Circuit-bending blog GetLoFi has posted the best tutorial yet on home-made printed circuit boards using the toner transfer method.
We’ve covered homebrew PCB fabrication techniques about a billion times before. What sets this tutorial apart is that it collects many bits of knowledge otherwise scattered all about the web, and then depicts the entire process on video, from initial printing to cut PCB…because reading about it versus seeing it done are two different things entirely. They give a number of immensely useful tips throughout: choice of materials and where to get them, tools and techniques, and dispelling several myths about these methods (for example, they’re adamant about not using acetone to clean toner from the PCB). Well worth the 30 minutes to watch. If that’s too much and you’ve been stuck on just one part of the process, the tutorial is in three segments.
Trimming finished boards on a paper cutter? Who would’ve guessed?
Here’s a collection of simple hacks you can do in between larger projects. After the break we’ll look at converting an iPod from hard drive storage to Compact Flash, build an LED desk lamp using LEGO and USB power for charging, and use an Arduino shield to add network control at the touch of a button.
Continue reading “Roundup: simple hacks”
These days, HTPCs are becoming more and more common, however controlling the content elegantly can be a painfully annoying problem. Roteno Labs have come up with a wonderful solution they call the RFiDJ. Similar to the RFID phone we covered earlier, they used a set of picture frame coasters and mounted descriptive pictures as well as unique RFID tags in each one. When a coaster is placed in the sensor area the server begins streaming that particular selection, including local news, This Week in Tech podcast, and other specific albums. Roteno Labs even managed to include a “shuffle” tag which would play content randomly out of a library. The end result is very well put together, excellently documented, and there is even a working video after the break.
Continue reading “Coaster Controlled HTPC”
[Max] was happy to see that the PlayStation 3 Eye has support in the newer Linux kernels. Having sat in his closet for quite some time, this would give the camera another chance at usefulness. Unfortunately, the driver doesn’t include framerate selection and color correction so he set about writing a patch to control the color settings. As you can see above, his success greatly improves the image quality you get from the device.
We get the feeling that the camera peripherals for Sony’s gaming devices seem like a good idea but don’t have much staying power as a realistic gaming interface. With contributions like [Max’s], they can be re-purposed. The PS2 had its own, the EyeToy, which has long enjoyed driver support for Linux. The NUI Group does a lot of work with multi-touch and recommends the PS3 Eye for use with their projects because they’re inexpensive with high frame rates and decent picture quality.
Great work [Max]. It looks like he’s sent this patch upstream to be considered for incorporation into the kernel’s webcam module.
Here’s further proof that you should understand what it is you’re doing when you go to hack your handheld. Jailbreaking an iPhone has been made quite easy to the point that a lot of folks do it without reading any of the accompanying documentation. Those who didn’t heed the warning to change the default SSH password on a Jailbroken phone might get a bit of a surprise. A worm has been unleashed that finds Jailbroken iPhones and changes the background image to a picture of [Rick Astley]. That’s right, they’ve been Rickrolled.
It’s a clever little devil that propagates by grabbing the IP address of the iPhone it is currently on, then testing all of the IP address in that family to find other devices using the default password. Luckily this worm’s activities are not what we’d call malicious. It doesn’t format the root or create a cell based bot-net (that we know of). This would be akin to the antics of searching Google for unprotected installations of MythWeb and setting some poor schmuck’s MythTV to record every infomercial ever. The point is, this could have been a lot worse, but the attack is predicated on stupidity. In our digital age, why are people leaving default passwords in place?
AWE is an interesting project, where your office wall is a helpful robot. That’s the goal anyway. The wall is articulated and can reconfigure its shape to fit your needs. You can see in their video that they have come up with several specific uses for AWE at different positions. We want to like AWE, we see that there is potential there. The video hasn’t won us over, there just wasn’t enough added benefit over a simple setup like a projector mount. We think the real benefit just isn’t as obvious. When we saw the girl stand up, and the wall back away intuitively, our attention was regained. What potential uses do you guys see?
Group riding can be a bit dangerous if the pace is fast and riders don’t notice a slowing in the front of the pack. [WyoJustin] designed a brake light system for cyclists to try and remedy this issue. LEDs are mounted in the end caps of the handlebars on a road bike. When an accelerometer senses the bike slowing down the LEDs light up, warning those behind you that you’re slowing down.
The system is made to be portable, as a lot of serious riders have multiple bikes. To make this happen, all of the electronics are housed in the handlebar tubing for easy transfer. This includes an accelerometer with built in voltage regulator, an Arduino to control everything, and a battery. Take a look at the brake lights in action after the break.
Most of the bike lights we see are for the front of the machine, but this backward-facing package is a clean and easy solution we can get behind (safely).
Continue reading “Bike brake light senses you slowing down”