Cheap robotic hand

[Mazvydas] shares with us, his cheap robot hand. He was inspired by this project, where someone used an Arduino and a glove with some flex sensors to control a pre-made hand. He wanted to go a little more DIY though. He chose a picaxe microcontroller and constructed the hand himself out of twine, some plexi-glass, and some rubber hose. He does ultimately plan on adding glove control as well.

Unfortunately there’s no schematic or source code. Maybe if we ask really nicely he’ll share.

 

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Robotic helicopter that can grasp a payload

Like the Grand Theft Auto RC missions come to life, this helicopter can grasp objects for transport. They don’t have to be a special size or shape, and it can lift them even if they are not centered. This is thanks to a load-balancing hand (originally developed as a prosthesis) that relies on flexible joints and a tendon-like closing mechanism. As you can see in the video, the light-weight chopper has an on-board camera so that the operator can see what is being picked up. This little guy has no problem lifting objects that are over one kilogram while remaining stable in the air.

[Thanks Paul]

One-handed GameCube controller

[Hasse] built a one-handed video game controller for his brother. He fit everything he needed into the body of an existing controller and came up with a very usable system. The controller will be right-hand only, so the left shoulder button was moved underneath the right side where your middle finger can get at it. This leaves the d-pad and the left analog stick to account for. By combining an ATtiny44A, an accelerometer, and a digital to analog converter the controller can sense motion. The microcontroller reads in the accelerometer data, gives user feedback via four added LEDs on the d-pad, and the DAC feeds the appropriate signals back into the controller as if you were using the stick. There is even a switch to select whether the motion data is mapped to the analog stick or to the d-pad. We’ve included a demo video after the break.

Find that you also need some one-armed typing assistance? Check out this half-qwerty keyboard hack. [Read more...]

Arm mounted light cannon; villains beware

In a hack worthy of the flick Kick Ass, [Chein] built this arm-mounted light weapon. The lamp in the palm of your hand has a ring of LEDs for a nice glowing effect, but the real story is the xenon bulb at its center. The flash capacitor and charge circuit from a disposable camera are used to step up the battery voltage to 330V for an intense and slightly blinding discharge. The charging is started when you press a button on the back of the hand harness, with the flash coming when one of your fingers touches a conveniently positioned trigger. Check it out after the break.

This non-lethal weapon makes for a nice alternative to the dangers involve in playing with fire.

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Hand of Man Mechanical Claw

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[Christian Ristow], a former Muppet creator, has created a much larger puppet that has caught the attention of Popular Mechanics. His Hand of Man is a 27 foot long remote control mechanical claw. Powered by a 90 hp diesel engine, the hydraulic system can be controlled by a glove worn by the operator. This started as a demonstration for a robotics fair, but has recently made appearances at Burning Man, Maker Faire, and had the Grand Champions seat of Popular Mechanic’s Backyard Geniuses Award. While not as practical as some robotic human augmentations, it can crush a car. [Christian] is even allowing anyone who is interested at these events to pick things up and crush them at their own whim.

Various promo videos after the jump.

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Defcon 16: Biometric cloning


One of the more novel talks we saw at Defcon was [Zac Franken] presenting on access control systems. He covered several different types, but the real fun was his live demo of bypassing a hand geometry scanners like the one pictured above. With the help of two assistants, 4 pounds of chromatic dental alginate, and 5 liters of water, he made a mold of his hand. The box he placed his hand in had markings to show where the pegs on the scanner are located. After 2 minutes he could remove his hand from the cavity. They then filled the mold with vinylpolysiloxane, making sure to remove all bubbles. 20 minutes later the hand was solid and passed the scanner’s test. This may not be a completely practical attack, but it does defeat the overall idea of biometrics; biometrics are built on the assumption that every person is unique and can’t have their features reproduced.

[Zac] also showed an interesting magnetic card spoofer that emulated all three tracks using coils of magnet wire. We hope to see more about that in the future.

[photo: morgan.davis]

Electric screwdriver robot hand


Here’s an interesting grabber hand built for use on an ROV. This grabber is a novel use of a very common and extremely cheap electric screwdriver, that is probably found in everyone’s toolbox. It is also a great way to reuse that small electric screwdriver you have kicking around that uses proprietary batteries that are not worth replacing. Many of the ROV’s covered previously could benefit from such a powerful device built from very common materials off his parts list. Because the screwdriver was extremely cheap the designer chose not to completely seal the housing.

It seems like this simple design that could be used in many robotic projects and by simply changing the jaws could yield other creative uses. The first thing that comes to mind is to upsize this hack into something bigger and stronger. Either way, you might not want to get your fingers in there.

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