[Paul] wrote in to show us this little project he did for his kids. His children love playing with their toy cars. In an effort to give them even more fun while playing, [Paul] built a stop light for them. He’s using an ATtiny13 to run them and has the source code available on his site. Not only did the kids get a new toy, he got an excuse to go build something in his workshop.
[atduskgreg] posted this interesting setup to flickr. He’s using two toy cars as a switch. He has wired into their metal undercarriages so when they collide, the circuit closes. We’ve seen some pretty nifty home made interface items, but usually they are posted with a clear purpose or a project. This one is a little puzzling. Does he intend to keep using the cars or was he just fooling around? Is he working on a toy that does something when they crash? Was he merely bored and wanted to see what he could attach to his Arduino. We may never know.
In 1968 a guy by the name of [Rey Guyer] came up with an idea for a game. It involved foam balls as game pieces. After failing to sell the game to Milton Bradley, he approached Parker Brothers. They bought his idea but ended up tossing the game itself and just marketing the foam ball. Named after the padding used on rollbars in offroad vehicles, Nerf balls were an instant success, 40 years ago, in 1969. Many of us have fond memories of Nerf, even before everything they produced was a weapon. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate the Nerf weapons. We certainly have seen some hackers do some fun stuff with them.
In this project, a moon phase light is modified to show the actual moon phase based off of your computer’s internal clock. From the factory, these moon lights are updated via an infra red remote control. He pulled the brains from the clock and replaced them with an Arduino. He then runs a program that updates the Arduino based off of the system clock. He has also added an internal clock to maintain the settings so constant updates are not required. It would have been nice to retain manual functions via the remote so you could press a button for a full moon without having to change your system time.
Drawdio, designed by [Jay Silver], is a fun, simple toy that uses the conductive nature of pencil graphite to generate different sounds. When you use the Drawdio pencil to draw or write, you also simultaneously create music. The entire kit is available for sale at Adafruit Industries, or for the more adventurous, separate components and parts are listed. The circuit is fairly simple and we wonder what other devices people can come up with based on this theme.
For those who have ever wondered what Chicken-Dancing Elmo’s mechanical parts look like without the fur and the chicken costume (and who among us hasn’t?), [Matt Kirkland] posted the photos above, along with several other animatronic, walking, talking and other mechanical stuffed toys stripped of all their fur and stuffing. These before and after shots were ostensibly taken for unspecified “research purposes,” but if you ask us, any research that takes a knife to Elmo is the most valid kind.