[Aaron Rasmussen] and his friend [Eli] slapped together this setup to see what it would be like to run as much as their World of Warcraft characters. They used a couple old treadmills to spin some tires with makeshift mouse sensors on them. As their speed increased, so did their character. There was a decent amount of math done to figure the average speed of a World of Warcraft character, and ultimately they settled on 12 miles per hour. Not surprisingly, they found that too difficult due to the resistance in the rig as well as being out of shape. They ended up lowering the speed required to make their character go full sprint to 6 miles per hour.
Their final conclusion was that they could never run as much as their digital counterparts. Even if they were in really good shape. [Aaron] does say that it was fun enough to consider doing it regularly as a workout plan. He should wear the costume every time he uses it.
It’s no secret that we’re gear heads at heart. Our transportation hacks category is full of unfortunate machinery like [Steven Laurie]’s motor art, weed whacker bikes, and electric motorcycles of all types. Even we have trouble justifying the existence of this monster truck style lawn tractor though. We haven’t found a project site for it and can’t help but wonder what kind of person would build such a thing? It’s obviously the type that would own a car sized American flag. We just need to realize with the popularity of lawn mower racing, this sort of thing was bound to happen.
Graffiti Research Lab’s [James Powderly] along with 9 other Tibet supporters were deported from China during the Olympic’s closing ceremonies. Detained on the 19th, the activists were to serve a 10 day sentence, but the Chinese government buckled under international pressure and deported them early. This brings the total number of deported activists to 53 since the start of the games.
SparkFun’s new Arduino Pro is an updated version of their Skinny. The board comes populated with the running gear of an Arduino, but without all of the connectors in place. It’s targeted at people building integrated systems around the Arduino and not just prototyping. The board is 3.3V with an 8MHz bootloader just like the LilyPads and is fully certified by Arduino. It has a small side mounted power switch, but you have to supply your own DC jack (if you need it). There is no USB hardware on board and you’re expected to program it via an FTDI breakout board or cable. We definitely like the stripped down approach, but it would have been nice if the price had dropped more.
Researchers at Georgia Tech are working on a Tongue Drive System, which transforms the tongue into a tool that can manipulate computers and manage appliances and wheelchairs. This project has huge implications for the disabled, especially for those with few motor skills and limited movement. Many disabled Americans are paralyzed from the neck down, and this system could be a literal lifesaver, providing them with a method of communication and control over their own lives. Scientists have been attracted to the tongue’s potential for a long time. It provides several advantages over using other organs or appendages. It’s very sensitive, tactile, is not connected to the spinal cord, and does not usually end up being harmed in accidents. By placing a tiny magnet underneath the tongue, it’s transformed into a virtual keyboard. Sensors placed in the cheek track the magnet’s movement and processes the commands into directions for electronics, be it a wheelchair or a home appliance. We’re excited to see where this will go.