Beer security system keeps freeloaders out of your stash

beer-security

The crew at the Milwaukee Hackerspace are pretty serious about their beer. They used to have a fridge filled with cans, available to all at the hackerspace, but they decided to beef things up and create a secured beer dispensing system.

Like many others we have seen, their kegerator is built into an old refrigerator, complete with a tap built into the door. To ensure that interlopers are kept from their precious brew, they have secured the refrigerator using an Arduino and RFID tags to grant access. They use the same RFID key fobs members carry to gain access to the space for tracking beer consumption, unlocking the tap whenever a valid tag is swiped past the sensor.

They are still in the midst of tweaking and revising the system, but it looks good so far. It’s a great way to keep uninvited guests from their beer stash, while giving them a way to track consumption at the same time. We’re looking forward to seeing more details and code once things are completely wrapped up.

[via BuildLounge]

Second run at taser gloves uses bug zapper parts

[Jair2k4] ditched the Altoids tins and found a new voltage source for this latest rendition of his taser gloves. Regular readers will remember his first iteration which used wrist-mounted enclosures containing the flash circuitry from disposable cameras to shock the wits out of someone with the laying on of hands. This one is a complete rework but it follows the same concepts.

The new shock circuitry is from a bug zapper in the shape of a fly swatter. We’ve seen these handheld devices before and dismissed them as a gimmick, but [Jair2k4] got his hands on a couple of them and found out they can put out a spark of up to 2300 volts. He set to work by getting rid of the tennis-racket-style grid at the top of the handle. He soldered on some contacts which reach to the tip of his middle-finger and thumb on some rubberized work gloves. The original handle was kept as it’s a nice battery holder and works well strapped to his forearm.

Does it work? You bet – even singing his arm hair and leaving welts on his skin. See for yourself after the break. And yes, this goes on the list of hacks you should recreate!

[Read more...]

Using WebSocket with PIC microcontrollers

[Blaise Jarrett] has been grinding away to get the WebSocket protocol to play nicely with PIC microcontrollers. Here he’s using the PIC 18F4620 along with a Roving Networks RN-XV WiFi module to get the device on the network. He had started with a smaller processor but ran into some RAM restrictions so keep that in mind when choosing your hardware.

This project was spawned after seeing the mBed feature a few days back which combined that board along with a WebSocket library and HTML5 to pull off some pretty amazing stuff. [Blaise] doesn’t have quite as much polish on the web client yet, but he has recreated the data transfer method and improved on that project by moving to the newer version 13 of WebSockets. The protocol is kind of a moving target as it is still in the process of standardization.

The backend is a server called AutoBahn which is written in python. It comes along with client-side web server examples which gave him a chance to get up and running quickly. From there he got down to work with the WebSocket communications. They’re a set of strings that look very much like HTML headers. He outlines each command and some of the hangups one might run into with implementation. After reading what it takes to get this going it seems less complicated than we thought, but it’s obvious why you’ll need a healthy chunk of RAM to pull it off.

TV-B-Gone can double as a camera remote control

[Christopher] found a way to get a bit more mileage out of his TV-B-Gone kit. The little device is intended to turn off every television in range with the push of a button. But at its core it’s really just a microcontroller connected to some infrared LEDs. Instead of sending codes to shut of televisions, you can rewrite the firmware to send a camera remote shutter release code.

It doesn’t take too much to pull this off. You need a way to flash new firmware to the device, and you need to know the new code timing that you want to send. Since the firmware is open source it’s easy enough to make code changes, and there are several easy methods of flashing AVR devices (like the tiny85 used here), including using an Arduino as an ISP.

But [Christopher] did more than just add the Nikon code for his camera. He realized that there’s a jumper to select between European or American television codes. Since he wasn’t using the foreign option, he replace that pin header with a switch that selects between normal TV-B-Gone operation and camera shutter release modes. Nice.

Bomb disposal robot with Lego gripper

[Krash] had a lot of fun hacking up his Spy Gear TRAKR; we’re just lucky he was able to move a suspicious Shrek doll before it detonated.

The now discontinued Spy Gear TRAKR serves as the basis for [Krash]‘s build. This tiny remote-controlled toy transmits video back to its remote and makes us very jealous of the awesome toys our nephew has. Thankfully, the engineers behind the TRAKR made it extremely hackable, as proved by Hack A Day’s very own [Phil Burgess].

[Krash] began his build by putting a few male headers in the GPIO pins on the TRAKR’s board. After that, the TRAKR SDK was downloaded. He used a few Snap Circuits to verify his TRAKR software was working, then set off to build a Lego gripper arm. The arm is powered through an H-bridge IC [Krash] found alongside the rest of his Snap Circuits stuff.

Not a bad build for what amounts to a pile of toys. Check out [Krash]‘s video of his bomb disposal bot after the break.

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Video: Analog to Digital Conversion on the ATmega328p

In this week’s video, we continue on where we left off last week with another in our series of videos where we discuss how to program for the ATmega328p processor. This week, [Jack] takes a look at the analog to digital converter and takes us through how to set things up and then how to perform a conversion using the potentiometer on the 3pi as the analog source. Playing with potentiometers isn’t the most interesting thing in the world, but after watching this video, you will be able to do things like take light readings using a cadmium sulfide cell, read the weight applied to a sensor, calculate the temperature from a resistor and a thermistor, or interface with an analog gyroscope.

If you have missed our previous videos, here are some links:
Part 1: Setting up the development environment
Part 2: Basic I/O
Part 3: Pulse Width Modulation

Stay tuned for next week’s* video where we will take a look at how to interface with the 3pi’s line sensors.

Video is after the break…

* HAD is in the process of moving our secret headquarters so next week’s video may come some time later than next week.

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Halloween Hacks: A Jacob’s Lantern sure to win the carving contest

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jacobs-ladder-pumpkin

[Matt] entered himself in a pumpkin carving contest this year, even despite the fact that his artistic skills were a bit…lacking. He knew that he had very little chance of winning the contest unless he had a great gimmick to make his creation stand out, so he started brainstorming.

[Matt] figured that since his design would have to be somewhat simple, he needed something eye catching that he could add to the pumpkin after it went under the knife. Like a bolt of lightning, inspiration struck, and he set off to fetch an ignition transformer along with some wire coat hanger.

He built a makeshift Jacob’s ladder that would fit perfectly inside his hollowed out pumpkin, and proceeded to carve the pumpkin with the “Caution, risk of electric shock” logo, familiar to most anyone that works with electronics. You can see the final result in the video below, which we think looks pretty neat. If he didn’t end up winning the contest, we’d be shocked!

[Read more...]

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