[Aaron] A.K.A. [A1ronzo] at SparkFun has put together a hackable USB Geiger Counter. In his tutorial, he gets the Geiger counter to work as a random number generator. Later, he analyzes and discusses how well it works as a random number generator. In the past, we have seen a number of radiation detectors hacks such as the Mr. Fission digital Geiger counter, a count accumulator, and a Polonium detecting pen, Besides our inital thoughts of speeding up the number generation, and using it as a special character device, what else can you come up with to do with this device?
We’ve received tips from a few different people about a new Bluetooth module that connects as a game cartridge for the Nintendo DS. This is a homebrew solution and not an official Nintendo add-on. The cartridge houses an ATmega168 microcontroller which provides the interface between the DS and a Roving Networks RN-41 bluetooth module.
They’ve provided a schematic for the device but we didn’t see any board artwork or pictures of the internals so you’re on your own for board layout. The libraries needed to use the bluetooth connection with homebrew software are up for download. This should provide a nice way to use the DS with a Bluetooth GPS module, or perhaps as a discrete Bluetooth sniffer and spoofer.
[Timo] tipped us off about a War Monument that has been… upgraded. The story starts when a monument was erected in Cherkassy, Ukraine to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice that was made by Russian soldiers during World War II. The huge statue and expansive plaza were capped off by an eternal flame. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Block broke up, the natural gas that had been provided by the government became a luxury so the flame was extinguished.
The eternal flame sat unlit, a sad commentary to the remembrance of the dead. But how to fix this issue? As cell phone companies came into the area, a need for cell phone towers arose. At some point a solution was reached; a cell phone tower was built in the bowl of the eternal flame and then wrapped with an LED marquee. The marquee now displays the image of a flame in perpetuity.
We’re not quite sure what to think about this. After some adjustment, the substitution of LEDs for flames will probably become accepted. The monument is now providing a useful purpose for the living, and once again shows a flame. We think that having something there showing that the memory is still alive is much better than the message an unkempt derelict sends.
[Zibri] found a very simple method for using brain waves as a controller via a DB9 serial port. He’s using Uncle Milton’s Force Trainer which we saw yesterday in the brain controlled Arduino. In that project the Arduino tapped into the LEDs and interfaced those signals with a computer via USB. This time the connection was made using an RS-232 transceiver to pass data from the programming header inside of the toy’s base unit to a computer over the serial port. Tapping into the programming header has a lot more potential and should be more reliable than sniffing logic out of LED connections. [Zibri] has written an application to display the received data but it doesn’t look like he’s made the code available for download.
Apparently he tipped us off about a week ago. We recall seeing this submission but as you can tell it’s a little bit light on the detail. So if you want your tips to be at the front of the line, make sure you do what you can to fill us in on all the details of your project. At our request [Zibri] provided a picture of the PCB from the Force Trainer’s base unit. See it after the break. Continue reading “Mind control via serial port”
[Bojan Nemec] has come up with a robot that can ski better than us. Not that skiing better than us is a hugely lofty goal. The bot is capable of skiing using standard, off the shelf skis. It has a dual computing system. One system only does steering and balance while the other does all the vision and control. He’s using the carving technique of skiing, stating that normal skiing is just too hard for a robot. That sounds like a challenge to us. You can check out the blooper reel, which is still better than us, after the break.
Continue reading “Ski bot”
Yahoo has issued a public apology for an event that occurred at their recent Hack Day in Taiwan. Apparently they hired strippers for the event, two years in a row. The girls did their usual bump and grind all over some poor hackers. Poor guys. While there is a part of us that says, “what about the little girls getting into hacking?” the other part of us says, well, you know what it says. Wow, we’re suddenly feeling the urge to use yahoo for all of our services. How peculiar.
Here is an interesting project that should spark some good discussion. Artaic is a company that is using industrial robots to produce mosaics. They are then selling these mosaics as fine art. As you can see, some of the examples are quite nice looking. However, we have to wonder what the draw is to own one that is made by a robot. Is it really that much different from just printing an image? We really do think it is a cool project and an efficient way of producing these mosaics. We would really love to see one of those super fast delta robots doing the work.
We’re trying to reduce the negativity here at Hackaday. We are passionate geeks and hackers, and as such, we tend to jump straight to the negative points. We hope you guys will follow along with us and try to be constructive in the comments. That being said, the video did seem a bit pretentious, didn’t it?