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Laser Piano Worthy Of The Band ‘Wyld Stallyns’

พฤ, 07/03/2014 - 12:00

[Robi] and [Kathy] from elecfreaks have put together a how-to article about a Laser Piano they just built. Instead of keys, the user breaks beams of laser light to trigger the sounds.

Several laser pointer diodes are wired in parallel and mounted in a box, cardboard in this case. The laser diodes are aimed at photocells that reside on the other side of the box. Each photocellis connected to a digital input pin on an Arduino. When the Arduino senses a state change from one of the photocell, meaning the beam of light has been interrupted, it plays the appropriate wave file stored on an external JQ6500 sound module.

[Robi] admits that there are some improvements to be made, specifically the trigger response time and the piano sounding too monotonous. If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comments section.

If you’d like to build one, the bill of materials and Arduino code are listed on the above site. We’ve features some other interesting laser-based instruments in the past, such as this guitar, this harp and this harp.

“Be excellent to each other!”


Filed under: musical hacks

The Old Ping-Pong Ball Levitation Trick

พฤ, 07/03/2014 - 09:00

[Jacob] has put a slightly new twist on the levitating ball trick with his ping-pong ball levitation machine. We’ve all seen magnetic levitation systems before. Here on Hackaday, [Caleb] built a Portal gun which levitated a Companion Cube. Rather than go the magnetic route, [Jacob] levitated a ping-pong ball on a cushion of air.

Now, it would be possible to cheat here, anyone who’s seen a demonstration of Bernoulli’s principle knows that the ball will remain stable in a stream of air. [Jacob] proves that his system is actually working by levitating ping-pong balls with different weights.

A Parallax Ping style ultrasonic sensor measures the distance between the top of the rig and the levitating ball. If the ball gets above a set distance, [Jacob's] chipKit based processor throttles down his fans. If the ball gets too low, the fans are throttled up. A software based Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) loop keeps the system under control. A graph of the ball distance vs fan speed is displayed on an Android tablet connected to the controller via USB.

When [Jacob] switches a heavy ball for a light one, the lighter ball is pushed beyond the pre-programmed height. The controller responds by reducing the fan speed and the ball falls back. Who said you can’t do anything good with a box of corn dogs?

Filed under: classic hacks

Broken Laptop Lives Again in Skull ‘n Wrenches Arcade Cabinet

พฤ, 07/03/2014 - 06:00

We’re pretty fond of home-built arcade cabinets, especially when those cabinets feature a giant HaD logo on the front. We teased you with a picture of two predators playing it at Maker Faire Kansas City, and we thought you might like to see what makes it tick.

[Dustin and Nick] have dubbed this the Dustin and Nick Arcade [DNA]. They built the cabinet from the ground up out of 5/8″ MDF, primed it, and painted it with exterior paint to ward off moisture damage. At the heart of this build is the bottom half of a laptop that suffered from a broken screen. The plexiglass overlay lets players view the guts of the thing, which we think is a nice touch that literally exemplifies Open Design.

So, what happens when you drop your proverbial coin? [Dustin and Nick] used an C# NES/SNES emulator that runs from the command line using a WPF interface. [Nick]‘s software selects the appropriate emulator for the approximately 700 available games. You’ll find [Nick]‘s code and a ton of build pics at [Dustin]‘s site. No wonder they won a Maker of Merit ribbon!

Don’t have the space to build a full-scale cabinet? You could make a mini Ms. Pac-Man cabinet, but then you’d only have Ms. Pac-Man to play with. And we’re pretty sure she’s spoken for.

Filed under: laptops hacks, nintendo hacks

Don’t Freak Out — Your TODO List for August 4th

พฤ, 07/03/2014 - 04:30

The registration cut-off for The Hackaday Prize is August 4th. But this is not the day you need to have your project finished. You simply need to register your concept before the cutoff. This video walks you through the process, and we’ve included bullet points and links after the break for your convenience.

Here’s what you need to do right away:

As the August 4th, 2014 deadline approaches:

  • Add details to your project page. We’d like to see at least four build logs and build instructions. These are really easy to flesh out — talk about features, hardware choices, libraries you plan to use, etc.
  • Publish a second YouTube or Youku video (again, no more than two minutes) that shows any progress you have made and talks about hardware choices and the features you plan to include in the build. This video should prove to the judges that your concept is viable and will result in a working prototype by the end of the contest in November.

Filed under: contests, Featured, The Hackaday Prize

Pocket Calculator Emulates Pocket Calculator

พฤ, 07/03/2014 - 03:00

[Chris] has built a pocket calculator that emulates… a pocket calculator. Two pocket calculators, in fact. Inspired by [Ken Shirriff's] incredible reverse engineering of the Sinclair scientific calculator, [Chris] decided to bring [Ken's] Sinclair and TI Datamath 2500II simulators to the physical world.

Both of these classic 70′s calculators are based on the TMS0805 processor. The 0805 ran with 320 11-bit words of ROM and only three storage registers. Sinclair’s [Nigel Searle] performed the real hack by implementing scientific calculator operations on a chip designed to be a four function calculator.

[Chris] decided to keep everything in the family by using a Texas Instruments msp430 microcontroller for emulation. He adapted [Ken's] simulator code to run on a MSP430G2452. 256 bytes of RAM and a whopping 8KB of flash made things almost too easy.[Chris'] includes ROMs for both the TI and the Sinclair calculators. The TI Datamath ROM is default, but by holding the 7 key down during boot, the Sinclair ROM is loaded. The silk screen includes key icons for both calculators, as well as some Doge-inspired wisdom on the back.

All joking aside, these really are amazing little calculators. Children of the 60′s and 70′s will be taken back when they see the LEDs flash as the emulated TMS0805 performs algorithmic arithmetic. [Chris'] code is up on Github. While he hasn’t released gerbers yet, he does have images of his PCB layout on the 43oh.com forums.

Filed under: classic hacks, handhelds hacks

THP Entry: A Repurposed Luminiferous Aether Detector

พฤ, 07/03/2014 - 00:00

In the late 1800s, no one knew what light was. Everyone knew it behaved like a wave some of the time, but all waves need to travel through some propagation medium. This propagation medium was called the luminiferous aether and an attempt to detect and quantify this aether led to one of the coolest experimental setups of all time: the Michelson-Morely experiment. It was a huge interferometer mounted on a gigantic slab of marble floating in a pool of mercury. By rotating the interferometer, Michelson and Morely expected to see a small phase shift in the interferometer, both confirming the existence of a luminiferous aether and giving them how fast the Earth moved through this medium.

Of course, there was no phase shift, throwing physics into chaos for a few years. When [Beaglebreath] first learned about the Michelson-Morely interferometer he was amazed by the experimental setup. He’s built a few interferometers over the years, but for The Hackaday Prize, he’s making something useful out of one of these luminiferous aether detectors: a functional laser rangefinder capable of measuring distances of up to 60 inches with an error of 0.000005 inches.

The core of the system is an HP 5528A laser interferometer system. [Beaglebreath] has been collecting the individual components of this system off of eBay for several years now, and amazingly, he has all the parts. That’s dedication, right there. This laser interferometer system will be mounted to a simple camera slider, and with the interferometer measurements, humidity and temperature measurements, and some interesting code (running on one of these for hacker cred), [Beaglebreath] stands a good shot at measuring things very, very accurately.

The devil is in the details, and when you’re measuring things this precisely there are a lot of details. The original Michelson-Morely interferometer was affected by passing horse-drawn carriages and even distant lightning storms. While [Beaglebreath] isn’t using as long of a beam path as the OG interferometer, he’ll still have a lot of bugs to squash to bring this project to its full potential.

The project featured in this post is an entry in The Hackaday Prize. Build something awesome and win a trip to space or hundreds of other prizes.

Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

Developed on Hackaday: Demonstration Video and Feedback Request

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 21:00

For months our dear Hackaday readers have been following the Mooltipass password keeper’s adventures, today we’re finally publishing a first video of it in action. This is the fruit of many contributors’ labor, a prototype that only came to be because of our motivation for open hardware and our willingness to spend much (all!) of our spare time on an awesome project that might be just good enough to be purchased by others. We’ve come a long way since we started this project back in December.

In the video embedded above, we demonstrate some of our platform’s planned functionalities while others are just waiting to be implemented (our #1 priority: PIN code entering…). A quick look at our official GitHub repository shows what it took to get to where we are now. What’s next?

We need your input so we can figure out the best way to get the Mooltipass in the hands of our readers, as our goal is not to make money. The beta testers batch has just been launched into production and I’ll be traveling to Shenzhen in two weeks to meet our assembler. When materials and fabrication are taken into account we expect each device to cost approximately $80, so please take 3 seconds of your time to answer the poll embedded below :

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

Filed under: Hackaday Columns, hardware

Third Person Perspective is Guaranteed to Mess With Your Senses

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 18:00

Third person video games are never really that realistic — you get a much wider range of vision, you can typically see around things your character can’t actually see… the list goes on. But what would it be like to have a third person perspective, in real life?

That’s exactly what some hackers in Poland decided to do! This is their Real World Third Person Perspective VR / AR Experiment. It makes use of an Oculus Rift, two GoPros, a microprocessor and a few servo motors. It’s essentially a glorified camera on a stick that you wear as a backpack, but nonetheless it has a really cool effect.

The project was built in under 2 days to get into the tight deadline for Intel’s Wearable contest, which has an impressive prize list, including a grand prize of $500,000 for business development! They didn’t place, but it’s still a Hack a Day worthy project!

Check it out!

[Thanks Itay!]

Filed under: Virtual Reality

[Fran] & [Bil]‘s Dinosaur Den

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 15:00

I suppose I can take credit for introducing the super awesome [Fran Blanche] to Hackaday’s very own crotchety old man and Commodore refugee [Bil Herd]. I therefore take complete responsibility for [Fran] and [Bil]‘s Dinosaur Den, the new YouTube series they’re working on.

The highlight of this week’s episode is a very vintage Rubicon mirror galvanometer. This was one of the first ways to accurately measure voltage, and works kind of like a normal panel meter on steroids. In your bone stock panel meter, a small coil moves a needle to display whatever you’re measuring. In a mirror galvanometer, a coil twists a wire that is connected to a mirror. By shining a light on this mirror and having the reflected beam bounce around several other mirrors, the angle of the mirror controlled by the coil is greatly exaggerated, making for a very, very accurate measurement. It’s so sensitive the output of a lemon battery is off the scale, all from a time earlier than the two dinosaurs showing this tech off. Neat stuff.

One last thing. Because [Bil] and [Fran] are far too proud to sink to the level of so many YouTube channels, here’s the requisite, “like comment and subscribe” pitch you won’t hear them say. Oh, [Bil] knows the audio is screwed up in places. Be sure to comment on that.

Filed under: classic hacks

Pew Pew! An Arduino Based Laser Rangefinder

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 12:00

Lasers are some of the coolest devices around. We can use them to cut things, create laser light shows, and also as a rangefinder.[Ignas] wrote in to tell us about [Berryjam's] AMAZING write-up on creating an Arduino based laser rangefinder. This post is definitely worth reading.

Inspired by a Arduino based LIDAR system, [Berryjam] decided that he wanted to successfully use an affordable Open Source Laser RangeFinder (OSLRF-01) from LightWare. The article starts off by going over the basics of how to measure distance with a laser based system. You measure the time between an outgoing laser pulse and the reflected return pulse; this time directly relates to the distance of the object. Sounds simple? In practice, it is not as simple as it may seem. [Berryjam] has done a great job doing some real world testing of this device, with nice plots to top it all off. After fiddling with the threshold and some other aspects of the code, the resulting accuracy is quite good.

Recently, we have seen more projects utilizing lasers for range-finding, including LIDAR projects. It is very exciting to see such high-end sensors making their way into the maker/hacker realm. If you have a related laser project, be sure to let us know!

Filed under: laser hacks

DIY 3D Tilt Sensor

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 09:00

If you’re trying to detect the orientation of an object, sometimes you really don’t need a 6DOF gyro and accelerometer. Hell, if you only need to detect if an object is tilted, you can get a simple “ball in a tube” tilt sensor for pennies. [tamberg] liked this idea, but he required a tilt sensor that works in the X, Y, and Z axes. Expanding on the ‘ball in a tube’ construction of simple tilt sensors, he designed a laser cut 3D tilt sensor that does all the work of of a $30 IMU.

The basic design of this tilt sensor is pretty simple – just an octahedron with four nails serving as switch contacts at each vertex. An aluminum ball knocks around inside this contraption, closing the nail head switches depending on what orientation it’s in. Simple, and the three dimensional version of a ball in tube tilt sensor.

To get the tilt data to the outside world, [tamberg] is using an Adafruit Bluetooth module, with two of the nails in each corner connected to a pin. With just a little bit of code, this 3D tilt sensor becomes a six-way switch to control an RGB LED. Video of that below.

Filed under: cnc hacks

IcenBerg. The Ice Cream Machine That Knocks

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 06:00

It’s summer. It’s hot. After [Alex Shure] tried his hand at making his own ice cream, he knew he had to take it a step farther. Introducing icenBerg. He’s not just in the ice cream business. He’s building an empire.

Using various odds and ends from the workshop, an old mini fridge donated to him by friends, and a lathe, [Alex] built the first iteration of icenBerg. It features a fancy machined paddle inside the insulated housing, which can be driven by a power drill — or at least that was the plan…

The salvaged compressor system from the mini fridge provides the cooling for the machine. In his first attempt, he found a power drill wasn’t quite strong enough — so he ended up chucking the entire thing into his lathe for unbeatable ice cream mixing. The flavor of choice was apple banana coconut sorbet with chocolate oak cookie chunks and roasted soybeans (say that 10 times fast!).

The machine is far from complete, but as a proof of concept deliciousness it has spurred him to make it even better. He plans on making it a standalone unit using a windshield wiper motor, a PWM circuit with a microcontroller, and even hopes to correlate motor current to ice cream consistency.

Tread lightly.

Filed under: cooking hacks

Step Right Up or Cower In Fear; the 7-Story Car-Juggling Robot Is Here

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 03:00

Sometimes we see a project that’s just as frightening as it is awesome. The Bug Juggler is a prime example of this phenomenon. A seven-story diesel-powered humanoid robot is one thing, but this one will pick up two VW Beetles, put one in its pocket, pick up a third, and juggle them. Yes, juggle them.

The Bug Juggler will be driven by a brave soul sitting in the head-cage and controlling him through haptic feedback connected to high-speed servo valves. A diesel engine will generate hydraulic pressure, and the mobility required for juggling the cars will come from hydraulic accumulators.

The project is in the capable hands of team members who have built special effects, a diesel/hydraulic vehicle for hauling huge sections of pipe, and mechanisms for Space Shuttle experiments. In order to attract investors for the full-scale version, they are building an 8-foot tall proof-of-concept arm assembly capable of tossing and catching a 250lb. mass.

If you prefer to see Beetles crushed, check out Stompy, the 18-foot rideable hexapod. Make the jump to see an animation of the full-scale Bug Juggler in action. Don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t stand quite so close to it without a helmet and some really good health insurance.

[via Gizmodo]

Filed under: robots hacks

Hackaday Descends on Detroit: Redbull Creation and a Meetup with You

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 01:30

If you live in a flyover state and never thought you’d see the Hackaday crew gallivanting through your neck of the woods, think again. We’re planning to descend on Detroit, Michigan later next week. The trip started when Red Bull invited [Mike Szczys] to come out and judge the 2014 Red Bull Creation contest. But we wanted to see what Detroit has to offer so [Brian Benchoff] and [Chris Gammell] are going to be in town too.

The Red Bull Creation has been a favorite here on Hackaday for years. Who doesn’t love a 72-hour hackathon that results in all kinds of crazy, spectacular, or horrifying builds? You can see the schedule for Creation here. If you can’t make it out when the teams are at work, the complete projects will be showcased on Saturday at Eastern Market followed by a party hosted at the Omnicorp Detroit hackerspace.

Detroit Meetup — Now with Actual Hacking!

Speaking of parties, Hackaday is having a Meetup as well, but it’s going to be much more than just a party! On Friday night i3 Detroit hackerspace is opening their doors to us starting at 8pm.

The i3 members have decided to make this a night for hacking and camaraderie. Bring your projects to show off and you can get some hacking done on them too.

The building does share a roof with the legendary Meader, B Nektar. We mention this because they’re awesome, and so that you’ll know this is going to be much more than you’d find if meeting at a plain old bar or a plain old workshop.

Do us a favor and let us know you’re coming. We’ll make sure to bring plenty of swag for anyone who makes a point to stop in!

We Need Your Help Finding Stuff in Detroit

There’s going to be plenty of amazing coverage of Creation, but with three people in town it’s nice to do some field-trips as well. So far we’re planning to visit Marvelous Marvin’s Mechanical Museum and The Henry Ford Museum.

But we need more suggestions. Stuff that’s off the beaten path and Hackaday worthy. To get you thinking, we loved visiting Apex Electronic when we were in Los Angeles. What’s in or close to Detroit that should be on the hacker approved list of attractions? Leave your suggestion in the comments.

Filed under: contests, Featured

Retrotechtacular: Build Yourself An Airplane

พุธ, 07/02/2014 - 00:01

Planes these days are super complicated – think about the recent flaming-lithium battery issues in the B787 that may or may not have been solved – but it wasn’t always this way. Here’s a great example. The manufacture of a Piper J-3 Cub shows simple and efficient mechanical design brought to life in a multitude of steps all performed without automation.

The build starts with the frame. Pipes are nibbled into specialized fish mouths for a tight fit before being strapped to a jig and tack welded. With the fuselage in one piece the frame is removed for each joint to be fully welded and subsequently inspected. Cables are run through the frame to connect control surfaces to the cockpit. Continuing through to wing assembly we were especially surprised to see hand hammering of nails to secure the wood ribs to metal spars. How many nails do you think that worker pounded in a career? The entire aircraft is covered in fabric, an engine is added, and it’s into the wild blue yonder.

The look back at manufacturing techniques is interesting – do you think the large model shown in the video would be built these days, or would they just use a CAD rendering?

[Thanks Ronald]

Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.

Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Retrotechtacular

Judge Spotlight: Dave Jones

อังคาร, 07/01/2014 - 21:01

This week’s Judge Spotlight features [Dave Jones] who posted a video reponse to our slate of questions. If you’ve spent much time around here chances are you know of [Dave] quite well. He is the man behind the EEVblog and also hosts The Amp Hour podcast along with [Chris Gammell].

It’s great to pick [Dave's] brain a bit. He’s seen a lot during his career, with insights on professional engineering from the point of view of job seeker, employer, job interviewer, and more. His time with the EEVblog and Amp Hour have furthered his experience with looks inside of all manner of equipment, adventures in crowd funding, and interactions with a multitude of hardware start-ups. Check out his video, as well as a list of the questions with timestamps, after the jump.

We’re sure you know by now, he’s judging The Hackaday Prize which will award a trip to space and hundreds of other prizes for showing off your connected device built using Open Design.

Here are the questions:

  1. 0:32 - It’s our understanding that you had a full-time engineering job when you started the EEVblog. How did you manage to fit in the time to pioneer the show?
  2. 2:30 - Often you give a great piece of advice for engineers: bring something you built to every interview. Do you recommend taking on builds related to the type of work you want in order to serve as these interview showpieces or can it be anything?
  3. 3:30 - We have started to hear about extracurricular hacking activities at small firms; kind of like mini-hackerspaces where employees can build stuff for fun. What do you think about this, and would you like to see it become a more widely exercised practice?
  4. 5:45 - You have mentioned that it is unlikely you’d ever join a Hackerspace since you have a formidable home lab. But obviously you do collaborate with others via your forums, etc. Would you consider this a type of virtual hackerspace? Do you have any advice on how people can connect with others to collaborate or just to exchange ideas?
  5. 7:59 - You’re known for being highly animated — your excitement for electronics is infectious! Is this a persona that comes out mostly when filming or do you have this kind of passion in your daily life?
  6. 10:12 - Tell us about your non-engineering-related hobbies.
  7. 12:16 - What else is going on in your life?
  8. 13:18 – Why does Open Source matter to you and what are some stories of Closed Source hurting your progress as an Engineer? What are some stories of Open Source helping your progress as an Engineer?
  9. 17:16 - What kind of projects really tickle your fancy and make you screaming with delight?

Filed under: Featured, Interviews, The Hackaday Prize

Magic in the Midwest: Maker Faire Kansas City

อังคาร, 07/01/2014 - 18:00

What did you do over the weekend? I spent both days at Maker Faire Kansas City and it was awesome. This is the fourth year the Faire has been held in Union Station, a stunning Kansas City landmark that celebrates its centennial this fall.

The Things

As you might imagine, there were 3D printers galore. One of my favorites was the One Up family from Q3D. These acrylic beauties start at $199 and offer a heated bed plate option.

Maker Juice Labs, purveyors of 3D printing inks for SLA brought a LittleSLA printer which they demonstrated by making some very nice key chains.

Little SLA does it stereolithographically.

SeeMeCNC had their Rostock Max V2 printer cooking up some huge prints, and Oni Technology, a local KC company, had their H Bot cranking.

Locally-made Oni H Bot.

At the Modio booth, my companion and I constructed heroes and monsters from a rainbow-colored pile of 3D-printed body parts and weapons. With Modio’s iPad app, you can create characters from the existing parts library, modify those parts, and print them on any 3D printer. All of the parts are designed to snap together. Modio recently teamed up with MakerBot and hopes to port their app from the iPad to the iPhone and Android in the near future.

I managed to resist the inexplicable Hostess booth and their free piles of Twinkies, Cup Cakes, and Coffee Cakes. They had a display that promised banana Twinkies and some Greek yogurt oddities, but only had the regular stuff on hand. On Sunday, I saw many people lugging around entire boxes of free Donettes and other goodies.

I could not resist a nearby booth that let me try out needle felting. If you’re unfamiliar, this process involves a repetitive stabbing motion with a small and insanely sharp needle to marry wool fibers together into any shape you can conceive. I got the basic hang of it and definitely see myself picking up another hobby—it would be very fun to felt a creature and incorporate, say, blinky eyes or a tilt switch that makes it squawk.


There was no end to the diversity of makers and their creations. I was nearly exterminated by a Dalek, but enlisted the aid of a nearby R2 unit. I saw scooters made from Adirondack chairs, complete bouquets made of fabric, hydroponic bucket gardens, jewelry, woodturnings, and networked music collaboration systems. I tasted blueberry jam that surprised me with its savory notes. I saw people walking around in freshly laser cut eyeglasses-and-moustache disguises and others wearing intricate makeup and costumes. There were steampunks, cosplayers, and superheroes galore.





The People

The lower level was dedicated to children and I almost didn’t get down there. Boy, am I glad I did, because I got to meet [Sarah Hodsdon] of Sarahndipitous Designs. Let me tell you, this woman is the friendly, caffeinated, inspirational embodiment of the maker spirit. She and her three virtually educated kids had a long table covered with a paper timeline of the Maker Faire. They instructed fairegoers to make their mark by creating a stamp from an eraser and stamping the area of the timeline representing their visit. [Sarah] and her crew had paper on hand to wrap up inky stamp souvenirs.

[Sarah Hodsdon] brought her creative A-game.

Late on Saturday afternoon, a thunderstorm drove everyone indoors. As [Sarah] pointed out, there were many time stamps on this part of the timeline. One woman had carved out a Tardis and made her mark far in the future.

[Sarah] is disappointed that cursive will no longer be taught in schools. As a result, part of her booth was dedicated to creating a handwritten copy of The Wizard of Oz one sentence at a time on yellow index cards. Her vision is that these cards would be laid out as a yellow brick road of penmanship and making.


The Maker Groups

Kansas City’s hacker space, CCCKC had a booth in the main hall and were also running a Learn to Solder workshop on the lower level.  They currently offer classes in game development, the Raspberry Pi platform, and Toki Pona [link], a minimalist language of fewer than 130 words.

Hammerspace was there as well with member [Michael]’s 3D-printed electric vehicle. This group has also printed a prosthetic hand for a 9-year-old boy and a replacement digit for an active duty soldier. They recently held a build workshop for Little Free Libraries.

They’re distracted! Run!

[Tom] of MakeICT, the maker space of Wichita, KS won a Maker of Merit ribbon for his foot-activated percussion tree of delight. They also brought a foam cutting bot and this fantastic drawing bot. I ran into [Dustin Evans] of tesseract replica fame, and I got to see it in person. He and [Nick Alexander], re-purposer of Wi-Fly helicopter receivers also brought a sweet homebrew arcade cabinet that attracted these unsavory characters. Surely it wasn’t the huge Hackaday logo . . . or was it?


Also in attendance: Lawrence Creates maker space and center for innovation, an analog-leaning hive of creativity. Their members give classes in everything from sewing and silk screening to stone carving and stained glass.

The Free/Libre Open Source and Open Knowledge Association of Kansas was formed in 2012 to promote FLOSS and open knowledge in Kansas and beyond.

The KC Open Hardware Group will hold their second annual hardware conference this fall which aims to spread the gospel of the open source hardware movement.  There will be a wide range of speakers, presentations, and smaller panels for demonstrations.

The Omaha Maker Group brought a hacked Qwest payphone that showed videos of their ‘space, past events, and of course, their creations. I was treated to pleasant, danceable music through the receiver that went well with the montage of their community adventures.

Dial ‘A’ for Adventure.

Folks from Milwaukee Makerspace brought their souped up Power Wheels as did members of Area515 out of Des Moines, IA. Area515 also brought electric vehicles to display including an electric Miata and a modified Cushman truckster.

As I remarked to my companion, each aspect of the Faire seemed to be about three times larger than last year. I hope that it will continue to grow and keep inspiring people for years to come.







Filed under: cons, Featured

Press Button Get Party Mode

อังคาร, 07/01/2014 - 15:00

If you’re looking to do something awesome with a graphing calculator, [Chris] is the guy to go to. He’s literally written the book on the subject. His PartyMode project, however, has absolutely nothing to do with calculators. It’s a fantastic display of lights, colors, and sounds that has been rebuilt again and again over the years, and something [Chris] has finally gotten around to documenting.

The idea for [Chris]‘ PartyMode is a single button that will transform a room from a boring computer lab or dorm room into a disco with 22.4 channel sound, and computer displays used as panels of color. The first version began in the lab in his school’s EE department that included ten CRT monitors. There were a few VUFans featured on the good ‘ol Hackaday, but a few problems with regulations and politics brought this version of PartyMode to a premature end.

The second version is a miniaturized, ‘press a button, get a party’ setup with a crazy number of RGB LEDs, a few more of those computer fan VU meters, and a Bluetooth app to control everything. Unlike the first version, the PartyMode 2.0 is fully independent from a computer, instead relying on an ATMega to do the audio processing and handling the Bluetooth interface. Judging from the videos below, it’s quite the site, and if you need an instant party, you could do much worse.

Filed under: led hacks

Deadbugged LED Strobe

อังคาร, 07/01/2014 - 12:00

[Steel 9] was looking around for a LED strobe light for reasons unknown. He couldn’t find any that he liked, and when that happened, he did what any normal person would do – make one himself.

[Steel] based this build around a Harbor Freight 27 LED flashlight. This flashlight is just that – a simple switch to turn the LEDs on and off, a button, and from the looks of things, not even a single current limiting resistor. A masterstroke of engineering, surely,

The added circuitry consists only of a pair of transistors, a few resistors, a capacitor, and a pot. Yes, [Steel] is too cool for a 555 chip, It’s just a simple multivibrator circuit and none of the component values are very sensitive.

[Steel] got exactly what he wanted without even having to break out a breadboard. Since he just deadbugged all the circuitry, he’s also reusing the plastic enclosure of the flashlight. That’s a win in any book.

Filed under: classic hacks

A Tiny Bubble Display Alarm Clock

อังคาร, 07/01/2014 - 09:00

For one reason or another, we’re starting to see a lot of projects featuring some old seven-segment HP bubble displays. Yes, those displays once relegated to ancient electronic calculators are making a comeback for reasons we can’t understand why, other than speculation that someone found a bunch of NOS displays. [Markus] picked up a few of these olde tymie displays and built a very nice bubble display alarm clock.

To keep things simple, [Markus] didn’t go the usual ATMega with RTC route. Instead, he’s using an MSP430, a 32kHz crystal, and a few buttons to construct this tiny alarm clock. It’s powered by a single AAA battery, and in a nice change of pace from fancy, professionally made boards, [Markus] built this on some perfboard with a little bit of enameled wire.

It’s a neat little clock, and with the speaker and most likely extreme battery life thanks to the MSP430, a wonderful portable, classic-looking alarm clock. Video of [Markus] manipulating the time below.

Filed under: clock hacks

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