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SoundCube: A Companion Cube that can Talk

sound_companionCube

The Enrichment Center likely disapproves of the SoundCube: a portal music box in the form of a Portal Companion Cube. [Andreas] finished this project a couple of years ago, but we’re glad he’s finally had time to give a rundown on the details at his blog.

The build is primarily a modified speaker box cube—constructed out of what appears to be MDF—with four Alpine SXE-1725S speakers placed at the center of the middle faces. The faces were routed out to resembled the Companion Cube, while the electronics mount and the speaker grills were 3d printed. Inside is a homemade amplifier built around an Arduino Mega, with a TDA7560 quad bridge amplifier, a TDA7318 audio processor, a Belkin bluetooth receiver, and a 3.5″ touchscreen for volume control and for input selections.

Two 12v 7.2Ah lead-acid batteries keep the cube functional for an entire weekend of partying, but probably add a few pounds to the already hefty MDF construction. Check out [Andreas's] blog for more pictures and his GitHub for all the necessary code.

3D Printed Netduino Remote Controlled Car

netduinocar

[Matt] lives in South Africa, where homes have smallish crawlspaces (some only 30cm high!) that he can’t quite squeeze himself into. Even if he could, he probably wouldn’t: they’re apparently vacation homes for the local rats. He did, however, want to explore these spaces to get a better idea what’s going on inside, so he built a Windows Phone-controlled car with a Netduino and 3D-printed parts.

Such a specialized application requires unique parts, so [Matt] designed and 3D-printed the wheels and frame from scratch. You’ve probably noticed that the wheels aren’t your typical cylinders. The terrain [Matt] faces is sand, so the spiked shape provides better grip. The body’s design required extra attention because it holds the motors, the Netduino, the motor driver, and the battery.

A Bluetooth module connects to the Netduino and allows [Matt] to drive the car with his Windows Phone, and an inexpensive 5V LED board provides some light for those dark corners. How does it see once inside the crawlspace? It looks like [Matt's] getting to that part. His plan is to simply mount a second phone running Skype and watch the stream. Stick around after the break to see [Matt] use the car to both confuse and excite his dog.

[Read more...]

HackPhx Winter 2014 Hackathon Winners

HackPhx 2014

The HackPhx Winter 2014 hackathon was held at Heatsync Labs hackerspace in Mesa, Arizona, USA. The advertised theme was “Arduino Wearables”. Participating attendees were randomly placed on teams evenly distributed by their disclosed skills across all teams. There were 10 teams with 4 to 5 members per team competing for two winning spots.

Each team had to build an amazing wearable project utilizing the secret ingredient which was Seedstudio’s Arduino-compatible Xadow wearable platform and add-ons. The Xadow is similar to the Arduino Leonardo and participants used an Arduino cross compatibility and pin mapping chart to assist in development.

Top prize was the Judges’ prizes for the best completed and documented Xadow wearable team project. The second prize was the Jury’s prize given to the team project that the other teams liked the most regardless of event criteria.

Read more about the winning teams and watch their presentations after the break.

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An Arduino Library for the PS4

PS4 Controller

Looking to interface your Arduino with the PS4 controller? [Kristian] has updated his USB host library with support for the controller. The library makes it easy to read most of the inputs from the controller. Currently the buttons and joysticks work, and support for the light sensor, rumble, and touchpad is on the way.

To get this working, you will need the USB Host Shield for the Arduino and a Bluetooth dongle. Once you have the hardware setup, you can use the library to pair with the controller. When connected, simple function calls will let you read the state of the device.

While this does require some additional hardware to connect, all of the code is open source. If you’re looking to experiment with the PS4 controller yourself, [Kristian]‘s work could be a helpful starting point. Of course, all of the source is available on Github, and the example sketch shows how easy it is to roll the PS4 controller into your own Arduino project.

Fubarino Contest: Bluetooth Control for PC PSU

fubarino-bluetooth-callback

[Mike] wanted to have remote control of the power on his computer. But Wake-on-LAN wasn’t really all that interesting to him. Instead he set out to build this Bluetooth controller which manipulates the motherboard directly (PDF).

Having been a winner of the Trinket Contest he based the project on that board which is seen on the left. There is also an RN-42 Bluetooth module and a couple of TI TS5A3157 analog switches. Once the prototype is finished the entire thing will run off of standby power and be located inside the case of his computer. The breadboard version just switches a couple of LEDs, but that will end up connecting to the pins for the power buttons once installed.

The video after the break shows off the easter egg. The device is controlled by [Mike's] custom Android app. Every 42nd time he sends a power command the device calls back with our URL.


This is an entry in the Fubarino Contest for a chance at one of the 20 Fubarino SD boards which Microchip has put up as prizes!

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Fubarino Contest: Network Nodes, Door Lock, and Smoker Controller

fubarino-contest-nodes-lock-smoker

Here’s a round-up of three different Fubarino Contest entries; a video of each is available after the break.

On the upper left are the beginnings of a network node monitoring system developed by [Stephane]. When the network checks the weather, it may determine that it’s far too harsh outside and time to go in to see what’s new on Hackaday. There’s only sparse information available on the hardware. Each node uses an ATtiny84 and an RFM12B—different sensors connected to each are used to build up the network’s data collection capabilities.

In the lower left is [Brett's] Bluetooth door lock controller. The Arduino, a cheap Bluetooth module, and a relay board make up the base station which will eventually connect to an electronic lock. [Brett] uses a smart phone to punch in the access code, and entering “1337″ four times in a row unlocks the Easter egg, displaying our URL on the character LCD. Here’s the code repository for his project.

To the right is the display for [Andy's] smoker controller used for cooking. He already had some hidden features on the controller used to calibrate the thermocouple. For the contest, he simply added an additional button to extend the original menu access method.


This is an entry in the Fubarino Contest for a chance at one of the 20 Fubarino SD boards which Microchip has put up as prizes!

[Read more...]

Testing Six Hundred Fish

fish

That’s the best and most obtuse title you’ll ever see for a Hackaday post, but surprisingly it’s pretty accurate. [Bob] over at the Sector67 hackerspace took part in a 111-day accelerator program in Shenzhen last year to improve his manufacturing skills. He’s just about ready to release his first product, a Bluetooth device that connects to an ice fishing tip-up. The blog for the device recounts the challenges of taking a project from a circuit to a finished product, and illustrates the difference between building something with an Arduino and selling thousands of devices.

The circuit boards for BlueTipz come in panels of eight, but what’s the best way to populate and solder five thousand devices in a reasonably short amount of time? [Bob] hired a few students from the local college to help him out in assembling all these devices. The plastic enclosures were made at a local plastics manufacturer, but the molds were made in China. The manufacturer needed to modify the molds a bit, but after a few days, [Bob] had five thousand enclosures ready to stuff full of electronics.

With the devices assembled, it’s time for programming, and that means building a programmer. [Bob] put all the guts for the device into a plastic box and 3D-printed a mount for the bare BlueTipz board. Put a board on the mount, press a button, and the tech now has a functioning device in his hands.

Besides manufacturing, there’s also a whole lot of testing that went into the design of BlueTipz. Because this is a device for ice fishing—a cold and potentially windy operating environment—[Bob] built a test rig in a freezer. The test rig triggers the device’s sensor, waits two minutes (the amount of time it would take for an ice fisherman to check the tip-up) and resets. They claim the battery life is good for 600 fish, and with this testing rig they were able to verify their calculated battery life with real-world data: without actually catching six hundred fish, of course.

Not only does [Bob] have a good bit of product development under his belt, he was also kind enough to go over the stuff everyday electronic design just doesn’t cover. Developing a product is something you can only learn by doing, and we’re glad [Bob] chose to share his experiences with us.