Wireless Bullduino belt buckle sets the stage for romance, schtick


As the Red Bull Creation Contest gets underway, we’re seeing a ton of great entries, including this one put together by [Team Instructables]. While we are pretty partial to our own spectacular Red Bull Cannon, it’s hard to deny that there is some stiff competition out there.

Instructables’ “Romance Pants” are a creation that would undoubtedly fit perfectly as a prop piece for any of the Naked Gun movies. The basic premise behind the pants is that when unzipped, the Bullduino belt buckle wirelessly signals the lights in the room to dim, the music to turn up, and candles to light – setting the mood for romance.

Some might argue that anyone wearing a Red Bull-themed Arduino as a belt buckle would have a snowball’s chance in hell of encountering a potential mate – We can’t really argue with you there. That said, their concept is pretty amusing.

Stick around to see the Romance Pants in action, as well as a behind the scenes look at how they work.

[Thanks, Bill!]

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Game of chance built as a Red Bull Creation entry

[Tom Bourke] wrote in to show off the game of chance which was built for this year’s Red Bull Creation contest. The project was completed with the help of the Wausau Collaboration Center, a Hackerspace in Wausau, Wisconsin.

He does a great job of showing off the game in the clip after the break. Near the bottom of the device is a hard drive platter which each player can spin to test his or her luck. [Tom] used a max485 chip to turn the leads for the hard drive motor into a quadrature encoder. This input is monitored by the Bullduino board, which puts on a light and sound show during the spin. The LEDs that surround the display are individually addressable (probably the same LED strings as this wall display) and cycle trough different colors based on the rotational speed of the patters. The large seven segment display provides a readout for the random number that is generated. Roll a ten and you win! We guess you need to make the rest of the game up yourself, but this could easily be used as a 16-sided die (or less).

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Red Bull Creation hardware (Bullduino) arrives

The Bullduino’s are starting to arrive. When [Arclight] received his in the mail the first thing he did was to share the hardware details. Of course this is the hardware that participants in the Red Bull Creation contest will be receiving ahead of this year’s contest.

The board is an ATmega328 Arduino clone. Instead of an FTDI chip for USB this one is sporting an ATmega8u2. That’s not too much of a surprise as it should translate to a cost savings. [Arclight] reports that the stock firmware flashes a message in Morse code. It seems the Harford HackerSpace got their Bullduino several days ago and already decoded the message. It reads:

“Wouldn’t lou prefer a good game of chess?”

The guys that did the decoding speculate that this could be a type as ‘l’ and ‘y’ are inversions of each other in Morse code; or it could be some kind of clue. At any rate, if you want to do some disassembly and see if there’s anything lurking in the firmware, [Arclight] posted FLASH and EEPROM dumps from both ATmega chips along with his article.

Red Bull Creation contest results

72 hours of hacking came to a head with the completion of the Red Bull Creation. This years challenge was to build something out of junk that moves a human. It’s hard to pull all the aspects of the event together in one place, so here’s some links you’ll want to check out if you weren’t able to attend.

Tech Crunch has an overview of all the event winners. One of our favorites is pictured above. The spinning see-saw is not your average playground toy. Its built-in accelerometer waits for the forces to peak, then snaps a picture for later enjoyment. Techshop, a San Francisco hackerspace, took the team prize for their work on it. Don’t miss the video after the break

The overall winner was a team from Minneapolis called 1.21 Jigawatts. They produced a human-sized hamster wheel that pulled a small follower behind it. As you walk, the follower prints incoming text messages on the sidewalk, kind of like the chalkbot. We searched around for video of it, the best we could find is this one.

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Hacking and Rolling at the Red Bull Creation Challenge


The crew over at the HarfordHackerspace used their wits and creativity to land a spot at the final round of Red Bull’s Creation challenge. The team arrived in Brooklyn just yesterday, ready to take on all comers in the 72-hour hacking challenge which kicked off earlier this morning.

Like any other hacker convention, the Red Bull challenge sports its own unique guest badges just begging to be poked, prodded, and otherwise fooled with. Once the team arrived in New York they were given theirs, and after the opening festivities came to a close, the hacking began. The badges were putting out what looked like Morse code messages via a single red LED, and while part of the team worked to record and decode the message, others started reverse engineering the badge’s on-board PIC.

They were successfully able to bypass the PIC’s fuses to read the code inside, and what they found was pretty funny. You will have to follow the link above to find out what it was, but rest assured, the Red Bull folks definitely have a decent sense of humor.