Uses for magnets


Sometimes we forget just how useful magnets can be. Sure, we use them in some projects, but usually we just pull them apart for our amusement. Evil mad scientist laboratories reminds us that they can be useful tools. They’ve made a list of 17 uses of magnets. We’re also reminded that magnets can be dangerous. What else can you think of?

The Bulbdial clock comes to life


Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has built the bulbdial clock, an idea originated by Ironic Sans.  It’s basically a high definition indoor sundial. The LEDs arranged in a circle shine a light on the peg in the middle casting a shadow, just like a sundial. There are 3 colors of rings, allowing for hour, minute, and second shadows. This isn’t the first time that Ironic Sans has seen ideas come to reality. There were the pre pixelated reality show clothes and the sneaky histogram hidden message system. While it is a cute idea, it isn’t really new. People have been patenting this idea for a while.

64pixels are enough


[Alex] put together this lovely minimal LED project. The square pixel matrix is soldered directly to the microcontroller in the same style as EMSL’s Micro-Readerboard. During the prototyping phase he used resistors to limit the current from the programming board. The final product doesn’t use resistors and manages the current draw by only turning on a single pixel line at a time. The illustrated assembly guide is very thorough and should help your create an equally compact device. Check out a video of it in motion below.

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Arduino MEGA


Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories spotted one of the first images of the Arduino MEGA. The board is based on the ATmega1280 microcontroller, which has 128KB of flash,4KB of RAM, and 4KB of EEPROM. We haven’t seen any official specs yet, but the silkscreen shows 12 PWM connections, 36 Digital I/O, and 16 analog inputs. The post mentions 4 hardware UARTs and an I2C bus as well. No release date yet, but we can assume it’s soon since the hardware was already demoed at ETech.

Related: We added an Arduino category.

Bristle bot controversy


When the Bristlebots were released back in 2007 by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, we all thought they were pretty cool. Apparently someone at Klutz did too. They have released a book, with the title “Invasion of the BristleBots”. The bots seem to be identical and the name is identical. There is no mention of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories anywhere in it. [Phillip Torrone] has attempted to contact Klutz and the book publisher Scholastic directly to find out more information.

[Windell] and [Lenore] from EMSL had this to say:

“This is the first that I’ve heard of it. Frankly, I am a bit offended. Klutz makes some nice things, and I’m surprised that they wouldn’t have contacted us, asked permission, or at least given us credit. (Locomotion by ratcheting bristles isn’t remotely new — it occurs in nature — but the name ‘Bristlebot’ is surely ours, and I don’t know of any prior implementation with a toothbrush.)”

You probably know EMSL from their other projects such as the Peggy and Meggy jr. How would you feel if a project you did was published without credit? Would you care or not?

TGIMBOEJ robot edition


Since we last reported about The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronic Junk, several of these boxes have begun circulating in different areas of the world. Team Hack-a-Day launched three themselves. decided that there was a need for a specialized box just for those who hack robots, and have launched their own.

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LED menorahs


We’re barely past Halloween and people are already working on their next LED based holiday decorations. For Hanukkah, Gizmodo pointed out the PCB menorah pictured above. It uses a set of DIP switches to control which LEDs are lit. A couple years ago, Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories put together a tutorial for building a more minimal LED menorah. Each of the nine LEDs are soldered directly to the legs of an ATtiny2313 microcontroller. Every time you power up the device an additional LED is lit. [Ori] liked the project and decided to take a slightly different approach. He used an LM3914 DIP18 LED bar driver. A potentiometer controls how many of the LEDs are illuminated.