Hackaday Links: January 2, 2012

The worst computer keyboard, ever

[Gerardus] found an old BBC Master Compact computer for $15. The only problem is the computer didn’t have a keyboard. It’s not a problem if you can make a keyboard out of an old breadboard. It’s not a Model M, but it works.

Emergency ribbon cable repair

[Thomas] works in a hospital. One night, a piece of equipment went down because of a bad ribbon cable. Doctors were yelling at him to get the equipment up and running so out of frustration, he took stapler to the cable. It held up until a replacement arrived. Check out these pics: one and two.

Nobody remembers Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland

Here’s [Alan]‘s gigantic Nautilus art car with a huge mechanical iris. Just watch the video and be amazed. We won’t hazard a guess as to how much money went into all that brass and copper, but we can confirm an Arduino controls the iris. Check out the build page.

Light up street art

[Grissini] put up an instructable for a light box that displays [Bansky] street art. We’d go with some RGB leds and a [Keith Haring] motif, but more power to ya.

A theater wind machine

This wind machine was built by [Willaim] for his High School’s choir concert. It’s basically a concrete form tube with plastic lids taped on and a piece of pipe serving as an axle. The machine makes a wind noise with the help of some nylon pants.

Comments

  1. Craig says:

    The ribbon cable repair is spectacular, particularly given the story/circumstances that go with it.

    Looks like an interesting bit of damage though; any ideas on how it came about?

  2. Chris says:

    I am an I.T. Bod in a hospital, the paper clip and staple are tools of the trade. Thomas however, belongs in the space program. I salute you sir.

  3. I hope no one’s life depended on that staple. O.o

  4. Hirudinea says:

    Staple repair – worlds simplest vampire clip! (Good the staple wasn’t plastic coated, I’ve seen them before.)

  5. JohnConnor says:

    That “staple” trick is akin to placing
    a copper coin in place of a fuse in a 1960’s
    fuse panel !

    It looks as if the trace was burnt open
    (difficult to tell). I would be more
    concerned with troubleshooting the *root*
    cause of the trace failure.

    And as a prior post alluded to, if this
    was “life critical” equipment, it’s a piss
    poor way of doing things ! What if it were
    to fail again ?? (say in the midst of a
    delicate surgical procedure).

    That’s one hospital I would not want to
    be a patient at ! (most “respectable”
    ones would have *SPARE* equipment – heck,
    borrow one from another floor if need be).

    Don’t know the details sorrounding the
    demand for the equipment, but if it were
    my call, i’d have the Dr and “Mr. Tech”
    answering some serious questions regarding
    their judgement potentially jeopardizing
    patient safety.

    • Dissy says:

      Another even more likely possibility: The ribbon cable went to a label printer, to print credit card receipts.

      I agree it would be highly irresponsible to do such a thing on any life dependent equipment.
      But believe it or not, those pieces of equipment are rarely managed my IT.

      You know what they say about assuming.

    • draeath says:

      “That ‘staple’ trick is akin to placing
      a copper coin in place of a fuse in a 1960′s
      fuse panel!”

      Not really. Putting a staple in the wire to restore conductivity is hardly the same as bypassing a safety device.

    • MacGyver says:

      Anyplace would be lucky to have an “ingenious” person like Thomas. There are too many people that can’t tell the difference between a fuse and a conductor. They sould be terminated. I would much rather have somebody that knows how to make my critical equipment work in a pinch…See what I did there.

  6. Nardella says:

    Without knowing the details of the ribbon cable situation you are in no place to make a judgement regarding this. The ingenuity of the solution is impressive, without knowing more further comment if pointless and borders on antagonistic ;)

    • JohnConnor says:

      It’s deliberately meant to be “antagonistic”.

      If it’s a low level printer – who cares ?

      If it’s a ventilator, IV machine, some other
      hardware that’s life supporting. I’d like to
      know how many readers would be cheering on
      how “ingenious” the repair was if their loved
      ones were dependent on the device.

      At the very minimum, this “fix” (if it was
      for life support equipment), probably voided
      any and all UL, FDA, etc certifications for
      the device !

      • notmyfault2000 says:

        I’d rather have a staple between me and death than have nothing. The article also never stated how long it was until the replacement arrived, or from where it came. For all we know, it could have been 5 minutes while someone ran off to storage to get it.

      • MooglyGuy says:

        Thanks for telling me you were “deliberately being antagonistic” so that I could report your comment for trolling!

        If only all trolls were so honest…

      • MooglyGuy says:

        Oh by the way, John, since you seem to be too stupid to figure it out, you don’t need to hit the Enter key to manually line-wrap your post inside the edit box – believe it or not, your text will automatically wrap around according to the fixed width specified by the website’s software. Isn’t living in the future great?!

  7. oodain says:

    not to mention that in many places in the west hospitals are under funded and under staffed, in the middle of the night they might not have had many other opertunities and in that situation some equipment is better than none.

    again hard to tell without knowing more but i love this particular piece of jury rigging because it is so blindingly simple and effective.

  8. tjb says:

    My biggest question is why the cable failed. I could see a flaw in the original cable causing excess heat. Given it is on the edge would lead me to think it is the common for what ever else it is driving. Hmm, What would need a flexible cable and has enough current to do that? I am thinking a printer of some sort. The get by repair itself is worth praise tho if it is a printer I doubt it would last more than a few hours worth of printing, if that.

    I also have mixed feelings about if the app is life critical. If is saved some ones life and was the only option, I say good for him. I also feel if that was the case more backups or a different vendor is needed. If it was just to pacify some asshat of a Dr or nurse that did not want to walk another 20 ft to a working printer I feel sorry for the tech.

  9. MrTaco says:

    I remember a few years back when were were all these stories about dodgy repairs on qantas aircraft, one of the things they found a lot of was staples used to repair ribbon cables like that.

    Good ol’ Today Tonight.

  10. Andrew says:

    here’s a scenario:

    what if it was a life saving device? What if it was the only one available, and if it wasn’t fixed, the patient would die? What if that staple saved someones life, and even though it might not be 100% reliable, it was 100% certain the person would die without that machine?

  11. Dustin says:

    Surely everyone remembers Little Nemo!

  12. Skeltorr says:

    Likely some pill dispensing machine. Complicated test equipment wouldn’t use ribbon like that.

  13. GeneralChat says:

    Wish there was a video for the wind machine, I’ve not heard of those before.

  14. Philip says:

    I’ve had to repair a few similar ribbons for a friend who owns a coffee shop, the panel with the buttons for dispensing the water were damaged. Luckily if you’re quick and accurate you can solder a piece of kynar to it.

  15. Thomas says:

    It was not life support or anything like that. This was for a centrifuge. They just needed to spins samples, but to a doctor in the hospital everything is critical. I am very good at my profession, and in know way put somebody’s life in danger.
    It was also a simple brake. The burn is from me tried to solder with low heat, but I couldn’t hold my hand steady enough for the touch.

  16. Thomas says:

    It was not life support or anything like that. This was for a centrifuge. They just needed to spin samples, but to a doctor in the hospital everything is critical. I am very good at my profession, and in no way put somebody’s life in danger.
    It was also a simple brake. The burn is from me. I tried to solder with low heat, but I couldn’t hold my hand steady enough for the touch.

  17. Willrandship says:

    My name is spelled ‘William’, not ‘Willaim’ ;) but it’s nice to see it on here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 98,146 other followers