After finding some ultrasonic transducers online for a dollar each [Kerry Wong] decided to create an ultrasonic range finder. The result is much like parallax’s PING))) sensor but much cheaper. His post is not only a good way to save some money, but also does a good job of explaining how ultrasonic sensors work. The transmit circuit is essentially an H-bridge, much like what you would use to control a motor. To listen to the returning echo he uses a pair of high gain/low noise op-amps to filter and amplify the signal. The board he uses to test the range finder (not included in the cost) is an ATMega328 running the Arduino boot loader. He also provides lots of example code to boot.
New Project Hosting site
[Paul] wrote in to tell us about his brand new hack hosting service, HackHut. Based on WordPress with some modifications, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on as new features emerge.
Speaking of project hosting, Instructables are a common source of projects as well as complaints. Instructabliss by [Daid] is an often mentioned solution in our comments, and we thought we would bring it up so commenters don’t have to. We understand why it was made and think it was a clever hack, but we don’t officially endorse it. We survive on Ad revenue, if someone were doing this to us, it would hurt. We’re also not sure about the legalities of such a service, so keep us updated.
Grass Burning Robot
[Sebastian] brings us his grass burning, flame throwing robot. This robot takes in SVG files to create its burn path, and burns away. Not too many details, but be sure to check out the photos on his site.