This is a fantastic high school project. [Shmendrik213] built and robot a programmed it to follow common traffic rules. The robot drives itself with a DC motor, using one servo for steering and another to pan a webcam back and forth. The netbook that comes along for the ride is running a VB.NET program that can detect an upcoming intersection, read the street sign, and react based on other cars currently at the intersection.
The hardware is running on an Altera processor using firmware programmed in VHDL. We remember building a tissue box holder for one of our high school projects. Looks like the times have changed since then.
[Tim’s] miniMAME‘s construction follows the “light and cheap” approach, using foam core board and hot glue. Sure it won’t last a nuclear attack, but at least it’s light enough to carry to a friend’s house.
With a removable netbook at the core, CCFLs, speakers, trackball, and mini arcade fighting stick, the project completely surpassed our expectations. For those looking to build a miniMAME, [Tim] includes lots of pictures, details, and plans allowing anyone to make their own in about an afternoon.
With exams behind him [Adam Greig] had time to make a Nerf sentry gun. It’s actually quite easy to pull everything together. He’s got a netbook running Motion, an open source motion sensing program for use with a webcam. When movement is detected an Arduino, connected via a USB cable, actuates a servo to pull the trigger of the gun. The turret itself has seen a battery upgrade that increases the firing speed. It’s fun to see hardware prototyping done with a few pencils and a fist full of cable ties. Check it out after the break.
This particular toy, the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan, has become quite a popular starting point for turrent projects. We’ve seen one that uses a motorized base, and another that was part of a final project at Cornell.
Continue reading “Nerf sentry turret”
[Rob928] has done a fantastic job converting his Dell mini9 into a tablet. He has done several updates, such as an SSD hard drive and touchscreen. The final product looks quite nice. From a few feet away, we wouldn’t have noticed that it was a home made one. We’ve seen several tablet conversions before from macbooks to EeePCs.
[banzai] wasn’t happy with the performance he was getting out of his Samsung netbook. He decided it was time to do something about it. He noticed that Dell and HP both sell an optional HD decoder card for their netbooks. After a short search, he found one on ebay for only $24. He had to give up his internal wireless, but he doesn’t mind using a USB wireless dongle. Sure this isn’t horribly complicated, but he has information here that might help smooth out the process.
Where would be the best place to test out an unhackable netbook? The NSW department of education in Australia thinks that college is perfect . They plan on distributing netbooks, preloaded with Windows 7,and iTunes. They also have bios level tracking and security, allowing them to be remotely shut down on command. With 20,000 of these in circulation, we would think that we’ll see someone proving the “unhackable” statement wrong. We can only hope.
Jolicloud is a new Linux based operating system aimed at netbooks. The developers were nice enough to let us get our hands on their closed development version of the new OS. This distribution is built off of Ubuntu Netbook Remix(9.04 Jaunty Jackalope). At first glance it looks like nothing more than Ubuntu with a new skin, but the difference is deeper. Jolicloud added an App Store type program that offers installation of web applications along with traditional desktop apps. Using Mozilla Prism, web based applications like Facebook, Gmail, and Wikipedia are installed, get their own icon in the launcher, and run without the aid of a browser. Continue reading “Jolicloud OS seeks to move past browsers”