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Glowing Balloon Blimps

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Looking for a neat decoration for your next soirée? How about floating fleet of glowing balloon blimps?

[Kensho Miyoshi] — an avid reader of Hack a Day — needed an art installation project in Tokyo, he came up with these clever glowing balloon blimps.

They feature a mini gondola hanging from the bottom of a regular balloon which holds a small motor with a propeller, an Arduino Pro Mini, LEDs, an ultrasonic sensor and of course, a battery. They float up to a certain height with the LEDs shining bright, and when the ultrasonic sensor trips, it all turns off and the balloon sinks gently back to the ground. The process repeats, and in a completely dark room it looks like a series of glowing bubbles forming and floating away, again and again.

To see the floaty, glowy, balloon blimps, stick around for a video after the break.

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My first robot: A simple demo to get kids excited about robotics

revoltlab_balloon_popping_robot

[Will] from Revolt Lab needed a project to get the summer campers he supervises interested in electronics, but when your audience is 5 years old, your subject matter had better be simple, yet interesting enough to hold their attention at length. He settled on using a Lego NXT robot to keep their little minds engaged, because who doesn’t like robots?

He picked up a basic Lego NXT kit and paged through the manual. The first “example” robot looked pretty cool so he decided to give it a shot, though he still hadn’t figured out exactly what he would have the robot do. Inspiration struck, and he decided that he could take advantage of the NXT’s color sensor as well as its proximity sensor to construct a balloon hunting robot.

He constructed a “balloon corral” to keep the balloons in place and the kids out of his thumbtack-wielding robot’s reach. He let his creation loose, and as you can see in the video below, the robot hunts down the blue balloon and pops it, much to the children’s delight.

If you’re in the position to introduce a group of young kids to electronics, this balloon popping robot paired with some conductive Play Dough would make for a fun and educational afternoon workshop.

[Read more...]

Hackaday links: August 22, 2010

EL back-lit keyboard

A couple bucks worth of EL wire gives a nice green glow to [Mark Shasha's] T400 Elite. Hopefully [Jeri Ellsworth] has some time to pull those how-to videos together so that we can make our own EL wire to replicate this hack.

Mini kaboom

This tiny cannon is right out of Night at the Museum. It works just like its much bigger brothers would; fill with powder, insert cannon ball, and light with a fuse. Both the introduction and the follow-up videos document the destruction of various objects using the diminutive weapon. [Thanks Thorsten]

Don’t close that browser

We use Google Chrome quite a bit because it tends to be more responsive when opening massive numbers of tabs while researching featured hacks. But there’s some things we don’t like about it. Lack of built-in PDF support under Ubuntu comes to mind, but a smaller thorn in our side is that closing the last tab will also close the browser window. [Ted Schaefer] got tired of the same thing so he wrote an extension called Last Tab Standing to trap that last browser tab, opening the default window instead of closing the browser.

Amiga demo winner

This 4K demo for the Amiga AGA is the top ranked submission from Breakpoint 2010. [Osgeld] tipped us off about this and made the point that although it’s four times the size of those 1K JavaScript demos, the Amiga code doesn’t get to take advantage a pre-existing framework like Java does enjoy the benefits of running inside of a browser . Is this doing more with less?

Transformers balloon sculptures

If you’re having trouble finding that art piece to fill up your dining room you should consider building transformers out of balloons. The sculpture above is a free-standing Optimus Prime but the artist has also turned out Megatron, Grimlock, and others. [Thanks W01F]