A small group of enthusiasts have apparently been restoring and reprogramming the animatronic bands from the former Showbiz Pizza Place chain. Original engineer [Aaron Fechter] and car salesman/choreographer [Chris Thrash] have started performing modern pop songs with the bands and have a page where you can bid on new songs to perform. This feels like Billy Bass hacking on a much larger scale. The original machines were controlled by a four track reel, but now they’re using a hard disk recorder. The trailer above is worth watching just for the rows of partially assembled bears performing on the factory floor.
Modern Device’s Really Bare Bones Board is an Arduino clone designed to have an incredibly small footprint. It’s barely wider than the requisite AVR and is laid out so you can reduce the size even further. Don’t need the power connector? Just snip it off. Don’t need the voltage regulator? That can be removed just as easily. The kit is only $12 and all through-hole components. [youevolve] posted a build guide that shows exactly how easy it is to assemble.
Autoblog recently posted about the LusoMotors LM23, a track car powered by a Honda CBR1000 that weighs less than 900 pounds. We knew there have been quite a few other home built cars that have foregone traditional engines for motorcycle power plants, so we asked Google for a few project suggestions. It turned up this excellent round up of motorcycle powered cars by The Kneeslider. The usual Caterham suspects show up, but there are many other unique vehicles: from Mini and Fiat conversions to the unique sidemounted engine in the DP1 pictured above. Definitely check out this excellent collection.
Linux Journal’s [Mike Diehl] pointed out an interesting tool for manipulating data: Sprog. Sprog lets you assemble machines to complete specific data processing tasks. You snap together gears that read input data, process the data in different ways, and then output the results. The input could be a file, URL, database query results, or even MIDI notes. For processing you could be matching patterns, selecting csv columns, converting to uppercase, or executing arbitrary Perl code amongst many other options. Finally the output could be shown in a text window, inserted into a database, written to a file, or sent to your spreadsheet application. Sprog’s site has a section for user uploaded gears and a recipe section for examples like this crossword puzzle solver. Everything Sprog does could be done with scripting, but this is a simple graphical tool that could help you solve a problem without having to know the gory machinery behind it.
[Adam] sent in the RouterTerm. It’s an ATMega8 with an LCD, PS/2 keyboard input and a 16×2 LCD. No source/schematics yet, but he claims that he’ll get around to it if enough people ask. It was built specifically to talk to an Edimax BR-6104KP router with Linux on it.