Automated Tea Maker

[Pariprohus] wanted to make an interesting gift for his girlfriend. Knowing how daunting it can be to make your own tea, he decided to build a little robot to help out. His automated tea maker is quite simple, but effective.

The device runs off of an Arduino Nano. The Nano is hooked up to a servo, a piezo speaker, an LED, and a switch. When the switch is turned to the off position, the servo rotates into the “folded” position. This moves the steeping arm into a position that makes the device easier to store and transport.

When the device is turned on to the “ready” position, the arm will extend outward and stay still. This gives you time to attach the tea bag to the arm and place the mug of hot water underneath. Finally the switch can be placed into “brew” mode. In this mode, the bag is lowered into the hot water and held for approximately five minutes. Each minute the bag is raised and lowered to stir the water around.

Once the cycle completes, the Nano plays a musical tune from the piezo speaker to remind you to drink your freshly made tea. All of the parameters including the music can be modified in the Nano’s source code. All of the components are housed in a small wooden box painted white. Check out the video below to see it in action. Continue reading “Automated Tea Maker”

Coffee Payment System Doesn’t Void Your Warranty

[Oliver] is back with an update to his recent coffee maker hacks. His latest hack allowed him to add a coffee payment system to an off-the-shelf coffee maker without modifying the coffee maker itself. This project is an update to his previous adventures in coffee maker hacking which logged who was using up all of the coffee.

The payment system begins with an Arduino Uno clone inside of a small project enclosure. The Arduino communicates with the coffee maker via serial using the coffee maker’s service port. This port is easily available from outside the machine, so you won’t have to crack open the case and risk voiding your warranty.

The system also includes an RFID reader and a Bluetooth module. The RFID reader allows each user to have their own identification card. The user can swipe their card over the reader and the system knows how many credits are left in their account. If they have enough credit, the machine will pour a delicious cup of coffee.

The Arduino communicates to an Android phone using the Bluetooth module. [Oliver’s] Android app was built using MIT’s app inventor. It keeps track of the account credits and allows the user to add more. The system can currently keep track of up to forty accounts. [Oliver] also mentions that you can use any Bluetooth terminal program to control the system instead of a smart phone app. Continue reading “Coffee Payment System Doesn’t Void Your Warranty”

Creative Compulsive Disorder: Zina Nicole Lahr

[Zina Nicole Lahr] was an extremely talented artist, designer, puppeteer and maker, with a self-diagnosed condition that she liked to call Creative Compulsive Disorder which she describes as follows:

I suppose you could say I have a self-diagnosed condition called CCD, it’s Creative Compulsive Disorder where I have to make stuff all the time, and with whatever I have around me, so if it’s trash, or junk, or things that people would normally throw away, I try to find new ways to re-fabricate them into something useful and beautiful.

A true hacker at heart. She’s worked on tons of different projects in many different fields, even doing special effects and prop work for a TV show.

Unfortunately it is with great sadness that we share her story, as she recently passed away in a hiking accident.

What we are specifically sharing is a short 5 minute documentary about [Zina] which was made by her close friend [Stormy Pyeatte] a few months earlier for a school project. In this past week [Pyeatte] has re-cut the footage in an attempt to capture her personality, creativity and to celebrate her memory. She succeeded tremendously, our heartstrings cannot lie.

It’s a beautiful video about a beautiful soul. We wish we could have met you [Zina].

Continue reading “Creative Compulsive Disorder: Zina Nicole Lahr”

Maker Faire KC 2011: In Photos (Part 1)

As a writer for Hackaday, I get to see CNC machines, Prototypers, Tesla coils, and much more on a nearly daily basis. However, there are an uncountable number of people that don’t usually get to share in these technical wonders. Maker Faires provide the chance for the public to see and interact with the inventions, kludges, and geniuses that put together the things we write about on Hackaday.

Follow along after the break for some photos of the interesting things I got to see and enjoy.

Continue reading “Maker Faire KC 2011: In Photos (Part 1)”

Bay Area Maker Faire 2010 video

Since the previously-posted stills can’t quite convey the chaos of last weekend’s Maker Faire, here’s some video from the event to help get you through hump day. It’s like three liters of Jolt Cola in a two liter bottle.

One thing even video can’t adequately capture is our gratitude toward our readers at the show who took time to express their appreciation for the blog. You guys and gals rock our world. Thank you!

Bay Area Maker Faire 2010 in pictures

Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any bigger and crazier, they manage to outdo themselves again. The Bay Area Maker Faire wrapped up Sunday evening, but we have so many story leads that we’ll probably be busy until next year’s event. In the meantime, here’s just a tiny, random sampling of the countless delights that greeted visitors this past weekend.

Continue reading “Bay Area Maker Faire 2010 in pictures”

Giant robotic giraffe getting a giant robotic facelift

If you’ve had the opportunity to attend the annual Bay Area Maker Faire, you’ve likely encountered Russell the Electric Giraffe. Modeled after a small Tamiya walking toy scaled up to the height of an actual giraffe, Russell was created by [Lindsay Lawlor] in 2005 originally as an “art car” providing a better vantage point from which to enjoy the Burning Man arts festival. In the intervening five years, the Electric Giraffe has enjoyed face time in dozens of parades, trade shows, magazines and television appearances.

Scattered about [Lawlor’s] living room floor at the moment are the giraffe’s dismantled steel skull and several massive Torxis servos (the red boxes in the photo above) — Russell is being upgraded. One of [Lawlor’s] goals in returning to Maker Faire each year is that he not simply present the same exhibit time and time again; the robot is continually evolving. Initially it was little more than a framework and drivetrain, and had to be steered by bodily shoving the entire 1,700 pound beast. Improvements to the steering and power train followed, along with a “skin” of hundreds of addressable LEDs, cosmetic improvements such as a new paint job, and technological upgrades like interactivity, radio control and speech. His goal this year is to bring expressive animatronic movement to the giraffe’s head and jaw, hence the servos, push rods and custom-machined bits currently strewn through his living space-cum-laboratory.

Continue reading “Giant robotic giraffe getting a giant robotic facelift”