Auto-Balancing Gimbal Keeps your Coffee from Spilling

Using a Gimbal to Balance Your Coffee

[Joe] works in one of those fancy offices that has some… unique furniture. Including a swinging boardroom table. See where we’re going with this? [Joe] made his own coffee cup gimbal.

The gimbal itself is made out of solid steel, welded together for maximum durability. He first built it out of plastic to test the concept, but then quickly moved to the all-metal solution. It’s a 2-axis gimbal featuring very powerful brushless DC motors, capable of balancing even a light-weight DSLR — however we think balancing a coffee cup is much more entertaining. It does this with ease, even when sitting on the treacherous swinging boardroom table (of DOOM).

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Controlling a Point and Shoot With Bluetooth

phoneLoading point and shoot digital cameras is old hat around here, but [Alex] and [Andreas] are taking it to the next level. They’ve made a Bluetooth controller for a cheap Canon camera, allowing pictures to be taken with an iPhone or Android device.

The camera in question is a Canon IXUS70, although any camera supported by CHDK will work. We’ve seen a few builds using this firmware to take pictures of the sunrise every day and transmitting images over a radio link, but this build is far more interactive.

The camera is connected to an Arduino and Bluetooth shield with a hacked up USB cable. The ‘duino communicates with a phone using a JQuery app, giving any phone with a Bluetooth module control of the camera’s zoom and shutter.

All the code is available on the github, with a very good video demonstration of the build available below.

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The FrankenCamera: Digitizing Old School Film into Something New

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After being awarded a generous sum of money from a scholarship fund, [Ollie] decided to utilize some of the cash to convert an analog camera into a device that could store photos onto an SD card. The result was this FrankenCamera that was pieced together from multiple electronic parts to create a new photograph-taking machine.

The Konica Auto S3 rangefinder was chosen due to its stellar fixed 38mm f1.8 lens and unobtrusive internal leaf shutter. A Sony NEX-5 was dismantled and the components were removed and transplanted into the Konica Auto S3. This included a circuit board, SD card slot, and battery connector.

The housing for the electronics was 3D printed from CAD files that were developed in SolidWorks. Designs were sent to a company in London who did the actual SLS printing.

Once completed, the camera operated just like any digital camera, but with the added twist of knowing that it was created from an old school camera frame with new electronic parts, making it a nice hacked together work of functional art.

Videos of the working FrankenCamera can be seen below:

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Rotating Plants for Time-Lapse Purposes

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Automating the growing process of plants and vegetables is an increasing trend among gardening enthusiasts and hobbyists. It’s no surprise, either, with microcontrollers, moisture sensors, Co2 detectors, and even time-lapse cameras with rotating wooden rigs that are in the hands of millions of amateur gardeners around the world.

This project by [Liz] helps to document the sprouting process of her tiny grapefruit bonsai tree that started to flourish at her apartment in Chicago.

Similar rigs can be used for practically any type of indoor plant. They can also be modified to move the plants and vegetables depending on how much light they are getting. Even further, just add some code to splice the photographs together and you’ve got yourself a custom setup that can produce animated GIF files to be uploaded easily to the internet. Pages and pages of happy and healthy growing plants unearthing themselves from the ground up would be pasted all over the web showing the entire sprouting process. An example video of this by [Liz] is embedded below.

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Building the World’s Smallest Thermal Camera

worlds smallest thermal imaging camera

[Mike Harrison], the mastermind behind electricstuff.co.uk has just finished reverse engineering the Lepton module found in thermal imaging cameras — he then created his own, and perhaps the world’s smallest thermal camera.

He took apart the Flir One iPhone thermal imaging unit and pulled out the magical part that makes it all possible — the Lepton module. It only has a resolution of 80×60 pixels, but in the world of thermal imaging, it’s pretty decent. You can buy it for $250 (for the module) in order quantities of 1000 straight from Flir.

His blog has all the details about figuring out how to interface with the module, and it is really quite impressive. Once he had it all understood he set out to build it into a small thermal camera. The case is machined out of black acrylic, and an iPod nano screen is used as the display, as 80×60 scales up nicely to the 320×240 resolution of the iPod. A home-brew PCB connects to the module, has a voltage regulator and charging circuit for the lithium ion battery — which is then connected to a prototype iPod nano PCB with some of the features removed — he says it was a nightmare connecting it all, and we don’t blame him, that’s some serious hacking skill!

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WiFi Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Camera

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Adafruit has a tutorial on their site that shows how to fashion together a cloud-connected, point-and-shoot camera. The best part of this project is that it can be customized to the heart’s content, unlike traditional digital cameras or smartphones. The integrated touchscreen and open-source computing allows for Instagram-like filters that can be scrolled through easily. No case is needed, but a 3D printed one can be attached for a more polished outcome.

The backup system of this Raspberry Pi-enabled device connects wirelessly to the internet and uploads the photos through the use of a Dropbox API. This functionality is great for syncing the camera to a cloud based server which then can be turned into a makeshift picture database for a website. The camera might be good for recording timelapse photography as well where a program could automatically create GIFs from the backup photos. It doesn’t seem like it would be hard to make either, especially because Adafruit pretty much always provides great documentation. Their videos are usually good too. The one posted below is relatively short, but provides enough information to see how it works.

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Hands Free Recording – Looks Silly but is Super Effective

Video goggles

While most hackers probably like to claim they’re good at everything, no one is good at filming one-handed. Setting up a tripod and adjusting it every shot can be tedious — wouldn’t it be great if you could just film what you see?

That’s what inspired [Hans de Bruin] to make these camera goggles. He’s using those big old school safety glasses that you can remove the glass lenses from. From there he traced the outline and 3D printed an adapter that would fit snugly in the glasses while holding up a video camera — He’s using a Chinese version of the GoPro called the SJ4000, but it should fit a real one too.

But wait, you’ll get a headache staring into one pixeley LCD screen! [Hans] also added a biconvex optical lens between his eye and the camera – it’s the same kind used in Google’s Cardboard VR kit.

Sound like a tool you could use? Head on over to Thingiverse to grab the files and print it out!

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