Build Your Swarm: Control Cockroaches for Under $30!

Have you ever wanted to control an army of cockroaches? We’ve all seen remote control cockroaches before — and they really are quite a fascinating specimen to work with — but did you know you can control one for about $30 worth of components, with a Arduino Micro?

It’s actually pretty simple. By stimulating a cockroaches antenna with variable frequencies (to mimic neural signals) you can convince the cockroach that they’ve hit a wall and should turn the other way. What results is a remote-controlled roach. How cool is that!

Continue reading “Build Your Swarm: Control Cockroaches for Under $30!”

Vacuum? No, Tonight We Go To War Against the Dust Mite

For those of us lucky enough to own a Roomba, it makes taking care of dust in your house a breeze — but it could be better. Which is why [Marcel] spent his weekend upgrading his Roomba — or should we say, Doomba.

He started out with modest intentions. What’s stopping his Roomba from going a bit faster? He was pretty sure he could crank up the output a little bit. Donning his white lab coat and safety glasses, he set out do upgrade this little bot into something much more formidable.

Continue reading “Vacuum? No, Tonight We Go To War Against the Dust Mite”

Ford Explorer Lives again as a Jurassic Truck

After Jurassic World came out and interest in Jurassic Park took off, [Voicey] decided he just had to make his very own Jurassic Park tour vehicle. Only problem? He lives in the UK and Ford Explorers aren’t exactly common there.

Wanting to keep it as movie-accurate as possible, he knew he had to get a first generation Explorer, and luckily, he managed to find one on an American car Facebook page. He bought it and got to work.

The first step was building custom bumper and brush guards, which he re-purposed from a Land Rover. Then he had a lot of painting to do. A lot.

Continue reading “Ford Explorer Lives again as a Jurassic Truck”

Conductive Concrete Melts Snow and Ice

Winter sucks. Ice sucks. Shoveling sucks. What if roads, or your driveway, could get rid of snow and ice by themselves? (…with the help of our friend, the electron.)

A few days ago we shared a project about building an epic snow-melting system right into your driveway. But for obvious reasons, it’s not that easy to do — or cheap. But [Chris Tuan], an engineering professor at the University of Nebraska thinks he can change that.

He’s created his own special formula for conductive concrete. Which means you can turn the concrete into a resistive heat load. And this isn’t just a university research project that is going nowhere; it’s actually being trialed by the FAA for use in airports . There is a patch of it in Omaha undergoing testing right now.

And it’s actually not that complex. It consists of a mixture of 20% steel shavings and carbon particles, in a regular run-of-the-mill concrete. Apparently, this is enough to cause the entire patch of concrete to become conductive, meaning if you pump enough juice through it — it’d definitely melt some ice on top.

[Thanks Michael!]

Robot Solves Rubik’s Cube in just One Second

Some of the fastest Rubik’s cube solvers in the world have gotten down to a five second solve — which is quite an incredible feat for a human — but how about one second? Well, [Jay Flatland] and [Paul Rose] just built a robot that can do exactly that.

The robot uses four USB webcams, six stepper motors, and a 3D printed frame. The only modification to the Rubik’s cube are some holes drilled in the center pieces to allow the stepper motors to grip onto them with 3D printed attachments.

The software is running off a Linux machine which feeds the data into a Rubik’s cube algorithm for solving. In approximately one second — the cube is solved.

Continue reading “Robot Solves Rubik’s Cube in just One Second”

Turning a Lapdock into a Laptop with the Pi Zero

Do you remember the Motorola Lapdock 100? It was a CPU-less laptop designed for plugging in your smartphone that enabled you to use your phone as a computer! Perhaps a bit ahead of its time, they never really caught on — but now you can buy them pretty cheap, and with the release of the Raspberry Pi Zero, it was only a matter of time before someone combined the two.

The Lapdock 100 has long been a useful accessory for the Raspberry Pi, but until the Zero came out, it was always a messy bundle of wires running to and from the devices, making it a less than ideal solution. The Zero changes everything. [Ax0n] knew he had to try combining the two.

Continue reading “Turning a Lapdock into a Laptop with the Pi Zero”

Stop Driving Laser Cutters with 3D Printer Software!

Laser cutters are fantastic pieces of equipment, and thanks to open-source improvements in recent years, are getting even cheaper to make. It can be as simple as throwing a high-powered laser diode onto the head of your 3D printer! With so many home-brew designs out there, wouldn’t it be nice if there was some all-encompassing open-source, laser-cutter controller software? Well, as it turns out — there is, and it’s called LaserWeb.

What started as a simple personal project by [Peter van der Walt] has recently grown into a very formidable piece of software with over 10 contributors in just three months. It even supports four different firmwares, from grbl, to smoothieware, marlin and even lasaurgrbl!

It’s designed to support home-made laser cutters, diode based laser engravers, and even converted Chinese laser cutters. With built-in CAM for PolyLine DXF, and SVG, it can even create rasters from images. Stick around after the break to see a quick video demo — we’re going to have to try this out!

Continue reading “Stop Driving Laser Cutters with 3D Printer Software!”