Hackaday Links: Sunday, July 7th, 2013

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IR control for your home theater doesn’t have to look ugly. [Rhys Goodwin] put his IR blasters inside his audio equipment.

Steam powered windshield wiper. Need we say more?

An assembled version of the FaceDancer is now available for purchase. This is a man-in-the-middle USB tool developed by [Travis Goodspeed]. When [S.A.] sent us the tip he mentioned that the board is a pain to hand solder if you’re making your own; this is an moderately affordable alternative.

[Aaron] makes it easy for audiophiles to listen to Soundcloud on their Sonos hardware.

We’ve heard of fuzzy clocks — they only give you a general sense of time. Here’s a fuzzy thermometer that uses the vocal stylings of [Freddie Mercury] to get a general feel for how hot it is.

While you’re still laughing, this most useless machine taunts you in more ways than one. It uses audio clips and theatrics to vary the way in which it shuts itself off. [Thanks Itay and David]

Modern CNC techniques make short work of prototyping for the Ford Motor Company. [Thank Wybren via SlashGear]

Pull-string most useless machine

The mechanical simplicity of this pull-string controlled most useless machine is delightful. You can see the metal gripper which is reaching up to tug on a light-fixture-style pull chain. This is how it turns itself off after you’ve pulled the string to power it up.

The device is [Alex555's] entry in the 7400 Logic competition. We do hope that he ends up posting a schematic because we’d love to see the gritty details of how it works. After the break you can watch two doors open, allowing the arm to raise up and the gripper to grab the chain. This takes just four servo motors, which are controlled by the signal from a 555 timer and some accompanying hardware.

Apparently the chain is a fake, as the servos didn’t provide enough force to actuate that type of switch. It’s not a surprise as those pull chains do require quite a tug. An optical sensor was used to trigger the movement when your hand reaches for the chain.

[Read more...]

Battling most useless machine gets an expressive upgrade

We suppose the only thing more useless than a most useless machine is giving it an emoticon face. But that’s exactly what has happened with this project. But you’ll want to seen the whole thing, as the presentation involves much more than an angry box that can shut itself off.

This is the second iteration of the angry box. As we saw about 18 months ago, it will eventually get fed up with you turning the switch on and freak out by driving itself all over the desk. This version starts off with a rather pleasant face drawn on the red LED matrix which takes up the front side of the enclosure. It will nonchalantly flip the switch to the off position after first being activated. But if you insist on turning it back on things get angry rather quickly. This is shown in the video after the break. But if you can get past the horrible machine translation there are some build details to be had in this post.

[Read more...]

Most useless machine: building elevator edition

[Niklas Roy] calls it his Perpetual Energy Wasting Machine, but we know it for what it truly is: a building-sized most useless machine. You’ll remember that a most useless machine is a bobble that uses clever design to turn itself off once you have turned it on. This does the same thing with the elevator of the WRO Art Center in Wroclaw, Poland. The one difference is that it continually turns itself on and off.

He rigged up a pulley system that travels through the stairwell of the building. Whenever the elevator door on the top floor opens it causes the call button on the bottom floor to be pressed. The same thing happens when the elevator reaches the ground floor. But he didn’t stop there. Since the device is just wasting electricity whenever the elevator moves without passengers in it, he added a meter to track the loss. It’s the guts of a printing calculator strapped to the inside of the car. Every time the doors open it adds to the total.

You can see the installation in the video clip after the jump.

[Read more...]

Rotating platform makes most useless machine concept useful

[Valentin] used a simple concept to build this auto-reversing rotating platform. The concept is extremely simple, the leads for the motor are attached to a double-pole double-throw switch which allow the polarity to be reversed. Flip the switch in one direction and it spins clockwise. Flip it in the other direction and it spins counter-clockwise.

In this case, he’s harnesses the power of the most useless machine. That often seen hack uses a similar switch, but accomplishes nothing by having the moving parts act as the actuator. This one is useful, taking advantage of a single or double arm to flip the switch and make the platform spin backwards. In the video after the break you can see it’s used to create a scanning security camera. But [Valentin] also shows it at work as a turntable for salable goods. We think’s the gearing is a little brisk for both purposes, but slowing it down is a hack for another day. [Read more...]

Hackaday Links: February 8, 2012

Most useless machine

We love ‘em, and we hope you do too. Here’s [Phase2plus'] take on the most useless machine.

Scratching like it’s 1989

[Nick] spent three bucks at the thrift store and ended up buying days worth of fun with this cassette player. He hacked it to scratch like vinyl.

3D printed jawbone

This lady now has her own 3D-printed jawbone. We’re not talking about the Bluetooth headset… it’s an actual bone replacement! And yes, the skeleton for the Terminator was 3D printed… we’re that much closer now. [Thanks Steve]

Hexbug superbowl

Why not let robots decide our sports gambling choices? [Eric] let this slew of HexBugs battle it out as an early indicator for who would win the Super Bowl. Seems he has no shortage of the little toys, all of which received an MSP430 upgrade. The firmware actually implements obstacle avoidance, but he makes a poke at the Chicago Bears who seem to have the same mission.

Foil fix for worn out remotes

[Viktor] found an interesting repair tip. If you’ve got remote controlers whose buttons are not working so well anymore you may be able to fix them with tin foil. He uses a single-hole punch to clip out circles which are attached to the underside of the misbehaving button. Worth a try!

Hackaday Links: October 16, 2011

Spinning DNA animation using sprites

[James Bowman] shows a way to use sprites to simulate parts of DNA moving in 3 dimensional space. The animations are driven by an Arduino board and Maple board, which allows a comparison of the processing differences between the two. [Thanks Andrew]

Tiny Pong

This Pong game is so small (translated), you’ll be fighting over who gets a closer view of the screen.

More CNC halftone pieces

[Christian] made a bunch of halftone pictures with a CNC mill. He took the concept from [Metalfusion's] halftone projects and ran with it. He even posted some video of the machining process (turn down your sound before viewing this one).

Most useless machine

[Jumbleview's] take on the most useless machine makes the entire lid shut off this rocker switch, instead of using a separate arm for the task.

7400 rectifier

[Noel] is using a couple of 7400 chips in an unorthodox way to form a full-wave rectifier. They’re not powered, but instead used for the internal diodes. It’s his entry in the 7400 contest.

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