Spring clamp tripod mount has potential

Admittedly this post is flirting with flamebait, but we think the concept of using a spring clamp as an iPhone tripod mount has a lot of hacking potential. Hear us out, and if we havn’t made our case you can rant about it in the comments.

[Joe] wanted an easy way to mount his iPhone on a standard tripod. We’ve seen some creative solutions for this, like using Sugru to make a removable bracket. But he went a different route, using a cheap spring clamp to grip the phone body. These plastic clamps are like over-powered clothespins, and use a screw as the pivot point. [Joe] replaced the stock screw with a longer one, then used a coupling nut which will attach to the tripod. A bit of foam on the pads of the clamp protect your device from the plastic teeth.

It’s a fine solution (if you don’t mind putting that pressure on your smart phone). But we think this would be a great way to build your own heavy-duty third hand. It would be right at home with this modular solder platform. See [Joe's] how-to video embedded after the break.

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SMS remote start gives new life to your old smartphone

iphone-sms-remote-start

Hack a Day alum [Will O’Brien] recently upgraded his phone, and was trying to find a use for his old one. He always wanted a remote starter for his Subaru Outback, but wasn’t interested in paying for an off the shelf kit. Since he had this old smartphone kicking around, he thought that it would be the perfect starting point for an SMS-triggered remote start system.

He started off by jailbreaking his phone, which allows him to run some Perl scripts that are used to listen for incoming texts. Using a PodBreakout mini from Sparkfun he connected the phone to an Arduino, which is responsible for triggering the car’s ignition. Now, a simple text message containing the start command and a password can start his car from a anywhere in the world.

While [Will] is quite happy with his setup he already has improvements in mind, including a way for the Arduino to send a message back to him via SMS confirming that the car has been successfully started. He’s thinking about putting together a kit for others looking to add the same functionality to their own car, so be sure to check his site periodically for project updates.

Small tabletop telepresence robot

iphone_tabletop_telepresence

When [Peter] saw the Sparkfun Magician robot chassis in a recent new product post, he knew instantly that he had to have one for a telepresence project that had been kicking around in his head for a while.

Onto the robot chassis, he added an Arduino to provide the brains of the bot, an Adafruit motor shield for controlling the wheels, and a Pololu Wixel for wireless communications. An iPhone is mounted on the top of the robot, which communicates with his laptop using Apple’s Facetime app. The robot is controlled from his laptop as well using the Wixel, which enables him to direct the Magician chassis as if it was attached via USB.

While he thinks the robot is pretty neat and that it works well, [Peter] already has improvements in mind. The robot chassis is a bit weak on anything but smooth surfaces, so a new set of motors and wheels are likely the first changes he’ll make. He wants to add a servo-based aiming mechanism for the phone’s camera, as well as some sensors to prevent the bot from taking a nosedive off his table.

iPhone aside, this is probably one of the cheaper mobile telepresence setups we’ve seen, so we can’t wait to hear how the improvements work out, and how much they add to the robot’s cost.

Analog iPhone amplifier made from recycled trumpets

analog_telephonographer

It’s no secret that the audio quality of the iPhone’s built-in speakers isn’t exactly what you would consider to be hi-fi. Sound quality aside, there are plenty of times where even the volume doesn’t do the music justice. While you can always go out and buy a fancy dock to amplify your iGadget’s sound, artist [Christopher Locke] has a different take on the subject.

For a while now, he has been constructing what he calls “Analog Tele-Phonographers”, metal sculptures that can be used to amplify a mobile phone’s audio. Built out of steel and old trumpets, his audio sculptures require no electricity, instead utilizing the same amplification technology as the original phonographs.

While the Tele-Phonographers won’t make your iPhone sound like a high quality tube amp, they do undoubtedly increase the phone’s volume and they are nice to look at. We can certainly get behind this sort of recycling/reuse of old items.

Continue reading to see a quick video of his Analog Tele-Phonographer in action.

[Thanks, Chris]

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iPhone controlled Daft Punk helmet replica a dazzling build

This Daft Punk helmet replica is beautiful to look at, but the deeper we delve into the build process, the more we begin to think that the entire project is a piece of artwork. [Harrison Krix] has been working on it for months, and just posted his three-part build log in September. Check out the video and the links to all three parts after the break.

Now [Harrison] isn’t new to prop replica scene. He’s the guy responsible for the other fantastic Daft Punk helmet we saw last year. He’s tapped the same fabrication skills to churn out an equally impressive chromed helmet, complete with addressable flashing LEDs. He built his own mold to create the body of the helmet, reminding us of the Storm Trooper helmet replicas we saw in July. While this was off being coated in chrome, he got down to business with the electronics.

The visor of the helmet has a red LED marquee. This, along with the multicolored visor sides and ear pucks, is controlled by an Arduino yellow jacket. The lights can be controlled by an iPhone app that connects to the helmet via WiFi, letting a user push custom messages to the display, and alter the light patterns. The build shines on the inside as well as the outside with an incredibly clean LED matrix build, and clever control placement for switching each part on or off.

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Hackaday Links: September 28, 2011

Disposable coffee maker

[Sepehr] didn’t have a coffee maker, and the local coffee shops were all out of joe. He got his fix by making a drip coffee maker out of disposable cups and knives.

Flexible braille display

Thin film technology is being developed to help the visually impaired. This flexible OLED display has embedded muscle cells which create a braille display. [Thanks Aaron]

Printable iPhone tripod mount

Looking to make those iPhone videos a little more stable, and the pictures a little less blurry? Try out this printable tripod mount that [Chris] came up with.

Arduino macro photos

Speaking of photographs, [Daniel] wrote in to share some macro pictures he took of an Arduino. They’re sure to be of interest to those readers who love everything Arduino.

Carpeting a mouse

Add a unique texture to your mouse by covering part of the body with fabric. The lower half of the mouse case above is covered in a carpet-like material [translated]. [Thanks Clicker]

Adding wireless controls to vintage stereo equipment

marantz_wifi_remote_control

[Jean] was shopping around for a vintage stereo receiver, and happened upon a broken, but repairable Marantz 4240. After getting things back to working order, he thought it would be great if he could use his iPhone to remotely control the unit (PDF Writeup, Schematics and Code).

He scrounged around for parts, and after locating a PIC and a handful of parts from old copiers and printers, he got down to business. He etched some custom boards to house electronic bits, then strapped motors to the volume and source selection knobs. He also rigged up the push button power switch on the receiver, using a small servo and a bit of string.

Now, he can control everything using his iPhone, which communicates with the stereo over WiFi. While the power, volume knob, and input selector can be triggered remotely, he still has the ability to tweak any of these items manually if desired.

We think that this is a great way to add modern amenities to vintage electronics, without ruining the aesthetics of the components. Don’t take our word for it though, check out the video demonstrations [Jean] but together after the jump.

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