Black Ox robot for sale


Remember Gigantor, the anime about the original “Iron Man”? Fans of the show will want to take note: Vstone, maker of robots and other products, is now accepting orders for the Black Ox, Gigantor’s nemesis. It’s a real robot with 22 joints, and can be controlled via a wireless remote. The product can only be ordered online, and it’ll cost you a pretty penny. We hope you have $7,450 laying around. it’s $930 for the down payment. It’s as if the company were pretty much daring hobbyists to make their own cheaper versions. Street knowledge media has even more pictures.

[via CrunchGear]

Neo FreeRunner software review


A first look from Ars Technica at the newly released Neo FreeRunner phone by OpenMoko reveals some interesting information. There are three different software stacks available to use; the Neo FreeRunner will ship with the GTK-based stack, referred to as om2007.2. It offers conventional smartphone applications, but most importantly, it includes “full root access to a Busybox shell with all of the standard scripting tools like sed and awk”. The ASU stack is what OpenMoko developers are currently working on; there are promises of a more user-friendly experience. The FSO stack, also currently in development, aims to resolve the issues brought up by having different software stacks for the same phone. Since none of the stacks are considered “fully functional”, OpenMoko may have a difficult time attracting a mainstream audience. Hackers may be hampered by the lack of available documentation, although there are resources for OpenMoko enthusiasts, if you just search hard enough. The final conclusion? While OpenMoko may be difficult to use, it compares favorably to competitors such as Google’s Android platform, which is less flexible.

iPhone: 2.0 firmware jailbroken, 3G taken apart


Oh, iPhone Dev Team, you are a hoot. It isn’t that you managed to jailbreak the iPhone 2.0 firmware on the day of its release, although we can’t help but smirk at that. It isn’t even that you revealed your handiwork in a playful way. We simply love that you expertly work us into a frenzy for the new jailbreak installer with few casual images and some aloof words. Now give us the installer before we get too antsy, please.

Not to be outshined, though, iFixit has posted a full iPhone 3G teardown, stripping away the sleek casing to feast on the goodness inside. They found some interesting changes from the last model: the glass screen, for example, is no longer glued to the LCD, which will no doubt make repairs less expensive. The battery is also unsoldered, meaning you won’t have to send the phone in for repair if the only battery needs maintenance.

Magnetic Movie


Magnetic field lines may be invisible to the naked eye, but they behave in ways that would amaze us if only we could see them. [Ruth Jarman] and [Joe Gerhardt] from Semiconductor wanted to make them visible for everyone, so they produced Magnetic Movie, a film that combines animations, theoretical models, and actual VLF recordings of the entire Earth’s magetic forces to create a film that shows magnetic fields moving and jumping through the air in living color.

The film is part art project and part scientific experiment, but we can enjoy it on both levels, as watching the path and motion of magnetic field lines is both beautiful and informative. Get a glimpse for yourself after the break.

[Read more...]

Optical DJ controller


[Adrian] sent in this sweet little optical DJ controller. The ‘turntable’ was made from a CD and an encoder wheel created with a laser printed transparent overhead sheet. You can score some optical gear from a spare mouse, or just buy the parts. A PIC18F452 encodes everything into a midi signal. You can find a good photo of the schematics here. And you can hit the demo video after the break.

[Read more...]

New Sparkfun designs


Sparkfun has recently released a bevy of new boards and other devices, with some very intriguing new builds among them.

The first board that caught our attention is the Wee. It is a compact Arduino compatible controller that features a small size, low voltage, and many other minimalist attributes. It is built around an ATMega 168V and uses all SMD parts.

For even tinier fun, check out the LilyPad LED. It is a LED designed to be incorporated into clothing, featuring large holes for threading, a thin and extremely small PCB and a very bright 250mcd light. It is also washable, meaning that one or many can permanently be incorporated into clothing without fear of losing them. You can see these in the turn signal jacket we covered earlier.

The last one we’ll discuss is the LiPoly Charger, a USB lithium ion battery charger. Based on the Max 1555 IC, the LiPoly can use USB bus power or a 2.1mm center positive wallwart power(it uses the more high-powered wall-wart if both are connected). It can’t charge NiMH batteries, but it is still compact, efficient, and very useful.

Taser ammo for your spud gun


We definitely don’t recommend trying this one, but [Tony] sent in this odd twist on the old potato launcher. A pair of physics students put together a Taser like potato sized bullet. On impact, two metal pins are inserted into the target, delivering an electric shock. Depending on the size of the capacitor and amount of charge delivered, it can be a (sort of) non-lethal or lethal shock. We’d prefer not to be shot with either one.

[via pspmod]

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