Generative design is a method of creating something by feeding seed data into an algorithm. It might be hard at first to figure out how someone would build a business around this, but that’s exactly what Nervous System has been doing with great success. The secret is not only in the algorithm, but in how they’re bringing it to life.
Many people with hearing impairments have assistive devices at home that flash a light whenever a fire truck goes by, an alarm bell goes off, or the doorbell rings. With the exception of a hearing dog, these devices are useless outside the home, and this is where [Halley]’s Flutter dress comes into play. Flutter has microphones and microcontrollers sewn into the dress to listen to the surrounding environment and uses small vibration motors to wave small cloth leaflets whenever a loud sound is detected.
In the writeup for Flutter (PDF), [Halley] tells us she used a quartet of microcontrollers to detect the ambient acoustic environment. Each microcontroller passes the signal from the microphone into a buffer where it performs an FFT on the sound data. From this, the loudness and frequency of a noise – as well as the direction from a time-of-flight calculation – can be determined. Once that is complete, each microcontroller actuates a small vibrator motor in the dress’ leafs according to how loud and in which direction the sound came from.
As with all assistive technologies for the hearing impaired, there is always the aspect of deaf culture’s point of view that such inventions are seen as forcing a disability on someone. [Halley]’s Flutter dress was with the input of a few family members who have hearing impairments and got some positive feedback from members of the community. Good job, and we can see why it won Best in Show at the 2012 International Symposium on Wearable Computer’s Design Exhibition.
[Jeri] threw down the geeky fashion gauntlet by building this LED enhanced dress. She chose to assemble the project for her trip to BarBot 2011, and we can’t think of a more appropriate setting for such a garment. It uses a motion sensor to set off a delayed pattern of blue lights hidden underneath the fabric.The best part of the hack is the instamatic camera. It looks like a fashion accessory, but it’s really hiding all of the circuitry for the lights.
Inside the camera a PIR sensor waits until it detects motion, sending a signal through an op-amp to the trigger circuitry. A 74LS14 Schmitt Trigger chip teams up with some resistor-capacitor timer circuits to build a delay chain for the LEDs. This way, after motion is detected the LEDs come on and off in a staggered pattern that doesn’t require a microcontroller and is very pleasing to the eye. See the Analog win for yourself after the break.
This wort cooler looks beautiful. No, it’s not for removing warts, it’s part of the brewing process for the nectar of the gods. Even if it wasn’t meant to create alcohol, we would be drawn in by those pretty copper curves.
We’re not surprised at all to see this remote-controlled bowling ball. We’ve seen remote-controlled spheres several times and this just seems like the logical conclusion. We wish there were some build details though. [via neatorama]
When [Anthony Toth] an aircraft enthusiast, decided remodel his garage, he shot for the sky. He has recreated the first class cabin of a Pan Am 747 circa the 1970s. It took him nearly 20 years to scavenge the parts and over $50,000 to pull it all together. [via makezine]
This super cheap simple cable tester caught our eye. There’s nothing complicated here, pretty common sense really. Why didn’t we think of it?
Over the years, Asimo has become a household name. At least in geek households. We’ve seen him go from crazy looking walking microwave prototype, to giant scary space man monster, to the lovable little guy we know now. You can see the full evolution of Asimo in this picture series.
Got an old box camera? Want to use it with modern 35mm film? Here’s a guide to getting it to work. It mainly just involves making a simple mounting bracket.
We like LEDs a lot, but this is getting ridiculous. This dress has 24,000 LEDs. They power it with iPod batteries spread throughout the dress. This cuts down on the bulk and helps distribute the weight.
Coffee cup technology hasn’t changed much in the last bazillion years. We’re pretty sure cave people carved them from stone, and now they’re made from ceramic which really isn’t that different. Some researchers are changing all that, and designing a coffee cup that is supposed to regulate its temperature in a new way. This mug is manufactured with internal convection channels and is made from a material known for its temperature regulation called PCM. Interesting, but it will probably cost much more than a simple insulated thermos. [via neatorama]