Fail of the Week: Automatic Baby Rocker

fotw-baby-bouncer

The art of hacking requires you to straddle many different types of engineering. In this case, it looks like [Dan] could use a little bit of brain-storming on how to get this doubly-failed project back on track. Do go easy on him as he wasn’t the one that submitted the write-up for this week’s Fail.

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Making sure a baby is still breathing with lasers and a wiimote

[Gjoci] just became a father, and to make up for not having to carry a baby to term he decided to make himself useful in another way. He developed a sensor to detect a baby’s breathing, allaying the fears of nervous parents who are wondering why their child is so quiet.

Unlike similar builds and products that rely on microphones or capacitive sensors, [Gjoci]‘s build uses the camera from a wiimote to triangulate points of light and detect motion.

The build started off with infrared LEDs, but the batteries were big and there is always the possibility of the baby swallowing electrical components. [Gjoci] finally hit upon the idea of using small 1mW laser diodes to project points of light. This worked beautifully, and since newborns don’t move much there’s no danger of shining a laser into a baby’s eye.

The rest of the build is just querying the camera every few milliseconds and seeing if the position of the reflections captured by the wiimote camera have changed. In two weeks of operation, [Gjoci] only had to respond to a few false alarms, and the hardware hasn’t crashed at all.

After the break are three videos [Gjoci] put up for us that show a test of the breathing detection system, a demo of the alarm, and an example of the build in full operation. A very awesome build, and we look forward to this post being used as evidence of prior art in a patent dispute a few years down the line.

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Repair parts from unlikely sources

baby_swing_motor_replacement

[Jay] sent us some details of a quick fix for a baby swing he owns, along with the unlikely place where he found replacement parts. We showed you a pair of his creations earlier this week, which you might recall. As luck would have it, the motor on the baby swing he modified burned out shortly after we featured his hack. Don’t worry – he didn’t break the swing when he hacked it, nor is there a Hack-a-Day curse. It’s purely coincidence, we swear!

The swing is about 7 years old so the burned out motor wasn’t that huge a surprise. After doing some research, it was looking like he would likely need to shell out $70-$100 for a replacement motor. He luckily stumbled upon a forum thread that said a motor from a cheap air freshener was a perfect match, so he gave it a shot.  Sure enough, it was the same motor, but with more torque. All it took was $5 to get the swing up and running good as new.

It just goes to show that you never know useful common items can be until you take them apart to see what’s inside.

Save a baby, nursery temperature monitor

Yes, you could argue this Nursery Room Temperature Monitor is simply an LED and an Arduino with a temperature sensor, but [Jay] really did put more thought into the process. For instance he stuck with AVR, built a wooden base and sanded globe, and even included schematics and source code. Plus, SIDS is no laughing matter and the more you know, the more it can be prevented. Back on point, one thing we would add is PWM for a more gradual change in color. What would you add?

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Hackaday links: January 14th, 2010

We saw this home made beekeepers hood posted and actually mistook it for an art piece. We thought it was a Super Mario squid. You can see an example on this image, which is located on a site dedicated to cross stitching video game characters.

In an odd coincidence, not related to the 8 bit textiles above, we also found this Mario themed sweater. We wouldn’t wear it, but we’d love to see Wil Wheaton in it.

No. No no no. Bad Scientists. No treat for you.

There are 4 more links after the break, you’ll want to see them to get that baby out of your head.

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Arduino crib rocker

DSC00102_rocker01 (Custom)

Anyone with children will understand the value of this project immediately. This is an Arduino controlled sound activated crib rocker. [Lars] built a custom suspension system for his baby’s crib which allows a servo, mounted to the floor to rock it gently back and forth. Ok, maybe it’s a vigorous rocking, but that’s what some kids want. At least he’s safe and moderately immobile. He had to make a custom amplifier circuit to get his microphone working with the Arduino. It seems to all work perfectly now, triggering to begin rocking when it detects the baby’s cries. This should buy them a few extra minutes of sleep until the baby is truly hungry or annoyed. You can see a video of it in action and download the Arduino code on the project page.

[via littlebridceo]

Robotic baby crib

suima_crib

This surprisingly pleasant looking crib is actually a robot, designed to keep babies quiet and happy all night long. Once inside and locked up, the baby is under the robot’s care. When the robot senses crying, it rocks gently back and forth. This should allow parents the time to catch some sleep. As pointed out in the article, the $5000 price tag is a bit steep. Especially considering the fact that you can get a much less technologically advanced equivalent for relatively cheap. How many of you hackers have babies? What hacks did you do to get your babies to sleep?