2012 Open 7400 Logic Competition

The Open 7400 Logic Competition is being held again this year. Start thinking about your entries, they’ll need to be finished and submitted by October 31st. As motivation, Digilent has put up two of their Analog Discovery kits as prizes. They can be used as a dual channel oscilloscope, function generator, or 16-channel logic analyzer. Last year was the first time the competition was held. As hype for the event built, more and more prize sponsors signed on and we hope to see the same thing happen this year.

Your entry can be just about anything as long as you show your schematic, explain the project, and use logic. It can be 7400 TTL, 4000 CMOS, discrete gates, or even a CPLD. Last year’s entries spanned a wide range of themes from LED blinkers, to unorthodox 74xx chip hacking, to boards packed full of chips. Good luck and don’t forget to tip us off about your work!

[Thanks Adrian]

DEFCON 20 Tamper Evident contest signup

DEFCON 20 is on its way and if you want to put a team together to compete in the Tamper Evident competition now is the time! The idea of the contest is simple: your team needs to break into something without anyone every knowing. The payload is protected by the best of modern tamper evident techniques. One of the things we really like about the competition is that there are multiple levels so if it’s your first time you DO stand a chance. The number of teams accepted is limited, so don’t wait too long and miss your chance to register.

There’s a ton to be learned from the contest RULES. But perhaps a better primer is going to be [Datagram's] fifty-two minute talk which we’ve embedded after the break. He was one of the winners of all four contest levels at DEFCON 19 last year.

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Stupid Friggin’ Robots

 

Some robots aspire to greatness, revolutionizing our humanoid behaviour in ways we struggle to understand. They have traveled in space, photographing the stars like celestial paparazzi or snatching Martians up like interplanetary bed intruders. Some robots are happy to perform their everyday functions with dignity and grace, scrubbing our floors and thanking us for recycling.

It may seem that every robot has a calling that–whether grandiose or humble–makes it a valuable part of our society. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Some robots use our hard-earned energy resources to no good use, lazing around without a useful function, drinking flux and tonic all night while watching reruns of Lost in Space. They are stupid robots.

Many humans look upon such pitiful automatons as nothing more than flotsam in the whitewater rapids of human achievement, but the more empathetic among us are ready to celebrate the unique uselessness of stupid robots in grand style. Enter Bacarobo (translated), the premier event showcasing the quirkiest and most amusingly useless robots of our time.

This year the contest was held at the end of October, and the entrants were hilarious to say the least. The dancing olé-bot drew much applause, while the shivering toque robots wooed the crowd in a desperate attempt to escape their frigid prison. It will be fun to see whether any stupidly adorable robot designs will come out of our own Santa-bot competition, considering the source material. If you’ve ever built a stupid or useless robot (accidentally or not) please share your story in the comments. Sometimes the most endearing things about our technology are the parts that don’t work the way they’re supposed to.

The Transistor Takes on the Machine

It only took 4 hackerspaces, but we finally get to see a zombie movie inspired project; hackerspace The Transistor Takes on the Machine with a Dawn/Shawn of the Dead movie theme. Race cars disguised as zombies swarm toward the players, who then use laser tag like guns to “shoot” down the approaching undead. The whole thing is a mess of Arduinos communicating with xBees to a central iMac G3, but it all comes together rather well and is promised to be released open source.

Now all that’s left is deciding which hackerspace wins the competition. Who do you have your money on?

[Thanks Deven]

Hackerspace competition: looks promising

This is what happens when [Mitch Altman] comes together with hackerspaces nationwide to have a contest. In short, 5 hackerspaces  will “take on the machine” and come up with 5 original ideas for existing devices. There are a few more rules, but you can catch them in the video in the link above. There is hinting at a slot machine that mixes drinks, a bike that makes ice cream, and more. What do you guys think is in store?

This is also a great opportunity to mention the hackerspaces wiki, find a community (or start one!) near you today and maybe [Mitch] will call on your hackerspace next competition. For now, we’ll keep you up to date with each hackerspace’s project and progress.

[Thanks Deven]

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Trossen Robotics holding another contest

3rd place doesn't really shoot lasers that make stuff blow up.

You have until December 1st to get your entry into the Trossen DIY robotics contest. Unlike the last Trossen contest we told you about, this one has no clear theme. The goal is simply to make an awesome robot. Registration is free, and entries will be judged on Ingenuity, Originality, and presentation/documentation. There are prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, with the 1st place prize being the Interbotix Hexapod. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a kit of a hexapod that is pretty quick on its feet. You can catch a video of it after the break.

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Long arms required, electronic trombone

Sadly, the video above is the only information we were able to find on the “Double Slide Controller” trombone, built by composer Tomás Henriques. As well as, the instrument took first place in the Georgia Tech Center Guthman Musical Instruments Competition. Right in front of a Bluetooth bow for violins, and a circuit bending group from New York, and…wait; it beat out our favorite modified didgeridoo? Better luck next year.

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