DIY Flower Bouquet Guaranteed To Get You Dumped On Valentine’s Day


[Erik] is a broke engineer.

When this past Valentine’s day rolled around he didn’t have any cash to buy a gift for his girlfriend, so he had to get creative. Every girl likes flowers, but unless he was going to give his lady some day old daises from the grocery dumpster, he would have to make them himself.

He started by bundling together and bending some T-shirt hangers into stems. He then wrapped them in the green & green/white wire pairs from some Cat-5 cable to give them some color. An old keyboard was sacrificed to create the flower petals and leaves, which were presumably colored with markers before being glued to the end of the hangers. He added a reed switch to the flower pot, which illuminates the LEDs he installed under the petals when a magnet-bearing cardboard placard reading “Love Erik” was placed near it.

How did his girlfriend like them?  Well, let’s just say she’s no longer in the picture. He didn’t tell us if the bouquet was the reason, only that she’s gone. (though we happen to think it’s pretty cool).


Keep reading to see a quick video demonstration of the light-up bouquet.

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Kinect Hacked To Work With Garry’s Mod Means Endless Hours Of Virtual Fun


[John B] is a software engineer and had some spare time on his hands, so he started messing around with his Kinect which had been sitting unused for awhile. He wanted to see what he could create if he was able to get Kinect data into a virtual environment that supported real-world physics. The first idea that popped into his head was to interface the Kinect with Garry’s Mod.

If you are not familiar with Garry’s Mod, it is a sandbox environment built on top of Valve’s Source engine. The environment supports real-world physics, but beyond that, it pretty much lets you do or build anything you want. [John] found that there was no good way to get Kinect data into the software, so he built his own.

He used OpenNI to gather skeletal coordinate data from Kinect, which was then passed to some custom code that packages those coordinates inside UDP packets. Those packets are then sent to a custom Lua script that is interpreted by Garry’s Mod.

The result is just plain awesome as you can see in the video below. Instead of simply playing some random game with the Kinect, you get to design the entire experience from the ground up. The project is still in its infancy, but it’s pretty certain that we’ll see some cool stuff in short order. All of the code is available on github, so give it a shot and share your videos with us.

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Rigol Oscilloscope Teardown And Repair

[Hotsolder] encountered a bad encoder in his Rigol Oscilloscope, so he opened it up in order to replace the damaged part. According to him, it was quite an adventure, so he documented the disassembly and component swap for the benefit of anyone else out there that might have to do the same.

The teardown is in the form of a slideshow, which is available on his site. The images are all pretty well annotated, so you should be able to follow along quite easily if you happen to be tearing one apart yourself. There’s not a ton of exotic things to see inside the scope, it pretty much contains what you would expect to see if you cracked one open.

The encoder replacement went off without a hitch, and he even took pictures of the defective one to discuss how it works.

It’s definitely a quick and interesting read if you are simply curious about oscilloscopes, or if you happen to need to dismantle yours.

[Thanks, oakkar7]

Laser-cut Noise Maker Resembles Violin

This looks very much like a violin but it sounds very much like someone abusing a family of cats. [Ranjit] came with the idea of building a violin using laser cut parts. It doesn’t follow the normal curved shape we’re used to seeing with string instruments. This is because the parts were all cut from flat stock, including the sides of the instrument. The boxy shape that resulted invokes visions of early video game objects and is why this is called the 8-bit violin.

After the break you can see a video of [Bre Pettis] playing the laser-cut instrument. It’s pretty bad, but not in that five-year-old picking up an instrument for the first time sort of way. Yes the best violinists spend a lifetime honing their craft, but they also play on instruments hand carved by master Luthiers who also spend a lifetime perfecting their skills. Don’t get us wrong though, we think it’s just as much fun as that 3D printed guitar.

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Domo Kun Robot Achieves Balance Sans Gyroscope

Every time it tips over, the FSM kills a kitten

Most self-balancing robots use some sort of circuitry like gyroscopes or accelerometers to keep them upright. Some bots however, can achieve nearly the same effect by far less complicated means.

Meet the Domo Kun wobbly bot, created by [Chein]. The robot is essentially a pendulum, where the pivot point is even with the wheel axle. The base of the robot is loaded with batteries, motors, and weights, all of which keep the robot relatively steady while zooming about the room. A light balsa wood frame was fitted to the top of the metal chassis, and a thin cardboard Domo Kun shell was mounted on top of that. The robot is driven using the remote control circuitry that he stripped from a toy car. He also mentions that the positioning of the batteries and weights is key to getting the robot to balance and roll properly – something that took several attempts to get just right.

Now if he could only program it to autonomously chase kittens…

Be sure to check out the pair of videos we have below of the robot chassis in testing as well as the final product.

[via HackedGadgets]

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Sound-sensitive Android Figure Speaks In Morse Code


Instructables user [tanbata] recently got his hands on a Google Anroid figurine and thought that while it looked great, it served no real purpose. He decided to change that, and converted this once-useless hunk of plastic into a miniature robot that moves and responds to sound.

He pried of the head of the figure and got busy fitting a servo into the Android’s body to enable head movement. An ATiny was added to control the figure, along with a microphone to enable it to respond to sound. A piezo was inserted to relay Morse code messages, and a handful of LEDs were installed in the body cavity and eyes of the figure just for kicks.

When the bot is powered on and senses a loud enough sound, the eyes light, the head spins from side to side, and the robot spouts off a random message in Morse code as you can see in the video below.

It’s not the most advanced project out there, but with a few tweaks, it could make for a great USB-powered email or IM notification system for your PC. Better yet, it’s a great project to do with a child who is interested in electronics, since they get to make a cool robot toy they can keep.

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Give KiCAD A Try. Here’s How

Up to this point we’ve used Eagle CAD as our exclusive PCB design and schematic layout tool. But [Brian] has inspired us to try something different thanks to his KiCAD tutorial.

KiCAD is an open source printed circuit board design tool. Since we like to rock the Linux here at Hackaday getting our hands on this was as easy as:

 sudo apt-get install kicad

The version in the Ubuntu 10.04 repositories is a bit older but seemed to work just fine. [Brian] jumps right in with one of our most dreaded tasks on Eagle, designing your own parts. He knows of a nice online tool for automatic KiCAD part generation and walks through the process of building a voltage regulator and importing it for use in your own personal library From there it’s off to layout a power supply schematic for a breadboard PSU. The lesson continues with board layer, as well as the process used for exporting data for PCB fab house. We think this tutorial works well if you’re already familiar with PCB layout using a different software package but it moves a bit fast if this is your first time.

KiCAD seems like a nice tool and we’ve heard from many advocates in the comments over the years. Look for our next PCB design to be on KiCAD as we just need to use it for a while before passing judgement.