PC casemod-inspired benchtop PSU

benchtop_psu

[Will] had a cheap power supply sitting around, and decided to turn it into a full-featured benchtop PSU. Inspired by some of the other benchtop supplies we have featured in the past, he decided that he wanted his PSU to be more than just a simple-looking box sitting on his work bench. Taking some cues from PC case modding, he put together a unit that is not only very useful, but also quite sharp looking.

The frame of the case was crafted from aluminum angle, while all of the other flat surfaces were made using black polycarbonate. He installed the standard 12v, 3.3v, and 5v terminals you would expect from any benchtop PSU, complete with an LCD display showing the voltages provided by each rail as measured by an Arduino stationed inside the case. Additionally, he installed a variable terminal capable of providing 1.3v-30v, along with its own LCD display. The most unique feature is the multimeter embedded in the front of the case, which makes it virtually impossible to lose.

The case is finished off as you might expect, if you have seen any of his previous work. It features LED lighting on the inside, large fans on either side of the case for optimal air flow, and a pair of machined aluminum handles.

Be sure to check out the quick video below of the PSU being powered on.

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DIY wireless keylogger makes you feel like James Bond (In your own little world)

wireless_keylogger

Do you need to keep tabs on the kids while they browse the Internet? How about your husband/wife – do you suspect they are dabbling in extra-curriculars on the side? Hey, you’ve got your insecurities reasons, we won’t judge. We will however, show you what [Jerry] over at Keelog has been working on lately.

While the company sells hardware keylogger kits online, [Jerry] has relied on, and understands the importance of open source. Since we all benefit from things being open, he is giving away all of the details for one of his most recent projects, a wireless keylogger. The keylogger plugs in to a PC’s PS/2 port, and wirelessly sends data to a nearby USB dongle up to 20 yards away, all in real-time.

A detailed parts list is provided, as are schematics, PCB masks, firmware, and assembly instructions. However, if you prefer the easier route, you can always buy the completed product or a DIY kit.

This isn’t the first open source keylogger he has released, so be sure to check out his previous work if you prefer a wired keylogging solution.

Simple fluidyne engine

[Mirslav] built this fuidyne engine himself. This is a single piston model but you won’t find any precision milled cylinders here. That’s because fluidyne engines use columns of water as the pistons. In the rig shown above you can see one metal pipe which serves as the cold side of the loop. There’s another hot pipe underneath the insulation that completes the circuit. When that pipe is heated it causes the air inside the loop to expand, forcing the liquid on the open side of the plastic tubing (to the left) to rise. Once that air escapes to the other side of the circuit the water piston in the open tube falls back again. This results in continuous oscillation that can be used to drive a pump using a pair of check valves.

We’ve embedded a couple of videos after the break. You’ll see the system tested by heating one pipe with a hot air gun. But the example seen above uses an induction coil to bring the heat.

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Header file brings Arduino sketches to the TI Launchpad

[Chris Hulbert] is making it easy for Arduino users to program MSP430 chips with a header file that allows you to compile Arduino sketches for the Launchpad. This makes sense, as the growing number of Arduino sketches available, and the low cost of the TI Launchpad make for a good bedfellows. It’s really wasn’t that hard to make this happen, although you’re not going to find support for all of the Arduino functions just yet.

At the time of writing, [Chris] has just 51 lines of code committed to the project. It provides macros for setup(), loop(), delay(), pinMode(), pinBit(), digitalWrite(), and digitalRead(). You’ll notice that one of the most important parts of the header file is that it disables the watchdog timer for the user (a stumbling block for many MSP430 beginners). It’s an interesting solution, but to be truly useful we’d want to see hardware integration with the Arduino IDE. That, as well as the rest of the Arduino functions are at the tips of your fingers. Get coding and submit your push requests to [Chris] for inclusion in his repository.

[Thanks Chris]

Mechanical engineering primer

So you’re master of electrons; able to program multiple chip architectures without batting an eye. Good for you. The only problem is that blinking LEDs gets boring after a while and you’re going to want to do something else. Here’s a chance to expand on your physical construction skills. Make: Skill Set is sharing the first chapter from the book Making Things Move by [Dustyn Roberts].

This chapter, which comes in PDF form, covers simple machines. It’ll guide you through the three different types of levers, including examples of how you use these in your everyday life. Next it’s on to pulley systems, wheels and axles, inclined planes and wedges, screws, and gears. [Dustyn] rounds out the chapter by talking about how these concepts are combined into machines like the Rube-Goldberg device seen above. Take some time to look this chapter over and then put it on the holds list from your public library if you’re interested in reading more.

Android skips uncanny valley – fills in at the office for you

For those that are unaware, Androids are often judged by where they fall on the uncanny valley curve, a graph that maps human revulsion to robots that closely resemble humans but are just a bit off (similar to how a corpse resembles a living person). This offering jumps right over that dip of the curve and takes its rightful place as a human stand-in. Well, except that you’re probably going to notice the limbless torso… but pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

This is the result of research by Geminoid Lab at Aalborg University. It is the twin of its creator and in an effort to be as human as possible, movements are mimicked using facial recognition from a human operator. We’d bet that with some clever learning routines you can map out and index common mannerisms from the original person for later use with this body-snatcher-esque copy. Take a look at the clips after the break; we don’t think you’ll be creeped out at all.

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Automatic lock cracker makes breaking and entering a breeze

automatic_lockcracker

For most people, forgetting the combination on a lock means breaking out the bolt cutters and chopping off the lock. Some students at the [Olin College of Engineering] decided there was a far more elegant way to do the job, so they built an automated lock-cracking machine.

The machine consists of a clamp to hold the lock, a solenoid to pull the lock open, and a stepper motor to run through the combinations. Most of the processing is done on the attached computer, using software they created. The application will brute-force all of the possible combinations if you request it, but it also allows you to enter the first, second, or third numbers of the combination if you happen to remember them.

Once the machine is started, the motor begins spinning the lock and the solenoid yanks on the latch until the combination is discovered, which takes a maximum of about two hours to complete. The opening of the latch trips a limit switch and causes the mechanism to stop. A simple button press then returns the lock’s combination to the user.

Be sure to check out the video embedded below of the lock cracker in action.

[via Wired]

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