A WiFi Controlled RC Car with an IP Camera

wifi_car4

Controlling your car over WiFi is good, but mounting a webcam on it so you can actually see where you’re going is even better. [Michael] goes over how he made his wifi car with some great videos in the post about it.

The car used is a seemingly standard RC unit, which came with a speed controller that was recycled for network use. [Michael] removed the standard radio, but having this controller available kept him from having to engineer an H-bridge circuit. The radio was then replaced with a WiFi module from Sparkfun.

There were a few problems with the IP camera to begin with, as the lag was originally unbearable. After some tricks that would qualify as a good hack in itself, the camera was eventually able to perform on an acceptable level and output data to the FLTK app he used to control everything.  Check out one of his videos below of this car in action. [Read more...]

Hackerspace intro: Greenville Makers in Greenville, South Carolina

greenville-makers

If you happen to live in the Upstate of South Carolina, and your New Year’s resolution was to get involved with a hackerspace, the [Greenville Makers] are definitely worth checking out. Right now they have several projects their members are working on, including a VoIP payphone (work in progress), and of course several 3D printers and various electronics projects.

They meet at 6:00 on Mondays to discuss projects and group goals at their current location at [CoWork Greenville], and have a dedicated space to keep tools and work in progress. They’re actively recruiting new members, so if you’re a hacker, artist, or just like observing other people’s projects, you should definitely give them a look. Alternatively, you can check out their forum to introduce yourself.

Special shout out to [Chris] for getting things together originally, as well as [CoWork] for helping establish an initial space to work and meet in. We look forward to some great [HAD] material coming out of [GMG] in the future!

Nerf Sentry Gun for the Apocalypse

nerf-sentry

If you’ve ever wanted to shoot someone with a Nerf gun, but just didn’t have the energy to get off the couch, this hack may be for you. It’s also a good way to ward off zombies if another apocalypse, Mayan or otherwise, is on the horizon.

Although the effects are very cool, as seen in the video after the break, the method for making this setup was quite simple. The requirements for this project were that the gun could not be permanently modified, and everything had to fire automatically. These restrictions may have contributed to the simplicity of the design as many of us would start breaking things before we had to.

Instead of some elaborate hack, the trigger was tied back in the firing position at all times. A relay was then used to interrupt the power supply to the mechanism allowing an Arduino equipped with an infrared sensor to automatically control the firing. The setup is explained after the break, but skip to around 1:55 if you’d rather just see the guns in action. [Read more...]

244 9 Volt Batteries in Series – Arcing Ensues!

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Here’s another hack that we would definitely discourage you from trying at home, 244 9 volt batteries wired in series. There’s really not much more to it than that, but [jersagfast] takes this setup through its paces arcing through air first, a LED light second, and then a CD. The air arc is probably the most impressive, but a CD doesn’t look happy after this kind of abuse either. Around 4:38, a capacitor is abused for yet more arcing.

In theory, 244 9 volt batteries in series should be nearly 2200 volts, but as measured (in sections), it “only” came out to a “measly” 2000 volts. Still plenty of voltage to be harmful or even deadly depending on the current emitted. Passing on this hack at home is strongly encouraged. On the other hand, you should watch the video after the break to see what happens. Much safer. Arcing starts around 1:44!

[Read more...]

A Hexapod Robot Made from Scrap

radial-robot

Many if not most good hacks come from scrap or unused parts, but this hexapod robot takes it to a new level. [Helmut] wrote in to tell us about his ‘bot built from discarded electronics. As with most of the little walkers that we’ve featured here, this robot features some basic obstacle avoidance with a sensor array on the head unit.

The way the head controls this robot is really the interesting thing about this setup.Rather than send a signal to tell servo motors to walk in a certain gait, the head physically tilts in the direction that it should go. Although it’s somewhat hard to tell, it appears that a driving motor in the head assembly pushes a sort of camshaft down into the body. This is then mechanically coupled to the legs causing it to walk in the correct direction.

Be sure to check out the videos after the break, featuring narration by a computer in English, or by a human in German if you happen to sprechen sie Deutsch. [Read more...]

Raspberry Pi Hacking, Commando Style

raspberry-pi-and-notebook

If you’re lacking useful equipment for your Raspberry Pi hacking adventure, such as an HDMI monitor or power supply, this handy write-up will show you how to continue your hacking. All you’ll need is a laptop, the Raspberry Pi itself, an SD card, and an Ethernet and micro-USB cable. As noted in the article, it’s not really recommended to power the ‘Pi off of USB only, so this could potentially be a source of problems.

This hack begins by installing Linux on an SD card per this setup page, then using a Virtual Network Computing [VNC] setup to work with your Raspberry Pi. There are a few steps in between being able to do this, like setting up network sharing, and sleuthing out the IP address of the new processor, but everything is explained in detail for Mac and Linux. Windows users will have to do a bit of “sleuthing” of their own, but if you have some more information on this process, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Japanese Drumming Sensei

taiko-drum-tutor

If you’re looking to learn the art of playing Japanese drums, or Taiko, this hack, done as a school project by [Cornell] students, could be a really helpful aid. The project write-up is very impressive and includes a detailed explanation of their work, the source code, and a bill of materials if you’d like to try to duplicate this device.

The tutor device is able to tell between soft hits, hard hits, and rimshots using a piezoelectric sensor hooked up to an ATmega1284P microcontroller. This data can then be transmitted to the “follower” drum using an infrared transmitter. These beats can be used in several modes including: follow the leader, metronome, repeat after me, and drum battle mode.

Ok, maybe there’s no drum battle mode, but be sure to check out the demonstration of the Taiko teaching aid after the break.  There’s a lot of details about the build, but they start some calibration drumming around 4:00 if you’d just like to see it in action. [Read more...]

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