Happy meal toy scavenging

We’re sometimes shocked at the electronics included in ‘disposable’ items. For some reason (our tech inclinations?) we’ve been getting those audio greeting cards from relatives and it kind of kills us to see the PCB, batteries, and speaker in what would have otherwise been a fully recyclable card. Now we’ve got several sets of those guts waiting around for our next project.

[David Cook] cracked open another disposable item, an Avatar action figure that came as a Happy Meal prize. What he found inside will actually be useful. There’s a battery holder for the three coin-cell batteries, A blue LED (for those blue LED hacks our commenters are so fond of), and a piezo speaker. There are some other discrete components that may be of use to you but the first three are certainly a boon for those that are  junk scavengers like us.

Has anyone else found some goodies inside these types of free toys? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. But for now we’re just glad to see the first good thing to come out of that annoying market saturation that accompanied the movie release.

Incidentally, [David's] h-bridge writeup is our go-to reference for building quick motor controllers from parts on hand, or that can be purchased locally.

[Thanks Gron]

Lively, Google’s stab at Second Life


Google has just released their own avatar based social arena a la Second Life, which is called Lively. It will require a client download and install like the popular MUD, but after that it can be accessed via IE and Firefox.

Lively allows user to create their own online spaces that can include natural or human-built settings and customize their avatars (which are relatively cartoonish in comparison to SL avatars). Google’s engineering manager for Lively [Niniane Wang] explains that they wanted to create a more socially rich environment than was possible with emotes and other chatroom features.

Lively’s core functions are not particularly novel, but it does innovate with various web integration features. Videos and images from the internet are viewable from within Lively, and users can embed their own personal Lively areas into their blogs or websites (hello VRML).

Lively is not nearly as expansive as Second Life yet, with no form of currency included and only stock items, clothes, avatars, and geometry to choose from. What’s more, it is only available for Windows XP and Vista, with no other OS support announced. We can see this getting better in the future, but those of you who’s lives are so great that you need a second one (or a third) will probably want to jump on this now.

[Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93,725 other followers