Woot How-to: Let there be Light! (for your Rovio)

Before we get into the how-to, we felt it would be appropriate to explain a little bit about how this came to be. As many of you may remember, a couple of months ago we attended CES 2010. While there, we also attended the It Won’t Stay in Vegas Blogger party and ended up meeting the guys from Woot. After all of us spent a little bit of time appreciating the open bar, a group of us stood ended up standing around and talking shop for a while. All of a sudden, a member of our group, Jeremy Grosser, proposed the idea that Hackaday and Woot form a partnership. Basically, they would give us a heads up on what they are going to sell and we would write up a how-to on how to do something cool or useful with that product. Then, when the day came for Woot to sell the product, we would post our how-to. What you are reading right now just so happens to be that idea in action, the first official partnership between Hackaday and Woot. In this how-to, we’ll be taking apart the Wowwee Rovio mobile webcam robot, adding some super-bright LEDs for better see-in-the-dark action, and see how some software called RoboRealm can give it a little bit of artificial intelligence.

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CES: Caleb gets Tased


As were wandering around South Hall, we just so happened to stumble upon Taser International‘s booth. Being the adventurous guy that he is, [Caleb] decided to volunteer to get tased. Not being able to pass up such a great opportunity, we instantly broke out our cameras and recorded the video above. Enjoy, we know we sure did.

CES: Meet the Mini Hexapodinno


While we were browsing around the show floor, we saw a pretty cool little robot called the Mini Hexapodinno. As the name suggests, it’s a hexapod robot that utilizes sonar and can be programmed using BASIC. Although its not as cool as some of the other robots that we’ve seen, we still have a special place in our hearts for hexapods.

SparkFun’s Free Day is nearly upon us…

As I’m sure many of you already now, today is January 7th. While that might not have any real significance normally, today this means that our favorite hobby supplier, SparkFun, is giving away up to $100,000 of electronic goodness. We know we have our shopping carts filled to the brim, and we’re sure that most of you do too. With the start of Free Day being roughly 10 minutes away, we recommend that everyone man their shopping carts…. This should be interesting…

MindFlex teardown

MindFlex
Maybe we’re just imagining things, but it seems to us like brainwave control is the latest trend in toys. Similar to Uncle Milton’s Force Trainer, Mattel has recently released the MindFlex, a game that involves moving a plastic ball up and down through an obstacle course that you control using your brainwaves. Naturally when [Alpha] saw this, he decided to take it apart and document what he found. After disassembling both the headset and the base, he found that most of the chips were covered in black resin making them unidentifiable. However, he was able to find identify one chip, the NeuroSky TGAT1-L64 D498Q-010 0924. Judging by the name alone, we would guess that this is the chip that makes the brainwave control possible. While there’s no mention as to whether you’ll be able to interface with this like you can with the Force Trainer, we’re sure that it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out how to use this to control more than just a floating plastic ball.

CBS to advertise using Video-in-Print technology


In what seems like another move to blur the line between digital and print media, CBS has announced that they will be introducing something called Video-in-Print technology in next month’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Video-in-Print, or ViP, technology consists of a small LCD screen and circuit board that can be inserted into print media and play video and audio content. CBS is using the ViP technology to promote their fall prime-time television lineup. Video-in-Print technology is the brainchild of Americhip, a company that claims to specialize in multisensory marketing. The ViP player in next month’s issue of Entertainment Weekly incorporates a 320×240 resolution TFT LCD screen and a rechargeable battery lasting 50-60 hours. The battery can be recharged via the player’s on-board mini USB port. While this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a magazine do something like this, as far as we know this is the first time that anyone has put a video player into a magazine. That being said, there seems to be no indication whether or not CBS will make it easy for us to modify the ViP player’s software like Esquire did with their e-ink display. We’re not entirely sure what we’re going to do with the ViP player, but the fact that it has a mini USB port gives us some interesting ideas. Juicebox, anyone?

Adafruit releases new TV-B-Gone kit

TV-B-Gone
Recently, our friends over at Adafruit released a new version of their popular TV-B-Gone kit. Built in cooperation with [Mitch Altman], the inventor of the TV-B-Gone, the new kit sports four high power IR LEDs, two wide beam and two narrow beam. The four LEDs give the new TV-B-Gone increased range, with a maximum distance of over 150ft. One of the most impressive features of the kit is the fact that the new TV-B-Gone is universal and can now work in Europe and Asia in addition to the US. Users are able to select which region they want to use during the build process by soldering a resistor into the board at their region’s corresponding spot as seen in the picture above. The new TV-B-Gone kit is now available in the Adafruit store for $19.95 plus shipping.

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