When [Tom] got tired of the large size of his Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 keyboard, he decided to hack a recently acquired Apple Adjustable Keyboard for use with Windows. After removing the ancient ADB based control board from the Apple keyboard, he was able to map the keys and transplant the Microsoft keyboard’s USB control board into the Apple keyboard. After soldering the control board into the keyboard with old IDE cables, all that was left was to add some diodes to prevent ghost key presses, and the keyboard hack was complete. [Tom] offers a spreadsheet of the results of his key mapping on his site, and while you’re there be sure to check out his other projects, like his DIY Proton Pack that he made for Halloween last year.
Every year [Len Bales] designs and builds a new clock. His 2006 clock runs on the classic Intel 8008 microprocessor. The design is definitely not for the faint of heart, but he includes all code, diagrams and a good description on his site. The project is an interesting look into the not-so-distant past of computing. While the function of the project is a clock, it is actually a fully programmable 8008 computer running at 500khz with 16k of memory space and 4io ports. [Len] also links a lot of useful 8008 resources for anyone wanting to tackle a project of their own.
Over at SpriteMods, [sprite_tm] realized that a microcontroller could be used as a boost converter to power itself. A boost converter steps up voltage from a battery by switching the output of a coil. First, it is tied to ground so a magnetic field can build up in the coil. It is then released as a higher voltage than the input. Normally dedicated chips do this at an incredibly high frequency, but the PWM signal from an AVR works well enough. This can be used in low-power situations where space is an issue.
Here is a classic project used to increase wireless signal strength. Cantennas focus using a waveguide very much like a magnifying glass focuses light. [Robert] made a Natural Light beer cantenna, pictured in the upper left. His approach used three beer cans, a paper towel holder, and a shower curtain rod. On the tipline, he noted a signal boost from 11Mbps to 54Mbps. This is certainly something we can hack together if our room lacks adequate signal. Read about parabolic and seeking versions after the break.
Continue reading “Various Cantenna Builds”
This tiny bot wants to go inside your body. That’s right, it was designed to travel through veins. The little bot has no on board propulsion system. It is controlled by a magnet outside the body. See those little spines? Those straighten out to keep the bot in place when it isn’t supposed to move. Creepy right? In all the articles we’ve seen on this bot, there aren’t any details about what actually is on board. They mention adding a camera in the near future, but why are they calling it a robot? Surely there’s something cool in that little body. This is a quite practical application of a project we covered recently. Commenters weren’t impressed with the external control system, likening it to the old vibrating football player game. Well, here’s where it could be usefull.
We would like you to meet PR2. Made by Willow Garage, PR2 is a platform for research into robotic programming. The bot itself is simple compared to some of the humanoid bots we see, but its behavior is quite complex. In the video above, you see PR2 completing milestone 2 of its development. This includes navigating an office with closed doors and plugging itself into a standard wall outlet for a charge. We’re especially fond of the “wiggle”. You can hear some of the developers talk more about PR2 and its completion of milestone 2 in the video after the break.
Continue reading “Willow Garage’s PR2 Robot”