Sphere bots get some new skills

Spherical robots , or in this case RC vehicles are pretty versatile. They travel about the same on most terrains, including water in some cases. That’s not to say that they travel particularly well on those terrains though. The common problem is that they can’t really climb over bumps very well, until now. We’ve seen a few versions of sphere bots, but they all seem to need fairly level smooth surfaces, aside from that one that went in the water. We hadn’t seen any that really had the oomph necessary to climb stairs though. Actually, we still haven’t seen that, but he says it can in the interview you can watch after the break.

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72 LED persistence of vision globe

HaD-pov-globe

[Ben] told us about his POV globe yesterday. We took a look and saw just one photo and the code with no real explanation of his project. He certainly set to work over night and now we see all the goodies we look for in a great build log. He even threw the Hackaday logo up for our enjoyment. His build is well executed and he found some creative ways around the common problems in these projects. We take a closer look after the break. [Read more...]

Halloween prop: DIY fog machine

diy-fog-machine

Reader [Daniel] told us about a video detailing how to make your own fog machine. This project uses two disposable roasting pans to create a fog chamber. Inside you will find an upside-down clothes iron to convert fog liquid into a gas. The liquid is gravity-fed from a water-bottle reservoir on top, converted to smoke by the hot iron, then the newly created smoke is directed out of the chamber by a 12 volt fan.

You probably have an old iron sitting around (especially if you use the toner transfer method for making PCBs), as well as a fan of some type. The build method used in the video is not at the level we usually look for. Using one blade of a pair of scissors is not what we recommend for stripping wire insulation. We also don’t advocate hot gluing a wire to a battery for a reliable connection (for that you’d want wire glue). But with better building techniques, and perhaps an air intake fan for better fog direction, this has potential.

The project is predicated on the availability of “fog juice”. We’re probably not going to head out and buy a bottle of that so look into making some yourself from glycerin and demineralized water.

Morphing robot demonstrated at IROS

morphing-robot

A morphing robot was demonstrated at the IROS conference this week. This orb has no rigid structure but uses some type of “inflation” system for locomotion. This robot concept is offered up by the iRobot company as part of a DARPA initiative they’re working on. The “inflation” is really a substance in the skin that can be converted from a liquid-like state to a solid-like one. They call this “The Jamming Concept” and give a layman’s explanation in the video we’ve embedded after the break.

When moving, this white ball is a churning, turning, bulging mass of terror. The just-about-to-hatch pods from Alien, or perhaps something from Doom 3 come to mind. The hexapod from IROS that we covered yesterday was amazing, but this really creeps us out. What’s more, this is footage from the iRobot prototypes of a year ago.  The newer stuff can do much more, like having several of these things glob together into one unit.

We’re glad that [DarwinSurvior] sent us the tip on this one, but now we’re not going to be able to sleep at night.

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Turntable sequencer scratches with coins

scratching-with-arduino

[tvst] has an interesting take on a sequencer. His design uses coins on a turn table to trigger midi events in a loop. There are four tracks available, each having its own sensor above the spinning platform. The sensors consist of an IR transmitter and receiver setup as a voltage divider. When something passes below the IR transmitter and reflects the infrared waves back up to the receiver, the output of the sensor moves to digital high. The four sensors are connected to an Arduino which is used in conjunction with ttymidi, which converts the Arduino data into midi events.

We like projects that provide a more tangible interface for the user. Coins work well for this setup. They reflect infrared enough to trigger the sensors, and they’re easy to pick up and move without upsetting the rest of the tracks. It would be great if this could be expanded to differentiate between coins (pennies versus dimes, etc.) in order to increase the resolution from four different events to eight or more. Check out the video after the break. [Read more...]

NES guitar

[Dave] set out to build the ultimate NES guitar. He’s apparently done a pretty good job, this thing is pretty remarkable. Every detail is covered in NES goodness. The body is a console, the head is a cartridge, his knobs are even replaced by goofy little heads of Mario and friends. We think he should do some custom pixel art inlays in the fretboard next. Skip to about 2:00 to hear him play a Nintendo medley on it.

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