Autonomous ATV

A team at UNC Charlotte has been working on an autonomous vehicle to drag a cart that has sensing equipment. Starting with a stock Honda ATV, different systems were added to give a Renesas processor control of the ATV.  A model airplane receiver was attached to the Renesas to give remote control for Phase 1 of the project. Basically they’ve turned the ATV into a giant remote controlled car.

Later revisions will incorporate LIDAR, cameras, and multiple GPS units so the ATV can autonomously traverse most terrain with a high level of accuracy. Path planning will become a large part of the project at that point.

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Turn your Playstation 3 into Linux-based Lab Equipment

In a two-part series called “PS3 Fab-to-lab” on IBM’s awesome developerWorks website, [Lewin] explains how to use the Cell Broadband Engine in a PS3 to create an audio-bandwidth spectrum analyzer and function generator. The set up consists of Yellow Dog Linux, an NTSC television, and an external USB sound card to provide the inputs of the spectrum analyzer and the outputs of the function generator. The sound card driver is written to simply capture or send the info in question (audio range only) and the NTSC television as the graphical interface. This hack involves a lot of coding with hardly any example code provided. The article is more of a guide than anything. If anyone gets this working, let us know!

[via Digg]

[photo: Malcom Tredinnick]

MioPocket 2.0 Release 27

Miopocket Screenshot

GpsPasSion forum member [Ospray] has released a new version of MioPocket. For those of you that don’t know, MioPocket is a great unlock kit for GPS units. It basically unlocks the hidden potential of your GPS so you can access the built-in functionality of a PDA as well as retaining the GPS software. This means you can play music, watch video, play games, read and write office documents, and many other things with the once single-purpose device.

Originally written for Mio brand devices, it has been successfully used on a couple other brands. We’ve seen it on a Navigon 2100 using a modified install. This software can run directly off the SD card, so it can easily be updated or removed.

The fun part is fiddling with the scripts to get the newest releases to work on the Navigon and Magellan devices.

DIY kidney machine saves girl


When the tool you need doesn’t exist, you must make one. That’s exactly what [Dr. Malcolm Coulthard] and kidney nurse [Jean Crosier] from Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary did two years ago.

When a baby too small for the regular dialysis machine (similar to the one pictured above) needed help after her kidneys failed, the kind doctor designed and built a smaller version of the machine in his garage, then used it to save six-pound baby Millie Kelly’s life. Since then the machine has continued to be used in similar emergency situations.

[Photo: NomadicEntrepreneur]

How-To: The Hacker’s Soldering Station


A good soldering station and fume extractor is a must for anyone interested in hacking and modding, but not everyone can afford the expensive professional models on the market. This How-To and the tips within it will guide you through the process of building an inexpensive homebrew fume hood complete with built-in time and temperature controlled soldering station and all the soldering tools you need.

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Magnetic stripe card spoofer


After building a USB magnetic stripe reader, [David Cranor] has found a way to fool a magnetic stripe reader using a hand-wound electromagnet and an iPod. The data on a card is read and stored on a computer, then encoded as a WAV file using a C++ program. The iPod plays the WAV file with the data through a single-stage opamp amplifier connected to the headphone jack. The amplifier is used to drive the electromagnet. Video embedded after the jump.

By no means is this a new idea. There have been a lot of magnetic stripe projects and software. This project in particular references the 1992 Phrack article “A Day in the Life of a Flux reversal” by [Count Zero].

Don’t get your hopes up just yet on strolling through high security installations using this little device. It can only replay the data from a card that has been recorded. If you don’t have a known working card, it won’t get you very far.

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Make: television

Make Magazine, famous for the Maker Faire, among other things, has announced a new project called Make: television. The show will be coming to public television stations throughout the USA starting early 2009. The big news is that you can submit 2 minute long videos of your projects to be included in the show’s Maker Channel segment. The bigger news is that if your video is selected, they’ll send you a $50 gift certificate from the Maker Shed and a free year of Make Magazine.