Your very own cloud chamber

 

[Kenneth] and [Jeff] spent a weekend building a cloud chamber. This is a detection device for radiation particles that are constantly bombarding the earth. It works by creating an environment of supersaturated alcohol vapor which condenses when struck by a particle travelling through the container, leaving a wispy trail behind. This was done on the cheap, using isopropyl alcohol and dry ice. They already had a beaker, and after a few tries figured out that the dry ice worked best when serving as a bed for the flask. A black piece of paper was added inside the base of the container to help raise the contrast when looking for condensate. They experimented with a couple of different methods for warming the alcohol, including an immersion heater built from power resistors.

There’s a video explaining the apparatus which we’ve embedded after the break. It’s a bit hard to see evidence of particle travel in the video but that’s all the more reason you should give this a try yourself.

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Perfect shots every time

A shot is a shot right? Well, not really. Usually we see a sloppy shot poured of a single type of alcohol and, depending on our current standing with the bartender, may or may not be full to the brim.  The Pousse-Cafe makes an art out of your drinks by perfectly layering several liqueurs. Not only will it measure them out perfectly, but it is voice controlled as well. There are 3 liqueurs to choose from, as they were going for a specific, visually appealing drink (otherwise, why bother?). Judging from the pictures it looks like it’s using an arduino in conjunction with a laptop for control.

You can see a video of it in action after the break.

[via Gizmodo]

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Wine cask sensor suite

As part of his Master’s dissertation [Salvador Faria] built a sensor suite for wine monitoring. He needed to develop a method of tracking data inside the wine cask during the vinification process. What he came up with eclipses the wine cellar temperature monitors we’ve seen before.

He picked up pH, temperature, carbon dioxide, alcohol, and relative humidity sensors from familiar vendors like Seeed, Parallax, and SparkFun. His original idea was to develop a floating probe that housed the entire package but he had quite a bit of trouble getting everything inside and maintaining buoyancy. The solution was a two-part probe; the stationary portion seen mounted on top of the cask houses the microcontroller, RF 433 MHz transmitter, and the gas sensors. Tethered to that is a floating probe that measures pH and temperature. Data is sent over radio frequency to an HTTP POST server every minute.

Don’t worry occifer, there is no blood in my alcohol!

[Daniel] wrote up a quick tutorial on interfacing with the MQ-3, or better known Breathalyzer from SparkFun with Arduino. While we would have used perhaps an op-amp/comparator based system and kept it in a much smaller package, the idea was so quick and simple and enjoyable we hoped an article might keep some hackers from drinking and driving.

[Thanks CletustheYokel for pointing out our silly category mistake.]

Drink Making Unit

3 breast pumps, a Meggy jr RGB (slightly modified) and copious amounts of alcohol. This sounds like a typical weekend at HAD headquarters, but it is in fact the parts list for the Drink Making Unit by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Created for the upcoming Barbot 2010 event, this unit is a cocktail mixer. Load 3 liquids in, program the Meggy and you can push a button to dispense. We are pleased to see how much they modified off the shelf components to make this happen. Yes, there could be major improvements like mixing, more liquid reservoirs, and a better cooling system, but we think this thing is pretty slick.

Nunk on Droise

Nunk on Droise is an art installation where noise is made depending on how drunk you are. In a configuration that could be called a cthoilet, the sensors shown above are alcohol sensors. Though we initially thought this would be testing urine, the description states that it tests the breath of the participant. Unfortunately there aren’t any schematics or code, though you can see how it is all assembled from the flickr pool. You can also see a video demonstration of the prototype.

Stove built from beer can. Hobos rejoice.

beer-can-alcohol-stove

[Charles] sent in a tip about an alcohol based stove built from beer cans and a penny. The burner is efficient, lightweight, and tiny all while still packing a pretty big punch. It can boil water for sterilization, cook some rice for your meal, or make a spot of tea. The penny is used as the regulating valve. The cup in the burner has a hole in the center where the penny is placed using gravity to create a seal. Denatured alcohol is then poured into the cup and outer ring and lit on fire. As the burning alcohol warms up the cup, it starts to leak under the penny and into the fuel cup where it then begins to boil. This boiling alcohol expands as gas and exits the small holes around the outside of the burner, creating flames similar to the ones you use on your gas stove at home.

The genius here is that everything needed to make this is cheap and available anywhere. The basic build tools include a knife, drill bit, hole punch, two beer cans, a penny, and denatured alcohol. In a bind, you could complete the build using a pocket knife and without the drill bit or hole punch. It is also a nice alternative to hauling around a disposable propane canister when camping or backpacking. We’ve covered an aluminum can stove quite a while ago but that old link is dead and we think this is just as fun the second time around.

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