ReWalk suit for paraplegics


We here at Hack a Day are really interested in power suits, so the ReWalk suit for paraplegics immediately caught our attention. By using unique robotic control algorithms, the suit works with the user rather than for the user. This allows the user to experience the sensation of walking autonomously and a chance at a normal life. Argo, the design company, also claims that a suit like this will end up saving the user money considering the high price of medical and transportation equipment. The core design is not entirely new. It has a batterypack and DC motors placed at the joints. The wearer uses crutches and the sensors and software monitor upper body movement to predict when and where the user wants to move their leg.

[via Medgadget]

Hackit: Designing a web tablet for $200


TechCrunch is asking its readers to help them design a web tablet costing just under $200. They claim that there does not yet exist a cheap and usable web tablet designed for things like browsing, web conferencing, mail, chat, and VoIP. Here are some of the specs they are asking for:

  • thin as possible
  • touch screen (except for power button)
  • WiFi
  • video camera and low-end speakers
  • 4 Gigabyte hard drive
  • 1/2 Gigabyte of RAM
  • Linux and Firefox (in kiosk mode)
  • no desktop interface

We are not completely sure that this device does not exist in some form. Tablets have been around for a while and many cover most of these features. Consider the Nokia N800 or the Pepper Pad.

We also think the TechCrunch readers, who generally concern themselves with what they can buy rather than what they can make, are not really the best crowd for this job. Considering our reader’s abilities to do things on the cheap, we thought we would pose the question ourselves with our own spin. What old and cheap hardware could you re-purpose to create this product?

Exposing and photographing silicon

Have you ever wanted to break open your IC and see where those pins really go? [nico] goes through his process of dissolving ICs to their core and photographing the tiny die. The technique involves liquefying the package in sulfuric acid until all the packaging material and pins are gone. He even explains how to use sodium bicarbonate (common baking soda) to neutralize the solution thus allowing for simple sink disposal. Although silicon hacking is generally done by funded hackers with a really nice lab, it is certainly possible to execute some of these techniques with limited equipment and chemical access. For instance, if you can’t get sulfuric acid, send your IC off to a failure analysis lab like MEFAS. For more information and stories on silicon hacking, check out [Chris Tarnovsky]‘s process for hacking smartcards and [bunnie]‘s talk Hacking silicon: secrets behind the epoxy curtain.

ATmega88 webserver

If you are an Atmel fan, you may enjoy this webserver built around the ATmega88. Since it has full TCP and HTTP support, communication can be done using a standard web browser on any system. We also noticed that the code uses AVR Libc and the processor can be replaced with an ATmega168, both used on the Arduino platform. Honestly, we think the most interesting part about this project is the firmware. The author has assumed that the webserver will only be sending one packet per request and the code is optimized for this setup. This leaves around 50% of the memory for the web application.

[via YourITronics]

DeepNote Guitar Hero bot


A team of five high school seniors have released some videos of their new Guitar Hero bot named DeepNote. This bot uses a group of custom photodiode modules with an 8 nanosecond latency placed on the screen to sense the notes. The Parallax Propeller system takes this input and controls solid state relays hooked into the guitar’s circuitry. After we looked at a few videos of the early prototype system, we could really see how it has evolved. They have custom PCBs and a really nice frame for the photodiode sensors. You can find more info on their How It Works page and view a demo video embedded below.

[Read more...]

Modifying a servo for continuous rotation

[robomaniac] shows us how to modify a standard servo to allow continuous rotation. This is a classic robotics hack and has been around for a while, but we really like the way he put this together. Although you may need some soldering and desoldering tools to open the servo up, the hack is a physical one. All you really need to do is cut off a plastic tab on one of the gears. If you want to see an example of a bot you can build with one of these CR servos, he just posted this one motor walker.

Music and visual arts at The Last HOPE

[Peter Kirn] from Create Digital Music has an article up highlighting many of the great music and visual performance pieces planned for The Last HOPE on Friday night. If you are around New York and not accustomed to hacking conferences, this could be a great excuse to go check it out. Here are some of our favorite projects.

[Read more...]

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