An odd little box

Here’s an odd little box that might get those creative juices flowing for the upcoming Halloween season. [Jeremy’s] creepy glowing box has a pair of ping-pong ball eyes which diffuse the red light from a pair of LEDs. Both the lid and they eyes move, and the whole thing is set up for wireless control.

The majority of the parts came from a toy RC helicopter that [Jeremy] had sitting in his junk bin. After close inspection he found that the electronics included to motor drivers for the two rotors, as well as two servo motors which worked to steer the aircraft. One of those servos has been repurposed to aim the gaze of they eyes left and right, the other servo is used to lift and close the lid of the box. This leaves the two motor controllers, one of which switches the LEDs on and off. The other doesn’t really have a purpose yet. He tried adding one wheel to the box, but turning that on just makes the whole thing crash to the floor. Check out what he’s done so far in the clip after the fold.

Continue reading “An odd little box”

Quadcopter pair plays table tennis without the table

This pair of quad-rotor helicopters does a better job of keeping a ping-pong ball in the air than we could. The two flying drones are performing inside of the flying machine arena, a 1000 cubic meter indoor space surrounded by nets with a foam-padded floor. This makes for a prototype-friendly space, protecting the copters from hard landings and the experimenters from the maiming that might accompany a runaway robot.

This project is headed by researcher [Raffaello D’Andrea]. Previously, we’ve seen his work on a distributed flight array. This time around he’s not working with configurable modules, but completely separate units. Don’t miss the video after the break to see several iterations used to keep a ball in the air. Each bot has the head of a tennis racket mounted at its center. Throw a ball at them and they’ll to what they can to prevent it touching the ground.

While we’re on the topic, we caught a story on NPR about hobby drones. Sounds like their growing popularity has caught the attention of the non-hacker community and restrictions might be on the way. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your own flyer while it’s still the wild-west of personal drones.

Continue reading “Quadcopter pair plays table tennis without the table”

How to build a ping-pong ball display

If you’ve been lusting after your own glowing display we’re here to help by sharing some simple building techniques that will result in an interesting project like the one you see above. This is a super-accurate clock That uses ping-pong balls as diffusers for LEDs, but with a little know-how you can turn this into a full marquee display. Join me after break where I’ll share the details of the project and give you everything you need to know to build your own.

Continue reading “How to build a ping-pong ball display”

LED wall and Kinect join forces

[Alex] wrote in to let us know about this Kinect controlled LED wall that was whipped up at the Tetalab hackerspace in Toulouse, France. The wall, which was built earlier in the year, uses some MAX7313 LED intensity controlling shift registers. Each gets its own board and controls the intensity of sixteen different red LEDs. They’re embedded in the wall module and covered with ping-pong balls as diffusers.

The recent activity on the project takes advantage of the Xbox Kinect. As you can see in the video after the break, they’ve used the open source Kinect drivers to capture 3D environment data, processing it into color gradients which are displayed on the Pong wall. Shouldn’t be long before they someone comes knocking on their door to install this in a dance club. We love the effect, especially because it works in a dark room and the LEDs don’t cause any interference with the video capture.

Continue reading “LED wall and Kinect join forces”

LED goggles make you trip out?

Who knows if this works and should you really want to try to induce hallucinations by flashing colors in front of your eyes? But we do love the zaniness of the project. [Everett’s] homemade hallucination goggles come in two flavors, the small swimming-goggle-type model and the heavy-duty trip visor made from welder’s goggles. Each brings together the same components; a half ping-pong ball for each eye to diffuse the light from an RGB LED. The system is controlled by an Arduino with some buttons and 7-segment displays for a user interface. Put this together with some homemade EL wire and you’re ready for Burning Man.
[Thanks Evan]

Maze solving

[Mitchel Humpherys] and his fellow developers didn’t just develop a maze-solving algorithm, they also built a ping-pong ball maze platform that is computer controlled. Using a webcam the computer picks up the high-contrast maze by peering down from above, calculates the solution, and moves the ping-pong ball to the goal using two different tilt servos controlled by an 8051 microcontroller. But wait, there’s more! Why have the computer solve it when you can make a game out of a maze? Once the PC was thrown into the mix it was pretty easy to add Wii remote and Wii balance board control too. See these alternative inputs in action after the break.

Continue reading “Maze solving”

Office prank: death from above

Unsuspecting office workers beware. You may already be in the cross-hairs of a ping-pong ball launching robot. This covert robot hangs out on the other side of a suspended ceiling, waiting for its operator to unleash the fury. When put into action a hatch in a ceiling tile is raised and balls are launched at a cowering cube-dweller.

It looks like the balls are launched at a reasonable speed and won’t hurt anyone. The next generation of this bot should do a better job of integrating the trap door and be quieter. This would be a lot more fun if the victim couldn’t figure out where the heck that ball just came from.

[via BotJunkie]