Tick destroying rover

tick rover

[William] from GoRobotics.net sent along this tip about a tick destroying rover built by students at VMI. The truck uses inductive sensors to follow a wire laid around the perimeter of the lawn. By releasing CO2 along this strip of grass they can attract ticks into the area (animals expel CO2). The ticks collected are treated with Permethrin. Since the application is targeted, it is far safer and cheaper than spraying the entire lawn. The students also suggest that repeating the run over the course of three months would break the tick’s life cycle, making the area tick free for several years. Here’s Wolfgang’s write-up, test runs with video one and two, the associated paper, and the Wired article.

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PC-to-R/C interface


Risto K?’s PC to R/C interface let’s you connect to your Futaba radio transmitter. You can use this device to do direct control of your R/C project: prewritten trajectories, user called macros, or direct PC joystick control. He’s built two versions. The original one used multiple D-latches. The second version was an attempt to reduce the number of components. It uses interrupts in the microcontroller software instead of the latches. This would normally cause a lot of jitter, but Risto implemented the interrupts in assembly. The controller can handle up to 16 channels. The LCD displays the last pulse-width and channel.

[thanks Will]

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Rundfunker – WiFi, MP3 streaming radio


I think the first time I saw the “Rundfunker” I had ignored it because I though it was a commercial product. In reality, it’s a scratch built WiFi streaming radio that has the finish quality of a commercial product. The radio connects to your wireless network and scans for available MP3s. You can select the MP3s using the front mounted rotary encoder and LCD. The main board is a VIA EPIA MS10000E LVDS. It was chosen because most of the features are pin headers instead of ports. It’s also passively cooled and boots a custom Knoppix build from the compact flash. The controls are connected using an ATMega 168. The software is written in Java and features a web interface and remote control identical to the front panel. There’s a great write-up about the project on mini-itx.com, full source on the project wiki, and extensive photo gallery.

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Palm Zire 71 resurrection

zire 71

Reader [steve diraddo]’s Zire 71 had given up the ghost long ago, but with a strong desire to annoy his friend, he decided to resurrect it. Unfortunately, like most things that rise from the earth to feast on the brains of the living, Steve’s Zire has limited capacities. When he had originally disassembled the device it was because the camera had stopped functioning, it couldn’t sync, and failed to charge. If he was going to do anything with the device, he would need to get it charging again. The dock connector no longer worked, so he grabbed the pinout for the internal connector from pinouts.ru. By following the traces, he was able to solder a USB cable directly to the board and start the device charging. There are also narrow USB data lines on the board, but Stave didn’t trust his hands to solder them. Programs can still be loaded via IrDA or the SD card. Plugging the screen back in and loading up NoviiRemote he had an ugly, but still very functional toy-to-annoy.

On a related note, [Radu Privantu] sent along his write up: How to use a Pocket PC with a broken screen. Even though it doesn’t have a screen you could still use it as a thin client for streaming music, as a skype phone, a WiFi camera, or a dedicated development platform.

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Underwater CVS camcorder

cvs underwater

[Everett] got such a great response to yesterday’s nightvision hack he decided to write up this underwater CVS mod. The outside is a Pelican #1010 case. The camera fits almost perfectly inside. A small foam shim is used to position the camera lens between the two thick plastic ridges. Everett relocated the power button to the front of the camera and placed a guard around the shutter button on the back. The shutter is now wired to a reed switch at the back of the case. To start the camera recording he’s attached a magnet to a spring on the outside of the case that you slide over the reed switch to trigger it. If you missed it yesterday, he added an example shot from the nightvision cam. It isn’t swimming season so the only underwater pics he has are from the bathtub, which he luckily hasn’t posted. If you want to start hacking on a CVS cam, [morcheeba] warns that they still haven’t completely broken firmware 3.62 and above. Here is the FAQ.

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CVS nightvision camcorder

cvs nightvision

Our loyal reader [Everett] has hacked up a CVS single-use camcorder to use as a nightvision scope. This is his second prototype. The first one only had 4 cruddy IR LEDs from Radiohut and a front mounted battery pack. For the second one, he separated the batteries from the camera. He removed the IR filter from the CCD and added 8 higher quality IR LEDs. On the backside of the camera is the eyepiece from a Handycam. It keeps the the LCD screen from leaking light and has a lense to help the eye to focus on the screen. The LCD is to bright to use without adding a dimmer pot. The camera is mounted to a headlamp rig with the batteries on the backside of the head. It may not have the best image quality, but at $35 you can’t go wrong when it comes to nightvision fun.

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