Hacking cakes with LEDs

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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

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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

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[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.

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Hacking together a Sous Vide cooker

Those amongst you that are cooks won’t need this explanation, for the rest of us, lets just get this out of the way. Sous Vide is when you cook things at a temperature lower than normal, for a period of time longer than normal to attain specific results in texture. A chef can tell you more intricate details about it, but what we care about is how to impress our friends with a cheap hack and a tasty meal. This video shows how to hack your slow cooker for precise temperature control.  Well, it really shows how to splice a temperature controller into an extension cord, so we guess it could be used for a ton of things, non Sous Vide related.

 

[via Lifehacker]

Meat smoker texts you when it is done

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[Peter Rauch] has built this meat smoker that has a touch screen control interface. His system is capable of controlling the cooking by monitoring the internal temperature of the smoker as well as the temperature of the meat itself. His touch screen interface allows him to enter his desired parameters and it basically just takes over from that point and texts him when it is done.  You’ll have to download the pdf to get to the juicy details of his build, but it is an interesting read.

It looks like he’s using a 4-loop Gefran GFX4 temp controller in conjunction with a Modbus remote terminul interface and a TS8010 HMI touchscreen for the bulk of the electronics. It even has protection limits he can set to keep his family from bumping it up to 1200 degrees.

[via Makezine]

Break out the two-ply, Ecobot III poops

Imagine our surprise when this article on Ecobot III and the disgusting video above showed up in our feed. The robot can theoretically be self-sustaining forever, so long as it has a food source. Yes, you read correctly, food.

Typical robots relying on grub burn the biomass to produce heat/steam/energy, but Ecobot III actually digests using Microbial Fuel Cells and extracts energy in the form of hydrogen.

The process isn’t very efficient (yet), and of course waste must be excreted, but we’re inching closer and closer to the day our robot overlords are invincible. The project has come to a halt (we can’t imagine why), but you can still read up on the process, and meet Ecobot’s brothers: II and I.

Related: We’re all going to die, Carnivorous robots.

RFID cat feeder helps with the diet

When faced with having 2 cats with different dietary needs, [Landmanr] had to decide between manually stopping the cat on a diet from eating normal food, or building a dietary robot overlord. [Landmanr] chose the robot route. Using an old cd rom for the opening/closing mechanism, and RFID to distinguish between felines, [Landmanr] no longer has to stand guard while each cat eats. We particularly like the design of the antenna, so that the cat has to stick its head through it to activate the food opening. You don’t see that version in the video, but it is in the instructable.