DIY Diodes

[H. P. Friedrichs], the creator of the Static Bleeder has created his own diodes. Using household chemicals, a film of cuprous oxide was made on a copper pipe cap. Cuprous oxide has been one of the first known semiconductor substances, has a low forward drop but is an otherwise asymmetrical conductor, odd V-I curves, and some neat photovoltaic action. The apparatus seen above is used to bring a piece of lead (in this case, solder) into contact with the salmon-colored cuprous oxide while electrical connections can be made to the binding posts at the front. What are your thoughts on this device?

RC truck source for robotics platform

[Michael] sent us a link to his RC robotic platform. He started with the same RC toy as the iPhone Robot (CAR) but ended up with a blank slate waiting for more features. What he has is an Arduino with a motor driver, three bump switches for the front and rear, and a XBee module.  On the other side of things he used a SparkFun USB to FTDI connector to interface another XBee module with a PC in order to use Processing.

In the clip after the break you can see the motor control needs to have more fine-tuning done so the beast isn’t just out of control when running. But there’s a ton of potential here. It should not be a problem to add at lease rudimentary video feedback from the device. The Arduino is currently only being used marginally, leaving plenty of space to add on-board sensing such as IR, proximity, or light.

It’s a clean start, we expect to see updates! [Read more...]

USB oscilloscope

Here’s a USB oscilloscope project from a few years back. It’s easy to build on a single-sided PCB and very cheap because it uses just a handful of parts. At the center, an ATtiny45 microcontroller uses its ADC capabilities for the two traces and also handles the USB connectivity. The internal oscillator is used and trimmed up for accuracy by referencing the USB clock. On the PC side of things, a program written in C# displays the data coming over the serial bus. Quick, small, and useful; a schematic, board layout, firmware, and PC software sources are all available for download.

[Thanks Shri]

Space Invaders clock 6 years ahead of Pong Clock

Space Invaders came out in 1978, six years after Pong. That means this Space Invaders clock uses newer technology, right? Nope, it’s the same hardware as the Adafruit Pong Clock with some updated firmware. Still, as you can see after the break, the effect is pretty nice. Pong was cool, but having a clock that scrolls through several classic games would be cooler.

[Dataman], the guy responsible for this firmware hack shared his code. It should be easy enough to alter it for any clock using a KS0108 graphic LCD screen. So what’s next? Can someone pull off a black and white Ms. Pac-Man that looks decent on the 128×64 display?

[Read more...]

A VU meter for your PSP

[Christian Doran] wanted some blinky goodness to go along with the tunes on his PSP. He built a VU meter circuit around a couple of LM324 op-amp chips and fit it into the UMD space on the back of the PSP. Using surface mount LEDs and some fine wire he lined up a string of indicator lights round the circle on the clear UMD cover. As you can see in the video after the break, the back of the case now pulses along with the music.

[Christian] notes that building the VU circuit around an LM3915 would have been much easier but he’s working with what he has on hand. Looks like he achieve the effect he was after. If you want to learn a bit more about how the op-amps work, take a look at the tutorial from our links post.

[Read more...]

Google your home with a roomba

Meet GåågleBot. GåågleBot is a modified roomba that will not only vacuum your home, but collect data while it does it. While it is carrying out its normal duties as a floor cleaner, it will take pictures, collecting and analyzing all the data for later searches.  With built in OCR, you can actually search for things using text strings.

Aside from just carrying out its normal job, you can also remote control it via the web. You can even control theirs!

[via Boing Boing]

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