Contest entry roulette

Over 150 projects made from scrap parts (translated) have been posted for your viewing pleasure. They make up the entries in the “Make fast the scrap” project from c’t magazine. We already looked in on a toilet paper printer, but there’s a ton of other fun stuff to look at as well.

Every time you load the link at the top, the page picks a different set of entries to display. You can click through all the pages, or reload to play a little project roulette. The image above shows three that caught our eye. To the upper right is a lighbulb-man riding an old computer mouse reverse-cowgirl style. Quirky, but anyone who has access to an electroplating setup can get away with making simple objects like this into awesome desktop sculptures.

Moving clockwise we have a tiny USB drive mated with an old vacuum tube. The machine translation is a bit rough, but it looks like the LED from the thumb drive gives the tube a bit of a red glow. We just think it’s interesting to carry around a vacuum tube with you.

The final banner image shows a gyroscope for a camcorder. This is an awesome setup, which you can see in action after the break. A pair of broken hard drives provide motion stabilization for a camera. The entire assembly has a handle on the top with a universal joint. When the drives are spinning, the platform holds very still, even if the operator is swinging the unit around wildly.

[Read more...]

Panoramic ball camera; toss to snap a picture

This odd-looking ball can automatically take a panoramic image whenever you throw it up into the air. Seriously, that’s then entire set of operating instructions for the device. Inside, a 3D printed frame hosts an array of 36 cellphone cameras, each capable of taking a two megapixel image. Also included is an accelerometer. When it senses the change in momentum associated with the apex of its vertical trajectory it snaps an image with all of the cameras at the same time. The result is a spherical image with no obstructions-like a tripod or other support mechanism. The images are automatically stitched together and displayed on a computer which allows the user to pan and zoom.

The whole story is told in the video after the break. The example images shown are quite good, although there are a few artifacts where the segments meet. Most notably, color variances between the images captured by different CCD modules. We’d image that this can be fixed automatically in software if a talented programmer were willing to put in the time. The thing about spherical photos is that methods using post processing to unwrap an image always have some distortion to them. With that in mind, we think the ball camera is as good a solution as we’ve seen.

[Read more...]

Surface mount solder assitant

Make sure those tiny parts know their place by using this surface mount solder assistant (translated). It’s like a clamp for small packages; gravity and a needle to hold them in place while you do some hand soldering. [Red Devil] started the built by soldering together some brass rails into a hinged frame with a clamp to accept the needle tip. Next, a pair of tubes were added to accept LEDs which light the work area (we think that’s a fantastic touch). Finally, the assembly was mounted to the corner of a square base that makes up the work surface.

This is basically a complex version of a simple gravity clamp. But if you’re doing some assembly line soldering this would be indispensable. For this kind of work, custom jigs are often built. That would still be the case, but this armature removes the need of building something into each jig to hold the SMD components in place.

Hardware version control using visual DIFF

As the Open Source Hardware movement gathers steam, it has become clear that the tools to work collaboratively on hardware are in the dark ages when compared with slick frameworks like Git used to work on software projects. We’ve read a fair amount about this lately, but the idea of visual difference generation for PCB layout is one of the better proposals we’ve seen.

Of course the big difference when it comes to version control is that software is text, but hardware is graphic and only represented by text for the computer to use. It’s easy to use the ‘diff’ command to show you what text is out and what text is in, but that doesn’t translate to a schematic. [Windell] is using command-line utilities to produce a schematic that colors changes differently for easy visual detection. This means exporting before and after schematics as PDF files or images, then using ImageMagick to process them. He also points out that there’s a package out there called DiffPDF that will let you compare differences in PDF files automatically.

Check out what he has to say in his article, and make sure you get to the bottom where he suggests ways you can help. We agree that it shouldn’t be hard to roll visual diff functionality into open source software packages used for hardware design, and to integrate that into version control systems. It’ll just take some time for the concept to proliferate.

Improving sports performance with a Kinect

As a recent Mech E grad, [Alessandro Timmi] knows a lot about moving bodies. His thesis, Virtual Sensei, aims to quantify those movements for better coaching and training in martial arts.

Virtual Sensei uses a Kinect for motion capture during training. From there, the skeleton recorded by the Kinect has a little bit of processing applied and the speed of the fists is calculated. Check out the demo vid for a much better explanation of what Virtual Sensei can do.

Considering the number of sports that require precise alignment of the skeleton and timing of certain movements, we’re thinking this could be the breakout (non-video game) app to get the Kinect into the wild. Golf pros would love to record the swings of their students to make sure their shoulders are aligned.

Most of the Kinect hacks we’ve seen are either robot builds with a few 3D scanners and virtual wardrobes thrown into the mix. Virtual Sensei is a pretty impressive piece of software and with a few additional sports could make a killing.

Check out the freakin awesome animated FAQ and a demo video below.

[Read more...]

Video: Learning to program for the ATmega328p Part I

Many of you are familiar with the Arduino. Many of you hate it…* This post isn’t about the Arduino. It is about the processor that is at the heart of many Arduino boards. If you are in the camp of people who can’t understand why others dislike the Arduino so much, this series is for you. In this series of videos, [Jack] will explore how to program for the ATmega328p processor using C. If you have been programming for the Arduino, you may have had some issues with the speed of your code at points. Programming in C will allow you to wring out nearly the last ounce of processing power that the ATmega processors can provide. It will also let you access the peripherals on the processor directly and to switch between different processors when you need more (or less) capabilities.

In this first video, [Jack] shows you all of the features of the 3pi robot, which he will be using as a fancy development board for the ATmega328p. He then shows you how to get your development environment set up and then walks you through one of the sample programs provided for the 3pi robot.

*Here at Hackaday, we are officially neutral in the ongoing Arduino love/hate war. We don’t care what microcontroller is used in the hacks that we show, only that they are cool.

Video is after the break!
[Read more...]

Reverse Engineering the Nike+ Hardware

The Nike+ hardware is obviously an interesting device.  We haven’t heard a whole lot about hacking one until now, but [Dimitry] has decided to change that. Many would assume that the data transmitted off of these sensors is quite simple, however there’s a bit more than meets the eye. Amongst other challenges, all the data packets coming out of the transceiver are encrypted. [Dimitry] claims to have decoded this data stream and made use of it.

This hack also outlines how one can use this without the stock iPod receiver using a 2.4 GHz chip from Sparkfun. A lot of work has been done to figure out how these packets are decoded and the process one goes through to do this is well outlined in this post. This could serve as a good example for those wanting to figure out similar devices.

One thing [Dimitry] hasn’t done yet is release the source code for this hack. He cites some ethical issues that might not seem obvious on first glance, including the ability to follow someone in a crowd or simply jamming their data. He does add though that if you have a good reason for wanting it, to simply email him. We’re looking forward to what [Dimitry] comes up with in the future using this setup!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,598 other followers