Wearable controller for your paintball tank

If you’re too frail to take the full impact of a paintball round let this tank serve as your surrogate. The camera perched on top of the platform feeds video back to the operator’s head-mounted display. Instead of using a joystick or other traditional controller, the user aims by looking around, with his or her head movements mimicked by the camera and barrel of the tank. It looks cooler than it sounds so jump with us after the break to see for yourself. If you’re playing against this thing, we’d recommend aiming for the camera lens.

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Tank drone with automatic targeting and tracking

Humankind is making some great advances toward our own destruction with this tank drone. It’s got a powerful set of treads with an Airsoft rifle perched atop. Thanks to the cameras and the laser this thing can accurately target based on color. The hardware is controlled by a collection of Arduino boards connected via XBee so that Processing can be used on a computer. Just combine this with the facial recognition from yesterday and you’ve got the first generation of Terminators. Watch the clip after the break and you’ll realize that we’re doomed. Continue reading “Tank drone with automatic targeting and tracking”

BAMF2010: Spy TRAKR – no lasers, $14,861 cheaper

Maybe $15K for an elaborate balancing telepresence robot is a bit out of one’s league. In that case, another Bay Area Maker Faire exhibitor — Wild Planet — has you covered. Faire attendees got a hands-on sneak preview of the upcoming Spy Video TRAKR, a video-transmitting radio-controlled toy that’s programmable and extensively hackable.

The TRAKR has an impressive pedigree. It’s a collaborative effort between three successful and creative technology companies: Wild Planet, makers of the Spy Gear toy line; MOTO Development Group, designers of the Flip Video camera; and Making Things, software designers for the Make Controller.

So just how hackable are we talking? The Spy Video TRAKR is intended right out of the box to use downloadable apps, and allows development of new programs in C. The controller and vehicle each contain their own ARM9 processor, and the ’bot features 8 megs of RAM, an SD card slot and USB client and host (yes, host) ports. And that’s all with the cover still on. Pop the lid, and you’ll find links to online schematics and neatly-labeled breakout headers for deeper exploration.

The Spy Video TRAKR is expected to ship in October with a target price of $139 or less. Additional photos after the break.

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Steam powered tank

This steam-powered tank is really something of a steam-electric hybrid. Steam provides the locomotion, but an electrical system provides the remote control and steering. A full boiler will provide 10-15 minutes of operation which you can see in the video after the break. Before you leave a nasty comment: Yes, we realize this project is from several years ago. It’s new to us and the completion date doesn’t diminish the novelty of this well-executed build. This is the quality and uniqueness we’re used to seeing from [Crabfu].

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Trick your ride: tank conversion

If wheels aren’t your thing you should really consider this tank-tread retrofit. It comes with two ramps so that you can drive your car up onto the tread platform. At first we thought this worked by chaining the vehicle’s frame to the tread frame and transferring power through a tread-mill interface. That’s not the case, it seems the transmission needs to be disconnected from the wheels and joined with the tank mechanics. Don’t miss the video antics after the break.

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PicAxe LEGO tank

[TomTheGeek] built a LEGO tank with a PicAxe controller. Locomotion is supplied by a Lego Power Function motor controller. He cut an LPF extension wire in half so that he could patch into the PWM signals without altering the motors themselves. You can make out the control circuitry and a small breadboard in the tank’s turret. [Tom] added a laser pointer to the tip of the barrel but we’d like to see an IR LED. The tank is controlled by a infrared remote control and adding TV-b-gone functionality to the toy would create something of a Rube Goldberg feature for turning off the tube. But alas, there’s no programming space left for that as the PicAxe 08M is limited to 256 bytes.

There’s a video after the break of this little demon tracking its way around the room. This is a nice addition to the other LEGO tank we saw a while back.

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Salty LEDs

[Davross] pulled off an LED lighting build for his coral aquarium. The module consists of a wooden body holding a 3×16 grid of LEDs. They are mounted to heat sinks which themselves have cooling fans to help keep those puppies from melting. The system is controlled by an Arduino which allows for almost limitless lighting options. The photo above shows the LEDs running at 50%. He’s also taken some photos of the tank in “moonlight” mode. It’s a long and detailed forum thread but you can skip to some nice photos of the coral under the lights or details about the build.

[Thanks Passmadd]