Hackaday Links: February 1, 2012

The only thing he needs now is a micro and RTC

For [Dino]’s 44th Hack A Week extravaganza, he made powered window blinds in five minutes. It’s a simple build with a small gear motor and a bit of tubing to adapt the shaft to the control rod of the blinds. Good job [Dino].

BecauseCamelCaseWillKillYourPinkieFinger

The wonderful [Lizzie] over at LUSTlab realized that typing meta keys really slows down the development process. The result? Foot pedals for the Shift and Command keys. No build log for this one, but it’s just a set of old racing pedals and a disused keyboard.

So much cooler than a potato

[mdevaev] out of Russia built a fully articulated GLaDOS replica. Here’s the build album and the relevant MLP forum post. This GLaDOS is tiny – probably less than a foot long, but it moves around and speaks (Russian, which is weird). Somebody get us a couple of motorcycle fenders so we can build the 1:1 scale version.

Visualizing a plane of fog

[greg] was looking for a way to visualize the chaotic turbulence of air. He mounted a laser on a computer fan and held some dry ice above the beam. The result looks like it could make for an interesting photography project, but check out the video if you don’t believe us.

We were asking for it

We asked for battery charging circuits that don’t use specialized parts. [Petr] found this one that only uses few transistors, a MOSFET and a voltage regulator. In one of the Hackaday comments, [atomsoft] had the idea of putting a USB plug on the traces to save a bit in component costs. [mohonri] said he designed one, but we have yet to see it. Perhaps next links post…

You’ll shoot your eye out with this laser-filled tennis ball

laser-ball

We love lasers, you love lasers…who doesn’t love them?

[Matt Leone] recently took his passion for lasers over the top and built a little something called the Laser Ball. Fed up with the deluge of of LED cubes floating around online, he says that the Laser Ball is the new sheriff in town – and we’re inclined to agree.

He bored a bunch of holes in a standard tennis ball, and fitted it with 14 red laser diodes. Before he installed the lasers into the ball he modified each with a small bit of diffraction grating to liven up the display. The lasers were connected to a Teensy micro controller, which was stuffed inside the ball along with a small rechargeable LiPo battery.

While the laser ball was pretty awesome already, [Matt] decided that it wasn’t finished just yet. Using an IR remote package from Adafruit, he added the ability to trigger the Laser Ball’s light patterns from afar. You know, just for kicks.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the Laser Ball in action!

via BuildLounge

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The Engineering Guy explains fiber optics

engineering_guy_fiber_optics

[Bill the “Engineer Guy” Hammack] is back with another lesson in the science behind the technology we know and love, but might not fully understand. This time around he discusses fiber optic cabling and how it is used to relay data across distances both small and large.

He starts off by showing how laser light can be easily transmitted from one end of an audio-grade fiber optic cable to the other. To show us how this is accomplished, he sets up a simple table top demonstration involving a bucket, some propylene glycol, and a green laser pointer. The bucket has been modified to include a clear window at one side and a spout at the other. The laser is carefully lined up, and when the spout is unplugged, a steady stream of propylene glycol is released into a second bucket. As [Bill] explains, the laser stays within the stream of fluid due to total internal reflection, and can be seen shining in the second bucket.

[Bill] also discusses how fiber optics were employed in the first transatlantic telecommunications cable, as well as how pulse code modulation was used to send analog voice data over the undersea digital link.

As always, [Bill’s] video is as entertaining as it is enlightening, so be sure to check it out below.

Continue reading “The Engineering Guy explains fiber optics”

Laser microscope projection

looks totally safe to me

Ok, we’ll start this off by saying, looking at lasers can damage your eyes. Be careful. Now that we’ve got that absolutely clear, we couldn’t help but find this super quick and dirty laser microscope fascinating. Basically, they are just pointing a laser through a drop of water suspended from the tip of a syringe. The image of the contents of the drop are projected on a nearby wall. The drop seen in the video after the break was taken from a potted plant and you can see all kinds of life squirming around in there. Just don’t try it with this laser.

[via HackedGadgets]

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Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition 2010 Day Two Report

Culture Shock II, a robot by the Lawrence Tech team, first caught our eye due to its unique drive train. Upon further investigation we found a very well built robot with a ton of unique features.

The first thing we noticed about CultureShockII are the giant 36″ wheels. The wheel assemblies are actually unicycles modified to be driven by the geared motors on the bottom. The reason such large wheels were chosen was to keep the center of gravity well below the axle, providing a very self stabilizing robot. The robot also has two casters with a suspension system to act as dampers and stabilizers in the case of shocks and inclines. Pictured Below. Continue reading “Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition 2010 Day Two Report”

Das Uber Airsoft Gun Turret


Hot on the heels of the Wii missile launcher, Das Uber Airsoft Gun Turret is here to put our past airsoft turrets to shame. Made by [Miltron_B], this autonomous beast not only has gorgeous LED indicators, it has lasers. Three of them. Three freaking lasers. Take a moment to wipe the drool from your chin.

We’ve seen plenty of turrets before, but this one really excels in design. It features two webcams for more precision detection and tracking and when set to manual mode, it can be controlled with an XBox 360 controller. He’s posted great pictures of the process with a step by step break down. Tons of useful links are included to help you out.

Someone should construct a Portal sentry gun case for this thing and add voice clips.

RGB laser diode projector


[fl-consult] published this interesting RGB laser diode projector. The build uses three lasers, 532nm green, 660nm red and a 405nm blue diode from an XBox 360 HD-DVD drive. Aside from the salvaged diodes, it uses some off the shelf hardware to power and scan the lasers to make the display. Details are a bit lacking, but google translate helps a bit. If you’re not quite sure what’s going on: the three lasers bounce off of a set of mirrors that scan from side to side as well as up and down to create images.