Another mini KeepOn?

[Eustice Scrubb] has posted some videos and pictures of a robotic “eye stalk” that he’s building. It looks like the final version is using 3 servos in an arrangement like tendons through a slinky jr. The ping-pong ball on the top has a BlinkM inside it. You can see a video after the break that shows the three servo tendons in motion. The whole thing is controlled by an Arduino and one of his pictures states that it plays mp3s and has an internal pendulum. None of his pictures seem to implicitly state what it is meant to do though.

[Read more...]

Name that thing

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[Alan] over at HackedGadgets.com has been doing a “Name the Thing” contest where he occasionally posts an image and people try to figure out what it is. We’ve seen similar posts on some other web sites too. We usually don’t post them here because they’re not only not a hack, they’re usually not even projects. This one, however, caught our eye.

We apologize for posting this, without telling you what it is. The simplest explanation is that curiosity is getting the best of us. We were hoping that you guys could help out. What is this thing? Can we have two?

Broken TV brought to life in LEGO body

LEGO-monitor-frontbanner

After letting it sit around for about 3 years, [Blake] decided it was time to fix his broken 15″ television. A little trouble shooting showed the problem was with the inverter. The backlight would come on for a few seconds, off for a few seconds, then repeat. By freeing the Magnavox 15MF400T from its metal case he got it working again, but couldn’t find the source of the short. His solution: build a new case out of non-conductive material. Voilà! We have the 15″ LEGO monitor.

It’s not a very complicated LEGO build, but it’s the first case mod we’ve seen in a long time that isn’t strictly gratuitous.  Join us after the break for more pictures. [Read more...]

XBMC running on ARM

beagleboard

The XBMC team has posted a teaser showing the current state of the ARM port of this popular open source media software. We’ve embedded it after the break where you can see the package boot up and playback HD video. In it we see that the system is decoding the signal well, but image rendering needs some tweaking before this will be ready.

The hardware used is a Beagleboard which runs a 600 MHz ARM processor, has OpenGL 2D/3D acceleration, puts out HD via a DVI port, and is selling for about $150. The 3″ by 3″ board can be connected to a network using a USB WiFi dongle. Although integrating XBMC by hacking TV firmware is a long way off, we’d consider velcroing one of these to the back of our HDTV and getting rid of the hulking PC behind the entertainment center.

Can’t wait for this version to hit a stable release and don’t mind using hardware that is just a bit bigger? Check out this guide for setting up XBMC on the $200 Acer Aspire Revo.

[Read more...]

Time-lapse courtesy of Arduino

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[Ross] put together a small package for use with time-lapse photography. The Nikon camera he’s using can snap a picture when it receives an IR command. [Ross'] solution connects an IR LED to an Arduino to generate this signal. The delay between frames is set with a potentiometer that is read in through the ADC. This is quite a bit less involved than the last solution we saw.

The unit consisting of an Arduino clone, a 9v battery, and the IR LED on a cable is easy to fit into a camera bag. He’s posted the code and we’ve embedded an example of his work after the break. An enclosure as well as time references around the potentiometer would complete this handy tool.

[Read more...]

Processor built with Transistor-Transistor Logic

cpu-built-from-ttl

[Donn] wanted know exactly what is going on inside of a processor so naturally he built a CPU out of TTL components. He had previously built a couple of versions of a computer based on the Z80 processor. Using the troubleshooting skills he learned and a second-hand textbook, he set to work using 74LS series chips connected using the wire-wrap method we’re familiar with from other cpu projects.

The finished product runs well at 1.8 megahertz, but he also included a 2 hertz clock and a step clock for debugging. At the slower speeds, the register board (seen at the left in the picture above) lights LEDs and can be used to tell what the CPU is currently working on. Programming is accomplished through either  a dumb terminal or a PC running a terminal emulator.

His writeup is from about five years ago but that didn’t prevent us from getting that fuzzy feeling in the geek-center of our brain when we read about it. It is well written and thorough so if you’re into this kind of thing there’s plenty to enjoy.

[Thanks Raleigh]

How to create TrueType from an image

making-truetype-fonts-from-images

[Viacheslav] wanted his virtual terminal to have the look of a DEC VT220. He was unable to find a font set that looked just right so he set out to make his own TrueType font. He managed to find a sample image of the glyphs that the VT220 used as fonts. Using a collection of free software he sliced the image into 256 different parts, resized and converted to one-bit index images, and converted these to vector graphics. This was accomplished with a bit of python, an image tracing program, and font editor called FontForge.

Take some time to dabble with these font tools. With an adequate sample you should be able to reproduce any font set. We won’t achieve anything as sophisticated as the font printed with bacteria, but this will be a start in the right direction.

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