Making the Case For Nuclear Aircraft

At any given moment, several of the US Navy’s Nimitz class aircraft carriers are sailing the world’s oceans. Weighing in at 90 thousand tons, these massive vessels need a lot of power to get moving. One would think this power requires a lot of fuel which would limit their range, but this is not the case. Their range is virtually unlimited, and they only need refueling every 25 years. What kind of technology allows for this? The answer is miniaturized nuclear power plants. Nimitz class carriers have two of them, and they are pretty much identical to the much larger power plants that make electricity. If we can make them small enough for ships, can we make them small enough for other things, like airplanes?

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Take a Ride On my Magic Carpet

For an awesome Halloween edition of [PrankvsPrank], they decided to make a remote controlled “magic carpet” for [Aladdin]. It’s absolutely fantastic.

[PrankvsPrank] isn’t really known for making stuff we’d feature on Hackaday, so they got some help with the project from the [CaseyNeistat] a New York YouTuber. As you can probably guess, at the heart of this magic carpet is actually an electric skateboard. A Boosted Board to be specific– it was a very successful Kickstarter a few years ago.

They built a lightweight frame out of plastic pipe and wrapped fabric around it to make it look like a proper carpet out of the cartoon. Once they had it all set, they took it for a spin through the streets of NYC, catching people’s reactions along the way.

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The Ethics Of Self-Driving Cars Making Deadly Decisions

Self-driving cars are starting to pop up everywhere as companies slowly begin to test and improve them for the commercial market. Heck, Google’s self-driving car actually has its very own driver’s license in Nevada! There have been minimal accidents, and most of the time, they say it’s not the autonomous cars’ fault. But when autonomous cars are widespread — there will still be accidents — it’s inevitable. And what will happen when your car has to decide whether to save you, or a crowd of people? Ever think about that before?

It’s an extremely valid concern, and raises a huge ethical issue. In the rare circumstance that the car has to choose the “best” outcome — what will determine that? Reducing the loss of life? Even if it means crashing into a wall, mortally injuring you, the driver? Maybe car manufacturers will finally have to make ejection seats a standard feature!

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Creepy Van Parked Down the Street is a Nomadic Sauna

Sometimes you need a good sweat and if you’re like [JoeCMorgan] you can’t be bothered travelling to a sauna, it needs to come to you. He took care of that problem by building the SaunaVan.

Many moons ago, SaunaVan started life as a Vauxhall Combo van. At some point it was abbreviated from a Van to a trailer. You can’t tell from the picture above but this van no longer has a cab up front. Like many trailers, it eventually became a storage unit, which is how [Joe] found it. He cleaned out the old tires, tents, and detritus, and started planning out a mobile sauna. The van’s interior was already stripped, so the first order of business was to cut a hole in the front wall of the van. The hole became a steel “nose” which housed the chimney. All this allowed [Joe] to place his 1920’s Husqvarna stove as far forward as possible.

The van’s gas tank was cleaned out and became a water reservoir, complete with a pump that is safe to use with water. A shower placed outside allows for a quick cool down after a hot sauna. The biggest job was building the interior. [Joe] measured out the wheel wells and cut panels to form the interior walls of the van. Some fiberglass insulatisauna2on between the wood and the outside wall ensured the van would stay nice and toasty. [Joe] put in some pre-finished flooring and added benches to cover the wheel wells. The benches hide storage for wood, and the wiring for the van’s sound system. Speaking of which, your sweaty friends won’t be happy without some tunes so [Joe] added speakers and a radio. Check out the video after the break to see it all in action. This thing is just begging to be parked next to the Carpool DeVille.

One thing [Joe] didn’t mention was a fresh air intake, which is vital on a setup like this. We’d also add a carbon monoxide detector just to be sure combustion gasses don’t build up inside the van’s body.

The first firing of the antique stove was a complete success. The newly christened SaunaVan’s temperature got up over 90°C (194°F)! That might sound hot to some, but it’s not far outside the norm for a sauna. The low humidity helps keep things comfortable, but we wouldn’t recommend staying inside for more than a few minutes.

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Superbike gets Bootstrapped Instrument Refit

[Josh] got rid of the standard, factory gauges on his GSXR Super-bike and installed a custom built instrument panel which displays some additional parameters which the regular instrumentation cluster did not. He was working on converting his bike in to a Streetfighter – a stripped down, aggressive, mean machine. The staid looking gauges had to go, besides several other mods to give his bike the right look.

GSXR_03Luckily, he had the right skills and tools available to make sure this DIY hack lives up to the Streetfighter cred of his bike. The important parameter for him was to log the Air / Fuel mixture ratio so he could work on the carburation. Along the way, he seems to have gone a bit overboard with this build, but the end result is quite nice. The build centers around a Planar 160×80 EL graphic display lying in his parts bin. The display didn’t have a controller, so he used the Epson S1D13700 graphic controller to interface it with the microcontroller. An Atmel ATmega128L runs the system, and [Josh] wrote all of his code in “C”.

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You’re Never Too Young to Be a Rocket Scientist

We’ve been keeping tabs on the progress SpaceX has made toward landing a rocket so that it can be reused for future orbital launches. As you would imagine, this is incredibly difficult despite having some of the world’s greatest minds working on the task. To become one of those minds you have to start somewhere. It turns out, high school students can also build guided rockets, as [ArsenioDev] demonstrates in his project on

arseniodev-3d-printed-fin[Arsenio]’s design targets amateur rockets with a fuselage diameter of four inches or so. The main control module is just a cylinder with four servos mounted along the perimeter and some fancy 3D printed fins bolted onto the servo. These are controlled by an Arduino and a 6DOF IMU that’s able to keep the rocket pointing straight up. Staaaay on target.

We saw this project back at the Hackaday DC meetup a month ago, and [Arsenio] was kind enough to give a short lightning talk to the hundred or so people who turned up. You can catch a video of that below, along with one of the videos of his build.

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Powered Skateboards are Passe; Skelecs the New Hotness

[Harris] has an interesting answer to the inevitable question about what he did on his summer vacation: he built a pair of electric roller blades.  [Harris] is an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Nottingham, and he completed the first version of what he calls Skelecs just before he went back to college. He has documented the process from the initial concept and building his own controller board, through his failures at correctly drilling the steel base, to his first drive down the road.

His build uses a pair of small 120W hub motors attached to a steel chassis, which is attached to a pair of cannibalized rollerblade boots.

It’s a bit of a Frankenstein build (he currently has the batteries and controller stuffed into a pants pocket, which isn’t really a practical long-term solution), but it works. A bit too well, in fact: [Harris] says that a combination of speed and a bumpy road detached one of the batteries and sent him flying. He’s not letting a minor injury and a bit of blood put him off, though: he’s already started work on version 2, which will use lighter aluminum construction and a pair of omniwheels for easier steering and more control. We’ll believe that claim when we see it.

Remember, powered skateboards are over — non hackers got their hands on them so they’re commonplace. Hipster hackers need to drop that build and start on your own pair of Skelecs.

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