Pumping Station: One takes on the machine

Part one and Part two of Hackerspace Pumping Station: One taking on the Scion challenge are up and ready for your viewing pleasure. The team at Pumping Station: One built a Tron themed bicycle that when setup properly, would churn ice cream that turned your urine neon in about 6 minutes by using dry ice and ethyl alcohol. Besides sounding not so tasty, and having a multitude of problems along the way, the project turned out the be a success. The question becomes, does it stand up to the last Hackerspace, NYC Resistor, who made a drink mixing slot machine? And how will both fair against the up and coming Musical Building by Crash Space?

[Thanks Deven]

Android oscilloscope

Here’s a 2-channel Oscilloscope for your Android phone. It uses a base module driven by a dsPIC for signal processing. From there, an LMX9838 Bluetooth module broadcasts the data to the phone so that the waveform can be displayed. [Yus] ported some Python code he had been using over to a set of Java and XML files in order to get it working on Android. This was actually the first time he worked with the SDK… we’d say he’s a quick learner. See it in action after the break.

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Cadsoft Eagle migrating to XML

[PT] posted about an exciting development from Cadsoft, the migration to XML based parts, schematics, and board layouts. The adoption of this open standard goes hand-in-hand with the open hardware initiatives people like [PT] have been pushing for.

Cadsoft Eagle is our go-to schematic and PCB software. We even have a tutorial which guides you through preparing your files for PCB manufacture. But the files containing parts libraries, schematics, and board layouts have always been binaries. A transition to XML means a lot of things. They will be easier to edit, and much friendlier for tracking changes using version control systems like SVN, CVS, Mercurial SCM, Git, etc. But immediately on our minds is the accessibility for hacking. Think of how easy XML parsing is in programs like Python. It should be snap to write scripts on a whim that will manipulate the XML files in any way imaginable. This doesn’t discount the value of Eagle, it extends the usability far beyond what any team of engineers at Cadsoft could produce by themselves. And for that, we say Bravo.

Touring the available Nokia LCD screens

[Rossum's] taking a look at the Nokia LCD screens that are both plentiful and begging to be bent to your will. For quite some time the Nokia 6100 screens have been used in a lot hacks, but he wanted to see what else is out there. He digs into his junk box of cell phones and comes up with a couple to test; the Nokia 6101 and Nokia 2760. The screens use a 3-wire SPI interface, which he sniffs out with a logic analyzer. At power-up the cellphone polls the screen to determine which type of LCD controller is connected. [Rossum] grabs these commands from the logic analyzer and uses it to determine the hardware in use with each screen.

He made himself a nice breakout board which has connectors for several different screens. The firmware he’s using detects when a screen is attached and switches to the applicable protocol for that display. Take a look at the video after the break.

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Larson scanner hacking

more MORE MOOOORRREEE

We all love a good larson scanner. They’re so iconic that Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories makes a kit. However, just getting a kit and building it isn’t enough for many of us. How would we make a larson scanner better? Simply by adding more. EMSL shows us how you can modify their kit in both hardware and code to chain them together.  They detail the modifications very clearly and show some video examples. You can see a three larson scanner chain in action after the break.

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Assassin’s Creed blades make us wince

[TheBserk] made himself a set of auto-locking and auto-retracting hidden blades inspired by those in the game Assassin’s Creed. As you can see in the demo (and build guides) after the break, they work really well. We don’t like the idea of sharpened metal ramming its way past our wrists. But it’s not the first time we’ve seen dangerous arm-mounted hacks.

Reminiscent of Taxi Driver, [TheBserk] uses drawer slides from the local home store for his build. They are cut to length, and modified using springs for the automatic action. There is a lock to keep the blade extended, and a pull-wire to actuate it. Although dangerous, the build is well done. We think someone has mechanical engineering in his future, and possibly a trip to the emergency room.

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