Hackaday Links April 5, 2012

A Remote Sphero-Control Trackball

sphero drives car

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

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 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

hexapod-ipad

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

usb sound card

[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!

Antique Electromechanical Calculating Machines

electromechanical calculator Hamann 505

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”

Tablet cover from old hardcover books

Here’s a way to look hip and destroy books at the same time. This table cover is made from an old hardcover book. It’s not difficult to do, an afternoon is all it takes, and if you follow all of the instructions we’d bet this will hold up for a long time.

It’s basically another version of the Moleskine cover for the Kindle Fire. You find a donor book (second-hand shops are packed with ’em) with a hardcover which you really enjoy. Kids books would be the most fun because of the artwork – if you can find one thick enough. With book in hand remove all of the pages. This will leave the binding a little flimsy, and since this is a project by the company which make Sugru, you can see why they used the moldable adhesive for that purpose. But check out the brackets in the picture above. They covered the Kindle in cling wrap, then molded Sugru around the corners. Once set, it can be peeled away from the plastic wrap, but will retain its shape. Nice.

Circuit Playground – An electronics reference app from Adafruit

It’s not everyday that we review software around here, but the folks at Adafruit recently put together an iOS app that I figured might be of interest. Their iPad/iPhone compatible application is called “Circuit Playground”, and it includes all sorts of handy electronics reference tools. For the context of this review, it should be noted that I paid for the application myself, and that I have had no communication with the Adafruit team regarding my assessment of the app.

Continue reading “Circuit Playground – An electronics reference app from Adafruit”

Augmented reality using Pez dispensers

[Johan] really got himself out of a bind with this one.

After his son started playing AppMates, he desperately wanted the requisite figures to complete the experience. AppMates is an iPad game where a child drives a small plastic car around a virtual environment displayed on the touchscreen. Unfortunately for [Johan]’s son, the officially licensed Cars characters would take at least three months to make it to his home in Sweden. [Johan] did the next best thing and made his own.

[Johan] took a pair of Cars Pez dispensers and took off the figure. The bottom of the character was covered with a bit of plastic from the base of the Pez dispenser and a little bit of conductive foam and was added to the body. Now [Johan]’s son can drive his toys around Radiator Springs just like he could with the official figurines. There’s also the aspect of not making a child wait months for a bit of plastic, so we’ll call this one a win for [Johan].

Continue reading “Augmented reality using Pez dispensers”

iPad 2 gets a home in hacked iDJ Live console

[DJ FileSpnR] did a number on this IDJ Live hardware to make room for an integrated iPad. Those that have seen the hardware before may not even recognize it. In stock condition the controller has two turn-table actuators with cross-fader control in between them. The iPad perches on top like a book, making it a fairly bulky setup.

In its hacked format, the device is much more mobile. The physical turntables have been removed, and the center console was moved to one side. This leaves just enough room to fit the iPad 2 (the original iPad is probably too thick for this to work). A cresent of the original turn table bezel has been retained to clamp the iPad in place, and to protect the dock connector at the same time. Now the touchscreen serves as turntable control, with physical sliders to the right which mange the cross-fading.

Check out the video after the break where the DJ explains his alterations and demonstrates the finished project.

Continue reading “iPad 2 gets a home in hacked iDJ Live console”

Retractable iPad dock for the kitchen

[Evan Flint] and his wife use a lot of online recipes in the kitchen. Rather than printing them out, they bought an iPad as a cooking companion. But in their cramped kitchen he needed to find a place for the high-end hardware that is out-of-the-way yet accessible. Some head scratching and parts bin diving led to this under-cabinet iPod dock.

The dock itself is a cradle made out of sheet aluminum. After cutting to shape, [Evan] bent up the sides and bottom to center the iPad. Since this is not a permanent fixture he needed to make the cradle collapsible. He used a CAD program to design the base tray to let the cradle lay flat, while giving several options to the angle when it is in use. Once the cooking is done just fold it up and the drawer slides make for easy under-cabinet storage.

Because he doesn’t own the house he didn’t want to make permanent alterations to the cabinet. But he does lament the unfinished look of the drawer slides. We’d just grab some pre-finished oak crown molding from the home store and wrap the entire thing. The left-edge of molding could slide out with the cradle when in use.