DIY cellphone

Here’s an interesting concept. Lets make a kit to build your own super simple cell phone. Thats basically what a group at the MIT media lab is proposing with this prototype. Consisting of an SM5100b GSM module and a 1.8″ 160×128 pixel LCD screen on a very basic board holding some buttons, this thing is pretty bare bones. Barely any features aside from sending/receiving calls. It does have caller ID though. At$150, it isn’t really that competitive compared to the phones you’d get from your provider, but it is just a prototype.

We particularly like the laser cut flex areas for the buttons on the front.

[Thanks Paul]

3 axis Accelerometer with LED bar displays

[Viktor] doesn’t remember why he started this project. He doesn’t know what he had in mind in the beginning, nor what the intended use was.He knows he wanted something interactive with blue LEDs.  What he ended up with, was a 3 axis Accelerometer with a pretty cool display that sits on his desk to amuse visitors.

Constructed using a PIC16F887 for the brains and a Freescale MM7361 3 axis  accelerometer, you can pull the schematics from his site. The code is available on demand as well.

[via HackedGadgets]

[Read more...]

Controlling the power with bluetooth

[Mike] dropped us a tip to show off a system he has built to control some power sockets based on his proximity.  Initially the project started as a parallel port controlled box to switch the mains power.  Then he got the idea of turning this into a little more interactive of an automation tool. He is utilizing the bluetooth from his cell phone as a locator. When the box senses that he’s in the room, the power is on. When he leaves the area, the power is off.  You can see his ruby code on his web site if you wanted to give it a try or offer improvements.

Hacking the trampofoil to be pedal powered

We’ve seen a few different versions of the “trampofoil” before. That’s the contraption that utilizes a hydrofoil and human power to scoot you across the water above the surface. It is somewhat difficult to explain, so just check out the first video after the break to see how the original works.

Today, we stumbled upon a cool video where someone is attempting to make a pedal powered one instead. Their first prototype, shown above is literally just a trampofoil with an added seat and pedal powered prop. They did manage to take it a step further though and came up with a second prototype that has a better designed hydrofoil as well as using a bike frame for the main structure. This looks really fun as you can see in the second video below.

[Read more...]

OBD-II TrckrX: data logging in a BMW E36 M3

[Bruce Land] sent in this cool final project for ECE 4760 at Cornell University. Dubbed TrckrX, it is an OBD-II tracking and data logging system built into a BMW E36 M3. The car in question is being used in some auotocross competitions. The driver wanted instant access to some data as well as a log of everything for later analysis. The unit gives a real time display of vehicle speed, coolant temp, and RPM. G-force and timestamps are stored on the SD card.

We think this is a very cool idea, and could be quite useful in some instances. The real time display of speed and RPM seem a bit peculiar as the car’s speedometer and tachometer are more appropriately placed for real time information. However, we completely understand that this was a class project and this person may not have wanted to replace their dash cluster with a new readout.

Incredible home made miniature engines

On the heels of a small stirling engine we featured, an astute Hackaday reader sent in a few awesome builds from HMEM, the home model engine machinist forum.

First up is a fantastic looking stirling engine made entirely from scratch. The build is modeled on a Moriya Hot Air Fan, but instead of making a fan spin around, [IronHorse] put a flywheel on the engine. It also uses propane instead of an alcohol or other liquid fuel lamp for the heat source.

Next up is a pee-wee sized V8 engine by [stevehuckss396]. Unlike the model engines we’re used to, this one runs on gasoline. The engine started out as a 3 x 3 x 5 inch block of aluminum. This thread goes on an amazing 85 (!) pages and makes for great afternoon reading, but here’s a video of the engine in action.

Last is [keith5700]‘s amazing 1/4 scale V8. Not only is this [keith]‘s first project, he also completed this entire project on manual mills and lathes. There’s an electric starter thrown in there, and the pictures are simply incredible.

Thanks to [Norberto] for sending this one in, and if you’ve got an example of amazing machining skill, send it on it to the tip line.

Hackerspaces and Hackaday

It should really go without saying that Hackday LOVES hackerspaces. We want to support hackerspaces to the best of our ability. There have been many ideas tossed around, like a hackerspace directory, or hackerspace calendar of events, project lists, tool exchange programs, etc. For the short term, we can’t implement either of those in a smooth enough fashion that we think it would beneficial. There are several Hackerspace directories out there, with hackerspaces.org seeming to be the most up-to-date. We even have an “events” area in our forums, though we feel there could be a much better format or delivery device than a forum for that kind of information.

So what can Hackaday do to start helping? Well, the first small step could be to share more information about hackerspaces. We would like to do video tours of your hackerspace. Unfortunately, we don’t have a budget to travel around with a film crew and visit you all. I really wish we did, since I would probably be the one doing the traveling.  So what we can offer for now is that you film a tour, showing off some cool projects going on in your hackerspace, and we’ll share the video.  Contact me directly at Caleb@hackaday.com to work out the details. Your hackerspace doesn’t have to be a huge one in a big city. We want to help everyone here. If you have a few people gathered and a couple cool projects, we don’t care if you meet in someone’s basement. We want to see what the hacker community is doing!

Toward the end of May I will be spending a few days in Huntsville Al, then a few days in Hilton Head Island SC. I’d love to visit a hackerspace or two while I’m there to do a quick video tour. Again, contact me directly if you’re in those areas.

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