Exersize for a good cause, cold beer

It can sometimes be difficult to decide what items we want to fill space in our homes. Our health is valued highly, as is our ability to consume cold beer. Someone out there must have been thinking of us when they designed this exersize bike that chills your beer. Admittedly, it won’t chill it as fast as some other methods we’ve tried. We also may end up forcing our friends and loved ones to do the actual chilling, but beer tastes better when cooled by slave labor anyway.

Hexbug brain transplant

The Hex Bug, at $10, proves to be a perfect platform for building your own droid. Out of the box, it has pretty limited functionality. It walks forward until its antennae bump something, then it backs up and turns left. Applied inspirations shows us how you can replace the bug’s brains with a microcontroller to give it much more life. Instead of hacking into the existing electronics, they chose to completely replace the board. The final result, though still only able to turn one direction, is much more robust.  They discuss the ability to add numerous sensors as well as pre program different behaviours and personalities.

How-to: USB remote control receiver

Now that we listen to MP3s, and watch XVIDs or x264s, a computer is the entertainment center in at least one room of most homes. Unless you have a special HTPC, though, you’re probably stuck using the keyboard to pause, change the volume, and fast-forward through annoying Mythbusters recaps. PC remote control receivers range from ancient serial port designs (who has one?) to USB devices not supported by popular software. In this how-to we design a USB infrared receiver that imitates a common protocol supported by software for Windows, Linux, and Mac. We’ve got a full guide to the protocol plus schematics and a parts list.

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Flickering LED Circuit

Here’s a simple project for your Halloween celebration. The other day while looking through our box of Halloween decorations, we noticed that the incandescent lamp in one of the jack-o’-lanterns was burnt out. Instead of simply replacing the outdated bulb, we decided to build a small dark detecting circuit with 2 yellow LEDs based on this Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories design. After successfully building the circuit, we took the project one step further by incorporating an Atmel ATtiny13 microcontroller. The code switches the LEDs on and off randomly for a flickering effect and is based on this instructable. Below is the schematic we created in EAGLE and a parts list.

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