Wireless Upgrade for a Heathkit HERO 1 Robot

F3DDY

For those of you that don’t know, the Heathkit HERO (Heathkit Educational Robot) was a ‘bot built in the early 1980s. [Rick] wasn’t satisfied with his model ETW-18′s programming interface, so decided to upgrade it to be able to run Python using a hacked wireless router. We’d agree that things have advanced since then, since this little guy was originally programmed in machine code using an onboard keypad.  As [Rick] points out, it’s “exactly as awful” as it sounds!

To begin restoring and upgrading his robot, a kit was obtained from [hero-1] to allow for a serial programming interface. Although an improvement, the desire was to be able to program this robot using Python, and to not have to have a cable running across the floor all the time. A router with a serial port was obtained from a thrift store, then hacked using [OpenWrt]. After fitting the components into the robot, [FR3DDY] was born, “A ~30 year old robot, accessible through wifi, capable of running Python.”

Be sure to check out his site, which has some videos we weren’t able to embed. He’s also included some Python code that he used to program it. If this has made you curious about the Python language, why not check out this recent post about learning it the hard way?

Shovel…guitar?

We didn’t believe this hack at all when we saw it, or rather heard it. Surly a guitar made out of a shovel couldn’t sound decent. But the video (after the jump, skip to 2:40 for the jam) to our untrained ears sounded pretty rad. Could be the supremely well done wood work, proper use of tools, high tech pickups, or maybe Russian magic, we don’t know.

In fact, if you continue the video it doesn’t stop there. The creators also made a 2 string bass and a few other instruments from shovels. Do I smell a new shovel hero?

Related: Guitars made out of things that should not be guitars.

[Thanks Paul]

Continue reading “Shovel…guitar?”

DIY kidney machine saves girl


When the tool you need doesn’t exist, you must make one. That’s exactly what [Dr. Malcolm Coulthard] and kidney nurse [Jean Crosier] from Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary did two years ago.

When a baby too small for the regular dialysis machine (similar to the one pictured above) needed help after her kidneys failed, the kind doctor designed and built a smaller version of the machine in his garage, then used it to save six-pound baby Millie Kelly’s life. Since then the machine has continued to be used in similar emergency situations.

[Photo: NomadicEntrepreneur]