[Ricky's] rugged DVD player

1Ge9hh

[Ricky] absolutely loves watching DVDs. He is epileptic and is cognitively functioning at a level roughly that of a 6 year old.  His younger brother [Ronnie] noticed that [Ricky's] DVDs as well as his DVD player never lasted very long due to some rough handling. [Ronnie] stepped up to make [Ricky's] life just a little bit easier by building this super rugged DVD watching station.

He started by ripping out the front pcb of the DVD player that has all the buttons. [Ricky] can wear through a set of standard buttons in no time, so [Ronnie] extended these to arcade buttons. Then he mounted everything into a custom cabinet that can withstand a considerable amount of abuse.

Now they can load 5 disks in and [Ricky] can watch what he pleases without worry of destroying the player.

[Ronnie] mentioned that he’d like to make a more complex control system using some kind of microcontroller, but frankly I find the simplicity of this to be perfect. Maybe a media pc loaded with movies might be a decent next step. You can see [Ronnie's] build log here.

If you’ve ever considered making something like this to improve someone’s life, you should check out thecontrollerproject.com where people with special needs can connect with people who can build interfaces.

Heart-shaped project takes no shortcuts

heart-shaped-project

If all [Blake] wanted to do is scroll “Blake loves Kim” on some LEDs he could have stopped with the breadboard version of the project. Or hastily craft a cardboard heart around the marquee. But he really just used this heart-shaped electronics project as an excuse to get his feet wet with several different types of manufacturing.

The project started as a simple scrolling message pendant. Something along these lines. His very small LED module was being driven by an ATtiny85. He planned to run it from battery which is a perfect excuse to learn how to use the sleep functions built into the chip.

The initial design worked so well he decided to lay out his own circuit board. This made it quite simple to add in a side-positioned button to wake from sleep, and a coin cell battery holder on the back. He used OSH Park for board manufacturing — good thing they allow creative board outlines. To protect the circuitry he also ordered laser-cut acrylic plates that work in conjunction with stand offs to form a case.

He mentions he missed his Valentine’s Day delivery date by a long shot. But that’s how these sort of things go, right?

[Read more...]

Sony SmartWatch running Arduino sketches

sony-smartwatch-arduino-sketches

Well that didn’t take long. We just heard last week about the Sony inviting firmware hacks for their SmartWatch and here’s an early example. This image above is an animation running on the watch. It was written as an Arduino sketch which runs on a custom firmware image. [Veqtor] wrote the sketch, which is just a couple of nested loops drawing lines and circles. The real hack is in the firmware itself.

[Veqtor] took part in a workshop (translated) put on by [David Cuartielles] which invited attendees to try their Arduino coding skills on his firmware hack for the watch. It implements an Android parser, but the development is in very early stages. Right now there’s zero information in his readme file. But the root directory of the repo has a huge todo list. Dig through it and see if you can fork his code to help lend a hand.

Learn more about the SmartWatch firmware from the original announcement.

[Read more...]

A charming Arduino king cobra game

cobra

Here’s a fun game from [A.J.]‘s lab. It’s a simulated king cobra made from an Arduino, an ultrasonic sensor, and a servo. The aim of the game is to grab a ball in front of the device without being ‘bitten’ by the thumbtack attached to a drinking straw controlled by a servo. You know, just like a real king cobra.

There’s no schematic or build plans for this project, but it looks easy enough to cobble together. Despite its simplicity, this game looks hilariously fun, and could quite possibly provide more entertainment through using the machine rather than simply building it.

No text description of this game can do it justice, so check out the video below. It looks like a lot of fun, and if you already have the parts in a bin somewhere, it’ll make a great weekend build.

[Read more...]

Outputting text on a paper tape machine

thegame

Back before the days of 8 inch floppy disks, storing computer programs was much more primitive than even a stack of punch cards. The earliest general purpose computers used paper tape, a strip of paper with punched holes designating a 0 or a 1. Thankfully for the computer scientists of the day, these paper tapes weren’t created by hand. No, the Friden SP-2 tape punch took care of the duties of punching holes in these tapes. When [Max] rescued one of these tape punch machines from a trash bin, he knew what he needed to do: connect it to an Arduino so he could create his own paper tapes.

[Max] found a veroboard with a bunch of transistors inside the machine that was added by a previous owner. After finding the manual for the machine he connected it to an Arduino, holding each of the eight control pins high to punch the tape, and then holding another pin high to advance the tape. With this, he was able to punch letters instead of binary code into his paper tape.

[Max] also added an Ethernet shield to his Arduino that checks his email. If an email shows up in a special folder, it outputs the subject line to the tape punch machine, giving him an entirely retro ticker tape machine, built with vintage 60s hardware.

There are a pair of videos of [Max]‘s tape punch machine in action below, along with a gallery of the glamorous gut shots of this incredible machine.

[Read more...]

Wetlev 2 water jet pack marginally less lethal than prior version

wetlev2-test-run

You’ve got to admit the thought of tooling around the lake on your own personal water jetpack is a seductive proposition. This is the second summer in which [Toby Gardner] has been trying to work out the kinks on his build. Last year he got out of the water, but the jetpack was pretty hard to control. Over the winter he redesigned the nozzles of the water jets and they seem to be doing quite a bit better.

The fact that the build will be in frequent contact with water makes it a bit harder. They need to have parts that won’t corrode but can stand up to the pressure. Stainless steel was the obvious choice, and for the refinements they were able to get quite a few off the shelf parts to start from. He built a mold for forming the backpack and took it out for a spin. We don’t get a great look at the new version from afar. But watch the videos below and you’ll see last year it tried to drown him, this year it seems to float.

Why is he building rather than buying? Have you seen the price of the original version?

[Read more...]

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