Mondo Spider

This vehicle is aptly named the Mondo Spider. It’s not from some apocalyptic movie, but seen here at Burning Man. Like a lot of Burning Man exhibitions, it was built for the joy of the build and with a rather extreme budget: $15,000. We’ve embedded one of the many videos after the break, as well as a few of the hardware details.

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Thermos temperature meter

We’re always a little surprised by how well a vacuum thermos works, but eventually the contents will cool down (or warm up depending on what’s in there). [Gamesh_] added a temperature meter to his thermos using an Arduino and a temperature sensor. The original post is in Portuguese but [Bruno] republished it in English.

The temperature sensor has been repurposed from a digital thermometer meant for taking your temperature. Holes for the LEDs making up the indicator bar were melted in the side of the plastic housing. When the hot liquid is poured out at about 0:45 into the video you can glimpse the Arduino hanging our on the other side of the pot and a power cord running off behind the laptop. It would be nice to see this migrated over to a less powerful chip and run from a small coin cell, but we like the concept.

3D printing on a much larger scale

The end goal of this giant rapid prototyping machine is to print buildings. We’re not holding our breath for a brand new Flintstones-esque abode, but their whimsical suggesting of printed buildings on the moon seems like science fiction with potential. The machine operates similar to a RepRap but instead of plastic parts, it prints stone by binding sand with epoxy. This method is not revolutionary, but hasn’t really been seen in applications larger than a square meter or so. It’s fun to see the things we dabble in heading for industrial production applications.

[Thanks Juan]

Eat your heart out iPad

We don’t remember where we read it, but our favorite criticism of the iPad is that is does the same things a lot of other Apple devices do. So why wait until April to get your hands on that functionality? [Alexbates] built his own iPad clone using existing hardware and software. This started with an MSI wind that he used as a hackintosh. A touchscreen was added to the display, the keyboard removed, and the LCD flipped around. Boom, a tablet running OS X was born. This is different from others because [Alexbates] took the time to alter the UI to look like the iPad. Sure, it doesn’t automatically flip the display when rotated and there’s no pinch-zooming. But it does have more processing power and storage space.

We’re more likely to hack our own like this rather than purchase a device we’re not all that enthusiastic about.

[Thanks Jadon via Engadget]

Soil moisture sensing

These plugs are cheap, easy to make, and work well for measuring the moisture content of soil. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener came up with this method in order to add automatic watering to an automated grow system. Plastic tubing is used as a mold for Plaster of Paris. Once the plaster has been poured, two galvanized nails are inserted. These are won’t rust and work as probes, measuring the resistance of the dried plaster (gypsum). When inserted into the soil, the moisture content within the gypsum will fluctuate along with the soil. As moisture rises, the resistance between the probes falls, which can be monitored by a microcontroller and used to trigger or stop a watering system.

[Thanks Juan]

JeeNode development platform

It is basically a nice compact layout for an Atmel Atmega 328 with a wireless module.  Fully compatible with the Arduino IDE.  The JeeNode is available in kit form, but also all schematics and CAD files are available to download. It looks like they are mainly using it for home monitoring and control.  So far we’ve seen them put a temp sensor, power metering, and IR LED modules on their flickr set.