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Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet


Pitchfork.tv is showing the documentary Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet for one week only. The Blip Festival is an annual chiptune event in New York City featuring musicians who use video game consoles as part of their production. The documentary has a ton of artist interviews and music from all across the spectrum. Most of the initial featured artists are using the Game Boy LSDJ tracker cartridge. [Nullsleep] has put together a tutorial for the device. You’ll see a lot of other old hardware and hear discussions of coveted mods like adding backlights as well. [Mark Denardo] is shown using a PSP as part of his performance. Other people are using software like Fruity Loops to build tracks with Nintendo samples. Honestly, our favorite part was a clip of the loud objects doing a live soldering circuit bending performance on top of an overhead projector at the Bent Festival. Although not musical, Element Labs’ Versa TILE makes a fairly mesmerizing backdrop throughout the film too. You can find links to all the featured artists on last year’s festival page.

Blip Festival 2008 happens December 4-6 in Brooklyn, NY.

[via Waxy]

[photo: ziggy fresh]

Hack a Day T-Shirt design contest

We need a new t-shirt. The current design is entering its third year. Help us out by designing a new shirt to give away at conferences. Dash has donated a Dash Express for first prize.

Some ground rules:

  • You must incorporate the skull and wrenches logo in your design. You’ll find a larger version below.
  • You can enter as many designs as you like to hackaday.shirt@gmail.com (JPG, GIF, or PNG mockups only please)
  • The design can’t violate any copyright laws or trademarks.
  • The design should be one color and the shirt doesn’t have to be black.
  • By submitting your design you give us non-exclusive rights to use the image in the design of a Hack a Day t-shirt as well as for other Hack A Day promotional materials.
  • We reserve the right to choose no design at all if we don’t like any of the submissions.
  • The contest ends September 15th.

[Read more...]

British bots compete for attention


The British military held a competition to find the newest batch of robotic surveillance drones. The article mentions that they compete in a mockup village, but sadly we don’t get to see any of the action. We strongly recommend watching the video so you can see some of the robots. There is an interesting helicopter concept that has angled props for better stability and lateral motion, but more importantly you get to see the little guy pictured above. He very well could be Wall-E’s great grandfather. Though his constant buzzing around during the interviews is slightly annoying, his little camera mount looking all around is instantly endearing. If he doesn’t win this contest, he may have a shot at the [crabfu] challenge.

[via Engadget]

1920s navigation system and more


And now, for your amusement, we present to you a navigation system from the 1920s. It’s not so much a satellite navigation system as it is a tiny map mounted in a wristwatch, but for the available technology of the era, this was a pretty ingenious invention, Other (and somewhat more bizarre) entries on this list of over a dozen other inventions from the early part of the 20th century include a finger stretcher, an eyeball massager, and mustache guards. Although most of these inventions seem laughable today, they are an interesting study in finding creative solutions to real problems. After all, what these inventors did a hundred years ago with gears and paper is pretty much what we do today with transistors and LEDs.

[via The Presurfer]

USB switched power strip


[toymotorhead] pieced together this USB controlled power strip to help with his electrical bill. His goal was to be able to have devices turned off automatically when he shut down his computer as well as powered on when he turned his computer on. Another requirement was that the USB be isolated to protect the motherboard from spikes.

The cost of the parts in total were less than $30, and consisted of a solid state relay, some fuses, and some transient voltage surge suppressing diodes. The unit only switches power off or on depending on whether or not the computer is powered up, it doesn’t control the outlets via software. He goes pretty in depth as to how everything works as well as showing nice diagrams and pictures. This should be a fairly quick and simple project, as long as you take the proper precautions for working with high voltage.

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