Halloween props: DMX controlled skeleton

[scarylady] has posted this video about her setup. The skeleton was rigged up to a rotating base with a single pneumatic solenoid to jostle it. She then goes on to show how she has it all connected to her computer with an explanation of the software setup. Though some of us might feel she could have accomplished very similar results with a simple oscillating fan, this is a decent intro to DMX.

We also had several people submit this fantastic list of Halloween projects, The Halloween monster list. There is enough information there to keep you busy for quite a while. We were going to list our favorites, but there are so many fantastic ones, we think you should just go look at them all. Remember to send us more of your projects.

Tool Tip: microcontroller timer calculator

uC_timer_calculator

In life and embedded systems timing is everything. Give [Frank's] web-based timer calculator a try. Set your system clock resolution (in hertz making sure you account for any system clock divider), select your timer resolution and prescaler, then calculate based on desired ticks, overflows, or real time. He’s built this with the AVR chips in mind but it should be handy for any family of microcontrollers.

Of course none of this is rocket science, but if you’re trying to use one timer for two differently synchronized events this can save you a lot of trial and error time.

Pong on your wrist

pong_wristwatch

[John] wanted to take a pong clock and put it in a wristwatch form factor. Take an afternoon and pour over his detailed build logs. This multi-year project is done with meticulous cleanliness that makes us jealous. He’s milled the case and buttons himself, achieving a professional look that equals or surpasses the quality of some commercially available “gaming” watches. The project centers around an OLED display driven by a TI MSP430F2013 processor. Don’t miss the video after the break covering prototyping, PCB work, case milling, and the watch in action. Currently, this is the third generation of development but with a project this exciting, are you ever really finished? [Read more...]

Capacitive buttons control all life

capacitive_game_of_life

Projects involving Conway’s Game of Life and utilizing a Nokia 3310 screen are quite popular with electronics hobbyists. [Droky] put these two together and went one step further by adding capacitive sensors to control the Game of Life. His work is a great example of how to use the Atmel QTouch capacitive sensor (QT100a datasheet). This chip does the heavy lifting that we’ve seen in other touch sensitive solutions. It operates from 2V-5.5V, requires only three capacitors and a resistor, has a one pin active high output, and sells for around $1 in low quantities. One thing [Droky] overlooked in his board layout is the ground pad on the bottom of the WSON6 chip. He was able to make it work by masking the trace that runs under the chip but you will want to alter the layout in your own designs.

If you’ve used the QT100a before we’d like to hear about your experience, and find out if button debounce handling is necessary with this chip. Let us know in the comments. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

[Read more...]

OmniZero.9 multi format biped

There are so many biped bots circulating the web that we tend to overlook them. This one caught our eye this morning due to its interesting ability to change its layout. Named OmniZero.9, this biped can drive on 4 wheels like a car, walk like a biped, and even carry a person. While it certainly doesn’t look like the most comfortable mode of transportation, it looks less awkward than some of the latest “innovations” coming from big names.

[via GetRobo]

Open Source Weapon Makes You Puke

[Limor] of Adafruit Industries and the Ice Tube Clock has made her own open source non-lethal weapon: The Bedazzler. After attending a conference by the DHS where she saw the big-budget Dazzler, she decided to make her own. Thirty-six LEDs, six switching FETs, a Boarduino, and a former flashlight later, the Bedazzler makes a better rave toy than a weapon. It doesn’t work as-is, but we figure it will only be a matter of time before someone hacks this to make people… umm hack.  See the video after the break.

[Read more...]

Homemade UAV

uav

[Terence Bordelon] sent in his impressive UAV (Unmanned Arial Vehicle). The hack is a culmination of his other projects. It can be turned to fully automatic at the flip of a switch. It will fly itself to gps way points, land, and take off. The UAV has a range of 100km thanks to his home built RF Unit which runs on ham bands. The brains of the setup is his custom IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). The unit is controlled by his ground station which either allows him to fly it normally or toggle through the various modes.  [Terrence] is also a game developer and has worked on many popular titles such as Zoo Tycoon 2 and Ratchet and Clank.

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