Steam cycle feels like your pants are on fire

Usually we don’t like to feature projects that have zero build details, saving them instead for a links post. But this steam-powered bicycle is too… peculiar to pass up. In between the rider’s legs is the firebox that contains a wood-fueled fire. Watch the clip after the break and you’ll find just how noisy this contraption can be. In addition to the mid-range “chug-a chug-a” there’s also the constant whistle we’d attribute to the pressure regulator. It’s surprising that the whole bike doesn’t heat up, but it must not be all that bad since the test pilot isn’t wearing asbestos pants. All kidding aside, it looks like this beast has no problem getting up to a running pace (based on the movements of the camera) and that’s thanks to a renewable energy source.

We’d be much more¬†comfortable¬†seeing this in a mechanized tandem form factor since we just can’t get over having a fire between our legs.

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PIC spectrum analyzer uses Fast Fourier Transform routine

[Simon Inns] just rolled out his latest project, a PIC based spectrum analyzer. He’s using a Fast Fourier Transform routine crafted in C to run as efficiently as possible on the 8-bit chip. The video after the break shows that the results are quite pleasing, with just a bit of noticeable lag between the sound and the waveform representation on the graphic LCD. We found his notes about using an audio amplifier chip to be interesting. He utilizes the properties of an LM386 to move the input signals from a range of -0.5V to +0.5V into a very ADC friendly range of 0-5V.

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Developing an electronic board game

[Zach] enjoys playing the game Catch Phrase, but the complexity of the words makes this game a no-go for the little ones. We remember that the game used to be mechanical, using paper disks with the words on them. Those would be easy to recreate with your own dictionary set, but since it has transitioned to an electronic unit that option is out the window. So [Zach] decided to build his own version of the game that lets you use custom word sets after drawing inspiration from another Catch Phrase hack.

He’s calling it AVRphrase since it uses an AVR ATmega328. You’ll also find five buttons, a piezo buzzer, and a character LCD included in the design. He saw the project all the way through to the end, having a PCB manufactured, and installing it in a project box. A demonstration of the finished game can be seen after the break. [Zach] ended up with 9 working units at a cost of about $30 each.

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