After seeing the TIX clock for the first time, [Gweedo Steevens] really wanted one, but wasn’t interested in paying the seemingly high asking price over at ThinkGeek. He figured it wouldn’t be too incredibly hard to build his own, so he decided to give it a shot.
The clock relies on 27 LEDs to display the time, which were multiplexed to make the most of his ATMega16 microcontroller’s available IO pins. Once he was happy with how things functioned on breadboard, he migrated the LEDs to a piece of perf board, and etched his own PCB for the controller circuit.
He used an office overhead lighting grate to separate the LEDs, providing nice uniform light segments. He put a piece of clear perspex on the front to cover the LEDs, but later switched it out for a much darker piece, for better daylight viewing.
The finished product is fantastic, and in our opinion looks even better than the retail version – awesome job!
[Atlantageek] sent in a missile launcher project that he threw together. For Christmas he received a Chumby One and a ThinkGeek USB Rocket Launcher as gifts (lucky dog). Neither of these toys are “played with” in the traditional sense as much as they become centerpieces of your next hack. In that spirit, [Atlantageek] immediately wrote a widget to control the launcher via the Chumby. The side effect of driving his cat bonkers was an unexpected bonus.
If you’ve ever been curious what it is like to work at ThinkGeek, check out this video. [John Frazier], a purchasing agent, talks about the history of ThinkGeek as well as what daily work is like. Fairly interesting, but the summary is that it’s just like any other job, with more toys. They probably have to test all the products fairly thoroughly, we know we would.
[Garrett] posted about ThinkGeek updating the Phantom Keystroker to support random capslocking. You may remember that [Garrett] built the Stealth USB CapsLocker for April Fool’s day. The tiny device would randomly turn on the victim’s Caps Lock. This update to the commercial product has inspired him to refresh his own design. He suggests few possible options: random inserts, erratic volume control, or random sleeps. He’s also planning on making it more accessible to hacking. What would you add?