Brighten up your PCB drilling station

Being able to see what you’re doing can be the hardest part of drilling the through holes in those freshly etched printed circuit boards. We don’t know why we didn’t come up with this, but [Markus Gebhard] solved his shadowy woes with his 20-LED Dremel light ring. Honestly, how many times have we seen lights rings in photography without putting it together that a light ring is perfect for this purpose. So kudos to [Markus], now we’ve got to go and dig up some surface mount LEDs and uncork the copper chloride.

Moving speakers to mix audio tracks

These speakers play different audio tracks depending on which orange square the sit atop. They’re RFID aware and the orange tiles are tags. If you get tired of a track just move the speaker to a different one, or place the speakers next to each other to play the same song. We’re sure there’s a project for us here, it’s just going to take some thinking to figure out what we want to do with it. But the concept is certainly intriguing. Check out the video demonstration after the break.

[Read more...]

Parallax RFID Reader for Ten Bucks

We  received a tip about Radio Shack putting Parallax’s RFID reader on clearance for around $10. The only reference we could find that indicated Radio Shack sold the reader was a review page. The reader originally sold for around $50 in the stores, so getting it for $10 made it worth a curiosity trip to a local Radio Shack. The store we visited did not have the reader marked down in the drawer, but it rang up for $9.97. It is too bad that the reader was so expensive in the first place, otherwise Radio Shack might still be selling them at full price. This is by no means a promotion, we just though we would share the information in case you were interested in getting one yourself. If Radio Shack is out, you could always build your own reader.

The reader we purchased only came with one tag, perhaps that is why the they have been on clearance. Hooked up to an FTDI USB to serial cable, it would repeatedly send out the tag’s number whenever it was in range. We tried an HID-labeled card and a tag of the kind that can be found in books and DVD cases. Neither worked with the reader, but we’ll keep looking.

Thanks to [bluewraith] for the tip.

SPRIME controlled AC outlets

Reader [Tim Upthegrove] sent in a novel take on powering and monitoring AC outlets and devices called SPRIME, or Simple Powerline Remote Interactive Monitor and Enforcer. Compared to previous hacks, such as 120v switching or Quick cheap remote outlets, that only turned an outlet on or off; SPRIME allows not only control over outlets via the internet, but also power usage of devices currently plugged in.

We really liked their idea of giving power companies access to SPRIME outlets to reduce power consumption during peak hours, but sadly we don’t see it being implemented in homes any time soon. Catch a video of SPRIME after the rift.

[Thanks Chris McClanahan and Jeff Starker for the project, and deyjavont for pointing out our silly mistakes]

[Read more...]

Hoverboard comes to life

This installation by artist [Nils Goudagnin] is a recreation of the hoverboard from Back to the Future II. We would like to see inside that plinth. We’ve seen levitating magnets before, but this is particularly stable. He says he is using lasers and a control system of some kind to stabilize it. Just to guess, we’d say that the lasers determine the distance of the board and an array of electromagnets below is adjusted to keep it level. Then again, we might be over thinking this. Even though it can’t be ridden, we’d love to have one around the office just to look at.

Home DNA lab tools

[Jeri Ellsworth] stopped by Pearl Biotech’s booth at Maker Faire and took a look at their open source DNA sequencing work. It is by no means a grab-and-go solution for anyone, but from what we’ve seen in the video they’re breaking down those laboratory walls and letting us in to dabble at this work (assuming you’ve got a few hundred bucks to burn). There is a community for info and help that you can check out at BioCurious, and Pearl Biotech has gel box kits available (or the details if you care to source parts yourself), traditionally an extremely expensive part of the process. You’ll still need a centrifuge and a heating/cooling device to separate the strands but as you can see in the video, these can be hacked together rather easily.

We’re glad that [Jeri] shot and posted this clip. She does a great job of explaining projects, whether it’s someone else’s like this or her own, like the transistor fabrication method.

[Thanks Shazzner]

2010 sees new lock impressioning speed record

[Jos Weyers] tipping us off about this lock impressioning video. It shows his final round of the lock impressioning championship at this year’s SSDev conference. Even though he shaved about fifteen seconds off of his 87-second single-lock record from last year he came in third overall because the competition averages times over several rounds.

This method of opening locks uses a file to create the correct teeth after examination of tiny marks on a key blank from trying to open the lock. We’ve seen foil impressioning as well as electronic impressioning, but video of the competitions makes this our favorite method.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92,417 other followers