Automate repetitive PC actions with a foot pedal

foot_pedal

Instructables user [bkovac] was sick of clicking the terminal icon on his desktop whenever he wanted to launch a terminal window. Keyboard shortcuts aside, he figured the easiest way to take the tedium out of the process would be to launch terminal windows with a foot pedal.

He grabbed a pedal that he had sitting around in his workshop and took it apart to ensure the switch contacts were configured for his particular use. The wires were run to an Arduino which talks to the computer over serial using a Python script.

While the setup works just fine, it’s definitely not the most efficient or simplest way of getting the job done. In fact, we have seen other methods that are quite a bit simpler, though they lack the potential versatility of this particular modification.

Rather than simply loading a terminal window on his computer, we would love to see this pedal enhanced to perform multiple functions – at which point the Arduino would be a pretty decent choice. We would probably start out by swapping out the full-sized Arduino for a Teensy, mounting it inside the pedal. Multiple foot presses could be used to trigger different events, based upon the number of presses that occur within a given time period. It could be made even more useful by using it to trigger gesture-based events, similar to those seen in plug-ins for Chrome and Firefox.

How would you enhance [bkovac’s] pedal interface? Let us know in the comments.

Awesome fan-powered Frankenscooter

fanscooter

We believe that some of the best things in life are built from half-assed ideas and held together with duct tape. Take this fan-powered Razor scooter [Charles Guan] built, for example – it’s chock full of both.

Having built a ducted fan-powered shopping cart in the past [Charles] is no stranger to ridiculous ideas. After a friend sent him a mockup of a fan powered scooter, he felt that he couldn’t “…take such an absurd image not seriously.”

Determined to make his fan-powered dreams a reality, he hunted around for Razor scooter parts, and managed to scavenge just about everything he needed. Parts of three scooters were welded together, forming the wide-stanced trike you see in the picture above. He mounted a fan and some battery packs onto the scooter, both similar to those found on his Fankart. Once everything was in place, he hit the streets.

As you can see in the video below, the Fanscooter looks as fun as it is loud. [Charles] says they have hit a top speed of about 10 mph thus far, but they should be able to blow past that once they balance the blades and have a victim tester willing to suspend his babymakers over the fan duct. Keep your eyes on his site, we’re sure to see some tweaks and improvements over the coming weeks.

[Read more...]

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