Atomic skull clock reminds us we’re dying

atomic-skull-clock

Whether you like it or not, every second that passes brings you one step closer to your own demise. It’s not a comforting topic to dwell upon, but it’s reality. This art installation entitled ‘Memento Mori’ is a haunting reminder of just that. Even with all the advanced technology we have today, we still have absolutely no way of knowing just when our time will come.

[Martin] cast a real human skull, then added a 4 digit LED display that’s attached to a rubidium atomic clock (running a FE-5680A frequency standard). The display counts down a single second over and over, measured in millisecond-steps, from 1.000 to 0.001. He built a custom electronic circuit to convert the 10 MHz sine wave into a 1 kHz pulse signal, and used ATmega8 chips running an Arduino sketch to do the rest of the dirty work.

Watching the video after the break, with that smooth mysterious music in the background, one can’t help but ponder our mortality. On a personal note, this totally feels like something you’d find in a video game.

[Thanks Martin]

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Dollar store Terminator replica

Okay, now we think [James] is just on a mission to see what he can build using the dollar store as his parts bin. This is the nearly finished replica of the cyborg skeleton from the Terminator franchise. It’s made mostly from things that cost $0.99.

Actually we’ve got that a bit wrong. [James] is really shopping at the £0.99 store but the concept is basically the same. He’s already shown us that he’s a pro at this with the arc reactor replica we recently saw from him. This time around a set of speakers donate their enclosures to build up the spinal column supporting the skull. Fittingly these are glued together using a hot glue gun from the store. The sides of the skull are carefully crafted from a set of four plastic bowls. The jaw comes together thanks to the corners of a plastic box’s lid. And finally the majority of the face is from a golden skull costume mask. Spray it all grey and pop in some LEDs for the eyes and he’s done it! He show’s off his final creation in the video after the break.

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Halloween Hacks: Simple robotic skull is a perfect last minute decoration

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simple_talking_skull

If you haven’t taken the time to put your decorations together it’s time to get a move on. With Halloween just around the corner big elaborate displays are pretty much out of the question, but [Boris] and the team over at Open Electronics have a simple project that’s sure to be a hit with the Trick or Treaters.

Using a cheap plastic prop that you can likely find at any Halloween store, they have put together a simple talking skull that moves along with whatever music or sound is being piped through it. The skull’s mouth is moved by a single servo mounted inside the brain cavity, which is controlled by an Arduino. The Arduino monitors the sound level of the source audio being played, actuating the servo accordingly.

It’s quick, simple, and effective – perfect for a last minute decorating project. If you are a little more ambitious, you could always put together a whole chorus of skulls without too much additional effort – just a few extra skulls and some servos would do the trick nicely.

Check out a quick video of the skull in action below, along with another short clip showing how the servo is rigged up to move its mouth.

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We’ve got a real bone to pick with this mouse

Finally, there’s a way you can feel like a real bad-ass while you’re formatting those TPS reports. It’s all thanks to this computer mouse built inside the skull of a dog. [Shannon Larratt] dug through his collection of skulls and came up with this one because it fits nicely in the palm of your hand.

Before you get too grossed out, this is not actually part of an animal’s body like another notable mouse hack that comes to mind. [Shannon] started with the skull of a small dog, making a mold for the pieces used in the finished version above. He was quite creative when fitting the electronic parts inside of his reproduction. He pulled the PCB from a $10 Logitech mouse and had no trouble getting it to fit into the base of the skull. But when it came to the buttons he ended up engineering a couple of rockers and used a belt to reposition the scroll-wheel. Not wanting to lose the middle-click feature there’s an additional lever for that functionality. We’d also like to compliment him on the quality of his write-up. Fantastic!

Hack some bling extra


I’ve been getting some good looking mods on the tips line, so I thought it was time for a bit of bling on Hack-A-Day.

[f00-F00] sent in his ever so lightly modded iPod. It’s a bit similar to his force feedback PSP mod, but in this case, the leds lighting up the clear case are music sensitive.

The not too shabby looking [flooky] sent in her latest use for the SEGA Dreamcast, a guitar. (Hopefully soon to have three more strings.)

[crait] decided to steal 5v to power a Dreamcast VMU from his PS/2 port.

Oh, and if you dig our logo, you might be amused by skulladay.

I’ve got my travel plans for Defcon 15 set up. [Eliot] will certainly be skulking around vegas, so we’ll see you there.

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