Mcor Technologies recently launched a brand new rapid prototyping machine. The Mcor Matrix forgoes the standard of expensive and rare build materials by using A4 office paper. The machine selectively deposits glue on the sheet of paper: more glue on the cross-section, less on the waste. It then uses a blade to cut out the part profile. The vertical resolution is determined by the paper thickness. You can use either 20lb paper, which has a thickness of .1mm, or 40lb, which is twice as thick, so it will build twice as fast. The final part can be sanded and painted like wood. The idea is similar to LOM, but those machines require specialized paper. It’s nice to see a company intentionally target a low cost of ownership. If they had used a laser though, you’d only have to worry about sourcing the glue. Machine and material prices have yet to be announced.
Arduino has just released an official ethernet shield. It’s based on the same WizNet W5100 chip that was used in the tiny ethernet board we covered earlier. The W5100 handles the full IP stack and can do TCP or UDP with four simultaneous sockets. The board has a power indicator plus six LEDs to debug the connection. It works with the standard ethernet library. The reset button resets the shield and the Arduino. The SD adapter is not currently supported by the Arduino software.
The Department of Defense wants you to design a pack of robots that would hunt humans. Or, as they put it, “search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject”. While the project brings to mind Terminators, there are also non-terrifying uses for these robots, including search and rescue missions. The robots should be about 100 kilograms or less, provide immediate feedback, and defer to a human operator in the event of a difficult decision. This project presents some interesting challenges for robot designers. They’ll need to consider several key issues, like robot cooperation and decision-making abilities. We knew it was only a matter of time before the DoD turned the Grand Challenge into Death Race.
[Aaron Nelson] of Hijinks Inc. wrote up how he installed OSX on his HP TouchSmart IQ507. It looks and works like you would expect, save for a few things. The touchscreen works, but the calibration is so far off it’s useless. The most important things, like ethernet and the memory card reader, work fine. [Nelson]’s biggest frustration is that he has to disable the on board audio every time he logs in, so that the keyboard and mouse will be recognized. He is working on improvements, and would love to hear any suggestions you have.
[Eric] sent in this cool project that he did as part of his graduation project. He built a game that uses a gyroscope as an input device. For the gyroscope, he’s using a Powerball with a sensor inserted into it. This data is gathered by an Arduino in a pretty enclosure. The whole unit connects to a PC via USB and is supposedly plug and play. There’s a video of the setup in action on the site, just try not to laugh too hard watching them.