Contest: win Push Showcase tickets

Who is ready to win some tickets to the PUSH N900 Showcase?

The showcase is an event where all 5 teams from the Push N900 competition are going meet up in London and present their N900 hacks. Including N900s that fly, skate, Etch a Sketch(TM), and more. We also hear there is going to be a poll-dancing robot thanks to [Giles Walker]. We were given tickets to the event, and decided to pass them along to our readers.

How can you gain a pair of tickets to this magical showcase? Check out after the break – hope you know a thing or two about resistors.

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Happy meal toy scavenging

We’re sometimes shocked at the electronics included in ‘disposable’ items. For some reason (our tech inclinations?) we’ve been getting those audio greeting cards from relatives and it kind of kills us to see the PCB, batteries, and speaker in what would have otherwise been a fully recyclable card. Now we’ve got several sets of those guts waiting around for our next project.

[David Cook] cracked open another disposable item, an Avatar action figure that came as a Happy Meal prize. What he found inside will actually be useful. There’s a battery holder for the three coin-cell batteries, A blue LED (for those blue LED hacks our commenters are so fond of), and a piezo speaker. There are some other discrete components that may be of use to you but the first three are certainly a boon for those that are  junk scavengers like us.

Has anyone else found some goodies inside these types of free toys? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. But for now we’re just glad to see the first good thing to come out of that annoying market saturation that accompanied the movie release.

Incidentally, [David's] h-bridge writeup is our go-to reference for building quick motor controllers from parts on hand, or that can be purchased locally.

[Thanks Gron]

Drill-powered go cart

Here we have a toy car modified to use a drill as the powertrain. [Hans] has thrown a 12v 4.5 amp battery in to power the motor and it tops out around 9 miles per hour. This is similar in concept to the trash-based go cart from last week but this time there’s video. He’s built a couple of these and there’s footage of both after the break. Our favorite part is from the first video when dad chuckles with glee from behind the camera as son whips around the neighborhood on the mean-sounding machine.

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Adding a netbook keyboard light

[Vikash] was having trouble using his netbook in the dark so he added a keyboard light. He’s got a Dell Vostro A90 which is the same hardware as the popular Dell Mini 9. We agree that the condensed keyboard layout makes it hard to type without looking; just try to find the quotation mark, brackets, and tilde keys! He added an LED to the bezel around the LCD screen in order to shed light on the situation. Now the LED can be turned on using CTRL. An ATtiny13 microcontroller monitors pins 1 and 11 of the keyboard, waiting for the CTRL keypress, then turns on the light when it receives it. This hardware solution means it doesn’t matter if you’re running a Hackintosh (like he is), Ubuntu (like we are), or that other OS.

10,000 watt fluorescent array

This is an array of flourescent tubes that form a display. The video above is just two modules of a ten module installation that [Valentin] and his team are showing at an exhibition in Berlin tomorrow. The connected modules form something of a scrolling 16-segment display (similar to the 17 segment display modules of the ninja party badges but much larger). They’re using triacs, optocouplers, DMX, and an Arduino to interface a computer with the 182 fluorescent tubes of the display. Check out a second video after the break to see (or be blinded by) all ten modules pulling 10,000 watts.

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5 legged locomotion

When designing legged robots, we generally see an even number of legs. Mainly, we think, it is due to us modelling things after nature. But with robotics, you’re free to do whatever you want. [Iketomu-san] has built this unsettling 5 legged robot out of parts he had lying around. The gait is fairly interesting. He mentions that it could be used for robot fighting, where the odd leg would serve as a prop from behind and the two legs up front could be weapons. What kind of gait or use can you come up with for this thing?

NES lovers grew up and now they’re coding for Palm

In case you missed it back in June, the Palm Pre was rooted by extracting the Root ROM from a Palm tool used to reset a device with damaged software. A lot has been learned from examining the code inside that ROM but we’re most amused by one thing in particular. If you grew up in the 80’s there’s a pretty good chance you know the Konami Code by heart. So did the developers of WebOS, the firmware running on the Palm Pre. By inputting the familiar (UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA) set of gestures the handset enters Developer mode for connection to the SDK which was leaked last summer but is now in open release.

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