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Knock lock balks knock, uses CapSense without shock

[Rob Hemsley] sent in an update to an RFID-based door lock. Previously, if you wanted to enter the MIT media lab, a RFID-enabled card was required to get in. Now, with [Rob]‘s update, you only need to tap the door handle in a ‘secret’ pattern.

The earlier RFID-enabled build used about $80 in hardware, not a very economical solution. The new touch-based solution only uses an Arduino and servo, making the build much cheaper.

The touch sensitive lock uses the CapSense Arduino library. By turning the door handle into a touch sensor, [Rob] allowed a secret code to be saved in the EEPROM. Repeating this sequence when the door is locked sends power to the servo, unlocking the door.

A very cool build that’s also a little more secure than the traditional, audible knock lock. Check out the video after the break.

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Southwest tour: OhmSpace in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

OhmSpace in Oklahoma City is the very first stop on our southwest tour.

When we arrived it was around 2 in the afternoon and the temperature outside was nearly 110 degrees. It was HOT. [Stan] met up with us to give us a tour of the space.  As you can see, the facility is huge. While at first glance it may appear somewhat disheveled, there is order to the madness. There is a nice community work area set up in the middle as well as several different stations throughout. Since the facility is almost just one giant room, storage is out in the open giving the illusion of a mess. We were there in the early afternoon, so there wasn’t anyone around working on anything, but you can see projects in various states of progress throughout the tour.

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Edison’s Cradle is a bright idea

This interesting take on Newton’s Cradle is called “Asobi” and was created by [Yasutoki Kariya]. However, [Johnny] at Spoon and Tamago dubbed it “Edison’s Cradle”, which we think is a great name.

As you can make out in the video, it isn’t really a Newton’s Cradle. There is a solenoid pushing the bulbs at the end out at the correct time, but that’s fine. The overall result is quite brilliant. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the setup. Anyone have more information? Anyone want to take a stab at making “Tesla’s cradle”?

[via Make]

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Yet another Arduino blinkenlight thing, actually pretty cool

On the Tasmanian Linux User Group mailing list, [Hoolio] read someone complaining about the eventual downfall of their upcoming hackerspace as becoming a club of Arduino fanboys. [Hoolio] asked what was wrong with the Arduino, and this terrible, terrible Tasmanian replied, “there’s far too much boring blinkenlights and not enough actual cool stuff.” [Hoolio] took this as a challenge and created his own Arduino blinkenlight project that emulates Space Invaders on a 5×5 matrix of LEDs

The board is just a buzzer, 25 LEDs, 10 transistors, and a pot and button. Before the game begins, a LED chaser is traced out on the perimeter of the display, its speed controllable by the pot. When the button is pressed the game begins, allowing [Hoolio] to move his ship left and right with the pot and fire his lazor with the button.

Yes, it’s a game written for an array of blinkenlights for the Arduino. This doesn’t diminish the build, though. If this were put in a fabulous beige and transported back to 1978, we’d look on the LED version of Space Invaders as fondly as Mattel’s Football.

You can see [Hoolio]‘s game demo after the break.

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Drawing things very slowly, very easily

A while back, we saw [Euphy]‘s polar pen plotter project. The mechanics of the build are very simple – just a pair of motors attached to a pen by a beaded cord. Even though the build is very simple, it’s possible to create awesome works of art albeit very slowly.

Since we featured [Euphy]‘s polar pen plotter, a lot of improvements have been made. Now the Polargraph has an SD card slot for computer-less printing, a touch screen for manual control of the plotter, and a few new drawing styles that improve on the previous version a lot.

Right now the improved version of the Polargraph is set up in the front of a graffiti art supply shop in Edinburgh where it spends its time slowly drawing a window dressing. [Euphy] put up a few videos of what the Polargraph is capable of doing, very impressive and we hope he gets a few more PCBs in soon.

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POV bike wheels with the MSP430

Being an intern a Texas Instruments isn’t all fun and games, but from [George], [Valerie], and [Ryan]‘s TI intern design project, it sure looks like it. They built a persistence of vision display for a bicycle using the ever popular MSP430 Launchpad board.

The team of interns created a POV display by combining the power of the TI Launchpad with a row of 32 RGB LEDs soldered onto a booster pack. Once the whole circuit is fastened securely to the bike wheel, a hall effect sensor mounted to the bike frame allows the MSP430 to detect how fast it is going. From there, it’s just a matter of flashing LEDs at the right time to create a stationary display inside a rotating wheel.

Although the display will theoretically work with just one Launchpad/Booster pack combo, the team decided to use three of these circuits, totaling 96 LEDs per wheel, to create a really nice RGB display. The video (available after the break) shows a little bit of flicker but this is an artifact of the camera. In real life, the POV bike wheel display is simply stunning.

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Curiosity landed, here’s the LEGO version

The Mars Science Laboratory hasn’t had her wheels down for a day and already the Curiosity-inspired builds are rolling in. [Will] and [Doug] built a LEGO model of the Curiosity rover for the Build the Future in Space event at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Everything on this scaled-down version of Curiosity is completely made out of LEGO, including the four powered wheels, motorized mast, and articulated, controllable arm.

The LEGO rover contains 7 NTX bricks, 13 motors, two power function motors, and over 1000 pieces of LEGO held together without any glue. The rover is under remote control from two operators. The driver controls the rotation and direction of the four powered corner wheels, while another operator uses a Waldo-like manipulator built out of LEGO to move Curiosity‘s mast and arm. Each of these controls communicate with the rover over a Bluetooth connection.

We’ve been wondering when we would see a Curiosity-inspired rocker bogie bot, and we’re pleased as punch the first one just happened to be a LEGO build. Having [Will] and [Doug] time their submission to the Curiosity’s landing on Mars is the icing on the cake.

You can see the LEGO Curiosity in action after the break.

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