Toy robot hand vastly improved, now more offensive

YouTube user [onefivefour] posted a video of his hacked up toy robot hand. These cheap robot hands usually only use one wire to move all five fingers. [onefivefour] improved upon the design and added five servos to allow independent control of each digit.

The servos are controlled by a PICAXE microcontroller, and [onefivefour] is willing to share the code. A few pressure sensors in the fingertips would turn this build into a great test bed for future development. It would also be great for an [Anakin Skywalker] Halloween costume if anyone on the planet ever wanted that specific costume.

[onefivefour] says he only spent $6 on his and while there’s more money sunk into the servos, it was probably a good investment. We love seeing hacked up pieces of plastic like the fully functional Wall-E or the dancing Androids. If you’ve got a toy hack in the works, drop us a line on our tip form.

R/C Hexababy is guaranteed to give you nightmares

hexapod_baby

For this week’s hack, [Dino] was working on a mechanical cat toy, but the project fell apart towards the end for some reason or another. With time running out, he had to come up with something on pretty short notice, using whatever he happened to have on hand. Luckily he picks up some seriously weird stuff at the local thrift store and had a disembodied doll’s head kicking around for this last minute project.

Taking a cue from Toy Story’s [Sid Phillips], [Dino’s] doll’s head hexapod is as creepy as it is simple. He had a remote controlled hexapod from RadioShack sitting around, and thought it would be fun to combine it with the doll’s head. He replaced the dolls eyes with a handful of LEDs, which are green as the hexapod retreats, but glow a bright red as it advances towards you. The only way it could be any creepier is if [Dino] added a voice box that plaintively called for “mommy” as the doll crawls around!

It’s a relatively goofy project, but it gave us a good chuckle. The most disturbing highlight of the build is when [Dino] removes the doll’s eyes using a wood drill bit around the 6:00 mark.

If you’re looking to kill a few minutes, be sure to check it out – [Dino’s] work is entertaining as always.

[Read more...]

Take to the skies with this flying RC superhero

flying_rc_superhero

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s….

A flying RC super hero?

No, you’re not imagining things. Maker [Greg Tanous] loves both RC airplanes and super heroes, so he thought it would be awesome to combine his two loves into one spectacular toy. The RCSuperhero comes in two flavors, measuring 75″ and 57″ tall. The larger plane can be purchased as a kit, but the smaller unit is only available in plan form.

The flying superhero weighs in at just about three pounds, and is constructed from foam, carbon fiber, and various other lightweight materials. When using the recommended motor, the RCSuperhero can be launched from a standing position, doing away with the need for runways. The craft looks to be just as maneuverable as any regular RC airplane, making it easy for any seasoned pilot to pick up the controls and get started.

RC planes are pretty cool, but we’ve got to admit that the idea of a vertically launching, flying superhero sounds like a lot of fun!

Stick around to see [Greg’s] RCSuperhero in action.

[Read more...]

Enhancing simple circuit kits with microcontrollers

picaxe_powered_circuit_learning_kits

[manuka], aka [Stan Swan] is a teacher in New Zealand who enjoys enlightening his students on the wonders of electrical circuits. He primarily uses “snap connector” circuit kits, sold under the BrainBox name in NZ, for his interactive labs as they can be easily manipulated by pupils of all ages.

While the kits are great, he says that the range of experiments they provide can be a bit limited, so he decided to swap out the kit’s sound module for something far more useful – a PICAXE-08M. The space left by removing the sound module was pretty small, but [Stan] got everything to fit without too much hassle. His modification allows his students to program the PICAXE, as well as utilize four of the uC’s output pins.

Needless to say, the addition of the PICAXE module was a huge hit with his students, allowing them to create far more exciting circuits. [Stan] has been revising his system over the years, adding extra output pins, enabling lamp and motor control, as well as tweaking his setup to respond to IR commands.

We think [Stan’s] work is pretty awesome, and we’re still wondering how this flew under our radar for so long. He says that his students vary from preschool kids to centenarians, so if you’ve got someone that you would like to introduce to the fun world of electronics, we suggest picking up one of these kits and getting to work.

[Thanks Haku]

Meet Mr. Clappidoo

mr_clappidoo

[Laurence] tinkers around the house quite a bit, making all sorts of fun interactive toys for his children to play with. Mr. Clappidoo is a toy that he finished a while back, which bears a striking resemblance to one of his projects we recently showed you, Papydoo. This is not a coincidence, as Papydoo was created after Mr. Clappidoo was built, borrowing many features from his predecessor.

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

It’s a good thing you asked. Mr. Clappidoo uses an IR motion sensor to detect nearby objects, waking up and interacting with whatever crosses his path. He is capable of four different random moods ranging from angry to flirty. He projects these moods by changing the color of his LED-lit eyes as well as playing simple sounds. A balsa wood chest makes up Clappidoo’s body, and he repeatedly claps his lid mouth open and shut using a small servo, hence the name.

Like his other projects, [Lawrence] has focused his efforts to ensure that the three AA batteries used to power Clappidoo last as long as possible. He says that with moderate usage the device can run off the same set of batteries for a few months before needing replacement.

It’s a fun little contraption, sure to please the kids. Stick around for a quick video of Clappidoo in action.

[Read more...]

Portal turret plushie is cute and harmless

turret_plushie

As many of you are probably aware, Portal 2 was released last week, and gamers have been going crazy over it. Over the years, people have constructed replicas of their favorite in-game items and “characters”, including portal guns, companion cubes, and turrets.

After playing Portal 2 for a bit, [Jonathan] wanted a turret of his own quite badly. Rather than construct it from hard plastics and resins however, he decided he wanted to construct a cuddly turret that talked.

With the assistance of his friend [Leigh Nunan], he is now the proud owner of a plushie turret. It’s a bit smaller than you might expect, but it is packed full of turret personality. The plushie plays audio from the game, can sense motion near its face, detect if it has been tipped over, and also knows when it has been picked up. [Jonathan] added all of these features by stuffing an Arduino inside the turret, along with a wave shield for playing sounds. Proximity and motion sensing are provided via a trio of different sensors, enabling the turret to behave in the same way its in-game brethren do (minus the machine guns).

It really is a neat little toy, one we would no doubt be glad to have around. Keep reading to see a short video of his plushie turret in action.

[Read more...]

Solderless Drawdio Terminally Implemented

So you’re stuck in a boring class and you can’t fight off the urge to hack something, even your pencil, to pass the time. Maybe you are performing a live electronics show and you drop your synth down a flight of stairs and all that you are left with is a handful of components, a screw terminal block and a pencil. There are thousands, perhaps millions of these kinds of situations and for each one the answer is the solderless drawdio clone by [Martin].

You may have seen the original Drawdio here before, a fun piece of technology that is simple enough to recreate. This latest approach would make an excellent introductory project for a hacking workshop seeing as the guide is straightforward and the lack of soldering would make logistics so much easier. The results are very similar to the original–check the video after the break. [Read more...]

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