[Kirov], a regular reader and one of our most notorious commenters, tipped us off about this lawn mowing hack. On one hand we’re wary that this is bait for a huge flame war, but on the other hand it’s a hack that brings a smile to our mischievous faces. By pounding a stake into the center of the yard and connecting a mower to it with a piece of rope, [Korey99] has achieve an automated lawn mower. He tied the self-propelled mower’s throttle bar down to make the machine run unattended. There’s no kill switch or any kind of remote control for the lawn mower so we wonder what happens when the rope gets all wound up?
The MIDI piano instructor is a tool aimed at those who wish to learn to play piano, but don’t want to take lessons. The LED bar mounted above the keys lights up to show you exactly what key to press and when. We’ve seen this available in some electronic keyboards for some time, but this unit would be able to fit any standard sized keyboard. Check the page for schematics and pictures.
[Kris Reed] developed this robotic appendage as a follow-up to his original prototype. He printed it using Alumide which is a printable material with aluminum dust mixed into it. [Kris’] design utilizes three gear types; large gear, small gear, and worm gear. The motors are mounted on the middle portion of the assembly and offer an elbow and shoulder type of setup that both rotate along the same plane. We’ve got video of the testing after the break. He makes note that the movement is a bit jerky but can be cleaned up with better motor control using PWM.
The Altair computer is commonly considered the genesis of personal computing and for that reason it has a special place in the hearts of many. [Bob Alexander] brings back the glory of the Altair 8800 plus a lot of added computing power. This PC case houses a Core i5 system but the front panel isn’t just for looks. He designed a PCB and resized an image of the original Altair front panel to end up with a fully functioning control interface. In the demo after the break you’ll see that the buttons can be used for power and reset and the LEDs can show random Altair-like patterns. But the interface can also works in conjunction with an Altair emulator to perfectly mimic the original Altair experience. This is a great way to sidestep the buyer’s remorse one might experience with a standalone kit.
[Muris] is back with another infrared controlled lighting hack. When we checked in with him last year he was showing off an IR controlled dimmer module. Now he’s back with this device that is CFL friendly. Because standard CFL bulbs are not dimmer compatible he’s adapted the project away from dimming and toward switching. The new design still uses an infrared remote but now it can turn two devices on and off again or toggle between them. Our favorite part of the build is that the PIC based device can learn the codes of whichever remote you choose, rather than having to rely on one specific type of remote.
Sometimes, sitting in a windowless office can drive you crazy. Adding a little bit of life and color can really help. [Gripen40k] did this by building a biosphere. He didn’t have any windows though, so he made an LED light on a PIC based timer. What is interesting is what he did with a thermistor. The Cree LED bulb that he salvaged was going to be submerged in the water, so he had to do some workarounds to keep from over heating the biosphere. Read the project log for more details.
Take a few moments and watch this 3 axis rotating LED light display fire up. The final effect of being an RGB glowing ball is nice, but we’re fascinated with the structure. There are tons of great detailed pictures of the assembly on the forum thread to feast your eyes on. Just getting power to the LEDs was a feat, he passes their power through 6 slip contacts. Parts were pulled from an old VCR and some old fans.