Hackaday Links: March 22, 2011

3D holographic fog display

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Some researchers in Japan are hard at work building a 3D volumetric fog display that would allow you to live out some of your Leia-related Star Wars fantasies. Using a column of fog and three projectors, they were able to create a display that looks three-dimensional from any angle. It might be a while before the technology hits your living room, so don’t clear your calendar just yet, Obi Wan. [via Neatorama]

The Claw – a three-fingered robotic gripper

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Instructables user [AntMan] has been hard at work revising his robotic claw gripping mechanism. Laser cut from wood, this servo-driven claw can easily grasp small objects with little effort. We can’t wait to see someone build a version from milled aluminum!

Ben Heck’s retro Xbox 360

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[Ben Heck] is at it again, and has recently given the Xbox 360 a sweet retro makeover. Taking inspiration from gaming consoles of the 70’s, he converted an Xbox 360 into a laptop-style portable (again), but this time with the look and feel of an old Atari 2600. Retro gamers rejoice, you can now get your Xbox on while enjoying the sweet simulated wood-grain you grew up with.

Rocket-based ice fishing notification system

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What fun is ice fishing if you have to sit outside freezing your butt off? We’re assuming that was the driving thought behind [Mike’s] rocket-based ice fishing rig. A model rocket is attached to his fishing sledge, which is triggered when a fish is detected on the line. Using a low-tech detonator, the rocket lets him know it’s time to check the lines. Now only if we could get the fish to fillet themselves…

Case modding video series hits the web

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The “Mod Men” is a fairly new web series that takes you out of the basement and into the garage for some professionally constructed case mods. Described as “American Chopper for geeks with a dash of This Old House”, the creators aim to showcase over-the-top case mods with a professional flair. They already have three episodes under their belt, all of which are available on their site.

Paper Mechanical Iris

This functioning mechanical irs is made from paper templates, foam core poster board, old credit / gift / etc cards, paper clips and masking tape. First, patterns are designed and multiples are printed and laid out to make the 10 parts needed. Two rings are cut out of foam board and a third ring is cut into wedges to form a cam mechanism on top of one of the other two rings.

Twelve shutters are then cut from the credit cards, and small pieces of paper clip are glued to each end and both sides. One side rides the cam mechanism the other side is punched through the final ring.

We found it to be an interesting project that should be pretty easy for just about anyone to replicate (now that its all figured out for us), and besides, you never know when you might stumble across a small box of hotel key’s with a defunct pizza parlor’s advertisement on the back.

Birthday gift is a constant reminder of impending AARP membership

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Sometimes milestone birthdays can be a bit depressing. 30 is rough, and 40 tougher – but 50…that’s a big one!

[Ryan’s] uncle is going to be turning 50 shortly, and in the interest of good-natured fun, he has constructed a handy birthday countdown timer for his uncle, lest he forget (or tries to avoid) the big day.

The device displays the amount of time left before his uncle’s birthday, playing an audio clip of “Don’t fear the Reaper” when the clock strikes 00:00. This is accomplished by using the MSP430’s internal clock to keep time, while also interfacing with a Nokia 3310 LCD panel to display the countdown timer. The music is provided by the circuit board from a greeting card he gutted for the project, which was wired to the LaunchPad in order to be triggered at the right moment. Everything was crammed inside an Altoids tin, as you can see in the picture above.

Though not overly complicated, it’s a fun little project, and we’re hoping his uncle gets a big kick out of it. Once his birthday has come and gone, [Ryan] plans on converting the piece into a permanent desktop clock for his uncle.

Wristwatch Turntables

Ever wish you could DJ on the fly while using equipment that your already wearing? Well neither have we but heck now we can, cheaply and easily with the Wristwatch Turntables. While being functional and stylish, this interesting project is fairly easy to construct and if need be, even sports a full function digital watch.

The audio electronics are donated by a pair of talking / musical  greeting cards. Both, “record your own” and “just deal with what we give you” types, though which ones you choose is left up to your taste. The greeting cards are then cut apart for their hidden goodies and then a little circuit bending action is performed to monkey with the amplifier of the sound module.

Potentiometers are added, buttons are relocated, and everything gets housed in a small box, with a wristwatch ran down the middle so you can wear the whole deal and blast your funky beats anywhere you may be. Join us after the break for a quick video.

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