Electronically augmented Foosball brings competition to the office

This office has a Foosball league that automatically tallies and posts the standings for each employee. This is thanks to all of the extra electronics that were added to the Foosball table in the break room.

The system is connected to the internet via WiFi. This allows it to store the final results of each game for use on the leader board. Player first identify themselves to the system using the RFID tag embedded in their employee badge (normally used to open doors in the building). From there the game play proceeds much like you’d expect, but the scoring is handled automatically. Each goal has a laser pointed across it which is broken when the ball passes through. But there are a pair of arcade buttons in case of a scoring error.

Standings are listed at the webpage linked above. There’s even functionality for new employees to registers through this page. Don’t miss a glimpse of the build in the clip after the break.

[Read more...]

LEGO LP Player

This LP player is made entirely out of LEGO parts. It plays the songs encoded on each record, but not by using a stylus in a groove. Instead, each LP has a color code on the bottom of it which is interpreted by the optical sensors underneath.

In addition to its functionality [Anika Vuurzoon] made sure that the build looked the part. The horn is a nice touch, but you’ll also appreciate the rotating mini-figures on the front side of the base. To the right there is a hidden door that provides access to the NXT brick which drives the system. New records are produced using a couple of different tools. First off, the song is written using Finale, a mature musical notation program. That is exported and run through a second program which produces the colored disc design which is applied to the records. You can hear the songs for yourself in the clip after the break.

If LP playing toys are right up your alley you’ll want to check out this 3D printed record hack for a Fisher Price toy.

[Read more...]

A folded horn enclosure to make the most out of a subwoofer

To make the most out of his home theater sound system [Baccula] built this folded horn enclosure for as much bass sound as possible. The design was conceived by [Bill Fitzmaurice] who thought there needed to be a better way to use the subwoofers which are typically used in home systems. His design is called the Tuba HT and it is aimed at a 15″ speaker. [Bill] charges for the building plans, but we don’t mind living vicariously through [Baccula's] construction album.

As you can see, there are a lot of wood parts that went into the cabinet. It starts with a base of 2×4 framing. From there the plywood sawdust really starts to fly as each component is produced. During assembly [Baccula] is careful to fully glue each joint — you don’t want to find out that your sub cabinet vibrates after you get everything installed. All together the new piece of living room furniture stands three feet tall and deep and two feet wide.

The album has no captions but you can read a bit more about the project in the Reddit comments.

Android VOIP phone and Raspberry Pi mate for an intriguing PBX setup

[Ward Mundy] has found something great by combining a GXP-2200 phone with Raspberry Pi to create a private branch exchange. So the idea behind a PBX setup is kind of like a company intranet. All of the phones in the system are assigned an extension number and have access to the internal system functions like voice mail, and sharing phone lines to the outside world. We’ve talked about using an RPi as a PBX before, but the high-tech phone he’s using this time around pulls everything together remarkably well.

The GXP-2200 is available for under $200. It runs Android and has a full color touch screen pictured above. It is marketed as a multimedia phone and indeed it brings Skype and Google Voice to the party. But it also offers six SIP lines. The hardware even seems to be planned for this type of use as the phone offers a second Ethernet port to which the RPi board can be connected. In this example [Ward] simply screws the RPi to the phone’s plastic stand and connects the two using a six-inch cable. From there the PBX can be configured with the phone’s browser. How’s that for slick?

Personal cooling using a closed loop water system

That’s not a colostomy bag, it’s the first prototype of [Stephen's] scratch-built closed loop personal cooling system. He must be living in an uncomfortably hot apartment as this is the second cooling system we’ve seen from him in as many weeks. The previous offering was an evaporative system. This time around he’s pumping chilled water to bring some relief.

The image on the left shows the first iteration of the system which pumped cool water from a large jug through a loop of plastic tubing which he wears around his neck. To refine the design he build the version on the right. As a reservoir he grabbed a water-proof ID container meant to keep your valuables dry in the pool or ocean. Inside there’s a pump which he runs off of a 5V battery supply. It circulates water through the neck strap which is a piece of plastic tubing.

This will work for a time, but as the cold water picks up your body’s heat the effect will be lost. We think he needs to add a Peltier cooler to the reservoir in the next iteration. It might help to refine the loop to increase its ability to transfer heat where it touches your skin.

There’s demo of the most recent version embedded after the break.

[Read more...]

$5 toy car upgraded to record the ride in HD

We hope [Kabir's] driving skills are top-notch because the camera stuck to the front of this toy is a high-ticket item. It’s ironic, since the donor toy for this hacked RC car only cost about five bucks. It had been gathering dust in the dark reaches of his bedroom until he sat down and gave it a proper upgrade.

He started the project by getting rid of the stock battery and moving to a pair of Lithium Polymer cells. They give the vehicle more power and more than twice the running time between charges. A couple of springs were added to the suspension system for a smoother ride. Turning had been a problem since the original design offered no control over how far the wheels turn. You can just make out the body of the servo motor he rolled into the system to allow for more precise turning.

The most recent addition is the HackHD camera on the front of the vehicle. It records to an SD card rather than streaming the video in real-time. Check out the clip after the break to see the interesting perspective achieved by filming so low to the ground. The one thing we would add is a cage around that board which retails at around $165.

[Read more...]

Minecraft Coming to Raspberry Pi

The folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation often gets asked “does it run Minecraft?” Mojang, the team behind the block building game, has announced that they will be releasing Minecraft: Pi Edition. This port will be based off the Pocket Edition of the game, but with a revised set of features.

So what does this have to do with hacking? Mojang has announced that the Pi Edition will have “support for multiple programming languages.” There aren’t too many details about what this support will entail, but it looks to be aimed at teaching programming by using the world of Minecraft.

Hopefully, it will be possible to interface with the RPi’s expansion header to allow external devices to get data and create objects in the Minecraft world. There’s a lot of potential for hacking and learning programming skills.

The best part? It will be a completely free download. We’re looking forward to the launch.