66% or better

Girl decides to restore a car in time for her 16th birthday

When, born hacker, [Kathryn] was 12, she approached her parents with an interesting proposition; she wanted to restore a Pontiac Fiero before her 16th birthday. So, using her babysitting money, parental guidance, and an enviable attitude, she has set out to do just that. The build log linked above is  incomplete as she has not yet reached 16, but is a very good read. Lots of build logs gloss over some of the more basic steps because they’ve done this a time or two. It’s fun to learn along with [Kathryn] as she and her dad work all the way from upholstery and painting to grinding and welding wheel wells.  It seems this project has acquired quite a fan base over the past few months, us included, and even a 3M sponsorship. We look forward to seeing what [Kathryn] does next. It looks like some engine work, along with a lot more welding.

Didn’t [Jeri Ellsworth] have a history of building cars too?

Hacked ARM dev board gives you two for the price of one!

[Matt Evans] took a closer look at the popular (and cheap) STM32F0 Discovery development board and realized he could get a second board out of the deal.

The Discovery board is designed to advertise ST Microntroller’s STM32F0 microchip; which with 8k RAM, 64K Flash, a bunch of peripherals,  48MHz clock, and a low price is a great chip. Though, they needed a way to program the STM32F0. To do this they added a second, more powerful, chip to the board as an interface. The STM32F103, with 20k RAM, 64K flash, and a 72MHz clock speed. [Matt] summoned genius, and simply sawed the board in half using a hacksaw.

Of course the caveat to all this is that you need a working Discovery board, or at least a working ST-LINK programmer, at the end of the day, to get any use out of your creation. Since the boards are so cheap though, it shouldn’t be a problem to buy two.

Real Life Subtitle Glasses

[Will Powell] sent in his real-time subtitle glasses project. Inspired by the ever cool Google Project Glass, he decided he would experiment with his own version.

He used two Raspberry Pi’s running Debian squeeze, vuzix glasses, microphones, a tv, ipad, and iphone as the hardware components. The flow of data is kind of strange in this project. The audio first gets picked up by a bluetooth microphone and streamed through a smart device to a server on the network. Once it’s on the server it gets parsed through Microsoft’s translation API. After that the translated message is sent back to a Raspberry Pi where it’s displayed as subtitles on the glasses.

Of course this is far from a universal translation device as seen in Star Trek. The person being translated has to talk clearly into a microphone, and there is a huge layer of complexity. Though, as far as tech demos go it is pretty cool and you can see him playing a game of chess using the system after the break.

[Read more...]

Defense Against the Dog Arts

It’s possible that it was [Matt Meerian]‘s awesome pun that won us over, not his ultrasonic bicycle dog defense system, but that would be silly. [Matt] wanted an elegant solution to a common problem when riding a bicycle, dogs. While, obscenities, ammonia, water, pepper spray, and others were suggested, they all had cons that just didn’t appeal to [Matt]. He liked the idea of using C02 powered high pressure sound waves to chase the dogs away with, but decided to choose a more electronic approach.  He used a Atmel ATmega644 as the MCU, four 25kHz transmitters, and two 40kHz transmitters. When the rider sees a dog he simply flips a switch and it activates the transducers (along with, cleverly, a human audible horn so he doesn’t have to look down to know it’s working). So far [Matt] has not had a dog chase him in order to test it’s efficacy, but his cat clearly seems unaffected by the device as you can see after the break. [Read more...]

Small RC Car, Full Size Controller

[Noah Farrington] sent in his latest hack over at his intensely interesting blog; converting a racing wheel arcade controller to a remote control for his RC car. He picked up the arcade controller for free, and decided it would be much cooler to control an RC car he had handy with it. He elected not to use an Arduino for this project *gasp* ,and do it all with hard logic. He did, however, use the Arduino in the design process *phew* in order to figure out the working of the RC control board. The final board is pretty simple compared to the Arduino solution, a few op-amps, a voltage regulator, and some passive components. Not bad at all for what [Noah] claims is one of his first big projects. Maybe he’ll post a video of it in action some time soon.

DMG Lib: Digital Mechanism and Gear Library

Reader, [klemens], suggested DMG Lib to us when we posted about a similar site. DMG-Lib is an amazing source of information. It’s primary downside is that a great portion of the text is in a language other than English, though in some ways this is a plus. Latin, Italian, German, and many other languages held the position of being the chief scientific language of the world long before English, and this repository holds entire books about mechanisms in those languages. Some of the books range all the way back to the 1500s. The mechanism animations are very good on this site and play smoothly. While it’s a little harder to search than KMODDL due to the language oddities, it’s still an extremely useful and interesting site to add to the hacker’s information toolbox.

KMODDL: A mechanism maker’s dream site.

Computers are relatively new still, but we’ve had mechanics for a very long time. KMODDL  keeps us from reinventing the wheel. It contains collections of mechanisms with descriptions, pictures, and even videos. We were working on a arbalest design not too long ago, and we were having trouble coming up with a clever ratchet design for one of the parts. We spent a few moments in KMODDL looking through the ratchet section of the Reuleaux collection, and  soon after we had the basic building blocks of our design. Sure there are books you could buy that do a similar thing, but KMODDL is completely free, very in depth, and easier to search. Plus, with a useful tool like this you might not even have to take apart all your appliances anymore to see how they work. My first sewing machine might have lived a longer life had I seen this first. Anyone know of more resources like this?