Hackit: Cocktail Robotics

Here is a special edition Hackit in honor of Roboexotica. Ever since making the decision to attend Roboexotica we’ve been speculating on the type of machines we’d like to see at such an event. Here are a handful of ideas:

Iceware via rapid prototyping: As we type this post, [Bre] is in the background attempting to build a RepRap style rapid prototyping machine that will construct shot glasses on demand. We were thinking it would be neat to cut beverage glasses out of blocks of ice using a milling machine, but why stick with normal milling equipment? It’s ice right; you could be doing something stupid like using a butane torch for your working tool. We then began to wonder “Has anyone built an ice based rapid prototyping machine?” You could just deposit water on a frozen surface to create your glassware. A group at the University of Missouri has been investigating “rapid freeze prototyping“. Since they’re using water, they only have to create the frozen shell of the part and then fill in the empty cavity with water to create a solid.

[Read more...]

Hackit: FRS/GMRS portable radios

FRS and GMRS radios have the performance that we wished walkie talkies had when we were kids. I find them interesting because they aren’t quite as tied down as amateur radio bands. (They’re freaking cheap and you can give them to unlicensed users.) I’ve been surprised by the lack of hacks for these little guys. Garmin married them with a GPS unit to create a sort of hand held APRS device called the Rhino. Since I’ve got a couple of kids, I’m thinking that smacking a GPS into one of these little wrist radios with a modified opentracker (PIC based APRS encoder) would be great for tracking the family on hikes and ski/snowboard trips.

The response to Hackit has been fantastic! Each week I’m going to bring up some hardware. You guys get to pick your brains and suggest new, interesting projects. Look for a round-up and bounty post in the next week or so.

So, got a better idea? Let’s hear it!