Fertilizing a planted aquarium using air freshener hardware

Keeping live plants in an aquarium happy can be quite a chore. One of the frequent rituals is adding fertilizer, which is called dosing. [Majstor76] came up with a creative way to automatically dose using an air freshener. He got rid of the canister that holds the scent and re-purposed a hand soap pump to move the nutrient-rich liquid. After the break you can see that there’s no shortage of power to actuate the pump and the powered air freshener base has a delay circuit, allowing for a few different time-release options. As long as the volumetric output is fairly consistent we figure you can dilute your fertilizer to fine-tune the dose.

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Magnetic digital scale

Above you see a solenoid being used as a digital scale. The magnetic field from the coil in the base levitates the platform above, where a load to be measured is place. This floating platform has a permanent magnet in it, hovering above a hall effect sensor in the base. As the distance between that magnet and the sensor changes, the measurable magnetic field changes as well. The hall effect sensor is linear so the measured value can easily be correlated with a weight. In the video after the break [Vsergeev] demonstrates the device using test weights to show off its 0.5 gram resolution. He thinks that with a few hardware improvements he could easily achieve 0.1g accuracy.

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Our beloved XBMC hits iOS devices

For those who have been longing to unlock the power of the Apple TV 2 the wait is over. XBMC is now available for iOS devices. This isn’t limited to the tiny ARM-based set-top box, but extends to the entire family including iPad and iPhone 4. Included is the ability to play high def video up to 1080p without transcoding. But we think the best feature might be XBMC’s ability to easily stream media over the network from just about any operating system. Goodbye iTunes tethering.

If you’re comfortably using SSH to work with a Jailbroken device, ATV2 installation will be a snap as there’s already a source repository to install from. iPad and iPhone 4 are even easier, just add the repository in Cydia and install. Wow, when we first looked in on the new generation of ATV we really thought it would take longer than it has to see a port of our favorite open source media client. Thanks Team XBMC!

Dance for a Dollar with the YayTM

The YayTM is a device that records a person dancing and judges whether or not the dancing is “Good”. If the YayTM likes the dance, it will dispense a dollar for the dancers troubles. However, unless the dancer takes the time to read the fine print, they won’t realize that their silly dance is being uploaded to YouTube for the whole world to see. Cobbled together with not much more than a PC and a webcam,  the box uses facial recognition to track and rate the dancer.

The YayTM was made by [Zach Schwartz], a student at NYU, as a display piece for the schools Interactive Telecommunication Program. Unfortunately there aren’t any schematics or source code, but to be honest, having one of these evil embarrassing boxes around is probably enough. What song does the YayTM provide for dancing, you ask? Well, be sure to check it out here.

EDIT: [Zack] has followed up with an expanded writeup of the YayTM. Be sure to check out his new page with source code and more info. Thanks [Zack]!

Making boxes from soda cans

This shiny little box was made from a soda can. You don’t need much to pull this off; an aluminum can, sand paper, scissors, a ballpoint pen, a straight edge, and some time. The embossing is done with the tip of the pen, but there’s a bit of a trick to it. The designs are first pressed into the metal from the underside of the aluminum. It is then flipped over and the outlines are traced, with one last tracing of the shape from the underside once that is completed. We think you’ll agree that this results in an impressive relief of the design.

This would make a nice project for that wedding ring you’ve been carrying around sans-case. Or perhaps this is just what you needed as an enclosure for your next project. You’ll find an instructional video after the break.

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