iDisplay, webcam multitouch

Embedded above is an interesting multitouch demo by [Lahiru]. The goal of the project was to find an easy way to retrofit current LCDs for multitouch. Instead of using infrared or capacitive recognition, it uses a standard webcam mounted overhead. To calibrate, you draw polygon around the desktop screen as the webcam sees it. The camera can identify the location of markers placed on the screen and their color. iDisplay can also recognize hands making the pinch motion and sends these as touch events via TUIO, so it works with existing touch software. It’s written in C++ using OpenCV for image processing with openFrameworks as the application framework.

[via NUI Group]

Automated Paintball Sentry

Reader, [Ben Godding], sends in the video for his senior design team’s automated paintball sentry. The frame is made of plasma cut aluminum. The paintball gun uses a custom hopper mounted remotely from the gun body. It has two webcams offering a 160 degree field of vision, and the image processing is done by a dual core pentium CPU booting windows xp off a compact flash card. The computer interfaces with the 1/4scale RC servos using a PIC24. The paintball sentry can either be configured via a computer GUI when a monitor is available or a baclkit keypad and 4×20 charachter display in the field.

Related: [Jared Bouck]‘s paintball gun turret

Carnivorous robots

flypaperup

Artists [James Auger] and [Jimmy Loizeau] have put out this display of carnivorous robots. Pictured above is a clock that is powered by a microbial fuel cell. The clock is equipped with a scroll of sticky paper for catching the flies which it then scrapes into it’s cell for digestion. The other pieces include a mouse eating coffee table, a strange mechanism for stealing spider’s meals, and a lamp shade inspired by pitcher plants.

Parts: I2C real-time clock calendar (PCF8563)

pcf8563

The PCF8563 is a real-time clock/calendar/alarm chip with an I2C interface. This would be useful in projects where the primary microcontroller doesn’t have enough resources for an interrupt driven clock.

We demonstrate the PCF8563 using the Bus Pirate after the break. For a limited time you can get your own Bus Pirate, fully assembled and shipped worldwide, for only $30.

[Read more...]

Line following racers

[Tim] sent in these quick little line following bots (translated). They were sent as participants in cosmobot, but due to an unfortunate dropbox mishap, they didn’t have updated firmware. They placed fifth and ninth place. As you can see in the video above, they are quite speedy. You can get the schematics and code on their project page (translated). They are hoping to make improvements to place better with the same bots next year.

Pneumatic bed alarm clock

For four years, this guy has been using this Pneumatic bed alarm clock to wake up. Apparently “I’m a really heavy sleeper” is an understatement. It is computer controlled and runs from two seperate air sources. He entered it in a radio show contest and we’re guessing he won. You can see the test run at the radio station after the break. We really can understand the fun of building this. But actually using it for four years, without suffering any major injuries, is an accomplishment of it’s own.

[Read more...]

Home made solder pot

solder pot

Our reader [Damir] built a home made soldering pot. It can be used to solder and desolder components. To remove a through hole component, the solder side is placed in the bath. Then the component is removed with pliers. It is also possible to solder components, by placing the leads in the molten solder; similar to wave soldering. Another common use is tinning self stripping wire. The insulation of the wire is designed to burn off, allowing the strip and tin phase to be single step. This solder pot would be a nice addition to the hacker’s soldering station we had covered in 2008. For more pictures, check out the photo gallery. In the video embedded below, a transformer is easily removed from a modem.

[Read more...]

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