Hackaday Links: Sunday, May 5th, 2013


Let’s start off this weekend’s links post with some advertising. We like targeted ads (mostly because we don’t have pooping problems and are tired of hearing about Activia). So we applaud IBM for finding our number with this commercial which produces a stop-motion animation using single atoms as pixels. Wow! [via Reddit and Internet Evolution]

Speaking of commercials, here’s some snake-oil which lets you touch a boob without being in the same room with the person [Thanks Michael].

Moving right along we’ve got a trio of trackpad hacks. There’s one that lets you use the keyboard and trackpad of a MacBook as a standalone USB input device [via Reddit]. Or you could take a Toshiba laptop to the tablesaw to turn it into a USB trackpad. But maybe your Acer C7 Trackpad doesn’t work very well and you just need better grounding.

[Nick McGill] is a member of the team developing an upper body exoskeleton as an assistive technology. This made the rounds on tech websites but the lack of in-depth build info on the project site kept it from getting its own feature here.

If you have a router capable of running DD-WRT here’s a method of setting up a PPTP VPN for free.

And finally, you may remember hearing about the original Prince of Persia source code being discovered and released about a year ago. Well [Adam Green] figured out how to compile it into the original Apple II floppy disks. [Thanks Arthur]

3D printed exoskeleton helps this little girl develop more normal body function

This 2-year-old girl has a condition called arthrogryposis which causes her not to be able to move her arms. But with a little help, her muscles can be strengthened to achieve more normal use of her limbs. This is not the first time that an exoskeleton has been used, but the advent of 3D printed parts makes the skeleton work much better.

Previous exoskeletons were made of metal and were quite heavy. When you’re talking about a 25 pound child every extra ounce counts. Moving to plastic parts lightened the load. Now the structure can be mounted on her torso, using rubber bands to aid her movement until her muscles are strong enough to do it on their own.

Of course to [Emma] this isn’t an exoskeleton. It’s her set of magic arms.

[Read more...]

Lightweight robosuit is like stilts on steroids

What would you do if you were a foot or two taller? How about if you had an arm span two times as wide as you have now?

A group of Japanese engineering students asked themselves the same question and built a wearable chassis that does just that. Their project is called “Sukerutonikusu”, which we believe roughly translates to: “This is freaking awesome, we’ll take two!”. [Thopter] however informs us that it translates to “Skeletonics”, a fusion of the words “skeleton” and “mechanics”.

The suit is comprised of lightweight aluminum pipes and sheeting, allowing for it to be powered solely by the person wearing it. Stepping inside the chassis looks like it lifts the wearer about a foot and a half off the ground, while increasing their wingspan by nearly 6 feet! In the video embedded below you can see that while in the suit, the wearer is quite agile, and even has the ability to run at a decent tick.

If this ever comes to market, you can bet we will buy one in a heartbeat – until then, we will have to settle for making RoboCop sounds as we walk about the office.

[Read more...]

Precision Erector Set connects multiple cameras

Check out the exoskeleton that [Curt von Badinski] built for filming driving scenes. This extremely configurable wrap-around frame resembles a children’s toy from the past but allows an almost unlimited set of configurations. Five cameras simultaneous capture the driving scene. The current setup is used to shoot the television show 24.

[Thanks Robert]

Exoskeleton rental now available

The HAL two-leg exoskeleton is now available for rent in Tokyo for $2300 per month. We saw the HAL in our power suit roundup from last year. There is footage of this lower-extremity suit demonstrated by three people. The video is a bit creepy because the they are apparently just out for a stroll in the city.

We really do want to see this succeed. Every time another advancement in exoskeletons comes around we glimpse the future of mobility and freedom for victims of paralysis. The machine is controlled via an interface that picks up electrical impulses on the surface of the skin. The built in battery provides power for up to five hours of operation before recharging is necessary.

[Thanks David]

HAL suit going into production


When we compiled our list of real life power suits last May, the HAL suit was being pitched as a $1000 a month rental. Cyberdyne has changed their tune for the better recently. Teports suggest that the first 400 unit run of powered exoskeletons will sell for $4200, less than a Segway. The suit can increase the wearer’s strength ten-fold and will run continuously for nearly three hours.

[via Engadget]

Real life power suits

There was a time when the notion of powered armor like the set Ironman wears was just science fiction, but that time is gone. So, while the geeks at io9 are still dreaming of the future we’re very much in tune with the work that is being done right now. We’ll go through some of the most impressive powered suits out there after the break.

[Read more...]