Multitool alarm system

Here’s a way to make sure you don’t leave your Leatherman multitool somewhere. It’s an alarm system that will start a timer when the tool is removed from the holster. After five minutes the module beeps to remind you to put the tool back where it belongs. Annoying? Possibly, but if you’re not done with your work just press the reed leaf switch on the module to reset the timer. A PIC 12F683 handles the timing and generates the waveform for the piezo buzzer. Perhaps this could have been accomplished with a dual 555 chip like the LM556 (one timer for the countdown and another for the piezo waveform) but the PIC has power-down modes available that should make the button batteries last a long time.

Daft punk module – just add table

This is just an 8×8 LED matrix, but the size and execution make it look marvelous. [Michu] built this module using foam board dividers to separate the cells, a foam board back to host the 64 RGB LEDs, and a sheet of heavy frost diffusion gel that is a stage lighting product. The display is driven by a Rainbowduino with input from a processing sketch. The effects seen in the video after the break are quite pleasing, and are just begging to be installed in your next coffee table project.

[Read more...]

Ossmann talks about Ubertooth at Schmoocon

[Michael Ossmann's] talk from Schmoocon about his open source Bluetooth test tool called Ubertooth is now available to watch online. The video really fills in the gaps from the first time we looked at the project, as he covers why he took on the challenge, and what has happened since. He talks about how his work with the IM-ME helped in choosing hardware along the way, and the choices he made while developing the USB dongle. His hardware considerations included parts that didn’t require a nondisclosure agreement (keeping it open source) and that were available in single quantities so that individuals could build and populate their own boards quite easily.

We’ve embedded the talk after the break. The project is coming along great, and his Kickstart funds have almost doubled the original goal.

[Read more...]

Low-cost video chat robot

remote_control_chat_robot

[Johnny Chung Lee], having recently moved from Seattle to Mountain View, wanted a way to keep in touch with his fiancé who would not be relocating for several more months. While most of us would likely consider purchasing a pair of web cams to keep in touch, he decided to do things his own way.  Using an iRobot Create and a netbook, both about $250 apiece, he constructed a remote-controlled video chat robot that he can steer around his former abode from 1,000 miles away. While $500 might seem expensive at first, [Johnny] reminds us that commercial versions likely run into the thousands of dollars.

The whole setup is controlled using custom software to manage the movement of the robot, which can be used in conjunction with freely available videoconferencing applications, such as Skype. He also modified the iRobot’s charging station to charge both the robot and the netbook simultaneously – a process he explains, but precedes with several disclaimers.  Like some of his previous projects we have covered, he has made the C# source used in this project available for download on his site, along with documentation for both the control software and dock modifications.

Check out video of the robot in action after the jump.

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Four-axis camera mount rides on a wire

Here’s [Badwolf's] team posing with their college project. It’s a 4-axis gimbal mount for a camera that they designed in CAD, cut parts using a laser, then milled them down to specifications. In the picture above there is a tiny point-and-shoot camera mounted inside the suspended ring but the rig’s strong enough to support cameras of any size.

That mounting ring can rotate like the hands of a clock, but it also pivots on a horizontal axis. The bracket that holds the ring can rotate on a vertical axis, and the entire assembly moves along the wire supporting it. After the break you can see some test footage that shows the rig being operated via a handheld radio controller.

This setup let’s the camera travel as far as the cable can reach. But if you want something that lets you take photographs of very tall objects you’ll need to use a different setup. [Read more...]

Logisim: Open source digital logic simulator

[Spi Waterwing] wrote in to make sure that we were aware of Logisim, a Java-based open source digital logic simulator. We’ve used Atanua quite a bit in the past but hadn’t heard of this program. It seems to have a pretty big educational following and right off the bat it’s got a feature we’ve always wanted, the ability to build your own ‘black box’ logic devices. That is to say you can build your own circuit out of logic gates and then package it into a part to be plopped into your next design. What it doesn’t have is the series logic chips that we’re used to with Atanua, but you can build your own with the black box feature if you really need that kind of functionality.

So grab a copy and try building that binary calculator project from last month.

Sumo style robot

[Jeremy] really wants to compete in some sumo bot wrestling, and in order to have robotic sumo wrestling one needs to make some robots, which is what [Jeremy's] build log is all about.

The framework is made out of 6mm thick Sintra (which is a type of closed cell pvc foam sheet) with the use of a CNC machine, using a “sliced” design style framework. Two geared motors fit snug inside of the internal frame and some wheels from solarbotics are attached to the ends. The arrangement of the drive wheels in the rear, and the large front end, seems like good design for the end application where robots doing turtle flips would be no fun.

Keeping in mind this is not a fully finished project and therefore does not have code or schematics posted, the brains of this beast are in a similar state, and should be pretty easy to figure out. The thinking is handled by an atmega328, and fed by IR sensor pair’s to detect light / dark patterns on the floor or table, and an array of proximity sensors along the front and sides to detect its opponent.

And while this project may not be completed, it at one point was dead and set aside, after some months [Jeremy] went back for a second look and found out that the only thing dead about it was the power regulator and h-bridge and quickly got it back up and working, which is a good reminder to not give up, even when it does go poof.

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