Just in time for the influx of sedentary Oprah viewers, [Adam Wilson] built a brain interface that allows you to post Twitter messages. The electrode cap monitors the user’s brain functions to determine where they’re looking. The display slowly flashes each letter in the alphabet. The user focuses on the letter they want and when it flashes the cap can pick up the resulting impulse. It’s a long process and the average user can only do ten characters a minute i.e. 14 minutes to use all 140 characters in a Twitter post. It’s interesting research and shows how far we still need to go with neural interfaces. The researchers note that Twitter’s forced brevity levels the playing field between locked-in patients and normal users. A video of the device in use is available on the NITRO blog.
Related: KanEye tracking system
Though we usually think of Wii projects when we see him, [Johnny Lee] is showing us some Bioloid fun. He’s decided to pick one up to play with, wanting to write his own control programs for it. Unfortunately what he found was that it doesn’t do wireless communication for control. Even after installing a bluetooth module, he found it was only used to trigger different predetermined motions. After some research, he found how to connect the bluetooth module to the main PC link which allows him direct control of the Bioloid via the PC. Unfortunately, the communication speed leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s a good start. We’ll keep our eye on this one.
GNUCITIZEN has posted information on linksys wireless IP camera hacking. It turns out that some models send the administrator user name and password to the computer when the setup wizard requests a connection. In theory, someone could send the request and harvest your passwords wirelessly. This seems like a pretty careless oversight. We would think that linksys will probably remedy this before too long.
Update: Part 2 has been posted.
Update: Part 3 has been posted.
We’ve posted many many times about hexapods. One of the most common comments, aside from how creepy they are, is about their speed. Hexapods are generally pretty slow. These little bots are quite a bit different though. The Sprawl and iSprawl, are anything but slow. Using a hybrid leg mechanism that aims its piston like “toes”, they mimic the motion of cockroaches. The video shows the speed can be pretty quick, especially the iSprawl in the second half. The leg mechanism the Sprawl is air powered, while the iSprawl uses a push/pull cable transmission system. As pointed out at BotJunkie, it’s nice for the “i” in iSprawl to actually mean something. It stands for “independent”.
Ok, we know you’re going to get mad, there’s virtually no information on the technical side. But the music was so pleasant, and that’s rare. There’s an interview with Felix, the creator, where he discusses his goals and ideas behind the project. We prefer just to sit and watch though. If you want to make something similar, there were some technical details on a mechanical drum recently.
[Daniel] sent us his entry to the Epilog laser cutter challenge on instructables. He made a book scanner, mainly out of found parts. The bulk of the project was salvaged from dumpsters, though if you’re not comfortable with that, the free section of craigslist might be able to do the job. The cameras are loaded with CHDK, using StereoData maker, and custom software to compile the images into PDFs. They did a fantastic job of documenting every step of the construction, including helpful tips for some of the more complicated parts. There are several videos in the instructable, so be sure to check them out. We’re particularly amused by the extra step of making the photo captions visually interesting. At 79 steps, it’s a long read, but well worth it.