Pactuator: Mechanical Pac-Man Frame

As a proof of concept for his long term work in progress “The Pac-Machina” (an electro-mechanical reimagining of a Pac-Man cabinet), [Jonathan] needed some way to make a mechanical Pac-Man, flappy jaw and all. After working through a couple different design possibilities, he decided on an interesting setup which includes using a cog with only half its teeth to make the mouth open and close. Unfortunately, NAMCO BANDAI has asked him nicely not to sell these as kits, but he has helpfully included just about all that is required to make one of these from scratch. [Jonathan] even cut and laser etched his own faux-Victorian frame to keep his proof of concept Pac-Man ready until needed for the main project.

What Development Board To Use? (Part Two)

We asked for responses to our last Development Board post, and you all followed through. We got comments, forum posts, and emails filled with your opinions. Like last time, there is no way we could cover every board, so here are a few more that seemed to be popular crowd choices. Feel free to keep sending us your favorite boards, we may end up featuring them at a later date!

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Kinect Home Theater Control


[Harishankar] has posted a video on his blog demonstrating the ability to control devices using the Microsoft Kinect sensor via IR. While controlling devices with Kinect is nothing new, he is doing something a little different than you have seen before. The Kinect directly interfaces with his Mac Mini and tracks his movements via OpenNI. These movements are then compared to a list of predefined gestures, which have been mapped to specific IR functions for controlling his home theater.

Once the gestures have been acknowledged, they are then relayed from the Mac via a USB-UIRT to various home theater components. While there are not a lot of details fleshed out in the blog post, [Harishankar] says he will gladly forward his code to you if you request it via email.

Thanks to [Peter] for the tip.

Pedal Powered EL Wire Bike


Instructables user [samsmith17] wanted to cover his bike with EL wire for this year’s Burning Man, but he didn’t want to mess with the hassle of using batteries as a power source. Instead, he decided that his EL wire bike would be powered solely by the rider. In the interest of keeping things green, the entire build is made up of re-purposed parts, aside from the EL wire itself.

If you are not familiar, EL wire only lights up when AC current is supplied, so he decided to use a stepper motor to generate the current required. The stepper motor was mounted against his bike’s wheel, and wired backwards through the AC transformer portion of an old cell phone charger in order to step up to the required voltage. A rheostat was also added to the circuit in order to help prevent an over voltage condition, which could potentially damage or destroy the EL wire.

The end result is pretty cool to watch, and costs very little to boot. It would be nice to see someone expand on his project, adding additional wire colors and perhaps a few capacitors to keep the wire from going dark immediately after the wheels stop turning.

Continue reading to see a quick video of the completed project.

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Valentine’s Day Love Song Machine


Just in time for Valentine’s day, [Adam Meyer] and the folks over at have put together a little project they call the “Love Song Machine“. Using a web-based form, anyone can submit a song, which will then be played on a system of bells that they have set up in their office. You can choose from several pre-defined love songs, or you can create your own unique arrangement with which to serenade them. Once you are ready to go, your song will be queued up, and you can watch a video of your creation as it is being played.

The system is comprised of 8 solenoid-actuated bells which are all controlled by the Arduino they have hooked up to their web server. It’s a pretty fun idea, and there are sure to be plenty of people submitting songs, so get yours in before things get too busy!

Keep reading to see a video preview of their system in action.

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Clap To Remove This Brassiere

Like some strange manga come to life, you can remove this brassiere with a clap of your hands. Under the red bow is a not-so-small mechanical clasp that replaces the original on the strapless front-clasping undergarment. We hate to criticize, but [Randofo] really went off the deep end of hardware overkill on this project. The clasp itself is the electromagnetic coil removed from the case of a mechanical relay. An ATmega168 listens for a spike in sound pressure from a microphone, then drives the relay to release the feminine support system.

It is Valentine’s day. The question being is this romantic or sleazy? Watch the NSFW video after the break and let us know your opinion in the comments.

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Batman Inspired Hidden Light Switch


[Chris] over at the New Hobbyist sent in his latest creation, a wireless light switch hidden within a statue bust. While shopping around for another project, he came across a wireless relay that can can be used to switch a standard 120v AC load. He bought the part without a project in mind, but inspiration quickly struck. Some of you young’uns might not remember the original Batman television series, but [Chris] certainly does. To access the Bat Cave, Bruce Wayne had to flip a secret switch located inside a bust of William Shakespeare that adorned his desk. While he doesn’t have a secret door to activate, [Chris] couldn’t think of any better way to switch on the lights in his man cave. He found a similar-looking bust of Beethoven and got to chopping his head off.

He fabricated a small mount for a push button, hiding the battery powered remote underneath, and an old 12v wall wart was repurposed to drive the wireless receiver. While not overly complicated, this is definitely a fun project and could make for a neat light switch in a kid’s room. Interested in some more Batman inspired hacks? Be sure to check out this Bat Cave-style entrance switch from a few years back.

Keep reading to see a video of his hidden light switch in action.

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