TinkerKit, physical computing toolkit

tinkerkit

TinkerKit is a collection of 20 different sensors and 10 actuators. It’s meant to make prototyping of physical computing devices much quicker/easier. The devices plug into a Sensor Hub Arduino shield. There is also a similar hub board that can emulate a keyboard; it translates sensor input directly to key strokes. It looks like a very ambitious project and it’s still in development. We love the idea though and think the wide variety of components will foster better final designs. The TinkerKit site covers the current component lineup and there’s a demo video embedded below.

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Parking violation leads to malware download

parking

It seems some enterprising individual in Grand Forks, North Dakota has been placing fake parking violations on cars. If the recipient visited the URL on the flyer, they would be told to install a toolbar to view pictures of their vehicle. That piece of malicious software would then attempt to install several more. The actual vehicle pictures were from Grand Forks, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar attack happen in a much larger city.

SparkFun releases RGB button controller

rgb_button

SparkFun has been selling button pad parts for some time and we used them in our RGB door lock project. A excellent part, but you needed to implement your own interface to use the boards. SparkFun has just released two additional versions to make it easier on builders. The first is their Button Pad Controller USB. It has a 4×4 grid of buttons lit by RGB LEDs and a USB interface. This board can be expanded using the Button Pad Controller SPI. The SPI bus means it should be easy to add the button pad to embedded projects. This newest release puts you much closer to building your own RGB monome clone or other custom controller than ever before. The unit pictured above is their own project and they have no plans on selling anything like it.

Radio controlled sphere

[prabbit22m] has written an instructable on how to build a radio controlled sphere. The mechanism is fairly simple, with one drive motor, one servo and a gyro for stability. To turn, the servo shifts the center of gravity off to one side. You can see that the system works pretty well in the video above. If it didn’t have that gyro, it would be insane, believe us, we’ve done our own experimenting. If you like this, but want more features, check out this one that has a camera and takes pictures wherever it goes. We can’t forget Swarm either. The autonomous swarm of robot spheres. Of coarse [prabbit22m] might have the best idea of all. Dress it up as a regular ball to mess with people.

Haptic compass

north

[eric], inspired by this Wired article, built his own haptic compass. Named “the clown belt”, it is a belt with 12 little vibrating motors mounted evenly all around. A digital compass vibrates whichever motor is closest to north at all times. This basically gives the owner an extra sense.  He doesn’t go much into his own experiences, but the Wired article mentions “dreaming in north” and feeling strange once they finally removed it. Precise direction senses may not be super power worthy, but they would be cool.

[thanks cnelson]

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