LED suit lights up the night

When the tipline popped up with this LED suit, part two, by [Marc DeVidts] we were expecing a simple led version of the previously known EL coat.

Well we were right and wrong in the same instance. Correct in that like predictions, the outcome is stonking great. Wrong in that this suit far outpaces EL in abilities we weren’t expecting. Namely to start off, an iPhone app over WiFi dictates to some 200 Arduino multiplexed RGB LED modules to dance randomly or follow patterns; an accelerometer and microphone are also implanted to further some effects. And finally if the suit isn’t enough to make you giddy, his PCB and enclosure milling surely will. Catch a video of the entire setup after the break.

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Alarm clock learns new trick, opening doors

Waking up at 5:30 in the morning. [Mark Stead] didn’t like the idea either when his chickens started crying to be let out. One simple solution obviously is to eat the chickens build an automatic door opener. The mechanism starts out with an old style mechanical alarm clock, add a geared motor with some creative switch work to pull open the door, weather proof the entire thing, and done. [Mark] even modified the setup later to work with vertical doors. No MCU required for either.

Pair this with an automated feeder system, egg gathering and cooking setup, and you’re half way to having your breakfast ready for you when you wake up in the morning – around noon like the rest of us.

[Thanks MS3FGX]

How to fix AVR-SIZE on Ubuntu 10.04

The program avr-size is part of the AVR-GCC toolchain used to develop programs for that line of microprocessors. The program tells you how much space the code will take up on the chip, important information if you’re trying to cram a program into a small program memory. Perhaps more importantly, it shows you how much ram is being used. This is the “Data:” portion of the image above and if you overflow the memory this will be the only thing that lets you know that has happened (except for unstable behavior once the program is running).

For quite some time the avr-size package in Ubuntu has been missing a key feature that makes the information more human readable. [Jeff] over at mightyohm tracked down the solution to the problem on the bug tracker and posted the directions on how to bring your copy up to date. Basically, download the package from Debian (an upstream copy that has already been patched) and install it. [Jeff's] guide is based on the AMD64 version so we’ve copied his procedure in a more generalized fashion after the break.

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Using quality optics with a webcam

[Devon Croy] built a case to join a webcam sensor with a camera lens. The box is a PVC conduit box you’d find at a home center. He used JB Weld to attach four bolts to the back of the box. These are used to fine-tune the mounting plate for the webcam sensor to ensure it’s at the focal point of the lens. The lens connects through a couple of extension tubes to an adapter mounted in the center of the box’s cover plate. The setup above shows a macro lens that takes pretty good pictures.

If you need images of really tiny things you should look into a microscope adapter for your camera.

Open source version of the Play Station 3 Jailbreak

Don’t steal. It’s a lesson that children are taught from the youngest age and a core principle in every society. The PSGroove sets out to follow this mantra in several ways. It is an open source implementation of the PSJailbreak hardware we covered a couple of weeks back. It’s difficult to find a definitive source of information on that hardware but many have speculated that the original device contains stolen code. Whether that’s true or not is moot as the PSGroove doesn’t include the backup manager program alleged to violate copyright.

The device is also aimed at running homebrew, and doesn’t natively allow one to play backups. It runs on a variety of AVR hardware, including the Teensy boards. If you have one of them, it’s just a matter of compiling the code and unlocking the potential of your PlayStation 3.

[Thanks Mark via PS3news]

Replacing the driver board in an old-school door chime

[Dan Kouba's] parents replaced their doorbell button with one that lights up and found that the chime wouldn’t stop sounding after the button was pushed. These lighted buttons use an incandescent bulb in parallel with the button (a piece of hardware we’ve hacked in the past). It draws a small amount of current which isn’t enough to trigger the chime, but it is just enough that the chime unit reacts as if the button press never stopped. His parents asked what he could do about this and after some investigation he build a replacement board for the chime unit based around an ATtiny26L. The board monitors the voltage drop across a resistor in the doorbell circuit. When the comparator on the AVR detects a rise in the voltage drop across the resistor it rings the chimes, actuating the solenoids with a set of PNP transistors. [Dan] sent us all of the details which you can check out after the break.

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