Android controlled Minecraft ores

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[Ryan] has a friend with a birthday coming up, and being inspired by ever 12-year-olds favorite game, he decided to make a Minecraft ore block with RGB LEDs. The block can change from diamonds to emeralds via commands send from an Android phone.

After a few false starts, [Ryan] eventually had his ore cube laser cut at Acess Space, a hackerspace-ish group in Sheffield. The box was constructed out of 3mm MDF, while the windows were laser cut out of frosted acrylic, while the stone pattern on the cube is one giant custom-made sticker.

With the tedious part of the build out of the way, [Ryan] set to work on the electronics. He used a PIC attached to a few very large RGB LEDs, and a Bluetooth module that allows him to connect his phone to an ore block. Dialing in the right colors took some work, but eventually, [Ryan] had an Android-controlled Minecraft ore block, able to transmutate between gold, iron, diamond, emerald, lapis, and redstone.

You can check out a video of [Ryan]‘s ore block in action after the break.

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Turning PCBs into art

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Designing a circuit, laying out a board, and sending it off to be fabbed is so easy anyone can do it. A lot of people are, in fact, and with the traditional tools like KiCAD and Eagle, a lot of different boards look very, very similar. You could always add some cool silkscreen graphics to your board to make it stand out, but [Saar] has a better solution: it’s called PCBmodE, and it allows you to draw circuits artistically instead of the 45° angles we’ve become so accustomed to.

PCBmodE takes the parts, pads, signals, and vias for boards stored in JSON files and converts them to an SVG representation. The file is then routed (manually, but [Saar] is working on automated routing) and Gerberized so it can be sent off to a production house.

You can grab PCBmodE over on bitbucket, but right now it’s still a very early version. Vias and copper pours are working, but [Saar] has only fabbed this board so far.

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