Steampunk sequencer

[Moritz Wolpert] built this gem of Victorian hardware by hand. It is a sequencer and features beautiful detail work as shown in its MySpace gallery. Other than that we don’t know a lot about it. You can also take a look at [Moritz's] main page, but prepare to be annoyed by the hideous web-styling that really undercuts the beauty of his physical product.

[Thanks Freax via Schaltzentrale]

Hacker finds better use for a Windows machine

[Patrick Becker] had an ancient PC on his hands with a blown PSU. He converted this into a stylish home for his Betta splendens.

The aquarium itself is fashioned from a piece for construction glass block with the top cut off. This allows for a window that looks through the tank and shows off the motherboard on the other side. He patched into the AC connector so that the original power cord can be used to control the pump. A lighted pump button was added to the front panel and a fancy bezel fitted to the viewing portal in the side of the case. He finished off the project with a PVC pipe for air and food. His blue screen of death now features water and a real fish.

doomBox: Classic keys meet tiny screen

The doomBox is a dedicated gaming rig for lovers of ID Software’s classic title. [JJ] built this from an old Kodak DC290 camera that had a broken lens. Since this runs the Digita OS, he was able to use the Doom port that already exists. But the camera’s factory buttons were not well suited as controls. By whipping up his own button board, and using the traditional keyboard keys for the button caps, he achieved a much more comfortable (yet squint-inducing) gaming experience. The finished project resides in an all-too-familiar black project box. See him fire it up after the break.

The original Doom for Digita OS pages seem to be down so here’s an alternate if you’re interested.

Update: Looks like the original website is back up.

[Read more...]

Phone/webapp written in ploy to appear more popular

That title’s not really fair to [Evan], but he did write a cellphone tetris game that causes your handset to automatically telephone him if you win. He’s using two applications that we’re not very familiar with, Twilio and Tornado. The former handles control input from the cellphone via their simple API. The latter is a web server and web framework that runs the actual game.

If you’re interested in how he put the two together you can poke around in the code. If you really don’t care about how it is done, you might just want to win the game, automatically giving [Evan] a call, running up his wireless bill in the process.

Help us add some value to this article by leaving a comment.  We’d like to know how Twilio compares to Google Voice which doesn’t seem to have a published API (but there is some work in that area). We also think web-based cell phone interactivity, already popular in hacks, is just beginning to build some steam. What are the tools you use to make cellphone interfaces easier and quicker to implement?

BatchPCB Pays You

SparkFun’s BatchPCB has been a well-known service to get your PCBs fabbed, and now it is sporting a new feature. It has just come out of its downtime chrysalis with the ability to pay you for making your designs. If you have designed a PCB and want people to pay you to use it, BatchPCB will now do that for you. [Patrick] says “We want engineers to benefit from the low-cost production for prototypes and have the ability to sell their work, conveniently.” There are a few caveats. First of all, each seller must be a resident of the United States and send BatchPCB a W-9. Secondly, PCBs are only warranted against manufacturing defects, so buyers should make sure the PCB they are buying is a working design. Finally, the sellers must only be selling designs of their own or with proper permission. We are big fans of free, open-source designs, but we can see how this would help an engineer recover some of their costs to develop a board and might lead to some interesting brokering of designs. What do you think of this new service?

Biped walks with eight servos

This tiny biped shows a lot of coordination in its movements. As you can see, eight servo motors account for the locomotion with an ATmega8 as the brains of the operation. Posts for the first and second generation of this little guy feature several videos. We gather that a spreadsheet is being used to tweak the preprogrammed movement sequences. Trial and error, that’s how humans learned to walk, right?

[Thanks Lazas]