Power cycling a problematic modem

[Gigawatts] struggled against a shoddy Internet connection for quite some time. Changing modems, having the line serviced, and spending far too much time on the phone didn’t do any good. In fact, the only thing that fixed the problem was power cycling the modem once it stopped responding. His solution was to automate the power cycling process. He added a cron task to his router which is running DD-WRT, a favorite firmware alternative for hacked routers. The script monitored the WAN connection and when it went down it would toggle one of the serial port pins. He whipped up an outlet box with a relay in it and used that serial pin to cut the power going to the modem. A workaround yes, but it was the only thing that brought an end to his frustration.

FPC Arduino

Seeed Studios has a new version of the Arduino that they’re calling the Seeeduino Film. Instead of the traditional fiberglass substrate they’ve used a resin material to produce a Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC). In addition to its flexibility their aim with this prototype was to keep it modular. From what we can see each of the four squares is a different component in the Arduino system. The photo above has the USB interface on the nearest node, then the power regulator, the microprocessor, and finally the remaining peripheral connections. This material can easily be cut with a pair of scissors so the programming section can be removed once the firmware is burned to the chip. It will be interesting to see final pricing and package options. We wouldn’t mind having an FPC ATmega168 breakout board around, but specifially this would fit nicely in a watch band if you were building your own wristwatch.

[Thanks Juan]

Sidecar reminiscent of conjoined twins

Finally, an answer to the problem of sidecar dorkiness. [François Knorreck] spent ten years hand crafting a sidecar with a beautiful design and a luxurious interior for two. The frame is aluminum, the body is mostly carbon fiber, and there are countless details such as automatic chain tension control and steering for the sidecar wheel that make this more than just a pretty paint job.

[Thanks Geekabit]

Programmable Origami

Researchers at MIT have come up with this slick demo of, what they call,  programmable matter. This flat sheet covered in tiny foil actuators can be programmed to fold into specific shapes. Shown in the video above is a boat and an airplane.  Using the concepts set down by origami through the years, they can divide the sheet into triangles in specific arrangements to make certain shapes possible. This one is fairly simple, but judging by some of the insane origami we’ve seen around, this could get pretty cool.

[via slashdot]