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Paper Craft Claw

Grab some stiff paper and get to work building your own paper claw. [Dombeef] posted the instructions to recreate the claw above because he was unsatisfied with his previous design which was flimsy and unable to pick up just about anything. This version is a bit larger and it internalizes all of the parts.

Being paper craft, you don’t need much in the way of materials or tools. A push-pin makes holes for the paperclip and wire which serve as the pivot points. Glue and some tape hold the rest of assembly together. You can see a video of the final product after the break. A shaft at the center closes the claw when pulled, and opens it when pushed to opposite way. This makes it perfect for that home-made crane game (or was that a claw game?)… as long as you’re not trying to pick up anything too heavy.

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GPS lap timer from secondhand parts

gps_racing_lap_timer

Hackaday forum member [nes] was training for an endurance race, and rather than having someone verbally call out his lap times, he wanted something he could keep in-vehicle to help keep track of his performance. With the race budget running dry, he and his teammates needed something cheap, if not free, to get the job done.

He scored a “broken” GPS receiver on eBay for a measly £4 and found that the receiver worked, but corrupted software prevented the unit from mapping routes. Since he didn’t require routing functions to keep track of his lap times, he splayed the GPS receiver open and started hunting around for a serial bit stream. He found what he was looking for after a bit of probing and hooked it up to his computer to see if the data contained NMEA sentences.

He cut the receiver down to the necessary parts and then started work on the lap timer itself. The timer uses an ATMega32 to run the show, displaying relevant time and location information on an LCD panel he scavenged from the trash bin.

He admits that the wiring is a bit questionable, but says that after about seven hours of rough use, everything is still intact and working great.

Electronics tutorial two-fer: soldering skills and wires

electronics_tutorial_twofer_soldering_skills_and_wires

There is a plethora of electronics tutorials scattered about online. Sometimes it can be hard to separate the good ones from the bad, and the enlightening from the misinformed. We recently came across a pair that we found helpful, and thought they would appeal to anyone starting off in electronics.

In this video tutorial, [Dave Jones] at the EEVblog covers soldering, detailing good practices and common mistakes to avoid when working with through-hole components. As the second video in a series he picks up where part one left off, excitedly demonstrating the ins and outs of good soldering skills.

Hackaday reader [grenadier] is working on a series of beginner’s electronics tutorials, and this week’s entry covers wiring. He discusses wire types, gauges, and even provides a nifty self-computing chart that calculates power loss based on the length and gauge of the selected wire. Before wrapping things up, he briefly touches on fuses and the pitfalls of choosing wire that’s not up to the task at hand. While you’re over there looking over his tutorial, be sure to check out the Junkbox, there’s plenty of awesome stuff to be had!

Take to the skies with this flying RC superhero

flying_rc_superhero

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s….

A flying RC super hero?

No, you’re not imagining things. Maker [Greg Tanous] loves both RC airplanes and super heroes, so he thought it would be awesome to combine his two loves into one spectacular toy. The RCSuperhero comes in two flavors, measuring 75″ and 57″ tall. The larger plane can be purchased as a kit, but the smaller unit is only available in plan form.

The flying superhero weighs in at just about three pounds, and is constructed from foam, carbon fiber, and various other lightweight materials. When using the recommended motor, the RCSuperhero can be launched from a standing position, doing away with the need for runways. The craft looks to be just as maneuverable as any regular RC airplane, making it easy for any seasoned pilot to pick up the controls and get started.

RC planes are pretty cool, but we’ve got to admit that the idea of a vertically launching, flying superhero sounds like a lot of fun!

Stick around to see [Greg’s] RCSuperhero in action.

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Kinect-controlled quadrotor

kinect_quadrotor_control

The team over at the Flying Machine Arena has been busy combining two of our favorite toys – quadrotors and Kinect.

Like many other hacks, they are using Kinect to monitor their joint positions, mapping a handful of actions to the operator’s movements. Once the quadrotor is aloft, it can be directed around the room using the operator’s right hand. The gesture recognition system responds almost instantly, guiding the vehicle in all directions with ease. When the user’s left hand is raised, the quadrotor does a mid-air flip and awaits its next command, while a quick clap of the hands brings the machine to rest on the ground.

For the protection of anyone testing out the system, overhead motion tracking cameras are used to keep track of the Kinect’s position, creating an invisible midair barrier through which the quadrotor is not allowed to pass.

If you have a minute, check out the video below – controlling quadrotors looks way more fun than any Kinect game we’ve come across.

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Voice controlled robot controlled by an Android phone

[Jeff] sent in a build of a voice controlled robot he just finished based on the Android ADK and an iRobot Create.

The robot is able to obey voice commands telling it where to go. Currently the robot responds to forward, reverse, left, right, stop, and ‘whistle while you work.’ It’s a creative use of the Android ADK with some obvious applications, but this project really shines with the write up on instructables. It’s rare that we’ve seen a project so well documented; it’s a great project for someone who wants to get their feet wet in the world of robotics.

[Jeff]‘s write up goes through the steps of hooking up the ADK board to iRobot and providing all the electronic necessities. [Jeff] graciously provided the code for his robot if anyone would like to add to his project.

The ultimate goal [Jeff] is currently working towards is something akin to a TurtleBot, while keeping the voice control of the robot. In all, a very nice project.

Augmented reality game could come from the seventies

[Niklas Roy] sent in a project he just completed called PING! Augmented Pixel. At first glance the entire build is just a plain jane retro video game stuffed into an ATmega8 but looks can be deceiving. The video game is actually an augmented reality device that inserts a pixel into a video feed. The bouncing pixel can be manipulated with a camera – push the pixel and it goes off in another direction.

The project runs on an ATmega8 clocked at 16 MHz, and reads the video feed with the help of an LM1881 sync separator. There’s no schematics, but he thankfully included some code for his project. Everything is set up for PAL video, but this could be easily adapted for NTSC. Any Hack A Day readers want to take up the challenge of building this from just a description?

[Niklas] says there’s no reason this couldn’t have been done by Atari in the late seventies. There were economic reasons for not putting out a video camera controller, of course, and the R&D department may have been too busy playing Breakout with their eyebrows.

Check out the demo of the augmented pixel after the break.

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