Robot Chameleon Teaches Little Girl About Camouflage

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[Markus] has been teaching his daughter about animals using a big old animal encyclopedia. A few days ago, they stumbled upon the chameleon, and when he tried to explain its camouflage abilities, she didn’t quite understand. So he decided to make her a pet color-changing chameleon robot. The best part is he built it during her nap!

It’s a fairly simple circuit consisting of an Arduino Uno, a TCS3200 color sensor with breakout board, a ping pong ball, some resistors, and an RGB LED. He plans on adding temperature sensing as well as a capacitive sensor for touch later on. So far, his daughter loves it and plays with it all the time. She’s starting to learn how some chameleons can change their skin color in order to camouflage — and she’s learning the names of some new colors too!

As always, there’s a demonstration video following the break.

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Decascrap: A Three Servo Decapod

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[Drewtoby] loves making robots. His latest project is a 10-legged bot called the Decascrap, which makes use of only 3 servos!

What we like most about this project is the leg mechanism [Drew] has cooked up. The legs are made of guitar picks hinged to what look like popsicle sticks. Each guitar pick has a hole punched in it which allows the servo rod to go through the legs. Strategically placed globs of hot glue on either side of each leg on the servo rod allows for the parallel motion during the actuation of the legs. A third servo tilts the bot back and forth as the legs are moved, allowing the bot to scuttle about.

Stick around after the break to see it tackle some rough terrain — well, actually it’s just a piece of uneven foam, but hey!

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Clever Mini-Matchstick Gun

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Looking for a quick fun little project you can do for next to nothing? Why not make your own matchstick/toothpick launcher!

[Grant Thompson] the [King of Random] is at it again with another fun project that anyone can do — we just hope you’re responsible with it! All you need is some clothespins, a utility knife, and some form of munition — we like the flaming matches!

By cutting a few grooves into the clothespin, gluing it back together and re-configuring the spring layout, you can make a formidable mini-gun that can shoot upwards of 20 feet. Using a pointy toothpick it will skewer innocent fruits quite effectively too!

To see it in action and to learn how to make one yourself, stick around after the break.

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LittleBits Little Lathe

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Do you need a practical, useful and fun project for a young hacker who is under your wing? How about letting them get a bit of electronics experience snapping together a LittleBits little lathe to customize their crayons. Truthfully, this isn’t much of an electronics hack, but it does make fun use of a LittleBits motor module and all those old crayons you might have lying around. You could make this a weekend project to share with the kids, plus you never know what will spark that first interest in a young engineer.

If you’re unfamiliar with LittleBits, they are small electronic modules that magnetically snap together to build larger circuits. The modules are color-coded by functionality with non-reversible magnetic connectors to help the little ones understand how to connect and integrate the modules. These LittleBits kits are great for the young beginner in electronics or just for fun at any age. Individually, the modules are quite expensive, but the parts are well worth the price because children will find the system intuitive to use and the modules are robust in the hands of careless kids. A more cost-effective purchase would be one of the kits from Adafruit.com.

In this Instructable, [maxnoble440] demonstrates the little lathe turning a crayon using a variety of tools from the very sharp to the “safe for all ages.” The geared LittleBits motor turns slowly and appears to have enough torque to carve crayons—and possibly clay—packed around a small dowel. To build this project you will need a “little bit” of wood-crafting skill to construct the mini-lathe bed. All the instructions are available in the Instructable as well as a short video, which you can watch after the break below.

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Fun with Wooden Balls

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Have you ever found the need to make your own wooden balls for a project? To be frank, we haven’t either! But seriously — how would you do it? Well, lucky for us, Hackaday Alum [Jeremy Cook] has experimented with a few different methods.

He was originally inspired by this video from [Philip Stephens] who makes them completely by hand using a hand-made hole saw. Not wanting to spend hours making a ball, he thought about ways to automate it — well, kind of.

His first attempt was to use a mill and a rudimentary rotary index table consisting of a wood clamp — Hold a wooden dowel in place, hole saw halfway through, rotate in the clamp, repeat times infinity. Eventually you’ll be left with a wooden ball whose sharp edges you can just break off. Not very satisfied with this method, he discovered a Reddit thread on making wooden balls with a rather ingenious method… Stick around after the break to see how.

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All-Terrain RC Car Has More Torque Than Your Grandpa’s Wheelchair

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[Charles] and his brother have been members of their school’s FIRST robotics team for many years, and using some of the knowledge they acquired during it, they have put together this awesome all-terrain, super over-powered, RC car — and soon to be robot.

It’s built like a tank using 1″ square steel tubing and custom corner brackets made of 1/8″ thick steel. Heavy duty U-bolts hold the over-sized 5/8″ axles, and everything is driven using #35 roller chain. A large 12V sealed lead acid battery powers two CIMs (FIRST Robotics motor) with the AndyMark CIMple gearbox – these give the car tons of torque, and it can even do wheelies!

The really cool part of this project is the method of remote control. He’s using a regular old Xbox controller that an Arduino Uno listens to through a USB host shield and the original Xbox USB receiver. Simple, but totally effective.

The project is not yet complete, and he’s planning on fully equipping it with lights, a larger battery, a roll-cage, a camera system, and some kind of manipulator tool. Check out the test drive video after the break!

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Educational Circuit Box for Young Aspiring Hackers

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Here’s a great idea: an Educational Circuit Box you can make to get kids interested in electronics! What looks like a boring project box with wires sticking out might just become a box of wonder and curiosity for young ones.

[Fileark] built this for his son, and has happily shared it on his blog for others to recreate. As you can probably guess from the picture, it makes use of a project box, LEDs, buttons, switches, and female header pins. Using the included breadboard jumpers picked up off of eBay, it allows your kid to learn about circuits by plugging in different components and seeing what happens.

The majority of the parts he used were salvaged from scrap electronics he had laying about. It’s a great way to turn e-waste into something fun and educational for kids! For more information about the project, stick around after the break to see [Fileark] explain (and his son demonstrate!) it in a video.

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