Happy Meal Hack Produces a Google Cardboard Test

Ever since Google Cardboard came out, [Julian Jackson] had been meaning to give it a shot. Affordable virtual reality? Who wouldn’t! But, he never got around to it — until one day he was sitting in McDonald’s with his son, explaining to him how the latest Happy Meal toy worked — it was a pair of penguin binoculars.

Fast forward past Thanksgiving and Black Friday and [Julian’s] son had completely forgotten about the McDonald’s toy in all the excitement, so [Julian] asked if he could have it. His son was mildly confused, but curious also, so he let his dad take his toy.

After attempting to dismantle it with a screw driver to get at the lenses, [Julian] carefully calculated the best place to simply break it without damaging them. With the precision of a heart surgeon he swung back his trusty hammer…  Continue reading “Happy Meal Hack Produces a Google Cardboard Test”

Geopolymer Concrete, Perfecting Roman Technology Today

For all the things Romans got wrong (lead pipes anyone?) did you know we’re still using a less advanced concrete than they did? Consider some of the massive structures in Rome that have passed the test of time, lasting for more than 2000 years. The typical concrete that we use in construction starts to degrade after only 50 years.

Researchers at Berkeley think they’ve finally figured it out with thanks to a sample that was removed from the Pozzuoli Bay near Naples, Italy. This could vastly improve the durability of modern concrete, and even reduce the carbon footprint from making it. The downside is a longer curing time, and resource allocation — it wouldn’t be possible to completely replace modern cement due to the limited supply of fly ash (an industrial waste product produced by burning coal). Their research can be found in a few articles, however they are both behind pay walls.

Lucky for us, and the open source community at large, someone from MIT has also been working on perfecting the formula — and he’s shared his results thus far.

So, who wants to give it a shot? Any material scientists in our midst?

Yet Another Awesome Working Prototype of a PipBoy 3000

When we’re not busy writing up features on Hack a Day, some of the writers here have some pretty impressive projects on the go. One of our own, [Will Sweatman], just put the finishing touches on this amazing (and functional!) Pipboy 3000!

The funny thing is, [Will] here isn’t actually a very big gamer. In fact, he hasn’t even played Fallout. But when a friend queried his ability to build this so called “PipBoy 3000″, [Will] was intrigued.

His research lead him full circle, right back to here at Hack a Day. We’ve covered several PipBoy builds over the years, and [Will] fell in love with [Dragonator’s] 3D printed version — it was the perfect place to start. You see, [Dragonator] shared all the 3D models on his personal site!

Now this is where it starts to get cool. [Will] is using a 4D systems 4.3″ touch display, which doubles as the microprocessor — in fact, he didn’t even have to write a single line of code to program in it! The hardware can be programmed using the free Workshop 4 IDE, which allows him to use a visual editor to program the device. Watching a YouTube video on the Fallout 3 PipBoy, he was able to recreate all the menus with intricate detail to load onto the device. It even has GPIO which allow him to use buttons to navigate the menus (in addition to the touch screen stylus).

Continue reading “Yet Another Awesome Working Prototype of a PipBoy 3000″

Flying Wing Project uses 3D Printing to Reach New Heights

A team of engineers from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield have just put the finishing touches on their 3D printed Flying Wing with electric ducted fan engines — a mini electric jet so to speak.

Earlier this year they had created a completely 3D printed fixed wing UAV, which the new Flying Wing is based off of. Designed specifically for the FDM process, they were able to optimize the design so that all parts could be printed out in 24 hours flat using ABS plastic.

The new design also almost exclusively uses FDM technology — however the wings are molded carbon fibre… using a 3D printed mold of course!  The original glider weighed 2kg, and with the upgrades to the design, the Flying Wing weighs 3.5kg, with speed capabilities of around 45mph.

Continue reading “Flying Wing Project uses 3D Printing to Reach New Heights”

8×8 LED Arrays Make for one Creepy Animated Pumpkin

[Michal Janyst] wrote in to tell us about a little project he made for his nephew in preparation for Halloween – a jack-o-lantern with facial expressions.

Pumpkin Eyes uses two MAX7219 LED arrays, an Arduino nano, and a USB power supply. Yeah, it’s pretty simple — but after watching the video you’ll probably want to make one too. It’s just so cute! Or creepy. We can’t decide. He’s also thrown up the code on GitHub for those interested.

Of course, if you want a bit more of an advanced project you could make a Tetris jack-o-lantern, featuring a whopping 8×16 array of LEDs embedded directly into the pumpkin… or if you’re a Halloween purist and believe electronics have no place in a pumpkin, the least you could do is make your jack-o-lantern breath fire.

Continue reading “8×8 LED Arrays Make for one Creepy Animated Pumpkin”

The Proto BuildBar is Exactly What it Sounds Like, and it Sounds Awesome

People of Dayton, Ohio have a new reason to get excited with the opening of what is perhaps the world’s first Bar/Makerspace.

Called the Proto BuildBar, it’s kind of a cross between a 3D printing lab, a makerspace, and a cafe. Hang out, drink, eat, 3D print — sounds like most hacker spaces we’ve been to, but this might just be the first one with a cafe being it’s main business model!

The World's Largest Claw Game?

It’s even home to the World’s Largest Claw game, or so they claim.

It has just opened, with a recent press event on Thursday, which was covered by a local news blog. While Dayton has long since been called a technology hub (what with Boeing and other high tech companies in the area), opening the Proto Buildbar is hoped to bring new life to the surrounding area!

For more information on Proto BuildBar (including hours of operation), you can check it out on Facebook.

[Thanks Load.Nikon!]

Star Gate LED Clock Has Plenty of Pizazz

[David Hopkins] has finally finished off his Star Gate LED clock over on Hackaday.io and it looks fantastic.

We originally featured his progress with the project in Hacklet 18 – Tick Tock, it’s Time for Clocks, and we’re happy to say it’s finally complete. The clock features 60 WS2812 LEDs to simulate the Star Gate’s chevrons — and to tell the time. Under the hood is an RTC, an Arduino Nano, an LDR and even an hourly ‘chime’. Did we mention it also automatically dims at night?

What we’re almost more impressed with is the build quality, which [David] doesn’t actually mention how he did it — regardless, it looks great! Stick around after the break to see a video of it in action, so you can really appreciate the clock’s capabilities.

Continue reading “Star Gate LED Clock Has Plenty of Pizazz”