Upgraded Nerf Gun Keeps Track of your Ammo

dartgun

[Paul] and his buddy [Jonathan] recently had a zombie themed Larp event to go to, so in the spirit of making the experience more realistic, they decided to upgrade their Nerf N-Strike Stryfe gun.

They started by cracking open the gun and making note of the available space for a few bells and whistles. Luckily, thanks to traditional plastic injection molding practices — there’s lots of room!

Upgrades include a magazine sensor, a jam sensor, a trigger sensor and a voltmeter to make the gun a little bit smarter. A knockoff Arduino Pro Mini takes in all these inputs and outputs it to a 7-segment LED display for easy visibility. Our favorite part is the ammo sensor, which keeps a tally of how many shots you’ve used. It’s simply an IR photo-diode and IR transistor in a Darlington configuration, connected to the GPIO interrupt pin on the fake Arduino.

[Read more...]

The Crane Game, Oculus Style

crane We’re pretty sure the Hackaday demographic is a a person who sees a giant tower crane lifting beams and girders above a skyline and says, “that would be fun, at least until I have to go to the bathroom.” Realizing the people who own these cranes probably won’t let any regular joe off the street into the cabin, [Thomas] and [screen Name] (see, this is why we have brackets, kids) built their own miniature version with an Oculus Rift.

Instead of a crane that is hundreds of feet tall, the guys are using a much smaller version, just over a meter tall, that is remotely controlled through a computer via a serial connection. Just below the small plastic cab is a board with two wide-angle webcams. The video from these cameras are sent to the Oculus so the operator can see the boom swinging around, and the winch unwinding to pick up small objects.

The guys have also added a little bit of OpenCV to add color based object detection. This is somewhat useful, but there’s also an approximation of the distance to an object, something that would be very useful if you don’t have a three-inch tall spotter on the ground.

Video below.

[Read more...]

Making a Nitinol Wire Inchworm

nitinol_wire_inchworm_shape_memory_alloy_anim

[Steven's] at it again with another cool science experiment that isn’t too difficult to do. This time he’s made himself a Nitinol wire inchworm, which actually moves across the table when you apply a switching electrical current to it!

Nitinol is a shape memory alloy which has a cool property that causes it to retain (and return to) a preset shape when heat (or electricity!) is applied. It’s actually quite simple — he’s wrapped the Nitinol wire tightly around a nail, and then heated it to set it to a coiled shape. Now the Nitinol spring can be stretched out flat, but as soon as it is heated, it will attempt to return to its coiled state!

Using some balsa wood and a few other odds and ends he’s taken advantage of this memory effect to make an electric inchworm — check it out after the break!

[Read more...]

Tennis Ball Launcher Has Puppies Running the 100m Dash

Launching Tennis Balls with Ease

[Brian] from 24 Hour Engineer has a friend with arthritis who can’t easily play ball with his new puppy — so [Brian] stepped in and built him this awesome tennis ball launcher.

You see, most tennis ball launchers require a solid flick of the wrist, and since just plain old throwing it is out of the question too, [Brian] had to make him something powerful and easy to use. After sketching out some designs he came up with the basic concept that eventually became what is pictured above.

The frame is made of 2″ PVC pipe, which serves two purposes, support, and safety. The bungee cord launching system is actually contained within the pipe, keeping it out of the way, and free from catching on anything during firing. A pair of pulleys mounted at the cord opening ensure the cord doesn’t wear out.

What we really like is the trigger mechanism [Brian] made out of some carefully cut wood,  a steel corner brace and a few nuts and bolts. It’s a simple mechanism that provides leverage and an easy way to release the bungee cord.  [Read more...]

[Lenore] Eviscerates Her Racing Snail

 

You may have walked past [Lenore's] unassuming card table at Maker Faire this year. But we’re really glad we stopped for a little chat. She went so far as to pull the working parts out of her racing snail to show them to us!

Wait, wait… racing snail? Yeah, this is a pretty neat one from a few years ago. The snail is a relatively large version of a bristlebot (incidentally, we believe bristlebots were originated by EMSL). The thing that’s missing here are the bristles. Instead of using a scrub-brush for this large version, [Lenore] discovered that velvet has a somewhat uni-directional grain. But using a piece of mouse-pad cut to the same footprint as the velvet she was able to get the flat-footed snail to move in a forward direction purely through the jiggle of a vibrating motor.

If this sparked your interest there are tons of other bristlebot variations to be found around here. One of our favorites is still this abomination which shifts weight to add steering.

Wall-Mounted Chess Set Lets You Stand and Play

wall mounted chess

Artwork on the wall is nice and all, but don’t you get bored with it sometimes? What if you could interact with it! That’s just what the [Artless Dodger] decided to do with this old  Fidelity Chess Challenger he converted to a wall-playable chess set!

The old Fidelity Chess Challenger is a fun electronic chess set that works by operating on press input. Simply move your piece, press down on its new square and then the computer knows where the piece is. The system is just begging to be hacked into a new form factor.

He’s built the new board from scratch using MDF, and then coated it with faux leather vinyl to give it a more polished look. He’s upgraded all the switches to momentary button switches and then re-soldered all of the connections. This was a bit of a challenge seeing as the original buttons looked like this:

[Read more...]

Plug and Play Portable Console Saves Space So You Don’t Have To!

Plug and Play console

Remember all those fun plug and play consoles they used to make? Usually just one offs with a few games here and there, typically designed to get poor old grandmothers to try buying them instead of the official Nintendo or SEGA systems for their grandchildren…

Anyway, some of the games were actually pretty good! But who wants to store a system for every individual game? [Sharon] decided to make the ultimate portable console — and jammed every plug and play console… into cartridges for safe keeping!

Wait what? [Sharon] took 12 of the plug and play consoles, hacked them to pieces, and managed to stuff the guts into custom game cartridges she made herself. She then made the HandyPNP, a “base console” with buttons and controls, video output and an LCD screen. She meticulously mapped out every consoles’ controls, and wired them accordingly, so when you plug the cartridge into the HandyPNP, it’s like your playing the original system.

It’s probably one of the most impressive handheld console hacks we’ve seen in a while, just considering the amount of work required to convert one console, let alone 12, to a standard connection for the HandyPNP to communicate with. Stick around after the break to hear [Sharon] explain the project herself!

[Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 98,361 other followers