66% or better

LED ice cubes prevent alcohol induced blackouts

cube

On November 23rd last year, [Dhairya] attended a little shindig at MIT. Three drinks into the night, he blacked out and woke up in the hospital the next day. It was an alcohol-induced blackout, and like all parties at MIT, there’s an ingenious solution to [Dhairya]‘s problem.

[Dhairya] came up with an alcohol-aware ice cube made of a coin cell battery, an ATtiny microcontroller, and an IR transceiver are molded into an edible gelatin ice cube. The microcontroller counts the number of sips per drink, and after one glass of adult beverage changes the color of the flashing LED from green to yellow. After two drinks the LED changes from yellow to red, signaling [Dhairya] to slow down.

If [Dhairya] feels the night is too young and keeps on drinking, the IR transmitter signals to his cell phone to send a text to a friend telling them to go take [Dhairya] home.

Less than three weeks after waking up in the hospital, [Dhairya] tested out his glowing ice cubes at another party. Everything performed wonderfully, even if he admits his creation is a little crude. A neat piece of work, and we can’t wait to see an update to this project.

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Birthday badges teach kids how to solder

[Ian Lee, Sr] wanted to have an educational activity at his younger son’s birthday party. These were uncharted waters for him as he doesn’t remember education taking place at his own early birthday parties. But he came up with a great idea, with was to teach soldering using interactive badges which each guest could assemble themselves. He needed about twenty, so he tried to keep the BOM as small as possible. But that didn’t mean skimping on features.

You can see the black LED-type package on the left of the assembled badge above. This is an IR receiver whose counterpart transmitter is on the right side of the board. When two of these get within 6-8″ of each other the start talking back and forth. There is no microcontroller involved, instead the system relies on a multivibrator design. One of the red LEDs at the corner of the ‘smile’ is always blinking. When it is off, the IR transmitter is powered. This is picked up by another badge’s receiver, which lights the second ‘smile’ LED. You can see this happen in the short clip after the break.

Although there are relatively few components that went into this, it would take the kids a long time to put them together as they’re just learning. [Ian] and his eldest son soldered on all of the components except for the resistors beforehand.

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How to build a foam machine for your next party

Your neighbors are going to love you if you start filling up the back yard with foam at your next party. It’s an easy enough build, but depending on your ability to source the major components it could cost a pretty penny to use it at your next rager.

[Species287] used a big fan and water pump which he already had on hand. All together that saved him about $200 (he’s pricing in Australian Dollars but they’re almost even right now with USD). The soap solution is super cheap, just a bottle of dish washing liquid mixed to the correct proportions with water, but you’ll need a way to apply it to the fan. Some irrigation supplies connected to the fan grate with zip ties did the trick. The pump is submerged in the bubble liquid, causing it to spray from the nozzles near the fan. But this won’t actually create bubbles. The last piece is a bag-shaped hunk of shade cloth from the garden store. Each pore of the cloth acts as a bubble ring. The cloth gets sprayed with soap by the sprinklers and the air from the fan then blows the bubbles.

There’s no video of this project so if you want to see it in action this other diy foam cannon will have to do.

Pimp my scooter

[Glen] built this shiny party machine out of a pretty sad-looking scooter. We’d bet you’re wondering why we think it’s a party machine when it looks so common? The only real giveaway in this photo is the custom exhaust, but hidden in the body of the beast is 720 Watts of party power plus a whole bunch of extras.

When he gets where he’s going, [Glen] parks his ride and lifts up the seat to unfold the entertainment. Attached to the underside of the saddle is a 720 Watt audio amplifier. It drives one big speaker under the seat, as well as two tweeters and two mid-range speakers that were fitted into the front console. But these days a party isn’t a party without some video, and that’s why you’ll also find a 7-inch LCD screen suspended from the upright seat. Tunes and videos are supplied by an iPod touch up front, or the PC he built into the ride. All it’s missing is a gaming console!

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Custom Massive LED panel lights up the party

giant-led-sign

The guys at BuildLounge wrote us to share a giant LED sign they came across in the submission pile for their “Win a Laser Cutter” contest that’s currently under way. [Stephen Shaffer] helps run a huge party called Fantastic Planet, for which the group typically outsources the lighting arrangements. They got tired of hiring light guys several times a year and built their own mega display for the festivities instead.

The LED sign consists of 1,474 LEDs that output well over 10,000 lumens. The sign was produced for just about $800, which is very reasonable for a display of its size. The whole thing is controlled by a pair of Arduinos paired with 34 MIC5891 shift registers, all mounted on custom designed PCBs that the group produced in-house.

The display looks great, but don’t take our word for it – check out the video below to see it in action.

If you are interested in taking a closer look at how it was built, swing by the build thread to see more details.

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DIY Breathalyzer may be the hit of the party

Okay, this may not be saving any lives, but it makes for a fun novelty at your next rager. Most Breathalyzers aim to keep you from driving when you’ve had too many. The Squidalyzer encourages party-goers to drink more and more by treating a high blood-alcohol-content with great fanfare. An Arduino, a gas sensor, and Processing all come together for this hack. A television interface tells you when to blow into a cup which houses the sensor, and gives a reading of what it measures. Blow higher than the last guy and you’ll break the record. Watch the demo after the break to see the fun [Geoff] had with it. And remember, friends don’t let friends solder drunk.

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2010 Ninja Party badge

Wired took a look at this year’s Ninja Party badges. We were giddy about all the goodies involved in last year’s must-have badge that served as an invitation to the party. It was tailor-made for hacking, including an on-board disassembler. This year’s details are still a bit sparse but the offering is more along the lines of a market-ready product. The badges come in hand held gaming format, with a d-pad and two buttons. They can connect wirelessly with each other and with hidden base stations, allowing participants to fight in the digital realm for LED-indicated achievements. The teaser is tantalizing and we can’t wait to hear details about the real/digital gaming adventure soon to unfold.