Jeep-uter adds push button control to your vehicle

[Ed Zarick] built a module to control his vehicle which he calls the Jeeputer. The name’s a mash-up of Jeep and Computer; the device itself is a combination of Arduino, character LCD, and a collection of shift registers and relays for interfacing. Watch the video after the break to see what this can do. We were surprised in the beginning when he says that all he has left to do is remove the steering wheel lock and he’ll be able to drive using the interface, but we think he means type in a code to unlock the ignition, not remote control for his car. He then goes on to demonstrate garage door control, power cycling for CB radio, GPS, 110V power inverter, vehicle light control, and much more. This must be the most feature packed car computer we’ve seen so far.

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VR! now with more kinect, wiimote, and vuzix

Those of us that remember when you could actually go to a mall and play on a VR game machine, tend to remember it fondly. What happened? The computing horsepower has grown so much, our graphics now days are simply stunning, yet there’s been no major VR revival. Yeah, those helmets were huge and gave you a headache, but it was worth it.  With the 3d positioning abilities of the latest game crazes, the Wiimote and the Kinect, [Nao_u] is finally taking this where we all knew it should have gone(google translated). Well, maybe we would have had less creepy anime faces flying around squirting ink, but the basics are there. He has created a VR system utilizing the Wiimote for his hand position, a Vuzix display for head positioning, and the kinect for body tracking. Even with the creepy flying heads I want to play it, especially after seeing him physically ducking behind boxes in the video after the break. Long live VR!

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Refurbishing a refrigerator for fermenting

[Mikey Sklar] wrote in to show us how he refurbished a neighbors useless refrigerator as a fermentation chamber. [Mikey] is a fan of making breads, kemchi, yogurt, and tempeh. To make these, it helps to have a completely controlled temperature for them to ferment in. [Mikey] developed a temp controller for this in the past, but had to either build a control box or use a giant chest freezer.  This is not optimal for limited space, such as a kitchen. He got lucky when a neighbor tossed a wine cooler into the trash. These little coolers are perfectly sized for a kitchen and even have a glass front so you can keep an eye on what is going on inside without having to open it and effect your temps. [Mikey] ripped it open, replaced the peltier cooler with a large heat lamp and his temp controller. Since he was making yogurt with this one, he needed only to heat it. The final product turned out pretty effective.

555 Design Contest, Win $1500+ in prizes!

Sure, microcontrollers are useful, easy to apply, and ubiquitous, but where is the fun in the easy route? Well, for those of you out there with a little imagination and a 555 timer sitting around, there could be rewards in store. Brought to you by such famous personalities as Jeri Ellsworth and Chris Gammell, the 555 contest has prizes and awards for a number of different categories, such as over the top designs as well as awards for most minimalistic. To top it all off, they are even selling T-shirts to benefit engineering education charities.

The craziest (and possibly coolest) part of the entire contest is that the it has all been put together by the hacking community, with no exclusive sponsorship deals or payment to the organizers being accepted. In the spirit of giving, we will be adding some Hack a Day merch to the swag pile, so keep an eye out for the skull and wrenches. Currently the prize list includes a pair of Beagle Boards, a custom hacked Commodore 64 Joystick from Jeri, as well as a number of other project parts and lots more. The sponsorship list is still growing, so all of our information is tentative (and exclusive!), but be sure to check out the complete list so far after the break.

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