Hackaday Links: August 21, 2011

Arduino + PS2 controller + R2D2

Here’s an unbelievably real-looking R2D2 replica driven by a PS2 controller with an Arduino inside that plays sounds from the movies. Too bad we couldn’t find any more details about it. [Thanks Bill]

Server build time-lapse

[Justin] and his colleagues spent five days upgrading their server by building a 29-unit cluster. Lucky for us they set up a web-cam to capture the process.

Cockroach computer

Behold this working desktop computer, complete with monitor and mouse. We’re not sure how it was done, or what it’s for, but worth a peek just because of its size. [Thanks Harald via Dvice]

Modelling self-assembling viruses

A 3D printer and magnets were used to build this model of a self-assembling virus. Shake the jar and it falls apart. Shake a bit more and it’ll rebuild itself… it has the technology.

Tardis cufflinks

[Simon] is exercising his geek chic with these Tardis cuff links. The Doctor Who inspired accessories were made from a model railroad telephone booth.

17 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: August 21, 2011

  1. Actually, I emailed Dan and got more details on the R2D2. I was going to forward them to you today Mike, sorry about that.

    Anyway, here’s the juicy stuff:

    “I’m a member of the R2D2 builders club and alot of other members have some great blogs and there is a wealth of info at http://astromech.net Mine is made almost entirety from styrene plastic with a spun aluminum dome. Most builders use a conventional radio control like model airplane’s use. A few use the Cheap Control Systems C6C which gives you 6 channels from a Ps2 controller ( 2 analog sticks and 2 of the back trigger buttons). I love the ability to use all the buttons that your library provides. I mapped the right stick values to a range of 60-120 and fed them to a sabertooth 2×25 speed controller that drives scooter motors in the back 2 feet. The left stick is connected to a servo that bumps one of two switches to turn the dome motor. I’m using a MP3 Trigger from Sparkfun for the sounds with a serial connection. I have an another arduino in the dome to controll the lights and eventually open some pannels son my next step is to figure out how to use your easy transfer library and soft serial to control that one with the Ps2 also. “

    1. I don’t think anyone’s claiming that’s the *whole* PC! Obviously the “tower” is a model, and the real guts are somewhere else. I imagine the LCD is from a viewfinder or something, and the ribbon cable goes down into the table through that wide base it has. No idea how the mouse would work though. That part might be bogus.

      1. The mouse ends up out of sync on several occasions in the video. Most likely this is just a video being played on the newer iPod Nano with the person timing the clicks (and not very accurately if you look at the video closely) to make it look like the mouse is being used.

      2. This mouse is fake, but if you wanted to do it for real, you could extract the LED and CCD from a small optical mouse and wire them up at a distance. The tiny button is best left bespoke. The real trick is fitting more than one usefully conductive wire in a cord that small.

      3. Actually Otacon2k, the screen looks good, the board it sits on shifts occasionally, and the screen moves with it, he probably has a cable going out the back that we can’t see. I agree with mindbleach that the cables are too small to be of any real use in a computer. ram would be an issue too.

  2. I’m guessing that the doll house PC is Japanese, so anyone with knowledge of Japanese want to see if they can find the original post of the video? I’m guessing that finding the original would reveal exactly what’s being done in fxtrip’s video. Considering the pseudonym of ‘fxtrip’, it could be some sort of green screen or chromakey effect (which would be mildly impressive with a reflection like this one).

  3. i wish, i had the photos of my uncles r2d2 which built and was driving it around that the premier of return of the jedi in sydney, which was completely remote control it had working arms and all. when mark hammill asked him “when are you going to let the little guy out?” him and the rest of cast could not believe the was no one in side it. too bad George Lucas seen it in photos and made him destroy it (it cost him about $10,000 to build).

  4. @Doll House:

    I also think it’s a fake – a quite good one -. If you follow the links in youtube you will get to his blog:


    From the links I found (without beeing able to read kanji) it seems to be a weired japanese minature hobby stuff with unbelievable small parts.

    See also:




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