Dazzling coat sure to be in demand with pimps everywhere

This is the newest addition to [Arren Parker's] Burning Man wardrobe. The full-length lighted faux-fur coats is completely his creation. He started with a pattern that he acquired from Ebay, adding side pockets and changing the hood to a collar. From there he added the 256 RGB LEDs that make it shimmer so appealingly.

For this to work, he designed and ordered 300 tiny PCBs on which a connector socket and the LED are soldered. These are driven by a set of six TLC5940 pulse-width modulation chips, and ultimately by an Arduino. The effect is spectacular (see for yourself after the break), and we’re sure it’ll be a hit at burning man. [Read more...]

Magnets Capable of Brain Hacks

It has been recently discovered that all of the snap decisions that your brain makes on which hand to use to do simple tasks, such as picking up an object from a table, can now be automatically decided for you.  This is done using magnetic stimulation that is applied using transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS.  This TMS will affect the brains ability to process motor movements and reduces the chances that the right hand will be chosen over the left.  This major discovery was found by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) who hopes to use this later on for rehabilitating stroke victims, making them using the limbs that may suffer from the event.  Here is to hoping that an in home product will be released in the future so children can become ambidextrous in everything they do.   It seems like that is a way off but it does seem more natural than most hacks to your body.

Via [iO9]

Dreamcast VMU, meet iPod

We’d bet you never had a Dreamcast Visual Memory Unit, but if you can find one now it can be turned into an iPod (translated). The VMU was originally a memory card for the not-so-popular gaming console that put an LCD screen right in your controller. When you weren’t at home you could take it with you and play mini-games. This version lacks its original guts, which have been replaced with a 6th generation iPod nano. The screen is just a bit small for the opening so a frame of white tape was applied as a bezel. The sleep button has been extended through the cover for the VMU connector. It seems there’s a gaping hole in the back of the case, but after seeing the ultrasonic knife used to cut away the plastic we don’t care. We’ve embedded video of that tool after the break.

[Read more...]

Tiny Cray-1 courtesy of an FPGA

[Chris Fenton] spent a year and a half constructing a 1/10th scale Cray-1 reproduction. The famous supercomputer was meticulously modelled in a field programmable gate array for a “nearly cycle-accurate” reproduction. [Chris'] hardware of choice for the project is a Xilinx Spartan-3E 1600 development board, using 75-80% of the available resources. The finished product runs at 33 MHz and is missing a few functions but it sounds like they don’t affect code execution. We like that he didn’t stop with the processor implementation, but also took the time to produce a case for the development board that looks just like the original.

Unlike the Atari 2600 FPGA project, we’re not quite sure what we’d use this for. But that doesn’t diminish the excellence of his work.

Thinner client using STM32 and NTSC monitor

[David Cranor], along with [Max Lobovsky's] help, managed to build a thin client that uses an NTSC television as a monitor for only $6. This is his first foray into the world of ARM architecture and he has vowed to never use an AVR again. The powerful little chip uses timers to manage sync and DMA to transfer the full 480×240 frame buffer to the screen. Overclocked at 80 MHz there’s a lot of potential in this little board and he plans to take on the challenge of a full-color display for his next trick.

Lazarus-64, not actually 64 bit but still blows our minds

Lazarus-64, breadboard game system; certainly sounds like something from the 1980s. We were surprised to find out not only the name, but also all the ICs used are only those available from the retro age of 30 years back (Save for the AVR controlling everything, of course). Even more amazing is how it has 256 flicker free color support, while not using NTSC chips. Which Goes to show that even if there are common solutions out there for cheap, building or compiling your own is not necessarily a bad thing or a waste of time.

There is a whole lot more to Lazarus, including double buffering and VMS, but sadly it appears progress has stopped on the Lazarus-64 breadboard game system, with the last update being last year. But we can still bask in the amazing glow that currently is.

Creepy Robot Really Wants Money…

As technology advances forward so does the numerous ways to beg for money. [Chris Eckert] has developed a robot to do the deed for him.  With an odd  eye mounted on the top of the robot to invoke pity presumably and a tin can out front to collect change from people it may encounter this is quite the hobo robot.  On his build log, you’ll find tons of great pictures of the entire process from start to finish.  With robots sent to beg people for money, it is only a matter of time until the first squeegee robot is cleaning your car at a red light.  Make sure to check out the video after the break.

[Read more...]

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