[Bill Porter] repairs a science museum exhibit

For those who are unfamiliar, “Freeze Frame” is the name of a common display in science museums. It is a small dark room with a single wall covered in phosphorescent material. Opposite of this wall is a flash on a timer. You enter the room, strike a pose and wait for the flash, then view your shadow preserved on the wall behind you.

[Bill] was saddened to see the display at his local science museum had been decommissioned long ago. All that was left was a dark room with a phosphorescent coated wall. Some industrious employees had rigged up some LED pens for people to “draw with light”, but in [Bill’s] opinion this wasn’t as impressive.  He promptly volunteered to rebuild the display himself and we commend him, both on the fantastic job he did as well as his service to his local community. Great job [Bill], keep up the good work.

Electric longboard uses DIY hub motors

As a student of MIT, [Jed Storey] has access to a ton of machine tools, so he decided to build an electric longboard with hub motors by hand.  He wound up re-doing a lot of his project, so we can commiserate with him on the trials of R&D.

Inspired by the BWD scooter, [Jed]‘s longboard uses hub motors – the wheel is the motor. The rotors were fabricated in-house, and off-the-shelf stators were wound by [Jed] by hand. There’s a lot of work that went into this build, and the build log is really fascinating in this regard.

The board is controlled by a pistol-grip R/C controller that had been modified to include a dev board and an XBee. For power, an aluminum enclosure was fabricated, strapped underneath the deck, and filled with LiPo batteries. While the build is mostly done, [Jeb] is thinking about scrapping it and moving onto version 2, the HeavyBoard. Check out the video of the board in action.

1wire attic cooling

blower

[RagingComputer] built this 1-wire attic cooling fan. He’s using an Ubuntu server loaded with OWFS to control everything. The 1-wire temperature sensor is interfaced using USB while a serial x10 module sends out commands to be received by another x10 module near the fan. Back in the day we had covered a linux home automation project. We also covered HVAC hacks such as the smart attic fan and a 1-Wire HVAC monitoring system.

Clever stair climbing robot

Stairs are one of the most commonly faced mobility challenges for a robot. This robot’s design eliminates the need for a complex drive train or computer, and instead uses a clever mechanical design to climb stairs. Version three of the robot uses five servos modified for continuous rotation, a Picaxe28, sharp IR sensors, and bump sensors.

[via BotJunkie]

Face tracking in Opera

Inspired by this year’s april fools day joke from Opera, [Jason] has made facial gesture recognition actually work. While this may seem like a silly project, it could seriously help some people out. This could be a great accessibility tool for people with motor control limitations.He states that it has some problems right now, most notably a performance issue with extended use, so he’s hoping to get some input from some bright minds.

[thanks, Jordan]

Twittering toots, a chair’s perspective

twit

We might have to add a category of “stuff made to twitter”. The latest installment is an office chair that twitters whenever it gets farted on. The author has a smart sounding description as to why he decided to make this, and he has a pretty good point about twittering interrupting the things you’re twittering about, but it all boils down to the fact that he wants to twitter his farts. We can’t say that we didn’t expect something along these lines. He has mounted a natural gas sensor in his chair, along with a squidbee wireless transceiver. You can download all the code as well as see the construction in the instructable. You can also follow his flatulent adventures on the twitter account of the office chair.