Adding a little polish to your cellphone charging setup

Cable management can really be an eyesore, but a little creative camouflage and you can have a cellphone charging station that also serves as decoration.

[Kitesurfer] wanted to use one of the cubbyholes in his new Ikea book shelf for charging but wasn’t keen on the rat’s nest of wires that would go along with it. Also not wanting to take on the challenge of wireless charging he hit the As-Is section of the home furnishing giant and grabbed a leftover board that matched the same finish as the cabinetry. It now serves as a false-back for the charging center behind which a power strip and wall-warts hide.

This covers up the problem, but a blank white box filled with the business end of the charging wires isn’t a whole to better. As with a magic show, the trick is in redirection. [Kitesurfer] cut a hole in the false-back and added the guts of a digital picture frame. Right now he’s got it scrolling through different charging icons, but it’s easy enough to change up the slide-show if he gets tired of them. We’d love to see a subsequent hack that lets the picture frame access the photos on your phone via Bluetooth.

Anthropomorphizing an Ikea lamp (like Pixar but in real life)

ArduinoArts is animating an inexpensive Ikea lamp as a contest entry. Seeed Studio’s Toy Hacking Contest calls for the competitors to work their magic using the Grove Toy Kit, which is an extensible sensor connection system for the Arduino. Most of the items in the kit were used to add interactivity to the lamp. Check out the video after the break to see the motion that two servos provide. The lamp can move its shade back and forth as if shaking its head, and the whole arm assembly can rotate in relation to the base. The sensors detect when you’ve repositioned the lamp head and the device will yell at you if it doesn’t appreciate its new pose. It also reacts to noise and motion, switching on the LED that replaces the original bulb in both cases, and asking: “Are you Sarah Connor”  when motion is detected. These basic modifications really make for some fun animatronic behavior.

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Adding USB control for Ikea RGB LED strips

Here’s an altered PCB that gives USB control to an Ikea Dioder. This is a $50 product that comes with four strips each containing nine RGB LEDs. The stock controller has a color selection wheel and a couple of buttons. [Rikard Lindström] wanted to use it to match ambient light to the colors of his computer monitor — yes, it’s another ambilight clone.

Since he already had a bunch of AT90USB162 chips on hand he chose that route. These chips have native USB support (he’s using the LUFA package which is a popular choice), but no on-board ADC. That means no need for the potentiometer from the original controller because there’s no easy way to read its value. Removing it made plenty of room for his add-on PCB. He also depopulated the PIC microcontroller that originally drove the unit, soldering to the empty pads in order to connect is own board. The finished product fits back in the original case, with the addition of a USB cable as the only visible alteration. Now he can dial in colors using a program he wrote.

In case you’re wondering, it looks like this is a newer version of control circuitry when compared to the original Dioder hack we covered.

Disappearing kitchen island

[Tim Thaler] has been redoing his home, adding some fancy automation here and there. But when it came to the kitchen, he went all-out by installing an iPhone controlled disappearing island. In the video clip after the break you can see [Tim] dial up some extra counter and storage space from his smart phone. One click causes it to slowly rise from the depths, shedding the carpet tiles as it goes.

Directly beneath the kitchen is an unfinished storage room. [Tim] framed a hole in the floor above, and sourced a used scissor lift for about $380 to do the heavy lifting. It operates smoothly and isn’t all that loud. It sure makes for an interesting feature if he ever decides to sell the place.

We thought it was a nice touch that the storage room hiding the mechanical parts of the hack has a hidden entrance. You must travel through the billiards room in the basement to access it, turning the ball rack to unlatch the entrance.

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Dimming control for an Ikea solar desk lamp

[Frank] decided to augment his desk lamp’s features by adding dimming controls (translated). Since the light source is a triad of LEDs the best method of dimming their intensity is to use Pulse Width Modulation. That’s the method that he went with, and luckily the SUNNAN lamp from Ikea which he’s using as the donor for the project has just enough room to squeeze in the parts necessary for this hack.

You need two main bits to use PWM with a lamp like this; a microcontroller (or possibly a timer chip like the 555) and a transistor to protect that chip from the current necessary to run the LEDs at full brightness. [Frank] went with an ATtiny13 and a 2N2222 transistor, both quite common and very inexpensive (you can even pull the microcontroller from a light bulb if you know where to look). Two buttons were added to the top of the lamp base which allow for up and down controls. There’s even an SOS function which is triggered by pressing both buttons at the same time. [Frank’s] happy to show off the completed project in the clip after the break.

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Mame cabinet springs to life from Ikea furniture

[Jed] built a MAME cabinet into some flat pack furniture (translated). For the housing he chose an Ikea Ramvik side table. This is a perfect piece of furniture for the project for several reasons; it’s cheap, coming in at under $70, it’s a reasonable height to use while sitting on the sofa, it has a built-in drawer that will hide the guts of the system, and it was designed to use a piece of glass as the table surface.

The electronics are pretty straight forward. A notebook computer runs the MAME frontend, with an auxiliary screen which is framed nicely under the glass. Controls are standard coin-op type buttons soldered to the contacts on the PCB from a USB joystick. The brushed aluminum bezel added to the surface of the table keeps the modern finished look that one would want with a showpiece like this one.

We always like to keep our eyes open for hackable items when visiting Ikea. Make sure to check out their As-Is department (preferably as soon as they open) to find hackable furniture on the cheap.

Roller curtains with your graphics on them

[Lenore] added a bit of customization to her office window hangings by fitting roller curtains with custom printed fabric. The treatment seen above is a $20 Enje roller blind from Ikea but that logo is all Evil Mad Science. The weight at the bottom of the fabric uses a friction-fit plastic insert that can be stapled onto new material. Some fusible tape was ironed onto the sides to finish those edges, and the roller at the top has strong adhesive that remains for a second use after peeling off the original material.

A fabric printer was used to produce this rendition of shades. But we’d like to see some conductive thread added for a fabric-based display that can be rolled up when not in use.