Extending the usability of touchscreens

Fanboys may be in shock from seeing duct tape applied to the screen of an iPad, but we can assure you it’s in the name of science. [Michael Knuepfel] is working on his thesis for the ITP graduate program at the Tisch School for the Arts. He managed to augment the usability of touchscreen devices by adding hardware to them.

What he’s come up with are devices for both input and output. The output devices generally rely on light and color of light displayed on the screen itself which is picked up by a light sensor. The input devices use conductive material to complete a path between your hand and your screen. This lets the capacitive sensing screen detect the presence of your hand, through the conductor. Some of his example devices include gaming controller overlays, encoder rings, and multiple stylus designs.

After the break we’ve embedded [Michael's] teaser trailer which jumps through several demonstrations. It’s plenty to get your mind rolling, but if you want to know more you must watch his thesis presentation. It’s available as an MP4 download on this page. Just search for his name, [Michael Knuepfel] for the proper link.

[Read more...]

R/C car controlled by an iPad or Kinect

ipad_kinect_rc_control

R/C cars can be tons of fun, but sometimes the fun runs out after awhile. [Gaurav] got bored of steering around his R/C car with its remote, so he built an interface that lets him control the car using two different motion-detecting devices.

He built an HTML5 application for his iPad, which allows him to steer the car around. As you can see in the video below, the application utilizes the iPad’s tilt sensor to activate the car’s motors and steering depending on where on the screen he has moved the guide marker.

The second steering method he devised uses his Kinect sensor to track his movements. His hand gestures are mapped to a set of virtual spaces similar to those which the iPad uses. By moving his hands through these areas, the Arduino triggers the car’s remote just as it does with the iPad.

The actual remote control interface is achieved by wiring the car’s remote to an Arduino via a handful of opto-isolators. The Arduino is also connected to his computer via the serial port, where it waits for commands to be sent. In the case of the iPad, a Python server waits for commands to be issued from the HTML5 application. The Kinect’s interface is slightly different, with a C# application monitoring his movements and sending the commands directly to the serial port.

Check out the video below to see the car in action, and swing by his site if you are interested in grabbing some source code and giving it a try yourself.

[Read more...]

RoboTouch adds physical game controls to the iPad

robotouch

[ProtoDojo] wanted to play a racing game on his iPad, but he was not a big fan of using the touch interface for this particular title. Instead, he put together a pretty neat little hack that allows him to play games on his iPad using an old NES controller.

He built a set of custom conductive arms which he mounted on three micro servos. The servos were attached to the iPad screen using small suction cups in the locations where it expects to receive button presses. They are also wired to an Arduino that interprets button presses from the attached NES controller. When the Arduino senses that the D-pad or buttons have been pressed, it triggers the servos, which in turn press the virtual buttons on the screen.

In the video below, you can see that after adjusting the servo positions, the setup seems to work pretty well. You might expect to see some sort of lag with a setup like this, but we didn’t notice any. The [ProtoDojo] web site is currently down due to heavy traffic, but you should be able to find some more build details there, once it becomes functional again.

[Read more...]

Our beloved XBMC hits iOS devices

For those who have been longing to unlock the power of the Apple TV 2 the wait is over. XBMC is now available for iOS devices. This isn’t limited to the tiny ARM-based set-top box, but extends to the entire family including iPad and iPhone 4. Included is the ability to play high def video up to 1080p without transcoding. But we think the best feature might be XBMC’s ability to easily stream media over the network from just about any operating system. Goodbye iTunes tethering.

If you’re comfortably using SSH to work with a Jailbroken device, ATV2 installation will be a snap as there’s already a source repository to install from. iPad and iPhone 4 are even easier, just add the repository in Cydia and install. Wow, when we first looked in on the new generation of ATV we really thought it would take longer than it has to see a port of our favorite open source media client. Thanks Team XBMC!

Macintosh Plus DJ Helmet with an iPad

Elaborate helmets are not a new concept, with many famous artists such as Daft Punk and Deadmau5 using them for stage shows. For a sculpture class, [Terrence] fashioned his own out of the body of a Macintosh Plus and an iPad conveniently sourced from eBay. After gutting the insides, the Mac Plus was fitted with parts from a helmet both for comfort as well as for keeping the whole setup head mounted. For additional eye candy, an LED visualizer was affixed below the iPad display. The rig is remotely controlled by a bluetooth keyboard, just for good measure. We think this setup easily stands up to other Daft Punk-esque style head mounts.

Be sure not to miss the video of the helmet featuring DJ Chameleon (a friend of [Terrence]) in action, as well as a number of other photos.

[Edit: Thanks to everyone who caught the Mac Plus/Pro error!]

Hackaday links: October 10, 2010

Old timey pics with a new timey camera

Update: We’ve already looked at this one… see the full article for all the details.

One way to get old-looking photographs is to use a vintage camera. Then again you can just connect a 1908 lens to a modern dslr with great results. [Thanks MS3FGX]

Cheap iPad mounting bracket

Need a way to hang your iPad but don’t want to spend some bucks? [Tumbleweed] used a $3 plate hanger to do the trick.

Hand engraving

You can get free laser engraving when you buy an iPhone but it won’t look as good as this does. [Viljo Marrandi] spent eight hours on this, but most of the time was spent resharpening tools dulled by the tough metal.

Let time prevent your computer from going idle

Want to keep your screen saver from running? No need to change settings, software, or use special hardware. Just set your mouse on an analog watch and let the moving hands jiggle it around. [Thanks Lovro]

New A4 jailbreak debacle puts the brakes on for iPad

If you’ve been waiting in the wings for the next Jailbreak to be release you should know there’s been a bit of a speed bump. [ChronicDevTeam], which has been working on an exploit for A4-based iOS devices called SHAtter, tweeted last Thursday that the fully tested, untethered, and unpatchable package knows as greenpois0n would be released today. But on Friday [Geohot], who you may remember from the PlayStation 3 Hypervisor exploit, rolled out his own mostly untested and admittedly beta jailbreak called limera1n.

So where does that leave the situation? Because [geohot] used a different exploit, the [ChronicDevTeam] decided not to release greenp0ison. If they did, it would give Apple a chance to block two different exploits. Instead they are working feverishly to incorporate, test, and repackage using the same exploit as limera1n.

If you don’t want to wait, jailbreak now, but you risk problems with an unstable exploit method that is only available for Windows.

[via @ChronicDevTeam]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92,374 other followers