Accelerometer may help make you a sharpshooter

[Chris Suprock] is interested in using technology to improve your accuracy with a firearm. To that end, he’s using an Accelerometer mounted to a gun to gather feedback about each shot.

The hardware setup is pretty simple. We don’t have specific details, but it looks like he’s using a QFN accelerometer chip like you would find in a cellphone. The milled aluminum mounting bracket that holds the board has ‘USB’ printed on it, although the connector is something we don’t really recognize.

In the video after the break [Chris] demonstrates the feedback he can get when the device is mounted on the stock of a Ruger Mini-14. The graph of the data makes it obvious when the trigger was pulled. The most useful part may be the period leading up to that event, as it shows any unnecessary movement prior to the shot. If you’re into sport shooting, this may be one more tool that will help give you the edge on your competitors.

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A new method for adding audio input to a Sansa Clip+

The Sansa Clip+ is a nice little MP3 player and recorder. But it doesn’t offer an input connector, instead relying on the built-in microphone. [Simon Frank] wanted to extend its functionality so he figured out how to add a standard audio jack for analog input.

This is not the first time this has been done, but [Simon] has found a different method of accomplishing the task at hand. The other external input hack we saw cannibalized the internal microphone, rerouting its connections as an external input. But the method seen here keeps that microphone intact. The device includes an FM radio chip which is attached to an ADC on one of the devices other integrated circuits. [Simon] just patched into those signals. Now all he has to do is set up the device to record from the radio and connect his source to the jack which he epoxied to the base of the enclosure.

SparkFun gets a Subpoena for all orders; says nah

It’s no secret that we’re fans of open source, and open hardware. And we have to applaud companies like SparkFun who also keep their customers in the loop about what’s going on with the business end of the company. For instance, they were recently contacted by a Sheriff’s office and asked for customer information and are sharing the story. One of their products had been used in a series of credit card skimmers and the officers wanted to get purchase information to track down the bad guys. SparkFun doesn’t just give out customer data and so was subsequently served with a subpoena.

The thing is, the document asks for all customer orders shipped to Georgia during a six month period. This seemed like it covered way too many orders, since the majority of them didn’t include the part in question. But the officials were willing to work with the company and narrowed the request to just the 20 or so orders that had the item in them.

It’s an interesting read, and we agree with SparkFun’s point about white hats and black hats. Often when posting about projects here we wonder about the potential to use the knowledge for no-good. But restricting the availability of knowledge (or hardware in this case) because of a few bad-actors is a concept we oppose. It’s like being a hacking super hero, with great skill comes great responsibility.

Improvised weapons roundup

There’s something special about improvised weapons built for the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Whether it’s a Lousiville Decapitron or a shotgun revolver, we’re always fascinated by homemade weapons. Here’s a few that rolled into the tip line over the last few weeks:

You call that a knife?

[Joerg Sprave], a.k.a. that German guy on YouTube that has fun with slingshots, built a spinning steak knife saw thing. Basically, it’s eight steak knives attached to a wheel and driven with an electric drill. It’s not a terribly complex build, but it does give off a zombie apocalypse/first person shooter melee weapon vibe.

Battery cannon, because why not

Why use potatoes when you can use D-cell batteries? [CasterTown] on YouTube put together a small propane-powered spud gun that can put a battery through a car door. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen batteries used as ammo, but it’s still an extremely powerful build.

Oh man the 60s were cool.

Back in the 60s, safety wasn’t a huge concern. Any 10-year-old could walk into a dime store and buy Jarts – a game consisting of kids throwing sharp spikes at each other. Also, magazines had descriptions of how to build a freaking mortar in a backyard. Able to make a 20-foot grouping at 1900 feet, this would probably merit a visit from a SWAT team today. Needless to say, don’t try this at home.

Don’t do this. Please.

Last but not least is [Rocketlab] and [SadisticTheory]‘s $15 flamethrower. It’s just a gas tank from a 2-stroke engine, a 12 volt battery and a pump. Common sense requires us to mention this build is very, very illegal (apparently it is legal)and extremely unsafe. Don’t replicate this build.

Actually, we take that back. You shouldn’t build any of these weapons because they’re very dangerous. Just think of these as a neat thing to look at. Let other people hurt themselves. You may complain about how unsafe these weapons are in the comments.

A color Maximite for glorious 3-bit BASIC

[Kilian] sent in a link to a color version of a tiny educational computer. It’s called the Quantumite and it’s designed to be a throwback to the early 80s microcomputers we all grew up on.

The Quantumite is a clone of the Maximite, the tiny single board computer / BASIC interpreter designed by [Geoff Graham]. Both the Quantumite and Maximite are meant to be a throwback to the amazingly simple microcomputers of the early 80s, giving the 8-year-olds of today the simplicity of a BASIC compter most Hackaday readers had back in 1980s.

Both the Maximite and Quantumite are powered by the same 32-bit PIC microcontroller and have connections for a composite or VGA monitor, SD card, and PS/2 keyboard. Unlike the Maximite, the Quantumite can display 8 colors on its screen; a great addition that somehow seems even more retro than a monochrome display.

As far as getting the younglings to learn programming, we couldn’t think of a better tool than the ‘boot straight into a programming language’ Maximite. With a retro-impressive 3 bits of color, it’s sure to be a hit with the schoolchildren this computer is targeted at.

A rocking and walking BEAM robot

We’ve seen a few minimalist robots in our time, but very few compare to [Thomas Rinsma]‘s amazingly agile BEAM robot. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch this little robot crawl around on its circular legs.

BEAM robots are extremely simple robots built without a microcontroller of any kind. The idea that extremely simple circuits built from logic chips and amplifiers came from the fruitful mind of [Mark Tilden] while studying insectoid robots at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The first BEAM robot – a small walker made out of a Sony Walkman – impressed a lot of mid-90s makers and tinkerers. Although interest in these robots died out, there are communities around the web for BEAM builders to get together and show off their creation.

Most BEAM robots use four to six legs as a means of locomotion. [Thomas]‘ robot only uses two metal rings to get around; an extremely simple design and also the most fluid gait we’ve seen from a BEAM robot. You can check out the video of [Thomas]‘ build walking around after the break.

Tip ‘o the hat to [mefeder] for sending this one in.

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Mixing colors on the Reprap

3d printing has come huge strides in ability to construct detailed objects. Unfortunately, color is still a considerable limitation. Here, some people at the Reprap blog are having fun coming up with an extruder head that actually mixes two colors as it deposits them. Don’t confuse this with the dual head that Makerbot is touting that allows you to switch colors on the fly, this is a single head that actually has a cavity where the material is melted, then stirred to create a combination of the two. It is an interesting method of overcoming a limited supply of colors.

Having this extra stirring chamber means that there would be a small amount of material wasted any time that you wanted to make a change to the color, as it would have to be purged. There are some interesting thoughts in their comments on how to use this extra material most efficiently.