Wireless Bullduino belt buckle sets the stage for romance, schtick

redbull-romance-pants

As the Red Bull Creation Contest gets underway, we’re seeing a ton of great entries, including this one put together by [Team Instructables]. While we are pretty partial to our own spectacular Red Bull Cannon, it’s hard to deny that there is some stiff competition out there.

Instructables’ “Romance Pants” are a creation that would undoubtedly fit perfectly as a prop piece for any of the Naked Gun movies. The basic premise behind the pants is that when unzipped, the Bullduino belt buckle wirelessly signals the lights in the room to dim, the music to turn up, and candles to light – setting the mood for romance.

Some might argue that anyone wearing a Red Bull-themed Arduino as a belt buckle would have a snowball’s chance in hell of encountering a potential mate – We can’t really argue with you there. That said, their concept is pretty amusing.

Stick around to see the Romance Pants in action, as well as a behind the scenes look at how they work.

[Thanks, Bill!]

[Read more...]

Hackerspace competition combines drinking and lock picking – need we say more?

rumble_challenge_lockpicking_contest

The guys from Bloomington’s Fraternal Order of Lock Sport (FOOLS) sure know how to throw a party! At this year’s DerbyCon event down in Louisville, the group put on an awesome event that combined lockpicking and drinking – what could be better?

The Rumble Challenge is lock picking game where six people compete head to head for the best time. Whenever a competitor masters his lock, the competition is paused so that each player has a chance to take a shot from their air-powered shot dispensing machine. Once everyone has imbibed, the next round starts with the competitors picking up where they left off, in an effort to be the next to successfully open his lock.

The game is controlled by an Arduino, which both times the competition and senses when the locks have been opened. The Arduino relays this data to a computer, which uses a projector to display the contestant’s scores on a big screen. As an added bonus, FOOLS member [dosman] added loud rumble motors to the locking mechanisms in order to throw competitors off their game.

The contest sounds like a ton of fun – we’re bummed that we missed it. If you want to see how the game was put together, check out [dosman’s] build log over at the Bloominglabs wiki.

Workshop 88 hosts a near space balloon contest

hackerspaces_in_space

Launching high-altitude balloons to take pictures of the Earth from space is great fun. Heck, even credit card commercials are now suggesting you cash in your rewards points to organize a space balloon adventure for you and your friends.

Capturing snapshots of the Earth from space is such a good time that Workshop 88, a hackerspace located in the Western suburbs of Chicago, is making a contest out of it. They recently kicked off their second annual “Hackerspaces in Space” competition, a contest to see who can build the best near space balloon for under $250. The contest pits individuals, groups, and hackerspaces against one another, assigning each team a score based on the performance of their high-flying rig.

The winner of the contest will have their design replicated by the crew at Workshop 88, who will then hand out the space balloon kits to randomly selected K-12 schools around the country.

If this sounds interesting, but a contest entry just isn’t in the cards, you can always support the kit distribution by funding their Kickstarter project here.

Hacking and Rolling at the Red Bull Creation Challenge

red_bull_creation_challenge_badge

The crew over at the HarfordHackerspace used their wits and creativity to land a spot at the final round of Red Bull’s Creation challenge. The team arrived in Brooklyn just yesterday, ready to take on all comers in the 72-hour hacking challenge which kicked off earlier this morning.

Like any other hacker convention, the Red Bull challenge sports its own unique guest badges just begging to be poked, prodded, and otherwise fooled with. Once the team arrived in New York they were given theirs, and after the opening festivities came to a close, the hacking began. The badges were putting out what looked like Morse code messages via a single red LED, and while part of the team worked to record and decode the message, others started reverse engineering the badge’s on-board PIC.

They were successfully able to bypass the PIC’s fuses to read the code inside, and what they found was pretty funny. You will have to follow the link above to find out what it was, but rest assured, the Red Bull folks definitely have a decent sense of humor.

DIY hot air hand dryer – an OCD sufferer’s best friend

diy_hot_air_hand_dryer

[haqnmaq] admits that he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and on occasion, can be found washing his hands up to 20 times an hour. Very distrustful of cloth towels, he exclusively uses paper towels to dry his hands, to the tune of 2-3 rolls a day. In an effort to lessen the impact his OCD has on the environment and his wallet, he decided to build an automated hot air hand dryer using a 555 timer, which doubles as his entry in the 555 Design Contest.

The concept behind his project is to use a hair dryer as a hot air source, relying on a phototransistor and a pair of IR LEDs to detect when hands are placed under the dryer. When a pair of hands are detected, a relay is triggered and the hair dryer is turned on. Once the dryer has run for a pre-determined but adjustable time, the relay is opened, and the hair dryer turns off.

It’s a pretty simple project, but one that is quite useful, whether you suffer from OCD or not. The only thing he might want to watch out for is the restricted air flow to the dryer, since it is mounted in a sealed plastic container – a few seconds with a hole saw should remedy the problem quite easily.

Want to see the hand dryer in action? Keep reading for a short video demonstration.

[Thanks Ryan]

[Read more...]

555 Timer circuit simulation software

ltspiceiv_demo

[FightCube] wrote in recommending a very helpful piece of circuit simulation software for those of you still constructing entries for the 555 design contest.   LTSpiceIV, available from Linear Technology, allows you to construct moderately complex 555 driven circuits including common components such as capacitors, resistors, diodes, FETs, and more.  Once you have constructed your circuit, you can view the results in an easy to use visualization window, without ever having to touch your soldering iron or a breadboard.  According to [FightCube], the software is fairly easy to use, and best of all, it’s free.

He has shared one basic circuit he built as a demonstration of the software’s capabilities, and promises to share more in order to motivate others to enter the contest.

Name that Ware


Guessing games are fun, especially when unnamed hardware and prizes are involved. [bunnie] holds a Name that Ware contest on his blog once a month; he posts an image of hardware components like the PCB above (which is May’s mystery ware) and asks visitors to try to guess the machine it came from or at least its function. Aside from the prizes he gives out, winners get the most coveted of all rewards: bragging rights. He’s been running the monthly contest for quite some time and it’s not always PCBs; past wares have included this micron thickness guage (internal) and an xray of a crystal oscillator.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93,736 other followers