BatchPCB is a low-cost PCB manufacturing service run by retailer SparkFun in cooperation with Gold Phoenix. Using them, you can get your design prototyped for as little as $2.50 a sqin. We used the service in our “How-to: Prepare your Eagle designs for manufacture“. The service collects orders until they have enough to manufacture an entire panel. It may take time to get the boards back, but they’re high quality. BatchPCB just added a brand new feature: Now anyone can list their verfied design files on the ‘products‘ page for other hobbyists to order runs of. Yes, people could always upload free designs themselves, but this makes it much easier to order a board even if the designer has no plans of making a kit of it.
[Gabe] sent in this project summary from his rocketry club’s yearly project(pdf). The goal was to build a rocket that would go up to about 800 meters and eject a robot that would pilot itself to a destination on the ground for re use. There’s tons of great information from what hardware is in the robot to hardware design for the ejection mechanism. There are great pictures of the final build, not so many of the construction itself. The project seemed to go well until EMI problems caused everything to fail during flight. If you’re interested in seeing more from the club, check out their site (translated).
AndroidAndMe is running a bounty program for Android applications. Users can request a specific application and pledge money to be awarded to the developer who delivers the functional app. [Alec Holmes] just fulfilled the first request by creating Torrent Droid. You can use the app to scan media barcodes and then download the related torrent. It uses the phone’s camera to capture the product’s UPC barcode (similar to Compare Everywhere‘s price lookup) and then searches major torrent sites like The Pirate Bay to find a copy that can be downloaded. After getting the .torrent file, the app can submit it to uTorrent‘s web interface for remote downloading. The app will be released later this month and you can see a screenshot tour of it on Alec’s blog. It’s doubtful that an application like this would ever clear Apple’s App Store approval process.
[scott] had a need to capture a mouse and wanted to learn about how to program an arduino, so he built an Arduino controlled mousetrap. It is made from things he had laying around the house, like some Tupperware containers and wooden rods. The program is pretty simple, when a trip wire is touched, the servo jerks the wooden rod out of the way, closing the container. You can see it working after the break. The trip wire seems like a big failure point. he states that it is just a wire, slightly above a tin foil strip. That seems like it would only be a tiny area that the mouse would need to touch to trigger it. What better switch could he design as cheap and quick as possible?