Pinch-zoom is a godsend (and shouldn’t be patent-able) and although we mourn the loss of a physical keyboard on a lot of device we use a tablet nearly as often as we do a full computer. But the touch screen interface is not open to everyone. Those who lack full dexterity of their digits will find the interface frustrating at best or completely unusable at worst. A team of researchers from the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium came up with a way to control touch-screen tablets with a sensor array that mounts on your arm.
The project — called Access4Kids — looks not only to make tablet use possible, but to use it as a means of rehabilitation. The iPad seen above is running a custom app designed for use with the sensor sleeve. The interface is explained in the video after the break. Each sensor can serve as an individual button, but the hardware can also process sequential input from all three as a swipe in one direction or the other. If they can get the kids interested in the game it ends up being its own physical therapy coach by encouraging them to practice their upper body motor skills.
Continue reading “Sensor sleeve makes tablet use easier and benefitial for disabled children”
[Carnivore] uses a Pipo Max M1 tablet. It’s an Android device that is very responsive thanks t the 1.6 GHz dual-core processor and it runs Jellybean (latest version of Android OS). The one thing he wasn’t so happy with is battery life. Under heavy load it lasts about three hours. When reading an eBook that use can be stretched to 10 hours. His solution was to add an external battery. It turns out the 9.7″ screen makes the body of the device almost exactly the same size as an iPad, so he made an iPad external battery case work with the Android tablet.
[Carnivore] started the hack by disassembling an iP6000 case which houses a 6000 mAh battery. He removed the dock connector and fitted in a 2.5mm power jack. Luckily the buttons on the Android tablet are in nearly the exact same place as those on an iPad, with the power button hole needing just a bit of enlargement. The case charges itself and the tablet’s internal battery using a microUSB port which means he no longer needs to carry around a special power cord. The new hardware increased the battery life by about 75%.
At this year’s Pycon [Jason Huggins] gave a talk about his Angry Birds playing robot. He built a delta robot which includes a pen actuator for controlling a capacitive touch screen. The video after the break starts with a demo of the bot beating a level of Angry Birds on the iPad.
The idea behind the build is that robots like this could be used for app testing. I this case [Jason] has tweaked the servo commands manually to achieve the results. But during the talk he does demonstrate some machine vision to analyze and win a game of tic-tac-toe.
We do enjoy seeing the robot, but we’re not sold on the thought that testing will use robots. Perhaps there is a niche need for this type of thing, but we assume the majority of automated testing can be done in the emulator for the device on which you are developing. What we really want to know is how the capacitive stylus works. We didn’t catch him talking about it at all. We want a reliable, yet simple way to electronically trigger touchscreen inputs (along the lines of this project). If you know how [Jason’s] stylus is working please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Continue reading “Shakey robot plays Angry Birds”
[Will Powell] sent in his real-time subtitle glasses project. Inspired by the ever cool Google Project Glass, he decided he would experiment with his own version.
He used two Raspberry Pi’s running Debian squeeze, vuzix glasses, microphones, a tv, ipad, and iphone as the hardware components. The flow of data is kind of strange in this project. The audio first gets picked up by a bluetooth microphone and streamed through a smart device to a server on the network. Once it’s on the server it gets parsed through Microsoft’s translation API. After that the translated message is sent back to a Raspberry Pi where it’s displayed as subtitles on the glasses.
Of course this is far from a universal translation device as seen in Star Trek. The person being translated has to talk clearly into a microphone, and there is a huge layer of complexity. Though, as far as tech demos go it is pretty cool and you can see him playing a game of chess using the system after the break.
Continue reading “Real Life Subtitle Glasses”
Remember the times before the iPad existed? When a tablet PC was actually a full computer in a tablet form factor? Yeah, those days we were all so very optimistic about the future of tablet computing. Don’t think we don’t appreciate the new amazing toys that we’ve got around with the plethora of tablets to choose from, but we still dream of fully functional tablet computers.
[Brian] wrote in to show us his build of a fully featured tablet macbook conversion dubbed the MessagePad. Though we’ve seen a wide selection of home spun tablets before, this one has an impressive list of added features. It boasts both front and rear facing cameras, an SSD drive, a built in Teensy, and a line-in. It doesn’t matter if you believe in the dream of a full blown pc in tablet format, or if your preference would have been a Windows or Linux machine. You’ll surely love the bevy of photos he took along the way as he was hacking and slashing on this thing.
A Remote Sphero-Control Trackball
Sphero is a cool little ball that can roll around under the control of a smartphone. Although super-cool by itself, in this application it’s been hacked into a sort of trackball to drive a remote control car!
Arduino Voice Control
[Sebastian] Wrote in to tell us about this article about using the Arduino EasyVR shield to add voice control to your project. Worth a look if it your application calls for voice-control.
OpenBeam Tiny 80/20-Like Extrusion
Openbeam is a Kickstarter project designed to produce an aluminium extrusion for building stuff. Although we’ve seen lots of this kind of thing, the small 15mm profile is quite interesting, and it’s designed to use off-the-shelf hardware, which should save on costs!
Hexapod + iPad = Fun for All
There’s not a lot of information on this hack, and the price or this hexapod device isn’t even listed, so we’ll assume it’s quite expensive. On the other hand, it’s got a cool video of it being controlled by an iPad, so maybe it will give you some hacking inspiration!
USB Sound Card Write-Up
[George] wrote in to tell us about his USB sound card write-up. Before you think that this is a dupe of this post, he freely admits to building it nearly identically to the one previously posted. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but [George] is also requesting some feedback on his blog and the aforementioned post. feel free to let him know what you think in the comments. Please be polite!
The decision to use electronics for our calculating machines has long been decided. However, that doesn’t mean that mechanical engineers didn’t put up a valiant, if ultimately futile, fight. [Dvice.com] has an interesting article comparing the calculating technology of the 1960s, such as the [Haman 505], to today’s iPad.
This comparison and pictures were made possible by [Mark Glusker]’s excellent collection. These models can be divided into two categories, rotary calculators, and printing calculators. According to [Mark]‘s site, the printing calculators stayed on the market a few years after the rotary calculators, which were off the market by 1970.
Although we may never see machines like these made again, anyone even a little bit mechanically inclined would be hard pressed not to be inspired by this collection. Be sure to check out the video of a [Madas 20BTG] calculator after the break to see what one of the rotary models looks like in action! Continue reading “Antique Electromechanical Calculating Machines”