Hackaday Links: April 29, 2012

More old computers on FPGAs!

[Andy] loves his Memotech MTX computer. It’s an oldie with a Z80 running at 4MHz; the perfect target for an FPGA port. The ReMemotech has everything the old one has – cassette interface and all – and can run up to six times faster than the original.

Also found in 10-forward

If you’re going to build a jukebox, why not go all out? Here’s a touch screen jukeboxwith an LCARS skin. Yep, the same interface found on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

New desktop wallpaper for you

[McMonster] found a great pair of blog posts (1, 2) showing what ancient ICs look like without their casing. Since these were CERDIP packages (two ceramic plates glued together) they were exceptionally easy to take apart leaving the entire chip intact. Pages are in Polish, but there’s a Google Translate button on the sidebar

Cheap and easy Arduino wi-fi

Quick quiz: what’s the easiest way to get data onto an Arduino wirelessly? XBees? GSM modules? Nope, just get a wireless router and an Ethernet shield. The Ethernet module only cost [Doss] $20, and we’re sure Hackaday readers have a spare wireless router around somewhere.

Chiptunes! Chiptunes I say!

[mdmoose29] has been working on making a custom SNES cartridge for a dubstep artist (tell us more, [moose]…). In his search for programming tools, he found theSNES Game Maker. We tried it out for a bit and it’s still a very unrefined beta. Still, making SNES programming easier is awesome.

You people are awesome. Here’s six things for a links post.

[Valentin] made a night vision monocular from an old VHS camcorder, a small spy camera, and a handful of infrared LEDs. Here’s a video of [Valentin]‘s build in action.

Land ROV is Internet connected and packed full of stuff

[Blair Kelly] has always been interesting in the concept of Remote Operated Vehicles. As soon as he got his hands on an Arduino he began his endeavor to turn an RC vehicle into a land-based ROV. What he’s done so far is incredible.

Here he’s showing off features of the build using a PS3 controller. But it can also take commands from an Xbox 360 controller or an arcade-style steering wheel. We like the latter the best, which is shown off at about six and a half minutes into the video (embedded after the break). Since there’s a webcam on board, this ends up being a virtual cockpit for the pint-sized car. But it gets better. That webcam is mounted on a servo motor, and [Blair] included controls that pan the camera. This lets the driver ‘look’ left and right. On the front of the vehicle there’s an accelerometer. Data is collected by the Arduino and sent via the WiFly module. This adds rumble to the controller if you’re using one that has that ability.

It’s a big project already, but it sounds like [Blair] has not end of ideas for future versions. Right now he’s planning to increase the overall size which will let him explore places that aren’t as flat as his livingroom.

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Interactive table is slightly different than most.

[DanNixon] has put together this unique interactive table concept. Usually, when we see the term interactive table, we think of an LED grid. That just happens to be what we see the most of. While this table does, in fact, have an LED grid in the table top, it also has several other features and some very nice construction.

Instead of going the usual boring rectangular route, [DanNixon] decided to build a more visually appealing structure. The build log on that part alone is worth a peek. After that, he has a small LCD screen for displaying headlines and song titles as well as a compact LED matrix for some visualizations.

Great Job [DanNixon]

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Home brew motorized bicycle is a super grocery getter

[Thor] sent in an awesome motorized bike build he found coming from the fruitful workshop of [Jim Gallant]. It’s an incredible piece of work built nearly entirely from scratch.

[Jim] welded the frame together on a home-built jig that keeps all the chrome-moly tubes in alignment before they’re pieced together. With the jig, the frame was kept extremely straight making a bike that turns very well and can be ridden no-handed.

All of [Jim]‘s previous motorized bikes used small Honda engines, but after hearing Robin Subaru engines are more reliable he decided to give one a go. The motor is attached to the derailleur gears with a continuously variable transmission usually found in scooters. [Jim]‘s earlier motorized bikes didn’t have indexed shifting and disc brakes like modern motorized bikes, but he decided to throw them in anyway. Everyone who rides his new super grocery getter comments on how smooth the ride is with these additions.

While [Jim] doesn’t have an official speed or MPG rating, he’s guessing this bike can carry three bags of groceries at 30 mph at 170 miles per gallon. A very efficient mode of transportation that is much safer than the other motorized bikes we’ve seen before.

Iron casting in the parking lot

Here’s one good thing about the bitter cold Midwestern winter, it helps keep you from overheating when working around a hot furnace. Back in February this iron pour happened in the parking lot of the Madison, Wisconsin based Sector67 Hackerspace. Look, they’re making iron hearts!

Now this isn’t just a bunch of members who got together and decided to do some casting. As you can tell in the video after the break the team knows what they’re doing. The event was a collaboration with FeLion Studios, a custom cast-iron art boutique. But the Hackerspace participants did get to take part in the process of building the cast, watching the pour, and cleaning up the rough results.

One of the people from FeLion Studios just appeared on the Martha Stuart Show, along with a 550 pound cast-iron frying pan United States map.  [Chris] from Sector67 tells us the New York frying pan that [Martha] is hold was a product of the parking lot pour.

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Build your own radar system

How we missed this one is anybody’s guess, but one of the presentations at DEFCON last year covers a DIY radar build. [Michael Scarito] talks about the concepts behind radar, and then goes on to show that it’s not too hard or expensive to build a setup of your own. We’ve embedded his 45 minute talk after the break.

The two large pieces of hardware above should look familiar. They’re descendents of a favorite hacking project, the cantenna. The can-based long-range antenna is most popular with WiFi applications, but we’ve seen it used for Bluetooth as well and it’s not surprising to see it here. The rest is a lot of sensing hardware and enough math crammed into the coding to make your ears droop.

If you make it far enough (exactly 39 minutes into the talk) [Michael] shares some links for more information on the build. We think living vicariously is enough for us, but if you manage to build your own setup don’t forget to post a project log!

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Printing custom whistles for everyone at your RepRap conference

When [Josef Prusa] speaks at a conference extolling the virtues of 3D printing, he likes to give out printed objects to show off the possibilities home-brew fabrication. A favorite of [Prusa] are whistles – they’re functional and show off exactly what a 3D printer can do. Printing out hundreds of whistles is a job for a factory and not a printer, so [Prusa] decided to customize each whistle with the initials of a conference attendee.

When [Prusa] was asked to attend the INFOTRENDY conference in Bratislava, he had a small audience (only 150 people) and a list of all the attendees a week before hand. It was the perfect scenario to whip up a Python script to generate the models for a whistle with the initials of each attendee emblazoned on the side.

The WhistleGen code is up on [Prusa]‘s GitHub ready to print out custom whistles for your next conference. While the capabilities of WhistleGen are limited to just two letters of text, we’re sure someone will figure out a way to automate the generation custom conference badges very shortly.

See the example he sent us after the break.

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