Odroid: all the open, none of the contract

The Odroid derives its name from the combination of Open and Android. The hardware is aimed at the portable gaming market and runs Android. The specs are amazing, the device is open and begging you to develop for the platform.

The Samsung S5PC100 System-On-A-Chip provides the device with an ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 833MHz. The usual suspects are all here, a capacitive touchscreen, accelerometer, SDHC slot, and WiFi. What you usually don’t expect to see is a serial debugger and 720p HD output. But the best part, we get all of this without a 2 year contract or the hardware being locked down as we’re used to with and Android based cell phone.

[Thanks Stillbourne via LinuxDevices]

Monitor Keg volume, CO2, and temp

[Jean-Michel] tipped us off about his beer keg monitoring setup. It can tell you how much beer is left in each keg, how much carbon dioxide remains in the canister, and it can monitor and regulate temperature.

An Arduino mega is the brain of the system. A shield was built to interface force sensors, measuring the weight of the keg to estimate how much beer remains. Analog temperature sensors allow for temperature monitoring and control of the compressor for regulation. Information can be displayed on a graphic LCD or a computer via XBee wireless communications.

This is along the lines of the SparkFun kegerator but we like the added functionality. Does this need to Twitter? Probably not but if you want that, it’s only a bit of a software hack away.

Fabric display

[Eli] is sharing the building details on her fabric based display. For lack of a better name she’s calling this a fabric Lite-Brite. This is because LEDs can be added anywhere to spell out a message or create a simple drawing.

The device consists of a positive bus of conductive thread sewn onto a regular piece of fabric. A second piece of fabric separates this from a ground plane made of conductive fabric. The LED leads are then bent into a spiral and can easily be wrapped around the appropriate part of the conductor.

We’re happy to see this creative design coming from a hacker that frequents a hackerspace; Pumping Station One in Chicago. This would be a wonderful application for banners or flags at hackerspace events.

Solar Water Heater

[Jake] built himself a solar water heater. The system has an 82 gallon insulated water tank and uses a solar collection grid made of PVC pipe. As the water heats, it rises to the top of the collector and runs into the tank while pulling colder water from the bottom of the tank back into the collector.

A sunny day yields temperatures around 130 degrees Fahrenheit. On a cloudy day the water can still be heated to about 90 Fahrenheit. This is about 19 degrees cooler that one might desire but the difference is made up by an electric shower head that heats as the water comes out. [Jake's] system, seen in the video after the break, allows him to forgo the use of electricity on sunny days, and reduce its use by around half on cloudy days. [Read more...]

Make your own 3d monitor

Don’t let this cruddy video fool you. [Sprite_tm] has done an amazing job here. He has put together a fairly simple way of creating your own 3d monitor at home. The basic principle is easy to get. You have to supply different angles of an object, on the screen, at the same time. [Sprite_tm] has done this by using transparency sheets, printed with a pattern to only show specific pixels. As you move your head, you see a different set of pixels, and therefore a different image. It’s simple, but it works. The system isn’t really new. Traditional 3d with polarized glasses uses a very similar setup. This system however seems like it is lacking in stereoscopic view however. When you move your head, you’re looking at a different angle, but still a 2d image of it. It would be really cool if he could somehow present each eye a different view, without polarizing filters and glasses. We’ve seen others do that with multiple screens, but that gets so clunky and can give most people a headache pretty quick. We also think we are about to see a flood of face tracking perspective modification, especially with project Natal and similar technology emerging.

New pet, Project 413

I wonder if anyone ever mouses over images anymore. Oh silly me, xkcd reference.

[Jacob] sent in his teams final project, Project 413. While sounding like something straight out of an action movie, don’t worry, it’s not the next terminator. Rather a combination of an eBox (in place of an EEE pc), omni wheels, motors, batteries, and the finishing touch – a hamster ferret ball. If this is sounding familiar to a certain web comic, then right you are, as XKCD was their main inspiration. Sadly, the web cam and ‘having a soul’ functions didn’t make it into their version, but being controlled via Wii remote is always a plus.  Check out a video after the break. [Read more...]