[Garrett] took 30 of his ShiftBrite modules and mounted them to his front fence for Christmas. The ShiftBrite is a serially addressable high output RGB LED. The individual modules are quite adept at applications like this where you’re stringing multiple lights together. They have identical buses on either side, specifically for daisychaining. The installation above looks great.
The New York Times has published their 8th annual Year in Ideas. It’s a collection of interesting research and policy changes that have happened in the last year. They cover several projects that we’ve found noteworthy in the past. Pictured above is [Max Donelan]‘s power generating knee brace. It generates power as you perform mundane daily activities. Another pick was the Brickley Engine. It has a unique piston layout to reduce friction for increased efficiency. We were particularly interested in the research that discovered drone pilots become exhausted far quicker than pilots in real aircraft. It’s doubtful that this problem of “sensory isolation” will go away and we wonder what other fields it might appear in. They even mention [Josh Klein]‘s crow vending machine. You’ll find something to pique your interest in the Year of Ideas, even if it’s DNA forensics for dog poop.
We were surprised last month when we saw augmented reality being done completely in flash. It hasn’t taken too long to go mainstream though. MINI has incorporated it into a recent German language magazine ad campaign. The fiduciary marks actually work quite well with MINI’s established ad format. Visit the ad’s URL and hold the magazine up to the webcam and a 3D model of the MINI Cabrio will appear. They have a PDF of the ad that you can print and use if you don’t have the original. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have cross-platform support.
[Alexander.m] shows us how to do a major overhaul on a cordless drill, replacing pretty much everything but the case. He needed some more power, but found the price tag of the bigger drills to be prohibitive. He opted for a more hacked together approach and used a 24 volt 1.4 hp hobby motor as a drive. He had to make a custom enclosure for the batteries too. The final result may not be the prettiest thing in the world, with that giant battery pack on the bottom, but it probably gets the job done pretty well and cost less than half of what a new one would have.