Awesome portable N64 keeps your games in hand, out of sight

n64_portable

[David] recently wrote us to share the portable Nintendo 64 he constructed with the help of the friendly people over at the ModdedbyBacteria forums. We are no strangers to N64 portables, as you may have noticed, but this one was just too good to pass up.

Sheathed in a metallic blue case, this console is an instant standout among the other portable N64 mods we have seen. As you would expect, he trimmed down an N64 console board and some various controller bits in order to fit them into the case, finishing it off with a 5″ PSOne display panel. A small fan protrudes out of the back side of the device, which seemed out of place at first. However, it not only keeps the console cool, but it can serve as a bit of a “kickstand” as well, if the console is placed on a flat surface. [David] also added a dongle for the bottom of the console, which allows him to use an external N64 controller if he so desires.

To be honest, one of our favorite features is that the game cartridges do not stick up from the back of the case when inserted. He included just enough room to allow the game to be completely hidden while playing.  Nice job!

Continue reading to see a video build log and demonstration of his portable N64.

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Bluetooth bot constructed from thrift store rejects

bluetooth_bot

[John] wrote in to share his latest creation, an Arduino-controlled Bluetooth robot. You might remember him from one of his previous hacks, the Lawnbot 400. This time around, he has decided to scale things down a bit and focus his hacking on small R/C toys.

His Bluetooth bot was constructed using a cheap R/C tank he scored at a thrift store for about $1.50. He removed all of the bot’s parts, aside from the frame, the battery compartment, and the motors that drive the treads. He added in an Arduino, which he paired with an Ardumoto shield from SparkFun. The motor shield costs about $25, but he does have schematics available so that you can roll your own if you so desire.

A Bluetooth Mate was added to the car, which allows serial communication with any other Bluetooth device. Once everything was wired up, he paired the robot with his computer and got down to driving it by simply pressing keys on his keyboard.

It looks like a fun little toy to have around, and it seems fairly easy to construct. Check out the videos below of his robot in action, and be sure to check out his code/schematics if you are interested in building your own.

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Whistle to make the art flow

A new project from [James] targets the iPhone with this wild generative art in an Augmented Reality environment (free) app for 3GS and 4 running running iOS 4+. Powered by the String augmented reality library, and written in C + OpenGL the combo present a power AR platform offering over 100,000 polygons on screen with no noticeable dip in frame rate.

The artistic part is influenced by noise the app is picking up through the microphone. Speaking, whistling or blowing at the device creates 3D generative art, which you are then free to explore in 3 dimensions. It would be interesting to see what it comes up with in a naturally noisy environment. Features also include variety of 3D shapes, color palettes, and settings that can be mixed to create “endless” combinations along with a good to have save snapshot feature.

Join us after the break for a quick video, and be sure to check out some of [James] other work, like  the Augmented reality business card

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3D printer gets a big resolution improvement

[Jose Carlos Veloso Junior] has been working on his 3D printer to improve the resolution. We looked in on his project back in October when he was printing the blue busts like the one seen above.

We were impressed by the resolution he was able to achieve back then, using liquid resin that is cured with visible light. The resin creates a thin layer on a glass tray, and is cured when a projector shines precisely positioned light from below. The cured resin is then lifted on the Z-axis, and the next layer in the printing process is hardened by the projector’s light.

Well, this newest rendition far outperforms the initial iteration. The bust on the right looks like it’s been hand-buffed to remove the layer lines, but it actually just came off of the printer. [Jose] made a video of the new equipment in action, which you can watch after the break. He’s keeping most of the juicy bits to himself but he did tell us that the improvement he achieved were due to multiple changes in the process. He tweaked the software to use a more precise curing time, the resin formula has been improved, the ability to isolate pixels without hardening resin around them has been stepped up, and he’s made changes to the way the printer is calibrated and how it lifts the hardened model.

This is fantastic. Kudos to you sir!

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Kinect produced autostereograms (Magic Eye pictures)

[Kyle McDonald], working collaboratively with [Golan Levin] at the Studio for Creative Inquiry, has come up with an application that can produce autostereograms. These are pictures that appear to be three-dimensional thanks to a visual illusion created by forcing your eyes to adjust focus and vergence differently than they normally would. The program is called ofxAutostereogram and it comes with a couple of examples. Both are show in [Kyle's] video (embedded after the break), starting with a depth image of a shark. This combines with a texture tile, then is processed through the openFrameworks software in the package to produce the final image.

If that’s all it did you might find it rather unimpressive… these images have been around for some time although they were never so easy to produce on your home computer. But the second example is a pretty fantastic one. You can use a depth image from a Kinect as the starting point. As seen above, there is a preview window where you can adjust the clipping planes in order to include the correct depth. This also allows you a preview of your pose. Once it’s just right, snap a pick and process it through the software.

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Transmitting power and data through thick metal enclosures

So let’s say you have a submarine, or a nuclear containment chamber which has walls made of thick metal. Now let’s say you want to transmit power or data through this wall. Obviously you’re not going to want to drill a hole since this wall is either keeping seawater out, or potential contamination in, but wireless signals aren’t going to travel well through dense metal. [Tristan Lawry's] entry in the Lamelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize seeks to address this issue by using ultrasound waves to transmit data and power.

In the video after the break [Tristan] speaks briefly about his project, then demonstrates the transmission of power and digital audio simultaneously through a two-inch thick steel plate. This is accomplished with a set of piezo transducers attached to both the inside and outside of the plate. Communications originate by feeding electricity to one transducer, which sends ultrasonic vibrations through the material to be received by its counterpart on the other side. It’s easy for us to understand data transmission conducted in this manner, after all that’s how the knock block receives information. What we don’t understand is how it can “transfer large amounts of electrical power”. If you can explain it in layman’s terms please do so in the comments.

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