Super winch makes sledding 100% more fun

sledding_winch

As every kid quickly finds out, sledding in the winter is awesome until you have to trudge back up to the top of the hill. If your sledding run is reasonably short, this isn’t a problem, but if you sled on huge hills like [Josh], you need to figure something out.

He had a go kart motor sitting around, so he figured he might as well put it to good use as a sledding winch. The winch runs a continual loop of over 1000 feet of rope, and is able to pull 3 adults up a 30 degree incline fairly easily. They say that necessity is the mother of innovation, but at some point you have to ask, “Does sledding really require an 8 HP motor and a continuously variable transmission?” The answer, of course is a resounding “Yes!”

Not only does this winch allow [Josh] and his friends to get back to real business of sledding in a hurry, it actually makes sledding fun in both directions.

Keep reading to see a video of the winch in action, and be sure to check out some other fun uses for winches we have featured in the past.

[via Neatorama]

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iPhone-based universal IR remote

iphone_universal_ir_dongle

If you have a reasonable home theater setup in your living room, odds are you have up to half a dozen remotes sitting around. Short of trying to get your cable receiver’s remote to control everything or laying down some cash for a Harmony remote, what’s a hacker to do?

[Andrey] decided he wanted to use his iPhone as a universal IR remote, but he didn’t want to pay very much to do so. Instead of buying a dongle at the store, he soldered some IR LEDs to an old headphone plug, creating a mini IR dongle to control his equipment. After studying IR signaling a bit, he got to work encoding IR remote commands into wav files using Python. The files are then played on his iPhone, allowing him to submit certain commands to his TV set.

Unfortunately, the process of manually converting IR codes to audio files doesn’t quite seem like the most efficient way of doing things. There are other IR dongles currently on the market that utilize the headphone jack, most of which provide pretty robust software for free. These might make a good alternative to manually creating audio files for each IR command. We honestly haven’t seen any teardowns of these retail IR dongles posted online, but it would be interesting to see how they compare to what [Andrey] has put together.

Walking motion analysis using Wii remotes

WiiGait is not a political scandal, it’s a project that records motion data while walking. [Bilal Chishti] and [Zassa Kavuma] are strapping a Wii remote onto each leg and recording the sensor data while making video of the walker at the same time. The two are using an Ubuntu box to pull the sensor data from the Bluetooth-enabled devices and utilizing its built-in webcam for the video. They graph the data for each axis and we’re sure that syncing up data anomalies with the video is just a matter of matching timestamps.

So what good is this? The creators are keeping us in the dark about an end-goal for collected data; this may just be for the experience of using the hardware. But we could see it having uses in making distance runners more efficient, or teaching that bipedal robot how to balance.

[Read more...]

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