Ms. Pac-Man iPod charging cover

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iPod chargers definitely are a unique entity on anyone’s desk. Allowing you to stand your iPod upright, charge, and maybe play a video at the same time, but they aren’t exactly beautiful. [russm313] got the brilliant idea of disguising his iPod (and charger) as a miniature Ms. Pac-Man arcade cabinet. Unlike some other small cabinets we’ve seen, it is just cover and can’t actually be played. But the idea is still original and the process is so simply we’re surprised it hasn’t been done before; just cardboard, glue, and some other small items are needed and you have a work of art. All that is left is figuring out how to adapt it for the iPhone. Check out his iPod playing a video of game play for a more authentic look, after the break.

[Read more...]

Beef up your UPS

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[Surferdude] was unhappy with the decreasing life of his aging uninterruptible power supply. He decided to beef it up using marine batteries. He extended the battery connections outside of the UPS case using #10 wire and swapped the two 12 volt gel cells with the heavy duty lead-acid batteries. Doing so upgraded the device from 20 amp-hours to 84 amp-hours at a cost of about $160. If you’re thinking about taking this on yourself, pay attention to the countinuous output rating of your UPS to prevent a fire risk.

XMPP and home automation

xmpp_office_lights

[Matthias] from Intuity Media Lab put together a nice bit on controlling office lights with XMPP from his Android phone. In the article, he explains the components involved in the project, why he chose XMPP, and lists everything you need to replicate it. The project makes use of a wide variety of tools and libraries, weaving together code from multiple languages to achieve its goal. Overall, his project is a welcome change in a world full of Twitter-based solutions.

Wireless electricity

[Eric Giler] has a talk available over at TED that discusses and demos delivering electricity without wires. Called WiTricity, these methods were developed by a team at MIT a few years ago who were working off of the concepts of Nicolai Tesla. The facts shared about our current energy delivery system are a bit shocking; we’ve spent over $1 trillion in infrastructure and produce more than 40 billion disposable batteries each year.

The demonstration in the video starts about 6:30 into it. At first we see a flat panel television powered wirelessly from about 6 feet away, then the T-Mobile G1 powered from the same distance. The thought of new TVs coming with WiFi and WiTricity standard would mean just hanging it on the wall with no cords to run. We can also image cellphones that have a battery only for backup purposes when you were not near a transmitter.

The power transfer occurs between two coils that resonate at the same frequency and only that frequency. This remind us a bit of Orson Scott Card’s fantasy communications device from the Ender’s Saga.

Tiny light-seeking robots

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[Alex] continues to delight us with his projects. His third-generation tiny Braitenberg vehicle, a light seeking robot, is a big improvement over its predecessor, the mini Braitenberg vehicle. He’s moved from an Arduino based design to using the AVR ATtiny25v, replaced the breadboard with a PCB, and reduced the parts count. We think it was a great idea to use shrink tubing to shield the back of the photo-resistors from ambient light. Don’t miss the video of these little guys chasing a flashlight beam after the break. [Read more...]

Apple TV with Boxee and more update

atvusb-creator

In November, we covered installing Boxee on AppleTV using atv-usb-creator. [Danny] has written a tutorial on installing Boxee, XBMC, NitoTV, SSH access, and external USB hard drive support. His method installs most of the software via the USB patch stick, then uses the SSH support to enable the external drive and install NitoTV. The tutorial lists a Mac running OSX 10.4 or newer as a prerequisite but there is now a Windows version of atv-usb-creator. According to their Google Code page Linux support for this package is on the way.

[via AppleTV Hacks]

XR-NOISE Box

[denha] has assembled a noise box he calls the XR-NOISE using an XR-2206 multi-waveform function generator. The output has an impressive number of controllable settings, and uses a set of LEDs to indicate sound level and rate. The XR-NOISE uses 1/4″ jacks for both in and out, and can also be controlled by the tap-sensitive mic located on the front of the box. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any further documentation or schematics to provide context, but it seems that this function generator chip has also been used for other audio hack projects as well, including a scratch-synth using resistive pressure sensors.

[via MatrixSynth]

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