CubeStormer; quick solutions from LEGO parts

CubeStormer solves Rubik’s cubes and it does it quickly! Made entirely out of LEGO, a Mindstorm web camera is used to scan in the cube with four mechanical hands for manipulation. The device is capable of solving a random cube in less than 11 seconds. That’s quite a bit faster than the last Minstorm solver we saw, and the CuBear solver we are so fond of.

[Thanks Ferdinand]

Try as you might, Scooty won’t fall over

Scooty is a balancing robot based around a PIC32. The project is the first iteration in a long road toward a ridable version. The video after the break shows some incredible promise. Scooty is pitted against a large rubber ball. The two roll into each other but Scooty maintains balance thanks to that powerful processor, an inertial sensor, and a range finder.

Scooty versus a ball isn’t really fair to the ball. We’d like to see Scooty versus the ball balancing robot.

[Read more...]

Electric mountainboard with wireless control

[Andres Guzman] is chauffuering himself around the University of Illinois campus thanks to his wirelessly controlled mountainboard. He added a brushless motor to drive the rear axel with the help of a chain. Power is provided by a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery which we’ve seen used in other electric vehicles due to its lightweight properties. A wireless PlayStation 2 controller operates the motor but steering remains a lean-to-turn system.

Top 10 features we’d like to see in Android 3.0


Hello HaD readers,
Sorry for the delay in updating this. I was on probation while the editors worked with Jason to figure out some things.

Clearly, for my recent debut article, I didn’t research Android OS well enough. After reading each of your comments, I realize that the article fell short of HaD’s and its readers standards for high-quality writing and reporting. Every point I made in the article were problems I noticed in my experience with Android, but I should have done more research on others’ experiences and the capabilities of each version of the OS. To each reader, I am sorry and will do better by you in future posts.

Poor Google. Despite its numerous capabilities with smartphones spread across a variety of carriers, Android still struggles to garner the prestige and positive perceptions of iOS 4. Sales continue to rise, but at the end of the day, the average person is still left lusting for an iPhone. Well, here are 10 features  that should be added to Android 3.0 that could change the tide.
1. A no-brainer task manager.
Google says Android doesn’t need a task manager, that it closes programs efficiently without any user-intervention, substandard apps often suck memory dry. Because of this, Android users are forced to download complicated task-managers, each with its own odd UI, and weigh which one works the best. Google, please fess up to the problem and put something in there a computer novice could use.  Something with big buttons would be nice.

Solar MintyBoost

We first wrote about the MintyBoost back in 2006. Today, Adafruit has created a tutorial for making a solar powered MintyBoost. Using a MintyBoost, a solar panel, LiPo battery and a charger, they built on their Solar LiPoly tutorial. They fed the power tap output of the LiPoly charger into the battery input of the MintyBoost to perform the voltage step-up for USB devices. Based on an instructable that used SparkFun parts, this tutorial shows how to use parts that are available from one source. We hear that there will be some evolution of the MintyBoost coming down the line that will including charging capabilities.