[Lenore] Eviscerates Her Racing Snail

 

You may have walked past [Lenore's] unassuming card table at Maker Faire this year. But we’re really glad we stopped for a little chat. She went so far as to pull the working parts out of her racing snail to show them to us!

Wait, wait… racing snail? Yeah, this is a pretty neat one from a few years ago. The snail is a relatively large version of a bristlebot (incidentally, we believe bristlebots were originated by EMSL). The thing that’s missing here are the bristles. Instead of using a scrub-brush for this large version, [Lenore] discovered that velvet has a somewhat uni-directional grain. But using a piece of mouse-pad cut to the same footprint as the velvet she was able to get the flat-footed snail to move in a forward direction purely through the jiggle of a vibrating motor.

If this sparked your interest there are tons of other bristlebot variations to be found around here. One of our favorites is still this abomination which shifts weight to add steering.

Nixie frequency counter gone timepiece

nixie clock hack

[Windell] of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories took an ancient Nixie tube based frequency counter and converted it into a clock. The unit he got his hands on is an HP model that was still in great shape. He’s using an internally generated one second pulse as the clock signal, but some modifications are necessary to display time. That’s because the frequency counter is base 10 and clocks use a quirky combination of base 60 and base 12.

It wasn’t too much of a problem to rig up a system to track minutes and seconds. The tens digit for each is monitored by a couple of AND gates that he added to the mix. When they detect a ‘6’ the digit is reset and a pulse increments the next digit as the carry. This is more difficult to accomplish with the hours though. Minutes and seconds count from 0 to 59 but hours don’t start at 0. Instead of over-complicating the logic [Windell] used a bit of slight-of-hand. The Nixie tubes for the hours have been rewired so that when the counter is at 0, the filament in the shape of a 1 lights up. No difference in logic, just a translation that makes them display one digit higher than the actual count.

Controllable bristlebot

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[sprite_tm], whose projects we have covered in the past, took the popular bristlebot to an extreme and created a controllable version. A bristlebot consists of a small vibrating motor mounted with a battery on the head of a toothbrush. These micro-robots buzz around randomly, and he attempted to tame them. He used a platform of twin bristlebots and added an optical sensor from a laser mouse and an ATtiny13. The optical sensor is used to determine the relative motion of the robot, so that the motors can be adjusted accordingly. He also has a video of the bot using the sensor to find a mark on the floor and stay within bounds. Although it isn’t as accurate, it acts like a traditional line-following robot.

[Read more...]

ATTiny 2313 breakout boards from EMSL

3592136552_e69c9190a1 (Custom)

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has released the 2313 target board. A business card sized development board for working with ATTiny 2313 microprocessors. We saw them at the Maker Faire, and thought they looked familiar. You may recognize them due to their similarity to the Atmegaxx8 family board. As usual, this is released as creative commons and source files are available on their site.

Business cards at Maker Faire

business_card

[John Park] has managed to snag a couple interesting business cards at Maker Faire. The first is Adafruit’s laser cut Spirograph card. The other is a ATtiny 2313 prototyping board from Evil Mad Science; it looks to be the same style as their well-known AVR target board. We’ve also heard rumors that [Jérôme Demers] has bunch of resistor bending cards.

For more business card nonsense, check out: [Goodspeed]‘s smart card emulator, [Mayer]‘s embedded gears, and our web server business card.

Peggy 2 super pixels

rgb

[Windell] from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories took one of their Peggy 2 kits and gave it a little upgrade. The Peggy 2 is a programmable 25×25 LED display. It’s Arduino compatible and can accommodate big 10mm LEDs. Most people assemble them using just one color, but [Windell] decided to create giant RGB pixels by placing discrete red, green, blue, and white LEDs next to each other in the board. This creates a 12.5×12.5 grid of full color pixels. It’s an interesting effect and you should definitely check out the video embedded below which shows how the transition can be smoothed using a diffuser. [Read more...]

Zif socket for Arduino

zif

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has put out this nice tool. It’s a Zif socket for Arduino. If you’re doing a lot of flashing, this could be a nice addition to keep from having to pry your chip out every time. Plus, it looks cool in a soviet era technology kind of way.