Upgrading the Battery In a Wrist PDA

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That’s a wrist-mounted PDA. Specifically, a Fossil Wrist PDA, also known as an Abacus, that was sold from 2003 to about 2005. Yep, it’s running PalmOS. [mclien] has had this watch/PDA for a while now, and found the original 180mAh battery wasn’t cutting it anymore. He made a little modification to the watch to get a 650mAh battery in this PDA by molding a new back for it.

The original PDA used a round Lithium cell, but being ten years old, the battery technology in this smart watch is showing its years. [mclien] found two batteries (380mAh and 270mAh) that fit almost perfectly inside the battery.

The new batteries were about 3mm too thick for the existing case back, so [mclien] began by taking the old case, adding a few bits of aluminum and resin, and making a positive for a mold. Two or three layers of glass twill cloth were used to form the mold, resined up, and vacuum bagged.

After many, many attempts, [mclien] just about has the case back for this old smartwatch complete. The project build logs are actually a great read, showing exactly what doesn’t work, and are a great example of using hackaday.io as a build log, instead of just project presentation.

3D Printing a Daft Punk Helmet

Thanks to the awesome people over at Adafruit, you can now print your very own Daft Punk helmet! It is designed with a hollowed out shell and translucent material which allows for colorful LEDs to be inserted into the mask, which can light up just about any room. This makes the headset great for Maker Faire, household parties, and underground EDM raves.

The epic costume was inspired by the infamous electronic music duo from France who is known for hiding their identities behind intricate and complex masks. This version, however, is perfect for the Do-It-Youself builder on a budget assuming you have access to a Taz 3D printer through your hackerspace or a friend.

The entire helmet is 3D printed as one piece using a semi-transparent PLA filament with NeoPixel strips (144 pixel per meter) laid inside. It takes about 3 days to complete the printing job (assuming no errors arise during the process). After everything is finished, glossy gold paint is applied and the polished outcome is enough to turn some heads. Plus, this mask makes a great addition to any builder’s homemade ‘trophy’ collection.

A natural next step would be to add sensors that can detect bass vibrations. This could be used to change the colors of the display based on the music that is being played nearby. We’ve seen this sort of thing before on a few Daft Punk helmet builds that are far superior to this one. Of course the difference here is that the Adafruit version can be build in a reasonable amount of time by a mere mortal. Those other examples were life commitments as far as projects go!

Don’t forget to check out the video of this one in action after the break.

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Homemade Activity Monitor

A group of developers have uploaded a tutorial on Instructables showing the steps needed to develop a homemade DIY fitness tracker. The design is the second iteration of an Arduino-based wearable smart watch project of theirs. This time around, they opted to focus more on the monitoring system rather than a visual display. It is called the ‘RetroBand’ and records steps taken and calories burned by the user.

The microcontroller used is an Arduino Pro mini 3.3v. Accelerometer and gyro sensors were integrated to capture the movement of the ‘RetroBand.’ A wireless bluetooth module connects to an Android phone which presents the data through a Play Store app complete with graphs included. An enclosure was 3D printed. Everything is powered by a one cell Lithum-Polymer battery. The code for the project can be found on Github, and additional information with a how-to manual is on their website (which is in Korean, but can easily be translated through the browser).

Homemade Superhero: [James’] DIY Exoskeleton

We’re not just a bunch of monkeys with typewriters here at Hackaday; we don our hacker hat whenever our schedules allow. Or, in the case of Hackaday’s own [James Hobson]—aka [The Hacksmith]—he dons this slick exoskeleton prototype instead,turning himself into a superhero. Inspired by the exoskeleton from the film Elysium, this project puts [James] one step closer to the greater goal of creating an Iron Man-style suit.

For now, though, the exoskeleton is impressive enough on its own. The build is a combination of custom-cut perforated steel tubing and pneumatic cylinders, attached to a back braces of sorts. In the demonstration video, [James] stares down 170 pounds of cinder block affixed to a barbell, and although he’s no lightweight, you can tell immediately from his reaction how much assistance the exoskeleton provides as [James] curls the makeshift weights over and over. And that’s only at half pressure. [James] thinks he could break the 300 pound mark of lifting if he didn’t break his legs first.

There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes footage of the build process to be had, so make sure you stick around after the jump for a sizable helping of videos, and check out [The Hacksmith’s] website for more of his projects.

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The Handsfree Icebucket Challenge Backpack

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the internet by storm as tv stars, musicians, athletes, kids, students and everyone in between have thrown freezing water all over themselves in an effort to raise awareness (and millions of dollars) to help cure the neurodegenerative disease. So when [Christopher] was challenged by a friend, he decided to make an icebucket backpack that would pour the liquid from above without having to use his hands.

The wearable device uses a Barometric pressure sensor that is triggered when air is blown into a tube. This sensor is attached to an Arduino Uno. Once activated, the pouring process begins drenching the person below in ice cold water. It’s a little unnecessary, but it gets the job done in a fun, maker-style way. Now if you make something similar, don’t forget to actually support the cause and donate money.

To see the icebucket backpack in action, check out the video after the break:

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Lucid Dreaming with Plastic Milk Cartons

milk-carton-mask-layoutBeing aware that oneself is in a dream can be a difficult moment to accomplish. But as [Rob] showed on his blog, monitoring the lucid experience once it happens doesn’t have to be costly. Instead, household items can be fashioned together to make a mask that senses REM sleep cycles. We were tipped off to the project by [Michael Paul Coder] who developed an algorithm to communicate inside a dream.

[Rob] cut up plastic milk cartons for this ‘DreamJacker’ project and attached a webcam to produce a simple way to detect eye movements. A standard game adapter with a triangular array of white LED’s was added to the plastic cover in order to provide the necessary illumination needed for the camera. After testing it out, he switched to red light to balance sensitivity issues. Another iteration later and [Rob] attempted to create hypnagogic imagery during the drowsiness state that occurs right before falling asleep. He did this by fitting a single tri-color LED that he scrapped from Christmas lights that were dumped on his street.

The mask is tied to the back of the head with shoelaces, and acts like an eye patch during Wake Back to Bed sessions (WBTB). The end result produces an eerie looking graph of eye twitching taken throughout the night. We would be interested confirming that this setup helps the user experience a lucid dream, so it might be time to make our own.

Since writing his post, [Rob] has since adapted a mouse for use inside the mask cup to integrate with the LucidScribe REM FIELD-mouse plugin developed by [Michael Paul Coder].

The Numitron Geekwatch

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[Johannes] wanted to develop an unusual way to display time on a custom wristwatch. LED’s were too common, and mechanical indicators with small engines were too expansive, but Nixie tubes were just right. His design for the Numitron Geekwatch utilized two boards that were soldered together at a right angle, with a 3D printed enclosure made of semi-transparent PLA.

Future designs of this will improve on the button functionality as well as the housing of the wristwatch to protect the fragile tubes from external forces.

After the break is a video (in German) with [Johannes] going through the steps needed to make one of these of your very own:

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