Seeker Hats Find Each other With Directional LEDs

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[John Petersen] created a very cool piece of wearable technology for him and his son. Eager to explore the Maker Fair, but not eager to lose his son in the crowds, he’s come up with the Seeker Hat — a kind of auto-locating GPS hat which always points towards the other.

It’s a clever setup that makes use of a GPS module, a microprocessor, a xBee wireless chip, a compass, and LEDs to light the way. The GPS determines the hat’s approximate location, the xBee transmits it to the other hat, the digital compasses determine the directions of both hats, and the microprocessor figures out the azimuth, resulting in a difference in trajectory of the two — a strip of LEDs, like landing lights, direct you in the right direction.

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Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: I Am Iron Man

Back when Iron Man 2 and The Avengers were out in theaters, the Hackaday tip line couldn’t go a week without an arc reactor build being submitted. In keeping with the Internet’s fascination with blinkey glowey things, we expected a huge influx of arc reactors for our Sci-Fi contest. We were pleasantly surprised: all the submissions from the Marvel universe are top-notch, and the two Iron Man entries we have are simply amazing.

Motorized Helmet

1[James Bruton] is working on a replica of the Iron Man movie helmet, complete with a motorized face plate, light up eyes, and an OLED display for a reasonable facsimile of the horribly unrealistic on-screen heads-up display.

While a few bits and bobs of the mechanics were 3D printed, [James] is making the majority of the helmet just as how the on-screen version was made. The helmet was first carved out of sheet foam, then molded and cast into very strong rigid fiberglass. [James] put up a great tutorial series on how he did this and other parts of his Iron Man costume.

Anamatronic

2The other Iron Man costume from [jeromekelty] and [Greg Hatter] doesn’t stop at just the helmet. They’re doing everything: shoulder-mounted rocket pods, hip pods, forearm missiles, back flaps, and boots with a satisfying electronic kerthunk sounding with every step.

Inside the custom molded suit are at least four Arduinos, four XBees, an Adafruit WaveShield, and at least 20 servos for all of the Iron Man suit components. The mechanics are actuated via RFID with a tag in a glove; when the wearer waves their hand over some part of the suit, one of the mechanical features are activated.

It’s impressive to say the least, and one of the best documented projects we’ve seen in the Sci-Fi contest.

There’s still time to put together your own Sci-Fi project for the contest. Grab your soldering iron and fiberglass resin, because there’s some seriously great prizes up for grabs.

 

Hackaday Links: April 6, 2014

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Back in September we saw this awesomesauce wristwatch. Well, [Zak] is now kitting it up. Learn more about the current version, or order one. [Thanks Petr]

Home automation is from the future, right? Well at [boltzmann138's] house it’s actually from The Next Generation. His home automation dashboard is based on the LCARS interface; he hit the mark perfectly! Anyone thinking what we’re thinking? This should be entered in the Hackaday Sci-Fi Contest, right? [via Adafruit]

PCB fab can vary greatly depending on board size, number of layers, number of copies, and turn time. PCBShopper will perform a meta-search and let you know what all of your options are. We ran a couple of tests and like what we saw. But we haven’t verified the information is all good so do leave a note about your own experience with the site in the comments below. [via Galactic Studios]

We recently mentioned our own woes about acquiring BeagleBone Black boards. It looks like an authorized clone board is poised to enter the market.

Speaking of the BBB, check out this wireless remote wireless sensor hack which [Chirag Nagpal] is interfacing with the BBB.

We haven’t tried to set up any long-range microwave communications systems. Neither has [Kenneth Finnegan] but that didn’t stop him from giving it a whirl. He’s using Nanobridge M5 hardware to help set up a system for a triathlon happening near him.

The Auto Parking Mecanum Robot

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A while back, Hackaday visited the Clark Magnet School in Glendale, California to sneak a peek on their STEM-focused curriculum, FIRST robotics club, awesome A/V classroom, and a shop that puts most hackerspaces to shame. We saw a few builds while we were there, but [Jack]‘s auto parking mecanum robot was in a class by itself. It deserves its own Hackaday post, and now that [Jack] is on Hackaday Projects, he’s sharing all the details.

The most impressive aspect of [Jack]‘s build is the mecanum wheels; the side plates for the wheels were designed by [Jack] himself and machined on his school’s Haas mill. When the plates came out of the mill they were flat, and each of the fifteen little tabs on the plates needed to be bent at a 45 degree angle. With a CNC jig and a lot of time on his hands, [Jack] bent the tabs for all eight plates.

In addition to the plates, the rollers were custom made from non-expandable polyurethane poured into a CNC milled mold. That’s a one-part mold; [Jack] needed to make sixty of these little parts, one at a time.

The electronics are built around an Arduino Mega communicating with a joystick via an XBee. [Jack] found the relays in the off-the-shelf motor board couldn’t handle the current, so he replaced them with much, much larger ones in a hack job we’d be proud to call our own handiwork. There’s also a little bit of code that allows this motorized cart to pull off the best parallel parking job anyone could ever wish for. You can see that and a few videos of the construction below.

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Hacking Window Blinds to Interface with Home Automation System

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Home automation is great, but what happens when you start mixing different systems around the house together? Follow [Bithead's] journey of interfacing with his motorized blinds!

After having his original blinds fall apart many times, [Bithead] and his wife decided to invest in some new, motorized blinds — but [Bithead] wanted to add it to his home automation setup… Unfortunately, commercial offerings for that are very expensive, so [Bithead] knew he’d have to figure out how to interface with the system manually.

The problem is, companies don’t typically advertise the kind of in depth information us hackers would love to know about products, so [Bithead] started checking out store showrooms. Salespeople didn’t quite understand his focused attention on the control boxes!

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Remote Shutter Release Lets You Be a Hipster From a Distance

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So, you’re taking high resolution photos with your ancient medium format film camera — but you can’t be at the camera. Well, if you’re [curlyfry562] you build your own remote controlled mechanical shutter release!

Due to the age of the film camera, there really aren’t many (or… any?) off the shelf solutions to this problem. Especially not with the list of project goals [curlyfry562] came up with:

  • It must be triggered by a remote TTL signal
  • The wireless range must be at least 100ft
  • It has to be reliable — medium format film is expensive!
  • It needs to be easily mountable and removable

With his goals clearly set, he began work. He’s using 2.4GHz xBee modems which have a DIO pin — if you link up two for DIO line passing, then they act as clones of each other — change the state of one, and the other one follows. Using this he’s wired up the output to a microcontroller, which than powers a servo to depress the mechanical shutter release. It’s actually quite brilliantly simple.

If you don’t need quite as much range — check out this remote shutter release made from a wireless doorbell!

[Thanks Daniel!]

Remote Control Anything With A PS3 Controller

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When looking for a remote control for your next project, you might want to look in your living room. Wii controllers are a hacker’s favorite, but wagging an electronic wand around isn’t the greatest for remote control planes, cars, tanks, and multicopters. What you need for this is dual analog controls, something every playstation since the 90s has included.

[Marcel] created a replacement electronics board for the Sony DualShock 3 controller for just this purpose. With this board, an XBee, and an old controller, it’s easy to add dual analog control and a whole lot of buttons to any project using an XBee receiver.

The replacement board is based on the ATMega328p uC, includes a Lipo charge circuit and power supply, and inputs for the analog sticks and all the button boards inside the DualShock controller.

Yes, we have seen an earlier version of [Marcel]‘s project before, but this time he’s added a few new features – the rumble now works and thanks to multiple people unable or unwilling to spin a few boards, [Marcel] has put up an Indiegogo campaign.

Video below.
[Read more...]

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