Augmenting a cheap Android MID

We’ve been on the prowl for a low-cost Android MID that, you know, works well. We were originally excited by the Eken M001 but early reports about poor battery life, coupled with the fact that it only runs Android 1.6 soured our interest. [Carnivore] didn’t let those things turn him away, instead he modified the M001 to meet his needs. He added a USB hub and flash drive inside as well as a few additional connectors for external devices. He’s also inserted a front-facing camera and improved battery life from a 1600 mAh capacity up to 5200 mAh. This means he can now depend on 7-12 hours of use depending on the power saving features he chooses. This does come at a cost, he had to add room inside the case so he annexed a project box for the back cover. As you can see above, he did a beautiful job of making it look right, but it’s lost that thin-sexiness it once had. See [Carnivore's] feature walk through after the break.

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Furniture bots, transform

This mechanized table automatically expands from seating for six to seating for twelve. We tried to capture the action with the three images above but don’t miss the transforming goodness in the video after the break. Alas, we’ll never see something like this in real life because it resides on a yacht worthy of Robin Leach’s attention. We wouldn’t have a problem copying the geometry of the tabletop pieces, but there’s got to be some serious design work to pull off the structure controlling the movement. No solid price is listed, but the creators note that construction costs are in the tens-of-thousands of British Pounds. We’ll stick to our Ikea furniture hacks for now.

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Did that table just move?

A table and chair that can move around by themselves? What’s next, suicide boothsself-replicating robots, and Star Trek styled tablet computers? It seems that [Adam Lassy] is moving in that direction. He took this furniture from Ikea and made some neat modifications to give it mobility. Each of the four legs has wheels on them and the legs themselves rotate in unison to change the direction of travel. We could see the table as a more practical drink delivery system than the Bar2d2. It certainly would make for some great late-night pranks but the chair motors need to be silenced before that can happen.

[Thanks Balbor via Ikea Hacker]

USB hub used for In System Programming

Did you order that 4-port USB hub because it was almost free but now it’s just sitting in your junk box? Why not turn it into an In System Programmer for AVR chips? [Paul] came up with HUB ISP as an answer to the chicken-or-egg problem we’ve seen with other diy programmers. It uses the data wires from four different USB cables to program AVR chips, enlisting the help of a 74HC00 NAND gate along the way. You do not need to have a programmed microcontroller as all the magic happens on the software end of things. The one caveat is that [Paul's] method currently only works on Linux machines.

Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition 2010 Day Two Report

Culture Shock II, a robot by the Lawrence Tech team, first caught our eye due to its unique drive train. Upon further investigation we found a very well built robot with a ton of unique features.

The first thing we noticed about CultureShockII are the giant 36″ wheels. The wheel assemblies are actually unicycles modified to be driven by the geared motors on the bottom. The reason such large wheels were chosen was to keep the center of gravity well below the axle, providing a very self stabilizing robot. The robot also has two casters with a suspension system to act as dampers and stabilizers in the case of shocks and inclines. Pictured Below. Continue reading “Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition 2010 Day Two Report”

Color clock makes telling time impossible

[Bogdan] set out to build the all-too-familiar binary clock. But, he didn’t want to be ordinary, and set the goal of making the clock as hard to read as possible. What he ended up with is a clock that is almost impossible to read correctly.
He’s using colors to tell the time. We immediately thought this might make use of resistor codes as the display but it doesn’t. Red shows the hours, green for minutes, and blue for seconds. Now stack all of them on top of each other in binary and you’ve got the time. That means you’ve got to know all of your color combinations, plus read the binary value correctly, to decipher the time. Add to that the display changing every second and we’re in trouble.
Aside from the user difficulty level, this is a really clean build. It uses an ATmega8535 in conjunction with our favorite DS3232 RTC chip. The etched board is nice and clean, making for an aesthetically pleasing clock.