The Hacklet #3

The Hacklet Issue 3

The third issue of The Hacklet has been released. In this issue, we start off with a roundup on the Sci-Fi Contest which recently concluded. After seeing the many great hacks you came up with for that contest, we’re looking forward to seeing what you think of for The Hackaday Prize.

Next up, we take a look at two hacks that deal with switching mains, which is a feature that most home automation projects need. These high voltage switches can be dangerous to build, but one hack finds a safe and cheap way to do it. The next looks at building your own high voltage circuitry.

Finally, we talk about two laser hacks. The first is practical: a device for exposing resins and masks using a laser. The second is just a really big laser, built from hardware store parts. Who doesn’t like big lasers? We definitely like big lasers, and so does the FAA.

Sci-Fi Contest Winners

We’re happy to announce 16 winners of the Sci-Fi Contest! The Hackaday Crew is thoroughly impressed with pretty much everything that was entered. The 50 projects which were marked as “complete” spanned a wide range of Science Fiction universes, and showed off the talent of the hackers who posted them.

As a quick side note: Some people have confused this contest with The Hackaday Prize. That one is still on, runs into November, and offers a trip into space as the grand prize. Get hacking!

Prizes

all-sci-fi-prizes

We have a range of prizes for the winners. The Grand Prize winning team can choose between two packages, one is anchored by a pair of oscilloscopes (an OWON DS7102 and a Rigol DS1052E), the other swaps out the OWAN for a soldering station and a rework station. Top Prize winners can choose between three packages which offer a rework station, a soldering station, or a collection of dev boards. And finally, the community favorites can choose from several Sci-Fi themed prizes like Blu-Ray, DVD, coasters, toothbrushes, and other kitsch.  For a complete list of the prizes, check out the contest announcement.

Grand Prize: Demolition Man Verbal Morality Statute Monitor

Demolition Man Verbal Morality MonitorThe Verbal Morality Statute Monitor project was an early favorite of ours because the choice of Sci-Fi tech was perfect; a symbolic centerpiece of a dystopian future that can be perfectly replicated with current technology.

[tdicola] and his suspect partner [colabot] moved far beyond that favored status with a solid build that included mechanical design (which was quite a hack), hardware, and software.

The shiny unit hangs on the wall and listens for profanity, sounding an alarm and printing a citation whenever one is detected. We do hope that this ends up in a public space — perhaps a hackerspace full of foul-mouthed members. The delight of the Morality Monitor is that it can generate extra revenue and we suspect offenders will be happy to pay-up… well, maybe at first.

Second Place: Animatronic Iron Man MKIII suit

Animatronic Iron Man SuitThe scope of this project, which is the work of [Jerome Kelty] and [Greg Hatter], is impressive. The full-size Iron Man suit is wearable, true to the look of the film version, and packed full of animatronics. It won’t stop bullets, blow up bad guys, or fly… but it looks as if it can do all of that.

From helmet to boots the exoskeleton is packed with electronics. These are comprised mostly of things that light up, and things that move parts of the suit. But you also need a way to control that functionality and this is one of the most clever aspects of the design.

Each glove has an RFID tag reader in the palm area, with tags on the fingertips of the third and fourth finger. Closing your fingertip to your palm initiates a programmed sequence. All of this is well-documented in the Project Details section, with code and schematics for each subsystem shared as Build Logs.

Third Place: M.A.R.S.

sci-fi-winner-3-MARS-roverThis rover looks like an elegant insect. In a world full of clunky-looking robotics projects that’s high praise. The name of the project is an acronym for the MADspace Advanced Robtics System; a project which, from the start, sought to recreate an Open Design version of the NASA Rovers known as Spirit and Opportunity.

[Guus van der Sluijs], [Paul Wagener], and [Tom Geelen] turned this project into a showcase of what today’s widely available design software and fabrication tools can accomplish. Most of the connecting pieces were 3D printed (check out all of them in the components list), with 10mm aluminum tubing making up the rest of the chassis, and rockers to support the six wheels. Speaking of wheels, check out all the fab work that went into those! And we haven’t even mentioned the hw/sw which drives the thing!

Fourth Place: Back To The Future Time Circuit Clock

sci-fi-winner-4-BttF-ClockThis one has a very visceral hacked feeling which immediately made us take note. When you start to dig into the work which [Atheros] and [bwa] put into the Time Circuit Clock from the movie Back to the Future, the project really stands in a place of its own. Inspiration to build this came from a design which was posted by Hackaday alum [Phil Burgess] over at Adafruit.

The large collection of 14 and 7 segment display modules which make up the three parts of the clock are all hosted on about 23 PCBs which were etched as part of the development process. The electronic assembly is solid, with ribbon cables and modular design to keep it as tidy as possible. The frames for the displays are cut out of wood and the entire thing is controlled from a keypad. The clock, alarm, and FM radio make this a perfect bedside device — if you can abide being blasted by three colors of LED displays as you try to sleep.

Fifth Place: Marauder’s Map

sci-fi-winner-5-Marauders-MapThis one is hard to sum up with a single image, because The Marauder’s Map uses radio frequency communication to track beacon locations of boards like the one pictured here. Well, they tried to use this custom hardware but were unable to work out all the bugs and ended up showing the proof of concept using some EZ430-RF2500 dev boards.

We’re certainly not holding that against [phreaknik] and [ wahwahweewahh]. The amount of software that went into the mapping system is arguably more impressive than a bug-free prototype board would have been. The system can take the dimensions for any room, as well as locations of the base stations. It then polls the base stations to triangulate relative position of the beacons with great accuracy.
We have confidence that the custom boards will work at some point (this would actually make a great entry for The Hackaday Prize, right?).

Honorable Mentions

Glasses block light when they sense dangerIt was heartbreaking that these Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses didn’t make it into the top five. This, and the five projects above, were all in a tight race for the prizes. Since this project isn’t going to make the list of Skulled or Followed projects we’ve decided to award it one of those prize packages anyway in recognition of the wonderful work [Minimum Effective Dose] and his AI partner [Colabot] pulled off. The project is, of course, based on [Douglas Adams'] Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy tech which allows the wearer to avoid getting upset in times of peril. The shutter glasses originally meant for 3D television viewing have been modified to sense danger and block the wear’s view of it.

The rest of the Honorable Mentions are awarded the honor of being mentioned (in alphabetical order):

Community Favorites

There are also prizes for the most Skulled and most Followed projects. Here are those winners in rank order. This list was a snapshot from Wednesday, May 7th, and since Hackaday.io is a living site the totals will change over time. The five top winners are excluded from these prizes; Skulled winners cannot also win for Followers:

Most Skulled:

Most Followers:

Complete Entries Get Shirts

All hackers who submitted what we deem to be a complete entry will receive a shirt. We’ll email with instructions on how to tell us your shirt size and mailing address.

Star Wars Training Droid Uses The Force

Star Wars Training Droid

We all know the scene, Obi-Wan Kenobi gives Luke a helmet with the blast shield down. He tells Luke “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them. Stretch out with your feelings!” Easy for Obi-Wan to say – he doesn’t have a remote training droid flying around and shooting at him. [Roeland] and his team are working to create a real-life version of the training droid for Hackday’s Sci-Fi contest.

The training droid in Star Wars may not have had the Force on its side, but it was pretty darn agile in the air. To replicate this, the team started with a standard Walkera Ladybird micro quadcopter. It would have been simple to have a human controlling the drone-turned-droid, but [Roeland and co] wanted a fully computer controlled system. The Ladybird can carry a small payload, but it just doesn’t have the power to lift a computer and sensor suite. The team took a note from the GRASP Lab and used an external computer with a camera to control their droid.

Rather than the expensive motion capture system used by the big labs, the team used a pair of Wii Remote controllers for stereo vision. A small IR LED mounted atop the droid made it visible to the Wii Remotes’ cameras. A laptop was employed to calculate the current position of the droid. With the current and desired positions known, the laptop calculated and sent commands to an Arduino, which then translated them for the droid’s controller.

Nice work guys! Now you just have to add the blaster emitters to it!

[Read more...]

Community Weigh-In for Sci-Fi Contest

sci-fi-community-weigh-in

The entry period for the Sci-Fi Contest ended at mid-night yesterday morning. Now’s the time to weigh-in as ten prizes will be awarded based on the community outpouring for the project. Go check out all of the projects that were entered and register your opinion through “Follow Project” and/or “Give a Skull” buttons.

We’re hoping to announce judging decisions for the contest on Thursday, May 8th.

Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: Alien Autopsy And Jacking On

There’s still a few days left in our sci-fi contest, and unless you really pull out the stops today, it might be too late to get your entry in. Even though the contest is wrapping up, a lot of projects are wrapping things up and posting their finished projects. Here’s a few good ones.

These puns are awesome

chestbursterThe folks at the LVL1 hackerspace had the idea of making a life-sized game of Operation. This plan changed when someone at the hackerspace had the great idea of making it an alien autopsy. The game play remains the same, but this time the puns are awesome.

The play field is a life-sized alien, stuffed with metal-lined holes that set off a buzzer whenever the modified hemostat touches the side. Inside these holes are incredible puns that include, “Farscraped knee”, “Phantom Tentacle”, a “Tattoine removal”, “Jeffries Tuberculosis”, “HALatosis, “Babelfish in the Ear”, and “Grabthar’s Hammertoe”

The hackerspace took their alien autopsy game to the Louisville 2013 Mini Maker Faire where it was a huge hit. We’re thinking some of the puns were a little too obscure for the general population, but the attention to detail is impressive; there’s a 3D print of Pilot from Farscape. Awesome.

Jacking On

jackingon

In the Futurama universe, immoral robots get their fun by “Jacking On”, or supplanting their 6502-based CPUs with a ton of electricity. This is contraindicated by Bender’s operational manual, but a robot needs his fix, right?

[RodolpheH] and [pierrep] are building one of these jack dispensers, but instead of simply supplying a whole lot of electricity through a jack, they’re creating a Raspi-powered wireless audio streaming device. Plug some speakers into the jack, connect to the Raspi, and you’ve got a very cool audio system on your hands.

The team is going all out with the design of their jack dispenser, using random bits of plastic stuff for the enclosure and a USB-powered plasma ball for the top. It impresses random strangers, and that’s the only thing that’s important, right?

Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: Thinking 4th Dimensionally

Notwithstanding [John Titor] and his time travelling ’67 Corvette convertible, the coolest time machine on wheels has to be the DeLorean from Back to the Future. BTTF is apparently a very popular theme for our sci-fi contest, with a lot of great entries.

You mean to tell me  you made a time machine? Out of a Hyundai Accent?

fluxAfter a careful bit of research, it appears the Hyundai Accent (GLS) has both a higher top speed and faster 0-60 time than a DeLorean, and that’s before the installation of time circuits, a flux capacitor, and plutonium reactor. [docbrownjr] and [Jennifer] decided their Accent was the perfect vehicle for a time machine conversion and decided to add a Mr. Fusion  to the mix.

Like the on-screen version, this version of a Mr. Fusion is made from a kitchen appliance. With the original Krups coffee grinder out of production, the team settled on an iced tea machine. There will, however, be copious amounts of dry ice involved,  as will half-empty beer cans and banana peels.

WiFi-enabled Flux Capacitor

ledAfter knocking his head on a toilet, [Beamsjr] came up with a great idea – a networked flux capacitor, able to display the Teamcity build progress.

This build is going all out with custom PCBs – one for the controller board, and three for the shift registered LEDs underneath the acrylic knobbies in the flux capacitor. WiFi is provided by the TI CC3000 module, with the main microcontroller being an ATmega 328p,

Time circuits on

segmentsHonestly, we’d be a bit disappointed if this contest didn’t have a BTTF time circuit build entry. Luckily for us, [atheros] and [bwa] are on top of things with their time circuit clock, complete with an alarm and FM radio receiver (FM isn’t going to work in 1955, guys).

Unlike a few other time circuit builds we’ve seen over the years, the guys are doing this one up right, with 14-segment LEDs for the month display. They’re etching their own boards for this one, and it’s looking like it’ll be a very cool project when it’s complete.

Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: I Am Iron Man

Back when Iron Man 2 and The Avengers were out in theaters, the Hackaday tip line couldn’t go a week without an arc reactor build being submitted. In keeping with the Internet’s fascination with blinkey glowey things, we expected a huge influx of arc reactors for our Sci-Fi contest. We were pleasantly surprised: all the submissions from the Marvel universe are top-notch, and the two Iron Man entries we have are simply amazing.

Motorized Helmet

1[James Bruton] is working on a replica of the Iron Man movie helmet, complete with a motorized face plate, light up eyes, and an OLED display for a reasonable facsimile of the horribly unrealistic on-screen heads-up display.

While a few bits and bobs of the mechanics were 3D printed, [James] is making the majority of the helmet just as how the on-screen version was made. The helmet was first carved out of sheet foam, then molded and cast into very strong rigid fiberglass. [James] put up a great tutorial series on how he did this and other parts of his Iron Man costume.

Anamatronic

2The other Iron Man costume from [jeromekelty] and [Greg Hatter] doesn’t stop at just the helmet. They’re doing everything: shoulder-mounted rocket pods, hip pods, forearm missiles, back flaps, and boots with a satisfying electronic kerthunk sounding with every step.

Inside the custom molded suit are at least four Arduinos, four XBees, an Adafruit WaveShield, and at least 20 servos for all of the Iron Man suit components. The mechanics are actuated via RFID with a tag in a glove; when the wearer waves their hand over some part of the suit, one of the mechanical features are activated.

It’s impressive to say the least, and one of the best documented projects we’ve seen in the Sci-Fi contest.

There’s still time to put together your own Sci-Fi project for the contest. Grab your soldering iron and fiberglass resin, because there’s some seriously great prizes up for grabs.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,486 other followers