Roboexotica 2008

robo11

We couldn’t make Roboexotica in Vienna, Austria this year (check out last year’s coverage), so we asked [Bre Pettis] to act as our liaison.

Last night was the opening party of Roboexotica, the worldwide gathering of cocktail robots. It was a blast! Pictured above is Robovox, a 40 foot high robot that you can text message to and it will say what you text to it! [Read more...]

Controller button marquee

controller_marque

[Ben Heck] posted an interesting one-off project he built many months ago. Video game developer Infinity Ward approached him to build a large display that indicated what buttons on a controller were being pressed. They were planning on using it during player testing by recording the board and the monitor at the same time. They could then compare the two to see if there was any disconnect between the players input and the onscreen action. Infinity Ward is the developer behind games like Call of Duty 4.

[Ben] piggy-backed the switch connections and added an external port. He used a pair of octal buffer ICs to replicate the signals and activate the LEDs. The whole board is powered by the same 3.3V line that’s used by accessories like the chat pad. The triggers have three LEDs each and are lit using a resistor ladder. [Ben] comments that since this is a newer Xbox 360 controller, the active-low button scheme makes it fairly easy to work with. There is a video of the board embedded below. [Read more...]

iPhone controlled dog treat dispenser

[Stephen Myers] has been toying around with some beta ioBridge hardware. He decided to build a remote control dog treat dispenser. ioBridge‘s hardware is built specifically to make web enabling projects easy. The main controller board has four I/O channels that speak to addon modules. It has an ethernet port on the main board and an easy to configure website.

[Stephen] used a servo addon board for his project. The dispenser is built from a scrap CD spindle attached to a servo. He can issue commands from his iPhone, which shows live video of the kennel. He’ll be building several other automation projects based on this system.

[via TUAW]

Robot Strippers not too enticing

robot_strippers

We really aren’t sure what the statement is here.  This is one of the displays at the MuTate London Exhibition. There is tons of stuff to see there, from interactive displays to giant art-piece vehicles. This specific display seems to have garnered the most attention though. we can understand the megaphone headed flailing DJ, but what is with the CCTV camera heads?

[via Gizmodo]

Musical shirt from toy keyboard

musical_shirt

[mikamika] has put together a great tutorial on how to build this musical shirt. The whole process is covered, from taking apart the toy keyboard to laying out the circuit and creating the fabric switches.  He used the same method as [plusea] for the fabric buttons and conductive thread for most of the connections. It seems as though he has actually taken [plusea]‘s wearable shirt project and added some polish. His looks good enough, he might even be able to make it through an airport.

Working with relays

relay

SparkFun’s latest tutorial shows you how to work with relays. A relay is an electrically operated switch. In this case, they’re using it to switch a 120V AC outlet. The article carries the standard warnings about how not to kill yourself with AC (plus some non sequitor linking throughout). As an extra precaution, they chose a GFI outlet. You probably know how a relay works, but it’s worth seeing how they implemented it. They use a transistor to prevent overloading the microcontroller’s GPIO pin. The control pin is pulled to ground to keep the relay off. A diode is placed across the relay coil to manage the power flow when it discharges. An indicator LED is included to show when the relay closes. This is a great foundation for an automation project, or maybe you just want to terrorize your cat.

Ripsaw MS1

ripsaw

The Ripsaw MS1 is an unmanned ground vehicle built by two brothers in Maine. The tracked vehicle can go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds with an 80mph top speed. In its current form, it has a 2000 pound capacity, which opens the possibility for many different types of weapon systems. Control is provided by two people: one driver and one gunner. They work in independent remote stations. The Ripsaw could potentially be used in any application normally reserved for a tank. It could lead a charge without putting soldiers at risk.

We’ve been watching this project mature since 2005 when it was being marketed as a Grand Challenge competitor. This week it’s being demoed at the Army Science Conference. Check out footage of it in motion below.

[Read more...]

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