The Thunderball jetpack becomes a quadcopter

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At the beginning of the fourth Bond film, 007 escapes from a French château with a jetpack. While the jetpack has yet to take off for those of us who aren’t secret agents, there is a way for anyone to fly just like Bond. It can’t lift a full-scale human yet, but [Rodger]’s Project Thunderball can let a mannequin hover for several minutes.

The stand in for [Sean Connery] in [Rodger]’s build is a 2.2 lb mannequin – actually an ‘inflatable companion’, if you will – stuffed with styrofoam peanuts. The actual jet pack is a quadcopter souped up with larger motors, propellers, and enough batteries to deliver 1kW. There’s no belt for this quad; the mannequin rides the machine like you would a horse, straddling the electronics while very high-speed props spin just inches away from the tender bits of an inflatable plastic doll.

[Rodger] is able to get about 8 minutes of hover time out of his quadpack, an impressive feat that also allows his flying machine to deliver beer and pizzas.

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Measuring ketosis with an Arduino

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A bit of biology and nutrition before we roll into this: Ketosis is when your body runs on fat reserves instead of carbohydrates. This is the basis of diets such as Atkins, and despite the connotations of eating hamburger patties and butter, you can actually lose weight on these diets. One problem with a keto diet is the difficulty of measure how many ketones your liver is processing; this can be done with a urine sample, but being able to measure small amounts of acetone in your breath would be the ideal way to measure ketosis. [Jens] came up with a device that does just that. It’s called Ketosense, and it will tell you how well your keto diet is doing by just having you blow into a sensor.

[Jens]’ device consists of an Arduino, LCD display, and two sensors – one for acetone, and another for temperature and humidity. By carefully calibrating a TGS822 sensor, [Jens] was able to measure the acetone content of an exhaled breath along with temperature and pressure. This gave him a reading in parts per million, and with a short bit of math was able to convert that into something that made sense when talking about ketosis, mmol/l.

Without access to a lab that can measure blood ketone levels, it’s difficult to say if [Jens] device really works as intended. If he were to find his way into a lab, though, it would be possible to correlate his sensor’s values with blood ketone results and improve the accuracy of his sensor.

Astrosmash style video game as Sony SmartWatch firmware

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Here’s a firmware hack that brings a video game to the Sony SmartWatch. It’s pretty impressive considering the limited screen real estate and the fact that it has to be shared with the touch input. But we find it equally impressive that a game of this quality followed so quickly on the heels of Sony announcing the ability to make your own firmware for the watch. The speedy development is thanks partly to the community driven effort to hack the Arduino IDE to load sketches on the watch.

The advent of this IDE hack means that taking your Arduino sketch writing abilities to this hardware now has a fairly low learning curve. And reading through [Asier Arranz’s] game code will make it even easier. He calls his game Star Wars but it reminds us more of Astrosmash. There’s a little green semicircle which is your ground-based defense vehicle. You need to fire the laser to shoot falling items out of the star-strewn night sky while also collecting power-ups that fall to the ground. Game play video is below.

Just remember, if you come up with a cool firmware app for the SmartWatch we want to hear about it.

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Atari 2600 has a Raspberry Pi hiding under the hood

raspberry-pi-2600

Seriously, the drawer pull on this Atari 2600 is not stock. Don’t they know this voids the warranty? The thing is, you won’t actually find any of the original internals anyway. When building this portable emulator housed in a 2600 case [Linear Nova] was careful to ensure that everything could be restored to its original condition (except for two hinges mounted on the back) sometime down the road. That’s a good goal to set for yourself. We think the build is the fun part of most projects and often wonder what to do with them when they’re done and our interest has waned.

A seven-inch LCD screen was attached to the underside of the lid using Velcro. When tilted up it’s at a nice viewing angle for the player. [Linear] prefers to use a Wii remote as the control this portable video game emulator. It connects to the Raspberry Pi over Bluetooth using a USB dongle. The advantage of this is that you just throw the remote inside the case too. For now there are two power cords, one for the RPi and the other for the LCD screen but he plans to add a power hub in the future to narrow this down to one. We wonder it that would also be a good time to add his own rechargeable battery pack option? There should be enough room for an RC style pack.

 

 

Building an IR mouse interface for the disabled

[Chris Young] has a physical disability that means he can’t use a mouse very well. He typically uses Dragon Naturally Speaking for moving his mouse using voice commands but has found that it lacks some features he needs and can crash at times.

His solution to this problem was to create a device that will translate IR signals from a simple remote into mouse actions and movements. He is using an Arduino micro for this task, and as you can see in the video it seems to have worked out well for him. He has code and schematics available on his site if you would like to recreate this yourself.

[Chris] has actually built several accessibility devices for himself and others. You should check out his blog for more, including his thoughts on the cost of commercial accessibility equipment vs DIY. If you think you would like to try making a device to help someone with a physical disability access a computer, hop on over to thecontrollerproject.com and join up on the forums.

 

via thecontrollerproject.com

ShapeOko build log — it’s a CNC mill in a box

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We’re not blatantly trying to promo this product. It’s just that the build log covering a ShapeOko assembly process taken on by [Anool] is like crack for those of us who have yet to acquire our own desktop CNC mills.

Like the title says, this thing is basically a mill in a box. But [Anool] decided to order the version of the kit that doesn’t come with any motors or control electronics. He also planned for future upgrades by ordering additional extruded rail to increase the size of the ShapeOko. After assembling the frame his decision to source stepper motors locally bit him as they were out of stock. But there was still plenty to do preparing control electronics during the wait. He based his system on a Raspberry Pi which talks to an Arduino to address the motors and monitor the sensors.

Once all the parts were finally accounted for he tested the rig as a pen plotter. The pen was eventually replaced with the router motor and that ring light PCB seen above was the first thing he milled with it.

[Thanks Justin]

WALL-O-TRON, the interactive rock climbing wall

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Last April, hackerspaces around the country received a gift from RedBull for their creation challenge. The hackerspace teams were charged with creating, ‘something with LEDs’ and let loose in their workshop for a chance to win a trip to NYC and build some cool stuff. Of course, RedBull couldn’t bring all the teams to the big apple and a few incredible projects were left by the wayside in their home hackerspace.

One such project was the WALL-O-TRON from Team Rabbit-Hole and home base for the Tymkrs. It’s a huge wall embedded with LEDs that turn an ordinary rock climbing wall into a game called WallSweeper – climb a path to the illuminated hold, but don’t touch the ‘hot rock’ or your game is over.

The hand holds are illuminated by over 300 of LEDs connected to a Linux PC. The sign above the wall is controlled by RedBull’s TurBULL Encabulator, and the giant ‘WALL-O-TRON’ letters are huge pieces of foam with five meters of RGB LEDs embedded inside.

A great project with the possibility of being upgraded in the future with more games. Perfect for the rock climbing playground it’s situated in.

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