My desk IS my computer case


If you think that your water cooled rig is pretty sweet, check out this creation by Dutch PC enthusiast [Peter Brands] (Google Translation).

With his computer tweaked as far as he could imagine, he decided to spruce up his office a bit. In the process, he ended up tweaking his computer just a little bit more. After seeing a build put together by another computer enthusiast, he set off to construct a desk in which he could show off his computer. He spent some time drawing up plans with Google Sketchup and with the help of a friendly neighbor, started construction of his desk/PC case.

The desk is constructed from 3mm thick aluminum, and houses most of his computer’s components under a thick piece of glass. The only portion of the computer that is not enclosed in the desk is the 9-fan radiator he used for his water cooling setup. That part resides in his crawl space, which he connects to his PC via a pair of large water hoses he punched through his tile floor. If you are interested, you can see all 800+ pictures of the build here.

Simply awesome!

[Thanks duchie]

Tracking eye movement by measuring electrons in the eye

[Luis Cruz] is a Honduran High School student, and he built an amazing electrooculography system, and the writeup (PDF warning) of the project is one of the best we’ve seen.

[Luis] goes through the theory of the electrooculogram – the human eye is polarized from front to back because of a negative charge in the nerve endings in the retina. Because of this minute difference in charge, a user’s gaze can be tracked by electrodes attached to the skin around the eye. After connecting eye electrodes to opamps and a microcontroller, [Luis] imported the data with a Python script and wrote an “eyeboard” application to enable text input using only eye movement. The original goal of the project was to build an interface for severely disabled people, but [Luis] sees applications for sleep research and gathering marketing data.

We covered [Luis]‘ homebrew 8-bit console last year, and he’s now controlling his Pong clone with his eye-tracking device. We’re reminded of a similar system developed by Atari, but [Luis]‘ system uses a method that won’t give the user a headache after 15 minutes.

Check out [Luis] going through the capabilities of his interface after the break. [Read more...]

Wall climbing robot uses supersonic grippers


Watch out Spidey, there’s a new wall climber in town!

Researchers [Matthew Journee, XiaoQi Chen, James Robertson, Mark Jermy, and Mathieu Sellier] recently unveiled their wall climbing wonder bot at the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Like most other wall climbing bots, theirs operates on the Bernoulli principle to keep it stuck to the surface, but that’s where the similarities end.

Unlike other Bernoulli-based climbers, this robot’s gripper never actually touches the surface it is climbing. The researchers were able to accomplish this feat by designing a specialized gripper which forces air through a 25 μm gap, creating a very powerful low pressure vortex. The gripper’s design compresses the air by shape alone, causing the air flow to reach speeds of Mach 3, without relying on powerful pumps or increased air volume.

The researchers state that their supersonic gripper can support about five times the weight of a conventional Bernoulli gripper, and as you can see in the video below it also has no problem climbing a wide variety of surfaces.

Window-washing Roomba, here we come!

[via Make]

[Read more...]

Hey OEMs, Arduino controlled dishwasher has much potential

I think we can all agree that sometimes projects are a bit of a stretch. We rack our brains for something interesting and unique to bring to the table and end up stretching for that special strange twist trick or technique that will garner that special kind of admiration from our peers. In that sense it is easy to loose sight of some of the best projects, the simple ones that prove you can fix anything anytime anywhere and improve it while you are at it.

This is just such that kind of project, [UnaClocker] had a washer fall victim to its own condensation. Instead of shelling out a ton of money for the repair man he took on the job himself, fitting the washer with an Arduino, relays and a breadboard. A little reverse engineering revealed the (notably well labeled) control board, evidently the control signals involved are extremely easy to interpret. [UnaClocker] also found a temperature sensor to control dish sanitation. At this point he had FULL CONTROL over the dishwasher and was able to design the ideal prewash/wash cycle timings.

Now that a wash cycle is all set [UnaClocker] can now go ahead and embarrass the hell out of the OEM. He plans on adding a real time clock module to time washings and a clean dish indicator, after which we think he should get rolling on some wireless/tweet/ethernet/capacitive touch/voice communication. After that he is going to work on buttoning up the design and making it pretty.

Check out the setup in action after the jump!

[Read more...]

Hidden Messages in Audio

[Alex] tiped us off about the evil sounding noises coming from when you go there your pretty much greeted with a wav file and if you have a quick eye on the status bar its pretty easy to get the direct link to the file and download it. Thats all great, but why would you want to?

Well if you play back the file in a program that supports spectrograms (like audacity) you will find that there is a twitter hash hidden within the audio spectrum, that presents itself as plain text in a pretty well rendered font. Of course this leads you to another part of the site where yet another puzzle awaits you.

While this is all an interesting way to stir up buzz about the upcoming (Batman) movie, we found hiding plain text in an audio file pretty wild, though its been done before or better such as the post we had not too long ago about Ham’s packing QR codes in a similar way.

Adding GPS to a Viewsonic G-Tablet


The hackers over at the xda-developers forum always seem to have something awesome brewing, and [fosser2] is no exception. He bought himself a Viewsonic G-tablet, but was a bit disappointed in its lack of a GPS module. He pried the tablet open in hopes of finding a spot where he might be able to cram one in, and was happily surprised at what he found.

It turns out that either Viewsonic had plans to include a GPS module and scrapped them, or they are planning on adding GPS to a future SKU. The tablet’s mainboard already had a spot laid out for the module, as well as the GPS antenna. He carefully soldered in a compatible module from Digikey, and then got to work adding the various other components required to get it working properly.

While the hack doesn’t require that you add a ridiculous amount of parts to the board, you had better make sure your soldering skills are up to snuff before giving it a shot. Those who can’t reliably solder SMD components should probably stay away from this one.

[via Engadget]

Long-range Canon DSLR remote video trigger


Instructables user [Justin] generally enjoyed shooting video with his Canon 60D DSLR, though there was one small problem. The only way that the camera could be remotely triggered to shoot video was via a small IR remote with a paltry 10 foot range. Even worse, the remote had to be pointed directly at the front of the camera to work at all. To remedy the situation, he decided to rig up his own long-range trigger mechanism.

He cobbled together an Arduino with components he had sitting around, mounting it in a project box on top of the camera. A commercially available RF remote shutter release is also mounted on the top of the camera, and wired to the Arduino using a small 2.5mm plug. When he activates the RF remote, it sends a pulse to the Arduino, which in turn sends the appropriate signal to his camera via a small IR LED.

While he readily admits that he could have likely used a much simpler configuration, the Arduino does its job, and he’s quite happy with his solution. We agree with him about the Arduino, but it’s hard to argue with saving money by using components you already have on-hand.