Finally, a keyboard for the iPhone

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We can’t say we’ve had problems typing on our iPhones here at HackaDay, must be the elfin fingers, but for [Ben Kurtz] it was a real pain. The obvious solution is to carry around an Arduino, 9 volt battery, iPhone breakout board, a ps2 keyboard, and of course the iPhone itself. Well, maybe it could be a little smaller with fewer parts, but at least it works. The Arduino reads input from the keyboard and converts it to serial, then the iPhone pulls the data via VNC. Like we said, a little roundabout, but we love the amount of ingenuity involved.

Snega2usb preorder now available

We’ve been watching the development of the snega2usb since it’s debut on Hackaday. Now it’s grown up and is ready to be manufactured. In the low quality video above [Matthias] shows some of the latest high quality additions to the board. It now has a case, shiny new firmware,  production made PCB, and game pad ports.  The snega2usb is shipping this December for those who preorder now.

Online chip reference trims the fat

partsdb

Quick: which pins are used for I2C on an ATmega168 microcontroller?

If you’re a true alpha geek you probably already know the answer. For the rest of us, ChipDB is the greatest thing since the resistor color code cheat sheet. It’s an online database of component pinouts: common Atmel microcontrollers, the peripheral ICs sold by SparkFun, and most of the 4000, 7400 and LMxxx series parts.

The streamlined interface, reminiscent of Google, returns just the essential information much quicker than rummaging through PDF datasheets (which can also be downloaded there if you need them). And the output, being based on simple text and CSS, renders quite well on any device, even a dinky smartphone screen.

Site developer [Matt Sarnoff] summarizes and calls upon the hacking community to help expand the database:

“The goal of my site isn’t to be some comprehensive database like Octopart; just a quick reference for the chips most commonly used by hobbyists. However, entries still have to be copied in manually. If anyone’s interested in adding their favorite chips, they can request a free account and use the (very primitive at this point) part editor. Submissions are currently moderated, since this is an alpha-stage project.”

Add a key-fob opener to your door

key-fob-door-opener

It seems like creating an automatic dorm room door opener is a rite-of-geek-passage each fall. [Adam], a student at Vassar, passed with flying colors by creating this clean setup. We’ve got video, more pictures, and a description after the break. [Read more...]

Dell mini9 tablet

14oct09_dm9mod (Custom)

[Rob928] has done a fantastic job converting his Dell mini9 into a tablet. He has done several updates, such as an SSD hard drive and touchscreen. The final product looks quite nice. From a few feet away, we wouldn’t have noticed that it was a home made one. We’ve seen several tablet conversions before from macbooks to EeePCs.

[via Engadget]

It has blades: Dyson’s little white lie

alg_dyson-air-multiplier_2

‘There’s a sucker born every minute” -P.T. Barnum

This morning we’ve been having a heated discussion at the Hack a Day offices (read: legion of doom) over Dyson’s new offering, a “bladeless fan”. At first this seemed extremely exciting, but how is the air being moved? We were hoping for a device operating via ionic wind but that’s simply not the case. Some of us think the bladeless claim is an outright lie, others understand it from a marketing stance, but we all agree: a fan with blades is still moving the air.

Dyson’s own information page states that “an energy efficient brushless motor” draws the air in with similar technology used in “superchargers and jet engines”, both of which use blades! The fan blades are in the base of this unit, they take in air and blow it out the ring. Just because you can’t see a fan, can we call our computers bladeless, or an air conditioner bladeless?

Enter the P.T. Barnum reference. Known as a man who could sell anything, his legacy lives on in the Dyson corporation. At 200 british pounds (~$320) for a ten inch desk fan, what are you getting that’s better than a traditional fan?  The design supposedly amplifies the air movement fifteen times, but we’re skeptical about that figure as there’s no energy-saving claim to go along with such an incredible power boost. One thing is certain, you will NOT get a fan without blades for your sterling… just one with hidden blades plus a huge marketing campaign.

[Thanks Gareth]

DASH: clever construction and resilience in robotics

Behold the Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod (DASH). The video above was presented at the 2009 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. In it we see the toils of a team from UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab. They’ve developed a robot propulsion system that mimics some of the best aspects of cockroaches and other insect bodies: speed, economy of motion, ability to survive large falls without damage, and the capability to traverse obstacles. Let’s take a look at how they put this together after the break. [Read more...]

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