A MAME cabinet fit for a Doctor (Who)

tardis_mame_console

While many people would be satisfied leaving a MAME console on their desk, others take the time to put their MAME creations in a nice, authentic arcade cabinet. Some people like [Simon Jansen] take the craft to a whole new level, crafting a TARDIS from the ground up in order to house a MAME console.

It all started with a computer that had no real purpose. [Simon] decided it would be great to use as a MAME console, so he started brainstorming ideas for an enclosure. As he tells it, he was staring out a window looking for inspiration when his eye caught a giant billboard for [Dr. Who], complete with a TARDIS. The rest was history.

The MAME cabinet is about 3/4 the size of an on-set TARDIS, and crafted mostly from MDF. Plenty of time was spent analyzing the different TARDIS designs featured on the show over the years, paying special attention to even the smallest of details. Once the construction of the TARDIS was complete, [Simon] started work on the MAME portion of the project.

His MAME console was built to completely fit inside the TARDIS when closed, but it also had to take into account the box’s inward folding doors, which take up a good bit of space. The base was also made from MDF, and includes a durable white plastic panel in which the controls are mounted.

The final result is amazing – it does the TARDIS justice, and it looks like plenty of fun to play as well.

Automated LED Hallway Lighting

If normal hallway lighting just doesn’t live up to your standards, this hack may be for you. When [Sean] fitted his kitchen, he replaced the flooring leading up to it.  In true hacker form, he decided to forgo (supplement?) traditional lighting and came up with his own solution.

This solution involved embedding the skirting used around his hallway hardwood with blue LED lights. Unfortunately, these LEDs were actually longer than the skirting was thick, so some plaster carving was also necessary.  It is all hidden very well behind the skirting, so you can’t tell. These blue LEDs give a really cool effect, similar to what can be seen at some movie theaters.

Although impressive in itself, [Sean] decided to also hook his setup up to a “Home Easy” device for control. A passive infrared sensor for this system has also been ordered so the lights can turn on without human interaction. We can see this being fantastic for those late night trips to the kitchen for a drink. With this low light solution, you won’t be wondering back to the bedroom without your night vision.

Boobie Board powered Twitter notifier

boobie_board_twitter_notifier

The team over at Archonix frequently challenge themselves to create a full working project in under 20 minutes. [Andrew Armstrong] put together a blog post detailing their most recent “Quickproject” – a simple Twitter notifier built using their Boobie Board.

They started by putting together a small notifier breakout module that could later be attached to their Boobie Board. The module is pretty simple and includes a trio of LEDs to alert you to activity across several online services, though only the Twitter notification module is currently complete. The notifier’s code was written in LUA, and primarily designed to interact with Linux desktops. They do not currently have a Windows compatible version of the code available, but they are more than happy to host it if someone desires to port their code over.

The notifier was put into an old candy tin with a plastic window, which is perfect fit for their project. All in all, the entire thing took them about 40 minutes, with half spent on hardware, half on code. The notifier does just what it was intended to do, but they have a healthy list of improvements that they would like to add, including the use of the other two notifier LEDs.

Livescribe shuts down developer program

[Kelly] sent in a tip saying that Livescribe, the company behind a remarkable smartpen able to record handwriting, was shuttering the developer program by taking down their dev forums and removing the SDK, taking away the ability to write custom apps. [Kelly] posted about this on her blog.

Livescribe has a thriving community around it and the pens themselves have had some incredible hacks, like Zork played on an Echo smartpen.

Livescribe’s official reason for shutting down the development program is to concentrate on, “cloud access, storage and services.” While we’re still wondering why Livescribe would sideline the developers that give a platform more functionality, it’s astonishing that a company would take down the SDK and delete the dev forums of their own product.

Although the largest Livescribe development and hacking forum has been shut down, we fully expect an independent forum to pop up within the week. We’ll be sure to post a link to that forum when we get word of it. If you know where the new forum is, be sure to send it into the tip line.

Electro-active polymers

What’s that you say? You’ve got rigid materials that change their shape when exposed to electric current? Sign us up for some! Although the fabrication process looks a bit daunting, we love the results of working with electro-active polymers. These are sheets of plastic that can flex by contracting in one direction when the juice is turned on. It has an effect very similar to muscle wire but distributed over a larger area.

From what we saw in the video after the break it looks like this is not the most resilient of materials. Several of the test shots have broken panes, but we’re sure that will improve with time. It looks like there is some info out there about fabricating your own EAP but the processes seem no easier than what’s going on at the research level. We might stick to building our own air muscles until EAP is easier to source for projects.

[Read more...]

CNC-PBDU (pancake batter dispenser unit)

Flapjacks taste infinitely better when they’re machine-made. Well, that’s true for [Mexican Viking] who built an automatic pancake maker to the delight of his family.

Obviously, the building material of choice is Lego. The machine consists of a base with two linear gears on either side. A gantry is held high above this base, travelling upon geared towers to either side. The writing nozzle, fashioned out of ketchup bottles, can move back and forth along this gantry for a full range of motion along the X and Y axes. Lego pneumatic pumps supply pressurized air which forces the batter out of the bottle reservoir. This dispensing system is extremely clever and worth reading a bit more about. But if you just want us to make with the good stuff, you can see it grilling up pancakes in the video after the break.

The only thing missing is automatic flipping.

[Read more...]

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