Pulse jet snowmobile, or, what Swedes do during hibernation

jetSweden is coming out of the depths of a cold, dark winter. What better time, then, to enjoy the last few weeks of frigid temperatures, short days, and frozen lakes and rivers? That’s what Orsa Speed Weekend is all about; tearing across a frozen lake by any means necessary, including jet powered snowmobiles.

This pulse jet comes from the fruitful minds at Svarthalet Racing (Google Translation) who have put an amazing amount of work into their fuel-injected pulse jet snowmobile during these last cold winter months. They’ve even gone so far as to do some analysis regarding how much horsepower their snowmobile has. Surprisingly, it’s not much more horsepower than a small car, but that’s due to the hilarious inefficiency of pulse jets compared to more conventional engines.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen jet powered snowmobiles build for Orsa Speed Weekend. We’ll just hope this year a few more videos will show up in our tip line.

Fauxrarri is the PPPRS Champion

The Power Racing Series (PPPRS) is an electric vehicle competition with a $500 price ceiling. This is Fauxarri, the 2012 Champion. It was built by members of Sector67, a Madison, WI hackerspace. To our delight, they’ve posted an expose on the how the thing was built.

It should come as no surprise that the guys behind the advance electric racer aren’t doing this sort of thing for the first time. A couple of them were involved in Formula Hybrid Racing at the University of Wisconsin. That experience shows in the custom motor controller built as an Arduino shield. It includes control over acceleration rate, throttle response, and regenerative braking. But you can’t get by on a controller alone. The motors they used are some special electric garden tractor motors to which they added their own water cooling system.

If you want to get a good look at how fast and powerful this thing is head on over to the post about the KC leg of PPPRS (it’s the one towing a second vehicle and still passing the competition by).

Real BMW dash cluster for your racing games

Here’s a cool add on that could making racing games just a little more engaging. How about a real instrument cluster? [Herctrap] has written up the schematics and shared the code to get a real car’s instrument cluster to be driven from x-sim. It is a slightly different approach than we’ve seen before, but really not too complicated.While this is still just another accessory sitting on his desk, it really seems to add a considerable amount of feedback to the game. Next he needs to build a motion rig for his seat!

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Racing with Dyson’s spare parts

When it comes time to unwind at the Dyson design facility these engineers know how to do it right. Recently, the company challenged their engineers to a grown-up version of the Pinewood Derby in which they raced their own cars powered by a Dyson motor.

The video after the breaks shows a large collection of these time trials on a track made from upturned wooden pallets. Most of the vehicles are made from parts which we don’t recognize. But some of them are very familiar like our favorite hand dryer ever (seen above) and the iconic goldenrod manifold from the Dyson ball vacuum cleaner.

The course ends abruptly, as you can see in the last run of the video. There is one entry that included a human rider and he seems to be going nearly as fast as the riderless carriages are. The video cuts away before he hits the wall, but we can’t image he had the time to include brakes in that design.

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Driving game steering wheel controller without the wheel

For some reason this project makes us think of the Light Cycles in Tron. You know, the bike forms around the rider after they grab onto the wand that makes up its controls? Certainly you’re not going to see a car form out of thin air, but this driving controller let you grab onto nothing to control a racing game.

You can see that it uses a Kinect to map the body of the player and convert your movements into motion control. The demo video embedded below the fold shows the calibration step, followed by the available control options. Pushing the steering wheel forward turns on the nitrous, leaning forward or back accelerates and brakes, and a few arm signals let you navigate the game menus.

This works by mapping gestures to keystrokes. [Rajarshi Roy] tells us that there’s a very raw code package available in their repository but the plan is to clean it up this weekend. They will also work on a Wiki, documentation, and a tutorial on teaching the software new gestures.

We just don’t know what we like better, seeing the kinect extended as a gaming controller like this one, or using it in robotics like that quadcopter.

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GPS lap timer from secondhand parts

gps_racing_lap_timer

Hackaday forum member [nes] was training for an endurance race, and rather than having someone verbally call out his lap times, he wanted something he could keep in-vehicle to help keep track of his performance. With the race budget running dry, he and his teammates needed something cheap, if not free, to get the job done.

He scored a “broken” GPS receiver on eBay for a measly £4 and found that the receiver worked, but corrupted software prevented the unit from mapping routes. Since he didn’t require routing functions to keep track of his lap times, he splayed the GPS receiver open and started hunting around for a serial bit stream. He found what he was looking for after a bit of probing and hooked it up to his computer to see if the data contained NMEA sentences.

He cut the receiver down to the necessary parts and then started work on the lap timer itself. The timer uses an ATMega32 to run the show, displaying relevant time and location information on an LCD panel he scavenged from the trash bin.

He admits that the wiring is a bit questionable, but says that after about seven hours of rough use, everything is still intact and working great.

MIT’s eSuperbike takes on the Isle of Man

mit_ebike

While the Isle of Man typically plays host to an array of gas-powered superbikes screaming through villages and mountain passes at unbelievable speeds, the island’s TT Race is a bit different. Introduced in 2009 to offer a greener alternative to the traditional motorcycle race, organizers opened up the course to electric bikes of all kinds. In order to entice participants, they even put a £10k prize on the line for the first bike that completes the race with an average speed of 100 miles per hour or faster. While no one has claimed the prize just yet, that didn’t stop the MIT Electric Vehicle team from tossing their hat into the ring this year.

Their entry into the race is the brainchild of PhD student [Lennon Rodgers] and his team of undergrads. They first designed a rough model of the motorcycle they wanted to build in CAD, and through a professor at MIT sourced some custom-made batteries for their bike. Through a series of fortunate events, the team found themselves in front of BMW management, who donated an S1000RR racing bike to the project. After a good number of alterations, including the addition of an Arduino to control the bike, they were ready for race day.

While the team didn’t take the checkered flag, they did finish the race in 4th place. Their bike managed to complete the course with an average speed of 79 mph, which isn’t bad according to [Rodgers]. He says that for their first time out, he’s happy that they finished at all, which is not something every team can claim.