RBD (robotic beer delivery)

Those crazy programmers over at the Willow Garage are at it again. This time around they’ve created a robotic wench to deliver the beer. When thirst strikes you can fire up a web interface and drag a picture of your beer into a shopping basket. Once you submit your order the bot will raid the fridge and return with your frothy treat. It will even open the bottle for you but, as you can see after the break, this is where your beer becomes truly frothy.

So we’ve seen the PR2 playing pool, and now as a barmaid. Willow Garage just joined SparkFun on our list of places we wish we worked. [Read more...]

Shred air with Theremin Hero

Remember those Ebay auctions of air guitars going for several thousands of dollars? We don’t either, but Theremin Hero (more info in the YouTube description) is about as legit as you can get to actually rocking on nothing but air.

Much like using a theremin to control Mario, the vertical antenna acts as the fret board while the horizontal one detects strumming. Combine the output of the theremin with some custom software (yet to be released) and Guitar Hero and you have Theremin Hero Air Guitar.

[via Bob's House of Video Games]

Homemade induction generator

[Tyler LaVite] tipped us off about the generator he built. He combined a 5.5 horsepower Honda motor with a 10 horsepower electric bandsaw motor. To get an induction generator to produce alternating current you must feed electricity into the system to start the magnetic flux. [Tyler's] solution was to include a bank of capacitors totaling 230mF which charge from the motor, then release back into the system. It’s not as green as the syngas generators we’ve seen since it still uses fossil fuel, but it reuses old parts sending less to the landfill.

A pair of Rube Goldberg builds

Here’s a couple of videos of Rube Goldberg machines that [Austin] built. The one above was completed in 2008 as a commercial contest entry for something-or-other. After the break you can see his build from 2007 which was just for fun. Both are quite nice additions to our collection of the complicated devices. We especially like the use of a sub-woofer to move a ping-pong ball and a vibrating cell phone for some wireless integration.

[Read more...]

Key fob programming

[Fileark] has instructions for reprogramming keyless entry devices for your car. His demonstration video, which you can see after the break, shows how to make one key fob work for two different vehicles. In this case he’s working on a couple of Chevrolet trucks but there are instructions for GM, Ford, Dodge, Toyota, and Nissan. If you need to reprogram one of these you may find this useful, but we’re wondering how it can be incorporated into a project. If you can sniff out the communications that are going on during the programming you should be able to build and pair your own devices with a vehicle. Wouldn’t it be nice to incorporate your keyless entry into your wristwatch?

[Read more...]

DelFly2 and DelFly micro

The video you see above is the on board footage of the DelFly2 autonomous ornithopoter robot. Weighing 16 grams, it carries a small camera and can provide a live feed. If you’re amazed at the tiny size and weight of the DelFly2, check out the DelFly micro, video after the break, that weighs 3 grams. Remember when we thought 17 grams was small for an ornithopter?

All processing for the DelFly2 is done at a base station and transmitted to the flying bot to keep the weight down. The team also had to create their own brushless motor that runs at 60% efficiency and weighs only 1.6 grams. The 130mAh battery can sustain 15 minutes of horizontal flight or 8 minutes of hovering.

[Read more...]

Electronic vuvuzela

Want to annoy fellow fans but  don’t have the lung power to do the job? [Hunter's] electronic vuvuzela is just the thing you need. The plastic noisemakers were so prevalent at the world cup this year that some folks came up with audio filters to remove the sound. The electronic rendition is much smaller, using a 555 timer to mimic the instrument on a small speaker. [Hunter's] build has buttons for five different notes which can be altered with some potentiometer. There’s no schematic but then again for something that’s annoying you don’t want to make it too easy to replicate.

Update: Hunter added the schematic to his site which spell doom for those who enjoy peace and quiet.