache web server—that launching startups is now more about ideas than the technology itself. The same thing is happening in hardware, says Grishin, as basic components (like the open-source microprocessors Arduino and Raspberry Pi) and libraries of code (like the Robot Operating System) begin to reach millions of hobbyists and professionals.

    “It’s very important you have a lot of blocks to easily combine, and you don’t spend too much time to build any of them from scratch,” says Grishin.

    4. Building prototypes of new hardware is easier than ever

    “In the past, prototyping was really hard,” says Grishin. Hardware companies would build a prototype, show it off, then spend another year or two creating the next prototype. “But now, because of 3D printers and good 3D software, you can do prototyping much quicker,” says Grishin.

    Read more.

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 05:00
    Long Life Vehicle (LLV) – How the postal service gets around #makerbusiness

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    Long Life Vehicle (LLV) @ National Postal Museum.

    On July 11, 1987, this white, boxy postal truck known as a Long Life Vehicle was brought into the Smithsonian Institution’s collection. The vehicle was added to the National Philatelic Collection, in the National Museum of American History. In 1993, that collection, including this vehicle, was shared with the public when the National Postal Museum opened in the old DC City Post Office building next to Union Station.
    The Long Life Vehicle, or LLV, marked a major change in how postal officials approached buying vehicles. Until the 1980s, when new vehicles were needed, officials combed through existing models for the best fit. This often resulted in vehicles that met some, but never all, of the demands of moving mail.

    Finally officials decided to try something different. They created a set of criteria for the perfect letter carrier vehicle and challenged commercial vehicle industries to create a vehicle to order. Officials selected from vehicles produced by three groups: Grumman and General Motors, Poveco (Fruehauf & General Automotive Corp), and American Motors. Each vehicle prototype was tested in 1985 over a series of road types in Laredo, Texas. Drivers guided the vehicles over rugged, pothole-filled streets. The drills were created to replicate the needs of city letter carriers. Each vehicle was required to:

    • Drive 5,760 miles on a closed loop 5-mile-long paved road at 50 to 55 mph
    • Drive 11,520 miles over a gravel road at 30 to 45 mph
    • Drive 2,880 miles over a road with a shoulder, stopping every 250 feet and accelerating to 15 mph in between
    • Drive 960 miles over cobblestones that ranged from 3 to 4 inches high at 10 to 14 mph
    • Drive 960 miles over potholes at 10 to 14 mph
    • Haul a 1 -ton pound load during one half of the road test
    • Haul a man and a 400 pound load during one half of the road test
    • Drive over potholes ensuring that each wheel hits a pothole 35,000 times
    • Make one hundred consecutive stops from 15 mph

    Read more – The ones you see around now are the ones they made, they have not made more of them after 1994.

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 05:00
    The Adafruit Bluefruit LE (Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth 4.0) nRF8001 (video)

    The Adafruit Bluefruit LE (Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth 4.0) nRF8001 (video).

    Our Adafruit Bluefruit LE (Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth 4.0) nRF8001 Breakout allows you to establish an easy to use wireless link between your Arduino and any compatible iOS or Android (4.3+) device. It works by simulating a UART device beneath the surface, sending ASCII data back and forth between the devices, letting you decide what data to send and what to do with it on either end of the connection.

    Learn more in the tutorial.
    Learn more about Bluetooth Smart (low energy).
    Get the app in the App Store.

    And pick one up in the Adafruit store!

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 03:00
    Humble Beginnings of a Pick and Place Machine

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    [Pete's] invented a product called an AIR Patch Cable designed to interface with an airplane’s intercom, and is looking to manufacture and assemble them himself — unfortunately, the circuit boards are tiny, and SMD components aren’t exactly the easiest to install. So he decided to build a pick and place machine to do it for him!

    It’s not finished yet, but [Pete] has reached a major milestone — he’s finished the base CNC machine aspect of it. He opted for a kit build for the major mechanical components, the Shapeoko 2 — its a solid design and if you decided to make something from scratch it’d probably cost much more and take a lot longer.

    From there he began selecting his electronics individually. He’s chosen the Big Easy Driver by Sparkfun to control his stepper motors, which supports a maximum size of NEMA 17 steppers, so he bought five of those too. To control it all, he’s using LinuxCNC which is an excellent choice — and if you’re not crazy about Linux, you can actually download Ubuntu 10.04 with LinuxCNC pre-installed for you to make it super easy — you’ll just need an old dedicated PC to use.

    Once everything was setup, he wrote a quick program to control his future pick and place machine — he strapped a pen onto the Z-axis and it scratched out its first word: “Gangsta”. Cause you know, G-Code. Right? Yeah. Anyway, we’re quite excited to see how this progresses.

    To see a pick & place machine that’s already functioning, check out this beautiful piece of work!

    Filed under: cnc hacks

  • Lundi, Mars 24, 2014 - 00:01
    Hackaday Links: March 23, 2014

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    [Jack] sent us a link to a Metropolitan Museum of Art video showing off a mechanized desk that plays music and has a ton of hidden compartments. Furniture makers of yore built hidden compartments in furniture all the time. After all, there weren’t credit cards back in the day and you had to keep important documents, cash, and everything else on hand. What strikes us is that this mates woodworking of the highest caliber with precision mechanics.

    Before you get rid of that old box spring, ask yourself if you need to store dimensional goods. If you rip off the outer fabric, the network of wire inside makes a reasonable lumber rack.

    And since we’re talking trash, we enjoyed seeing this water bottle wire spool minder which [Daniel] sent our way.

    You know those portable DVD players you can hang from a headrest to entertain the kids on long trips? Well [John's] broke, and like chasing the dragon, once you’re hooked on watching videos during car trips there’s no going back. Luckily he was able to throw a Raspberry Pi at the problem. He now has a portable OpenElec XBMC device controlled via a smartphone.

    [Jaromir] posted some breakout board footprints that you can use. It’s not the footprints that impress us, but the idea of using them to fill up board space when spinning a new PCB. [Thanks Sarah]

    LEGO Gachapon. Need we say more? Okay, truth be told we had to look it up too; Wikipedia says it’s spelled Gashapon. These are coin-operated machines that dispense toys inside of plastic capsules. This one’s made of LEGO and it’s awesome.

    [Mikhail] actually built his own ballast resistors for some HeNe laser tubes. This is a bit easier than it might sound at first, as they are much lower power than the tubes used in cutters. But none-the-less an interesting, and successful, experiment.

    Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links

  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 21:34
    From the desk of Ladyada… Soldering up a previous proto’ Sunday :)

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    From the desk of Ladyada… Soldering up a previous proto’ Sunday :)

  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 21:00
    This Machine Sucks Balls

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    The best career choice anyone could ever make – aside from the richest astronaut to ever win the Super Bowl – is the designer of the kinetic art installations found in science centers that roll billiard balls along tracks, around loops, and through conveyors in a perpetual display of physics and mechanics. [Niklas Roy] isn’t quite at that level yet, but he has come up with a new twist on an old idea: a machine that literally sucks balls from a ball pit into transparent tubes, sending them whizzing around the installation space.

    The installation consists of eighty meters of plastic tubing suspended in the staircase of Potocki Palace in Kraków. Electronically, the installation is extremely simple; a PIR sensor turns on a vacuum cleaner whenever someone is in the ball pit. This sucks balls up through a hose, around the space, and into a bin suspended over the pit. Pull a lever, and the balls stored in the bin are dispensed onto the person vacuuming up thousands of balls below.

    Image source, with video below.

    Filed under: misc hacks

  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 19:51
    Sending off protos Sunday… From the desk of Ladyada #sendoffsunday

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    Ladyada likes to send off protos on Sunday morning, here’s the latest :)

  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 19:01
    Talpadk: A fast and beautiful terminal

    xrvt-unicode/uxrvt has long been my favourite terminal, it is fast and it supports faked transparency.

    rxvt terminal with transparencyOne problem with using a darkened background was however that some terminal colour simply were bit too dark.

    After a quick googling and short man page reading it was however clear that this can actually easily be resolved.
    Additionally I can store some extra settings making my keyboard short cur for launching the terminal nice and simple.

    Requirements:

    sudo apt-get install xrvt-unicode 
    sudo apt-get install tango-icon-theme

    The last line is only for getting the terminal icon, and is optional if you comment out the iconFile resource

    Configuring rxvt-unicode

    In the file ~/.Xdefaults add the following lines:

    !===== rxvt-unicode resource definitions =====!
    !The number of scrollback lines
    URxvt*saveLine: 5000
    
    !Add fading for unfocused windows
    URxvt*fading: 33
    
    !Specify the icon for the terminal window, requieres the "tango-icon-theme" package
    URxvt*iconFile: /usr/share/icons/Tango/16x16/apps/terminal.png
    
    !Transparency setting
    URxvt*transparent: true
    URxvt*shading: 25
    URxvt*background: Black
    URxvt*foreground: White
    
    !Colour setup for the darker background
    URxvt*color0:  Black
    URxvt*color1:  #ffa2a2
    URxvt*color2:  #afffa2
    URxvt*color3:  #feffa2
    URxvt*color4:  #a2d0ff
    URxvt*color5:  #a2a2ff
    URxvt*color6:  #a2f5ff
    URxvt*color7:  #ffffff
    URxvt*color8:  #000000
    URxvt*color9:  #ffa2a2
    URxvt*color10: #afffa2
    URxvt*color11: #feffa2
    URxvt*color12: #a2d0ff
    URxvt*color13: #a2a2ff
    URxvt*color14: #a2f5ff
    URxvt*color15: White
    
    !Colour notes from the man page
    !color0       (black)            = Black
    !color1       (red)              = Red3
    !color2       (green)            = Green3
    !color3       (yellow)           = Yellow3
    !color4       (blue)             = Blue3
    !color5       (magenta)          = Magenta3
    !color6       (cyan)             = Cyan3
    !color7       (white)            = AntiqueWhite
    !color8       (bright black)     = Grey25
    !color9       (bright red)       = Red
    !color10      (bright green)     = Green
    !color11      (bright yellow)    = Yellow
    !color12      (bright blue)      = Blue
    !color13      (bright magenta)   = Magenta
    !color14      (bright cyan)      = Cyan
    !color15      (bright white)     = White

    The last comments can of course be left out but is handy if you need to find a particular colour that you want to change.

    Also adjust the shading resource to your liking.

    After saving the file you may start the terminal using urxvt or rxvt-unicode and enjoy it fast and good looks.

  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 18:13
    Megacon 2014 (photos) #cosplay @MegaConvention #megacon2014

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    Megacon 2014 fantastic photo set by ChaosMiezko via Caleb. Impossible to pick a favorite one!

  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 18:00
    Say Watt? A Talking Multimeter?

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    After a request from one of his friends, [Mastro Gippo] managed to put together a talking multimeter to be used by blind persons working in electronics. He wanted a feature-rich meter that had serial output, and recalling this Hackaday article from a few years back led him to find a DT-4000ZC on eBay, which has serial output on a 3.5mm jack. (Though, he actually recommends this knockoff version which comes with excellent documentation).

    It turns out there aren’t many talking meter options available other than this expensive one and a couple of discontinued alternatives. [Mastro Gippo] needed to start from scratch with the voice synthesizer, which proved to be as easy as recording a bunch of numbers and packing them onto an SD card to be read by an Arduino running the SimpleSDAudio library.

    He found a small, battery-powered external speaker used for rocking out with music on cell phones and hooked it up to the build, stuffing all the electronics into an aluminum case. Stick around after the jump for a quick video of the finished product!

    Filed under: tool hacks

  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 16:11
    Tinkering with Kids – Get in It for the Long Haul

    Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 1.13.30 PMWhy do we educators do it?  It’s fun enough tinkering around with projects on our own, so why must we bang our heads trying to involve a pack of screaming kids from the neighborhood?  I’ve thought through this before, sometimes at professional lows, when the mob of scruffy little ingrates […]

    Read more on MAKE


  • Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 15:00
    A Hexacopter with FPV

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    [Robert's] been hard at work becoming a hexacopter expert over the past two years, and he’s offered up a retrospective of his multi rotor build experience since he first clicked the “buy” button on Hobbyking. He’s come a long way from his first build, which used inexpensive carbon rods and 3D-printed parts for a frame, supported by scrap wood and hot glue. It met its end in his car; exposed to direct sunlight, the 3D-printed components melted.

    The latest iteration—seen above on the right—is a complete redesign, with a laser-cut frame that dramatically reduced the overall weight and new “Donkey” motors off Hobbyking. It’s strong enough to lift a 1.6kg (3.5lbs) stuffed animal suspended from a rope! Most recently [Robert] has worked out streaming first-person video after fitting a camera to the hexacopter via a 3D-printed attachment and pairing the experience with Zeiss Cinemizer 3D glasses. He still has some bugs to work out, namely screws loosening from vibrations and adding a HUD to the display so he’ll know when the battery levels are low. You can see the poor teddy bear getting hanged along with some other videos, including the first-person video flight, after the break.

    Filed under: toy hacks

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