A blanket that detects its own orientation

If you want to capture a 3D model of a physical object, you could use a Kinect, a couple of lasers, constructive light, or even a simple touch sensor mounted on a robotic arm. Those are all expensive devices, and somewhat unnecessary now that you can just throw a blanket over an object and get a 3D model instantaneously.

The project is called IM BLANKY and it’s supposed to reproduce 3D shapes by simply throwing it over an object. The petals in the flower motif are pieces of conductive fabric that serve as contacts for the electrified tassel in the center of each flower. When the blanket is thrown over an object, the tassel is pulled by gravity, makes contact with one of the six conductive petals and sends a tilt switch to a microcontroller.

While we’re not too sure about the resolution IM BLANKY will provide with only 20 tilt sensors, but we imagine this could be used for a few medical applications.

via dvice

PiP-Boy 2000 build goes for function over form

 

[Daniel] wrote in to tell us about his PIP-Boy 2000 prototype. While most PIP-Boy remakes we’ve seen tend to be focusing more on the aesthetic side, like a prop, [Daniel] is attempting to make a functional one. He has included a GPS sensor, RFID reader,  and radiation detector in his build but did choose to stick with the familiar PIP-Boy visual theme in the menus. He has a very long way to go if he wants it to do everything the PIP-Boy from Fallout did, but his list of semi-functional features is growing steadily.

Currently there are the basic functions of:

  • automapping and waypoint navigation
  • external PC interface
  • inventory status and item recognition (using RFID)
  • player experience (adds experience as you go to new locations)
  • ambient radiation
  • screensaver

Let us know when you get that sucker to stop time [Daniel]

Dexterity enhancing guitar

[Justin Lange’s] dad loves playing guitar, but an accident left him with nerve damage that makes it pretty much impossible these days. He just doesn’t have the dexterity needed to form the cords using his left hand. But his son’s hacking skills are helping him get back into it. [Justin] built a button-based add-on that forms the cords for him.

The build has two parts. A frame mounts over the finger board with slots for eighteen solenoids which push the strings down between the frets. These are controlled by the replacement finger board which is mounted below the neck. It has a double-row of buttons that let the player select the desired chord. One button chooses the key, with a second button acting as a modifier to switch to a seventh cord, or minor cord.

The project, which [Justin] has named folkBox, relies on a microcontroller. We spy an Arduino Mega in one of the build photographs but it will be interesting to see if the final project moves to a standalone chip. He’s set a goal for a more robust version of the build some time this summer.

[via Make]

Climbing the mountain of quadcopter design

What a sweet thing it is to see the first outdoor flight of a quadcopter. [Botched] has done a wonderful job of documenting the entire build process. Take a look at all that he has done, then jump after the break to see the extremely stable test flight footage.

Earlier iterations used feedback electronics that he designed, etched, and soldered himself. We think they looked pretty good, but he was not happy with the performance. He spent a bunch of time redesigning the IMU board, but after he printed out the PCB artwork he decided his soldering was not up to the QFN challenge and he went with a pre-assembled breakout board.

His post about PID tuning is quite interesting. He removed two of the motors and mounted those opposite ends of the chassis to a hinged stand. This let him tweak the feedback loop until the two remaining propellers were able to maintain balance even when he nudged the unit.

His test flight footage is accompanied by an on-board camera shot. He simply taped a smart phone to the battery and let it roll. Make sure you turn off your speakers before watching this one or the motor noise will let the boss know you’re reading Hackaday again instead of working.

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CoolBot keeps your laser cutter from overheating

[Charles] wrote in to share the project he just built for the London Hackerspace. He calls it CoolBot, and as the name indicates it’s responsible for keeping the laser cutter from overheating.

At its heart the system is a water pump. It uses a plastic storage container as a reservoir, with an outfeed from the laser tube coming in the top of the lid. [Charles] mounted a temperature sensor using a 3D printed part to anchor it in the center of the return stream. An Arduino clone uses this sensor, as well as ambient room temperature and laser tube temperature sensors to decide when to switch on the cooling pump. As with any hackerspace add-on, this wouldn’t be complete without Internet connectivity so he included an Ethernet shield in the project box. Speaking of, that box uses panel-mount connectors to keep dust and water away from the electronics. But the lid of the controller box also includes a character LCD for quick reference.

Don’t miss [Charles’] explanation of the system in the video after the break.

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Pong, an engine, and Bond theme (oh my!)

Hopefully you’re not on a network that blocks YouTube, because we’re sharing videos that show off three different projects. Alas, they don’t give any details about the development process, but we think you’ll like seeing the end results just the same.

First up is a Stirling engine. This one is pretty serious business, with machined parts making up the alcohol-lamp powered engine [Thanks Pete]. This is much more elegant than the tuna can version from last month.

Bust out your Arduino and give theoriginal video game a go. This game of Pong is played on an oscilloscope using two micro-trimpots. To make it happen a pair of MCP4901 DAC chips are feeding the probes.

While you’ve got that friendly blue breakout board out, might as well grab a set of old foppy drives. Here is an eight-channel version of the James Bond theme [via Technabob]. Unlike the sampler from the other week, this one uses the stepper motor noise to create sweet music.

Hacking the Chronos and exploring the ISM bands

Take a few minutes and watch [atlas of d00m], at Shmoocon 2012, presenting information about using the RF dongle from the Chronos to explore ISM bands. Admittedly, I’m not very familiar with many of the things he discusses, but the words make sense. The bits and pieces I am familiar enough with to comprehend are truly fascinating. He covers typical methods of RF modulation as well as some hardware specific information to that dongle.

If you have a few minutes, or want more security related stuff, check out all the coverage from Shmoocon 2012. Tons of great videos here.

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