Hackaday Links: April 11, 2012

This hurts our head

You know you can ‘freeze’ drops of water in mid-air by flashing a LED at the right time, right? Well, according to this video you don’t even need a strobing light; just use the frame rate of the camera. Much cooler if you don’t know how it works, in our humble opinion.

Now do Junkyard Wars!

[James Cameron] and [Mark Burnett] (the guy who created Survivor) are bringing Battlebots back to the Discovery Channel. The new show is called Robogeddon and calls upon the current talent in the fighting robot world. Our prediction? Someone is going to build an amazing piece of art that will be completely destroyed in the first round; a wedge with wheels will take the championship.

A steam engine made out of rocks

[Hansmeevis] just spent 230 hours hand carving a steam engine out of gems. It’s called “Dragon’s Breath” and it’s an amazing piece of work: the cylinder is carved out of quartz, while the flywheel, mount, and base are carved out of jasper, onyx, zugalite, and other semi precious gems. Amazing artistry and it works.

Don’t lose a finger on all that science over there

[Dr. W] is a science teacher in Saint-Louis, France. Next year, his students will be learning about reaction propulsion and impulse conservation. To demonstrate these properties, [Dr. W] hacked up an old vacuum cleaner in to a jet engine and built a Pitot tube to measure the 140 km/h wind speed. Google translation.

Circuit bending a Sega Saturn

Making cool glitched-up graphics from Ataris and Nintendos is old hat, but not much has been done with circuit bending slightly more modern consoles. [big pauper] found his old Sega Saturn in his grandma’s attic and wondered what secrets this forgotten box held. It turns out he can make some pretty cool sounds and even cooler glitched out graphics. The pic above is from Virtua Fighter; done correctly these glitched low-polygon graphics could easily find themselves in a very stylistic indie game.

17 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 11, 2012

  1. Can’t expect stone to hold up nearly as well. Bet it cracks after not too long. Seems to vibrate more than I would expect. Also would be nice to have the steam source in there too.


    1. Problem I see with all “battlebot” like shows is the armor strength of bots. Destruction is virtually none. And we love destruction.

      Set some serious weight limits and we’ll see destruction. Make a “balsa wood only” category for real destruction. It also would make it cheaper.

      1. Well, a straight weight restriction won’t work since people will just have to move to super-strength materials like carbon fiber or armor-grade steel, possibly titanium alloy steel.

        I much prefer your idea of materials categories:
        May be up to N pounds excluding armor. Armor may be up to M pounds of balsa wood. That’d be cool.

        Also, if they varied the terrain more you could get rid of wedge dominance.

      2. The problem is of scale. The smaller you make things, the stronger they get in proportion.

        If the robot is small enough, even paper is like a coat of kevlar. If you make the robots the size of cars, then you’ll get bent metal and destruction.

      3. The other problem I had with FIRST and battlebot programs is that the REALLY fun stuff cant be used. for example, guns of any sort, RF scramblers, etc.

        Instead we get several variations of wedges.

  2. re: circuit bending: it’s official, I have gotten old. I don’t understand why anyone would want to play a game like that on purpose..

    maybe it’s because I spent so many breaths blowing on carts, and so many hours searching for the lost screws as a kid to specifically AVOID that.. i dunno.

  3. Special to the guy with the circuit-bending site, since you rather sensibly don’t let the rabble scrawl graffiti on things there: They used to have a picture of that background image fade on the Wikipedia article for ‘eyesore’, but they had to take it down because nobody could stand to look at it.

  4. Re: Steam engine.
    Strictly speaking it’s made from minerals. Rocks are assemblages of minerals and other solids(ie glasses). If it weren’t a composite he’d have to worry about having parts fail along cleavage planes. However a) the parts are composited b) he managed to cut the other gems so I assume he knows a bit about each minerals point group.
    Also he’s got +200 USD worth of silver(spot price 31 USD/Toz) sunk into that thing!

  5. Fighting robots? I hope someone does us (across the pond) a favour and puts em online, I really enjoyed Robot Wars when we had it in the UK and I miss that kind of tv.

    Agreed on the wedges thing, they should have a fight category that has no spinners (as in whole robot or very large part of robot spins) and no wedges, so hammers/crushers/bashers etc. get a fair chance against each other. It is fun seeing the spinners demolish other bots but sometimes you want the battle to last longer and be less one-sided.

  6. That steam engine is a real work or art, I’ed like to see it run an electric generator made to the same level of artistry, that would be sweet! As for the fighting robots just one word, FIRE!

  7. Looks like it is who wrote TFA that doesn’t work how it works. The videois using the frame rate of the camera AND a subwoofer speaker to give the illusion of static water drops. The subwoofer is actually changing the path of the water stream into several sinusoidal like paths. The camera is only able to see one of them.

  8. The steam engine is a beautiful work of art but in the video it appears to be running off of compressed air. I wonder if it can stand the temperatures and moisture of being run by steam?

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