RGB display development

[SeBsZ] tipped us off that he’s working on a display using RGB LEDs. He’s etched some nice surface mount controller boards to carry the ATmega8 microcontroller and NXP PCA9635 drivers. This setup uses the I2C bus to address each expansion board of 5 LED modules. Theoretically this hardware would allow for 638 RGB modules but because of power and refresh rate issues he’s set his sights on reaching somewhere between 100-125, a total of about 25 expansion boards.

There’s not a ton to show off yet. But we expect big things from the project. Partly because one of his goals is to generate a display that can be rolled up and easily moved, and partly because his large-scale light bulb displays are so impressive. Take a look at the video of his 60-bulb unit after the break.

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Guerilla theater hits two wheels

[Tom] wanted to take the show on the road so he added lights to his bike using theater grade control hardware. The picture above shows three tail lights comprised of 195 LEDs. Built on perf-board, a DMX512 controller can display several patterns on each module. The lighting technician (bike pilot) controls the patterns through a series of switches on the handlebars. There’s several pages of details posted including schematics and firmware. This would bring a little extra fun the next time you ride in a Critical Mass event.

CNC brought to you by zip ties

Gimp skillz.

[lucassiglo21] let us know about his finished 3 axis CNC (Translation via Google). While home CNCs are nothing new, we really liked this masterpiece. The CNC is entirely custom, from the electronic control boards (connected to a PC via parallel port) to the physical mill (with an end result of 30x30x15cm workable area). Our favorite part is the use of screw/band clamp zip ties to hold the Dremel – a true showing of hacker geekyness. For those who haven’t seen a CNC drill a circle before (and honestly, who hasn’t?), check a video after the break.

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Editorial: Fear of the Unusual

As an engineer and as a writer for Hack a Day, I am used to seeing hardware in all kinds of states; from looking professionally done, to artfully constructed, to downright hackish. Unfortunately in today’s society of manufactured goods, most people just don’t have any experience with homemade electronics. Furthermore, because of a frenzied fear of terrorists, bombs, and IEDs, people who aren’t familiar with hacked or personally constructed hardware often assume the worst.

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Hackaday links: January 17th, 2010

Apple Magic Mouse on Windows

Looks like some folks snooped around the latest Bluetooth update from Apple and managed to extract the Magic Mouse drivers. Now you can use them to take this complex peripheral for a spin on Windows. [Thanks Juan]

Component jewelry: From geeky to gross

[Nikolaus] made a pair of 300k Ohm earrings for his wife. That’s three Brown-Black-Yellow resistors per ear. It’s geeky but in a subtle way. Much more refined than the gross outcome of this other guy’s crass nipple experiments. Need to get the image of nipple-jewelry out of your head? [Nikolaus] has you covered with some 3d printed earrings.

GTK GPS

Need your GPS data to be accurate within a centimeter? We don’t either but if you ever do, Real Time Kinematic GPS is what you need. Now you can build one yourself using the RTLIB package. This is based around the powerful and powerfully-inexpensive Beagleboard. [Thanks Jan]


Messy music

It warmed up here a bit this week and things got slushy. Our Galoshes are nice and water-tight but [David's] have a big hole in the side and are filled with a mini-keyboard. He’s chosen a rubber boot as the housing for a circuit-bending project. It’s a nice touch that the hidden keys are still playable through the flexible rubber.

Free day recap video and book recommendation

SparkFun’s free day came and went as entertainment for some and an infuriating event for others. They filmed some video in their office during the madness to give us a look at how it went on their end. We find it amusing that Solarbotics, one of their competitors, sent them flowers with a card reading “Rest in Peace SparkFun”.

According to [Nate's] original post, the concept of free day was inspired by reading [Chris Anderson's] book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”. We recently finished reading this wonderful work and we’re making it our next book recommendation. [Chris] is editor-in-chief of Wired and has had a ring-side seat as the digital world rose around us. He takes a historical look at what the price of free really means, defining cost by adding more terms like Gratis and Libre to the mix. If you have a good handle on the companies that have defined the 21st Century business model so far you wont’ be able to put this book down.

Now, we should mention something that is remotely related to hacking since we try to do that sort of thing around here. The SparkFun post also reminds those folks lucky enough to get a $100 credit to chronicle and share their projects. We’d love to see them too so get your projects written up and send us the dirty details.

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