Prank gift keeps curious hands at bay

gift-prank

You all know that person.

The one who picks up every present with their name on it, shaking it before busting into their best Carnac the Magnificent impression. Heck, you might even be that person.

[Jason] was thinking about how to combat the gift shaker in his life and put together a simple prank that’s sure to provide him some enjoyment when the shaking and guessing commences.

He bought a premade audio module that stores about 20 seconds of sound, replacing the pushbutton trigger with a pair of wires that can easily make contact when the box is vigorously moved. Everything was carefully mounted in a gift box before being wrapped and set under the tree to surprise the eager gift shaker.

We definitely like the idea, since there are a plethora of ways to customize/enhance [Jason’s] work to fit your specific needs. Whether you go with the kitten/puppy in a box theme, or wire in an incredibly loud alarm, your resident gift inspector will never look at presents the same way again!

Continue reading to see [Jason] explain his gift prank in more detail.

Continue reading “Prank gift keeps curious hands at bay”

2010 Hacker Gift Guide

You’ve probably been fantasizing about getting amazing gifts this December, like robots with servo-mounted laser pointers and authentic battle damage. It’s time to realize that it’s unlikely that this will happen. Stay calm. You can still get sweet hacky things if you just forward this gift-giving guide to your friends and loved ones.

Join us after the break to see what we want and be sure to let us know what you’ve got your eye on.
Continue reading “2010 Hacker Gift Guide”

BobLight night light networking

It turns out that more than just pictures of women and flashing animations can be found on the X10 website. [Jonathan] based his BobLight project around the MS14A X10 module.

The idea for the devices started off as a Christmas gift for his parents in-law. A boblight turns on when motion is detected. It then communicates (through radio) with the other boblights to turn them all on. If motion is not detected by any of the boblights for a length of time, they all turn off. Rather than having the user shut all of them off every morning, a light sensor is used to automate the task.

Each boblight is a common LED utility light combined with the board of an MS14A and added a 310MHz RF receiver. He even hacked the board by replacing the onboard PIC with a higher spec model. We think [Jonathan] did a great job at implementing an innovative concept.

Reverse geocache puzzle

fig1-6471

[Mikal] wanted to create an awesome electronic wedding gift for his friend who was moving to France. After experimenting with a few things, he settled on creating a puzzle box that would only open in a certain location. Since his friend introduced him to the Arduino, he fittingly used one in the design, along with a serial GPS module and a mini character LCD. The box itself is locked using a servo-controlled chopstick, which could theoretically be snapped if [Mikal] really screwed something up. To save battery life, he used a small Pololu module to provide power that uses only 0.01 microamps in standby, and can be shut off by the Arduino.

The box was designed to be mysterious yet self-explanatory. When the button on the front is pushed, the box comes to life for 3 minutes, displaying the distance away from secret location. Additionally, it warns how many tries are left: the button can only be pushed 50 times before it is sealed “forever”. In order to open the box, you have to be within 2km of the destination. Theoretically, you can narrow down the location to one of 2 points after 2 readings, but a less scientific approach would probably be a lot more fun.

This seems like an amazing gift, and the same concept could be repurposed into hundreds of other devices. For extra fun, he could have placed it at a geocache location.

Temperature sensing Munny

munny

Here’s another nerdy present that was built for Valentine’s Day. [João Silva] created a temperature sensing Munny. A Munny is a vinyl toy made to be customized. Other than these Munny speakers, we haven’t seen them in many electronics projects. The LM35CZ temperature sensor has an analog output that connects to the ADC on the ATtiny15L. The microcontroller changes the RGB LED’s color based on the temperature: blue for cold, green for comfortable, and red for hot. It only flashes every three minutes to conserve the power in the coin cells. His one-off circuit board also includes an ISP header for programming. The Munny’s head looks like it does a great job diffusing the light.

Hackit: What did you get?

adp1

It’s the season of gift giving. Did you get anything interesting/hackable? What will you work on next?

We gave ourselves an Android Dev Phone 1 (ADP1). We hadn’t really considered getting a G1 until the ADP1 was announced… It’s actually a lot of fun to use as our primary phone. Our favorite app so far is connectbot, the SSH client. The interface is really smart, way better than all of the iPhone clients.

What did you get?