A Smartphone Dock for your Arm? Why Not?

Why not that is, if you have a prosthetic arm. Although it’s hard to believe we haven’t seen this before, [Trevor Prideaux], according to [The Telegraph's] article, “has become the world’s first ever patient to have a smartphone docking system built into his prosthetic arm.”

[Trevor] was born without a forearm, and, as he puts it, he’s used to adapting to things.  However, he thought others might be struggling with the same problem, especially those that become disabled later in life. Once their help was secured, Nokia and the Exeter Mobility Centre got to work on his new limb and produced a prototype in five weeks!

[Trevor] is quite pleased with his new phone docking system. Texting especially is much easier and safer, and the phone can be removed when needed for making calls. We love to see hacks like this where people enhance their abilities using technology! For another hack helping those with disabilities, check out this wheelchair elevator/winch made for a non-accessible apartment.

via [reghardware.com]

Video: PWM on the ATmega328p

This week we continue on with another video in our series about how to program for the ATmega328p processor using C. The ATmega328p is at the heart of many Arduino boards. If you have been using them but want to add some more horsepower to your projects, this series of videos is for you. In this video, [Jack] talks about various types of pulse width modulation (PWM). You can use PWM to control the speed of a motor, the brightness of a LED, or to generate analog waveforms. [Jack] shows how to set up the processor to do locked anti-phase PWM to drive the wheels of the 3pi robot and then demos a short program that shows the code in action.

If you missed the previous posts in this series and would like to check them out…
Intro and how to set up the development environment : Click Here
Working with I/O pins: Click Here

Video is after the break…
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Now pictures on the Internet can be faked

We know it’s shopped, but we can’t tell because of the pixels. PhD student [Kevin Karsch] along with a few other friends will be presenting their methods to render objects into preexisting photos at SIGGRAPH Asia next month.

The paper (PDF…) covers how [Kevin] et al. go about putting impossible objects into photos. The user first defines the geometry of the picture; legs of tables are defined and the table top is extruded from these legs. The lights are then defined by drawing a bounding box and with a little bit of algorithmic trickery, a 3D object is inserted into the scene.

Comparing the results to the original picture is jaw-dropping. For us, photoshopping a bunch of billiard balls on a pool table would take hours, and it would never look quite right. [Kevin]‘s work for SIGGRAPH can do the whole scene in minutes and produces results we couldn’t dream of.

There’s no downloadable software yet, but the algorithms are there. Check out the video demo of the techniques and results after the break.

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Halloween Hacks: Simple robotic skull is a perfect last minute decoration

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If you haven’t taken the time to put your decorations together it’s time to get a move on. With Halloween just around the corner big elaborate displays are pretty much out of the question, but [Boris] and the team over at Open Electronics have a simple project that’s sure to be a hit with the Trick or Treaters.

Using a cheap plastic prop that you can likely find at any Halloween store, they have put together a simple talking skull that moves along with whatever music or sound is being piped through it. The skull’s mouth is moved by a single servo mounted inside the brain cavity, which is controlled by an Arduino. The Arduino monitors the sound level of the source audio being played, actuating the servo accordingly.

It’s quick, simple, and effective – perfect for a last minute decorating project. If you are a little more ambitious, you could always put together a whole chorus of skulls without too much additional effort – just a few extra skulls and some servos would do the trick nicely.

Check out a quick video of the skull in action below, along with another short clip showing how the servo is rigged up to move its mouth.

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