Apple Remote Arduino shield

arduino-apple-remote-shield

[Computergeek] made an Arduino Shield in order to use it as an Apple remote. We like the construction technique that he used; taking perf-board and soldering the circuit and using stripped wire to interface with the pin sockets on the Arduino. He’s written the code needed to function as an Apple Remote but this shield has a lot more potential. This is an excellent opportunity to delve into the different IR protocols out there and create a universal remote for all of your random devices. We’d also want to give it a try as a TV-B-Gone.

The parts are easy to find or salvage without putting in an order.  We’re not certain about his design, he should probably have invited a resistor to the party the two IR LEDs are having.

SSD upgrade for 24″ iMac

24-inch-imac-ssd-conversion

The hard drive in [Jason's] 24″ iMac was on the blink. He decided that instead of just swapping out the bad drive for a traditional unit he would upgrade to a solid state drive. Tearing apart high-end hardware like this can be a bit nerve-racking but luckily the drive is mounted right behind the screen so he didn’t have to take everything apart.

The SSD he picked up was 2.5″ but the mounting hardware in the iMac is only setup for 3.5″ form factors. We would have used a bit of hackery to make it work but [Jason] went with an adapter kit. Uh-oh, once installed there was no problem with the mounting but the SATA cable didn’t reach far enough to plug it in. The cable snaked around under the motherboard and would have been a lot of work to swap for  a longer one. He ended up removing all of the mounting screws except for one coercing the drive close enough for the connection.

It worked for him and it can for you as well. If you do this make sure to devise your own mounting scheme so that you don’t hit the same snag.

[Photo: AppleInsider iMac teardown]

[via TUAW]

8-bit device quenches iPhone envy

avr-iphone-envy

[Peter] deserves an award for doing more with less. He’s built a handheld device based on an AVR controller that has features normally associated with much more powerful devices. Here’s what it doesn’t do: no phone calls, no text messages, no accelerometer, and best of all no app approval needed. What it does do is leverage inexpensive, readily available components combined with common homebrew development techniques to create a touch sensitive handheld.

The demo video embedded after the break details the device playing video, rendering 3D objects, and displaying pictures and ebooks with touch scrolling. All of this is running at 60 fps for a smooth picture. The whole thing is no larger than the 320×240 LCD that he salvaged from a broken MP3 player. An Atmel AVR ATmega644 microcontroller ties together the display, a resistive touch screen, and a microSD card for storage. The chip also controls the backlight, a Lithium Polymer battery, and uses USB for PC connectivity, charging, and even a mouse or keyboard interface. He etched the PCB himself for surface mount components and managed to do it with just four jumpers needed on the underside.

This is a big leap forward from the last AVR based touch sensitive device we saw. All of the functionality seen in the demo is run using 4k of memory and 32k of programming space. Because [Peter's] powering this at 3.3v the system clock is limited to 12MHz but he’s managed to make it work. We asked him to post code and schematics and he didn’t hold back. Head over to the microtouch project page to download the code, Eagle CAD files, and PCB artwork. All of the demo files are there just waiting for you to build on his hard work. When you’ve got something running, don’t forget to share it with us!

[Read more...]

Woz’s watch makes air travelers nervous

woz-nixie-wristwatch

[Steve Wozniak], Last of the freelance hackers and Greatest swordfighter in the world, lives a hacker life you couldn’t even dream about. The folks over at medGadget ran into him and learned about his watch. In their interview (embedded after the break) [Steve] shows off the Nixie tube wristwatch that we can only assume he created himself.

The watch consists of two tiny tubes, a PCB, and battery. There must be an accelerometer in there because the display is switched off unless the watch is held at a certain configurable angle. Once held in the correct position the display flashes the hours, then the minutes.

The time is set by two buttons inside the watch’s case. [Steve] goes on to explain the trepidation his fellow passengers have when he disassembles the watch mid-flight and starts to monkey around with the buttons inside. Not to be stopped at electronic tomfoolery, he also shares his delight in sneaking ceramic knives on board so that he can properly cut his steaks.

Lifestyle aside, the small Nixie clock packages we’ve seen don’t even come close to this. We assume this is pretty hard on the battery and wonder if the watch gets hot if you’re stuck in a long meeting and constantly looking at the time. We can get over both of those limitations just for the cool factor alone.

Update: Reader [Stephen] left a comment pointing to the origin of  the watch. It is controlled by a PIC microprocessor, boasts a four-month battery life at 50 viewings per day, and there’s some code available.  It is for sale but currently out of stock.

[Read more...]

Improved arm mounted flame thrower

prometheus-flame-thrower[Everett] is at it again with Prometheus, an arm mounted flame thrower.This is the third generation of the project and makes some huge advances over the second generation we saw last year. We’d say he’s reached cinema/stage-performance quality with his design.

The self-contained system is completely arm mounted with a fuel reservoir mounting behind the elbow. The new version adds an adjustable flow valve actuated by a servo motor to regulate the flame size. An arc generator has been incorporated to replace the lighter from the last version. A microcontroller measures wrist angle and takes care of creating the arc and regulating the fuel supply.

Prometheus is small, controllable, and frightening. See a full demonstration as well as some video of the prototyping process after the break. Does this make you wonder how much burn cream [Evertt's] needed over the years?

[Read more...]

Server not as think as you drunk it is

server-in-whiskey-bottle

[Janos] pulled off a unique case mod by fitting a computer system inside of a whiskey bottle. Inside you’ll find a 733MHz processor, 256MB of ram, a 40GB hard drive, and a 60 watt power supply. The specs seem a little light but since this mod is from 2006 we certainly understand. Using the right server software this will still keep up with today’s demands.

It sounds like the hardest part was putting holes in the bottle. After a few failed attempts, [Janos] found a professional glass grinder to cut the openings for him.

The whole thing was running a little hot and instead of filling the bottle with oil (oh, how we wish he had) he added a second fan in the bottle’s neck and drilled some air intake holes. This brought the temperature under control while preserving the boozy look of this creative enclosure.

[via Lifehacker]

PUSH competition winners

nokiapush1

Nokia team PUSH is proud to announce they have winners from the contest they held over the past two months. You may remember when we first told you about the competition, but here’s a recap. All you had to do was think of a good hack for the Nokia N900! Winners will receive funding and other resources to make their hack come alive. What possible hacks made the cut?

Haptastic – A compass and map? Not any more with this wearable guide that can lead the way.

KAPingwiththeN900 – Flying high with this aerial photography project

LIGHT HACK CREW
– Bring light graffiti to the N900

Rocket Pocket – Just Bonkers! An N900 in orbit, we love it!

SolderinSkaters – Tony Hawk who? It’s all about Solderin Skaters!

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