An “Earthcore” Hexapod with Minimal Mechanical Parts

Although hexapod robots have been featured on [HAD] many times, this one features a really cool minimalistic design. With few mechanical parts to support the three servos, the “Earthcore Hexapod Robot” has a unique gait, tending to quickly slide the driving legs rather than picking the whole robot up. Although it would probably have trouble on rough terrain, for use on a smooth floor or counter, this ‘bot is perfectly suited.  Check out the video of it after the break.

Another thing that really stands out on this bot is the blue LED “eyes” and it’s tubing “hat.”  The “hat” hides the wiring for the three servos, while most of the circuitry looks to be in between the eyes. The main controller is a PICAXE 18M2 micro-controller. 3 AAA batteries seen behind the tubing power the unit.

As for the name “Earthcore”, it’s based on a book by [Scott Sigler]. If there is a movie version in the works, we hope he calls [onefivefour] to help with the special effects! Continue reading “An “Earthcore” Hexapod with Minimal Mechanical Parts”

Enhance your magnetic silly putty with personal lubricants

better_magnetic_putty_with_personal_lubricant

Instructables user [killbox] seems to have come across a process that actually makes magnetic silly putty “better”, depending on your specific needs. He had tons of fun making a batch of magnetic putty, but thought that the addition of iron oxide made it stiff and a bit slow moving for his tastes.

He tried to find a household item that could act as silly putty thinner, but after trying various oils, gylcerin, and rubbing alcohol, he came up empty handed. Undeterred, he researched how silly putty itself is made, and based on its list of ingredients, decided to seek out some sort of silcone-based lubricant.

He headed out to the local sex shop, and spent some time browsing through the “personal lubricant” section, in hopes of finding what he needed. He settled on ”Gun Oil”, a silicone lubricant that also contained Dimethicone, an item on the ingredient list of the lubricant he initially used to make the batch of magnetic putty.

After adding the lubricant, he found that the putty retained its texture, but flowed far more easily. The thinner putty also consumes rare earth magnets more quickly than its unaltered brethren, as you can see in the picture above.

We’re not sure how far you could push the ferro-putty before it would become a mess, but it’s certainly warrants further experiments.

[Thanks, Mike]

Lighted shoe ruffles — he’ll never step on your toes again

Whether for fashion, emergency lighting, or just to make a statement, these lighted shoe clips make for a unique footwear accessory. [Becky Stern], who we’ve seen before hacking automatic knitting machines, tackles this quick lighted project.

The electronics are simple, two LEDs connected in parallel to a button battery by some conductive thread. The circuit is the same as an LED throwie, but she’s using a sewable battery holder. The ruffle is made by cutting out and folding several circles of fabric. We’re not too used to working with this building material and were glad to hear her tip on fusing the cut edges with a lighter. She’s also got a good tip about bending one LED lead in a square shape and the other in a round shape to keep track of the polarity. After sewing everything together and completing the circuit with the conductive thread [Becky] adds a paper clamp making this easy to use with any shoe. In fact, the guy’s don’t have to miss out on the fun as this could easily double as a boutineer.

Don’t miss [Becky’s] complete walk through video embedded after the break.

Continue reading “Lighted shoe ruffles — he’ll never step on your toes again”

Play-by-play of a high altitude balloon flight

[Greg Intermaggio] and [Shumit DasGupta] at Techsplosion launched a high altitude balloon last week that climbed to 90,000 feet above sea level somewhere over California. The play-by-play of the flight is one of the better stories we’ve seen on high altitude balloon builds.

The balloon, christened VGER-1, carried a SPOT satellite GPS messanger to send telemetry back to the ground. We’ve seen a few home brew balloon tracking devices, but [Greg] decided to use an off-the-shelf solution for the sake of simplicity. Like other balloons the VGER-1 carried a CanonPowershot camera with CHDK firmware.

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God’s own keyboard, now with Bluetooth

For decades a thunderous roar rose from the bowels of IBM keyboards like the animus of angry and forgotten gods. These keyboards have fallen silent of late, due only to incompatibility with newer hardware. Now, Model Ms have been given a reprieve from landfills or recycling centers because of the work of [wulax] of geekhack and his Model M Bluetooth controller board.

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Stretch your circuit’s battery life by putting your PIC to sleep

pic_power_savings

[Rajendra Bhatt] wrote in to share the latest in a series of PIC tutorials, which covers the microcontroller’s Sleep mode – a very useful tool for limiting current consumption in battery-powered applications.

He discusses how to put the PIC in sleep mode, as well as some common mistakes to watch out for, such as accidentally allowing I/O pins to sink or source current while sleeping. [Rajendra] also walks through the various ways a PIC can be brought out of sleep mode, focusing the majority of his tutorial to the mcu’s watchdog timer.

Using a PIC16F628A, he constructs a test circuit which allows him to demonstrate the power savings gained by using sleep mode rather than the microcontroller’s built-in delay function. The circuit simply blinks an LED every 4.3 seconds, using the watchdog timer for the first 2.3 seconds, and a delay() call for the rest of the time.

The power savings are quite substantial, similar to the results we saw using AVR microcontrollers a few weeks ago. [Rajendra] found that using the sleep function limited current consumption to about 4.5% of the current used when calling the mcu’s delay function – a huge savings.

Quit Monkeying About!

Monkey Business

This friendly little monkey is the latest creation from [Jan Sieber] and [Ralph Kistler]. Yes it’s another Kinect Hack, the Kinect tracks the users stance using the OpenNI Framework and OSCeleton. The information is sent to an Arduino crammed inside the monkey, also inside the poor little monkey are 10 servo motors and a nightmarish wire skeleton. The monkey is left dangling from the Kinect sensor by several cables, ready to follow your every move. The monkey seems fairly sprightly for someone who has had all their insides removed, it is able to copy a multitude of stances quite swiftly.

The video after the break shows the monkey in action for about 1 minute. Then the team go through the build and application of the clever little monkey in a musical/documentary style video. There is also a creepy section where the monkey draws its own skeleton then freaks out.. Enjoy..

Continue reading “Quit Monkeying About!”