Retrotechtacular: Hacking Mother Nature’s North Temperate Regions

…because they’ll tickle your insides! Seriously, don’t eat them if you happen to parachute alone into wilderness and must survive without firearms or equipment like our protagonist here. This 1955 US Navy-produced gem of a training film will show you how to recognize, procure, and prepare many kinds of nutritious plant, insect, and animal life commonly found between 45° and 70° north latitude.

While you hone your large game hunting skills, you can tide yourself over with all kinds of things that will just sit there ready to be plucked for your nourishment: many berries and fruits, nuts, moss, lichens, and the inner bark of several kinds of trees is edible. Sate your taste for savory with grubs, termites, or grasshoppers. When in doubt, eat what the birds and small animals are eating, but stay away from mushrooms. It’s too hard to distinguish the poisonous varieties.

Many edible things are found in and around bodies of water. Game such as deer, ducks, and birds are attracted to water and make their homes near it. Various kinds of traps made from twigs and vegetation will outwit rabbits and squirrels. You can fashion a bow and arrow in order to kill large quadrupeds like deer, elk, and ram. It’s best to aim for the head, neck, or just behind the shoulders as these are the most vulnerable areas.

Once you have killed a large animal, prepare it for cooking by draining its blood and removing its entrails. There are many ways to cook your spoils of survival, and most of them involve cutting the meat into small pieces first. Hopefully, you have some basic tools for starting fires.

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Preparing sushi with the help of lasers

laser-cut-sushi-rolls

It’s not too often that we cover food here on Hackaday, but when we saw how a laser cutter was being used to help enhance the look of sushi, we decided to share. Even if you don’t enjoy sushi, it’s hard not to argue that it can often be more like edible art than simply food. The preparation that goes into well-made sushi is extensive, and this laser cut maki certainly takes things up a notch.

In the wake of the 2011 tsunami many businesses were suffering, including Umino Seaweed whose primary product is nori – the ubiquitous green seaweed wrapper found in/on many sushi rolls. They were looking for something to attract attention to the brand, while remaining respectful to the centuries-old tradition of making sushi.

They sent their request to ad agency I&SBBDO who came up with the fancy looking nori you see above. Each sheet of seaweed is laser cut with traditional Japanese imagery, from the Sakura (cherry blossom) to the Kumikikkou (tortoise shell). We’re not sure if these sheets of nori are actually for sale or have just been put together for solely advertising, either way we think this is a novel and frivolous, but awesome use for a laser cutter. Also, we’re pretty hungry now – anyone up for grabbing some sushi?

[via Make]

Candied LEDs are a light, tasty treat

rock_candy_diffused_leds

[Emily Daniels] recently snagged a free iPad in the Instructables “Play with your food challenge” with an interesting way to work with LEDs. Growing up, most kids attempted to make, or at least have seen rock candy be produced. [Emily] thought it would be interesting to mix LEDs with the stuff to see what she could come up with, and her candied LEDs are the result.

The process is pretty straightforward, and involves mixing up a batch of supersaturated sugar syrup in which LEDs are suspended. The LEDs act as a nucleation point for the crystal formation, growing a nice solid coating of sugar after a couple weeks’ time. After some cleaning up, the LEDs can be connected to a coin cell battery or similar, as you would normally do. The sugar acts as a diffusing medium for the LEDs, giving them a nice soft beam pattern.

Obviously you likely wouldn’t want to use these for any long-term electronics project, but it’s a fun activity for the kids, and it could be a good way to incorporate electronics into baked goods.

Hacking cakes with LEDs, the sequel!

A few weeks back we ran a piece about the convergence of making and baking in an attempt to create a cake festooned with working LEDs. The moral was that not every creative idea ends in victory, but we applauded the spirit it takes to post one’s goofs for the whole internet to see and to learn from.

[Craig]’s LED matrix proved unreliable…and the underlying cake didn’t fare much better, resembling that charred lump in the toaster oven in Time Bandits. The cakes-with-lights meme might have died right there if not for a fluke of association…

[Read more...]

Hacking cakes with LEDs

led_cake

A large part of science is making mistakes and learning from them in order to make each subsequent design that much better. When your experimentation involves hacking cakes, each failure is an exercise in deliciousness.

[Craig] and his group of research partners often bake electronics-related cakes whenever part of the team departs in search of other opportunities. Over the years, farewell parties have seen renditions of anything from multimeters to quantum computers. This time around, he wanted to make something that contained actual electronics parts, while still remaining edible.

He settled on making an LED matrix inside of a cake, using silver foil wrapped licorice for wires. In the end however, he found the silver foil to be incredibly difficult to work with, and the matrix ended up being little more than a few randomly blinking LEDs.

Even though things didn’t work out quite how he planned, he is not discouraged. The cake was still quite tasty, and through this process he has discovered edible silver paint, which will undoubtedly make it into the next farewell cake.

Der Wafflemeister 3000

der_wafflemeister3000

When people think about robots, a few different things come to mind. We like robots because they take care of tedious work. Robots are great for accomplishing tasks in hazardous environments too. When the [Chalmers Robotics Society] thinks about robots however, they think, “Breakfast!”

The CRS constructed a sweet automatic waffle cooking machine known as the Wafflemeister3000. It can produce up to 5 waffles at a time, cooking them to a nice golden brown in a little over 3 minutes. Think about that for a second – that’s about 90 waffles an hour!

This project isn’t exactly new, with the second iteration having been completed in 2007. However, since the third version features a 400% increase in production volume, we thought it was worth a mention.

Be sure to check out the video below of the Wafflemeister3000 doing its thing.

[via Neatorama]

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Thermic lance made from spaghetti

spaghetti_thermic_lance

[Frogz] sent in a video he found of a thermic lance constructed from spaghetti. If you are not familiar, thermic lances are typically comprised of an iron tube filled with iron rods, which are then burned using highly pressurized oxygen. This lance however, was built by tightly wrapping a bundle of spaghetti in aluminum foil and attaching it to an oxygen tank. While thermic lances are commonly used in heavy construction where thick steel needs to be cut, [latexiron] and his friends use theirs to cut apart a chair. While we don’t necessarily condone drunken destruction of innocent patio furniture, we can’t help but watch this video again and again in amazement of the incredibly novel use of everyday pasta. You too can join in the drunken revelry after the jump. If food-based cutting torches are your thing, be sure to check out this bacon lance as well.

[Read more...]

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