Solving a Rubick’s Cube with LEGO and popsicle sticks


We’ve seen automated Rubick’s Cube solvers before, but never one that has garnered as many awards as [James]‘ popsicle stick and LEGO Rubick’s Cube solver.\

To keep the project complexity down, [James] opted not to use a webcam to detect the color pattern on each face of the cube. Instead, he wrote a little Python app to manually enter the pattern on each face before letting his algorithm loose on the cube and calculating how to solve it.

So far, [James] has seen a huge amount of success from his project. He entered it in the New Zealand Brightsparks competition netting him $1000. This competition led to a win in the Realize the Dream science competition where he won a major prize and an entry into the International Taiwan Science Fair held early next year. An awesome accomplishment from a budding hacker, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

You can check out a video of [James]‘ cube solver after the break.

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Adventures in mold making and making your own enclosures


The folks at SC-3000 survivors have been working on a cartridge capable of storing dozens of games for the ancient Sega SC-3000 computer. The PCB works beautifully, but making a case for their cartridge left them with few options. They could use a 3D printer or simply collect a whole bunch of used cartridge cases, but making their own mold for a cartridge case was the best solution.

To create the mold for their multicart enclosure, the SC-3000 survivors first took an old, used case and made a silicone mold. While the first attempt at mold making was encouraging, several problems began to crop up due to the lack of vent holes and wiggling the mold before the resin had set. Before long, a proper technique to make resin casts was developed: use lots of resin, and don’t apply pressure or rubber bands to a curing mold.

We’re always impressed by what can be done with a few sheets of plastic, some Bondo, and the inordinate amounts of patience and sandpaper we see with other case mods and enclosure builds. the SC-3000 survivors put together an enclosure that rivals any Bondo build, and we’re happy they put out this tutorial.

A thermal imaging camera for your phone

When last we heard of a cheap thermal imaging camera accessory for any smart phone, we were blown away at how easily a very expensive electronic device could be replicated with an Arduino and enough know how. Now, that thermal imaging camera is a kickstarter project and provides a cheap way to put a thermal imaging camera in the tool chest of makers the world over.

It’s called the IR-Blue, and simply by connecting your phone to the IR-Blue with Bluetooth, you can overlay the output of a thermal imaging camera on the output of your camera’s phone.

The thermal imaging sensor is basically a low-resolution camera (16 x 4 pixels) for infrared radiation. This sensor is factory calibrated to detect heat in a range between -20 and 300 ˚C. This range allows anyone to easily see where drafts in a house are coming from, where heat in a computer is being generated, or figuring out how to cook a steak.

It’s an awesome and well designed product, so we’ve got to hand it to [Andy] and the IR-Blue team for putting very expensive tools in everyone’s hands.