A desktop made of Air

Deskbook Air Guts

[Bart] managed to get his hands on a Macbook Air for free. The catch was that the monitor hinge was broken and the laptop wasn’t in too great of a condition. Rather than scrapping it or using it as a cake cutter, he decided to turn it into a keyboard PC. By removing the internals he was able to fit all of the components with minimal modification. [Bart] has added a few things to make it a functional desktop, such as integrating a USB hub under the the keyboard and fitted the keyboard with a Magic Trackpad. As with any great hack, the project is still in progress, and we can’t wait to see the final touches as it comes together.

Careful! That gas pedal is a Nexus One

Indeed, the gizmo above is meant to be used as a gas pedal. [Grant Skinner] came up with the idea to control slot cars using an Android phone as a gas pedal. He coded the software for the handset and a computer using Adobe AIR. Once connected, the computer is sent the accelerometer data from the phone, relaying the speed control to the slot car track with the aid of a Phidgets motor controller. See it ‘go’ after the break.

We’ve seen the Phidgets board used in several projects like the augmented vending machine and the plotter white board. What we haven’t seen is hacks that make use of AIR, a framework we looked at two years ago. If you’ve got hacks that make use of AIR we want to hear about them.

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Perfect spiral, every time

[Carmine] let us know about his team’s Automated Football Launcher. Their goal was to combine a football launcher with motion tracking, to allow a player to practice running and catching with the perfect throw. Unfortunately, and we’re not quite sure when, they ended up changing out the Jugs machine for an air cannon, which resulted in the use of foam footballs and the loss of throwing factors such as spiral. Somewhat defeating the purpose but we’ll let it slide; only because we know its going to be shooting potatoes eventually.

The project comes together by using two cameras giving distance and color tracking, combined with a rotating platform (and the best use of garden hose ever), an accurate set-top for their launcher. As seen in the video after the jump, it works out quite nicely. Continue reading “Perfect spiral, every time”

The Wii golf glove

[Shu Uesugi] is filling a controller void that Nintendo has yet to address. He picked up a golf glove from Target and incorporated it into an air guitar interface. Give the video after the break a chance, you’ll start to see the full potential of this build about three and a half minutes into it. Using an Arduino, a Wii nun-chuck, and his flex-senor adorned glove [Shu] can play individual notes, strum cords, and play around with sound effects such as distortion.

So come on Nintendo, the Power Glove was one of your greatest ideas, where’s our 21st century version? I guess we’ll just have to make our own like [Shu] did. Perhaps we’ll even build our flex sensors from scratch.

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Greenhouse guard

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[Seth King] sent in his latest hack where he used an Arduino to regulate various aspects of a greenhouse. He has sensors for soil and air temperature as well as light and moisture. He built a custom circuit that uses relays to power fans, lights, and heaters. Using timers and the sensor data, the devices can be triggered to create the perfect environment for sprouts. He hopes to make the whole thing wireless by integrating XBees, but for now he ran a USB cord to his computer.

Related: Automatic grow light

Dell Adamo teardown

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TechRepublic and iFixit partnered to teardown Dell’s flagship notebook, the Adamo. The Adamo is positioned to compete directly with Apple’s MacBook Air. The Dell crams a lot of technology into a very thin frame and they use a clever locking system for the backplate to hide any screws. The built in battery has a longer life than the Air and an SSD comes stock. The team points out that the Windows logo is etched on the backside instead of the standard ugly stickers; apparently this took quite a bit of teeth-pulling to get approved. Check out the full photo gallery which includes the fetish packaging and comparison shots to the Air and Dell Mini 9.

Hackit: Are you running OSX on your netbook?

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AppleDifferent decided to run some benchmarks on their MSI Wind hackintosh to see how it stacked up to real Apple hardware. It comes in under the MacBook Air in most cases and they conclude that it performs about as well as a four year old G4. Being so small and inexpensive, you can’t really expect much better. As a counterpoint, Obsessable posted a video demoing just how slow a first generation Eee PC can be (embedded below). Boing Boing Gadgets is maintaining an OSX netbook compatibility chart. It shows that the MSI Wind is probably the best case for OSX usability. If we were buying today, we’d probably pick up a Dell Mini 9 even though it requires an SSD upgrade before it will sleep properly.

Are any of you running OSX as the primary OS on your netbooks? What has your experience been?

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