Hey you! Are you slouching? Probably. It might not seem like such a bad thing to do, but if you plan on sitting comfortably at that desk for the next 5-10 years or so, you’ve really gotta watch your posture. This is a problem [Max] has been trying to solve for a while now — and now he’s attempting to do it with a posture sensor.
His first take on this project utilized an ultrasound range finder, mounted to the back of a chair. Once calibrated, you would have to maintain a certain distance from the back of your head to the sensor, thus, keeping your back straight. It worked, but it wasn’t the greatest.
Next up, he tried utilizing a webcam and facial recognition software to determine if he was slouching forwards, backwards, or (however unlikely), maintaining good posture. It was better than the first prototype, but still needed some refinement. Now he’s onto his third iteration — this time, a wearable posture sensor!
Continue reading “Posture Sensor Reminds You To Sit Up Straight!”
If you’re looking for a quick and easy project to get into virtual reality, making your own VR skateboard controller is actually pretty easy to do!
First you’ll need some kind of VR headset. You could buy a fancy one, like the Oculus, or a Samsung Gear VR — or you could use something as simple as Google Cardboard — and you could even make your own. All it takes is a phone, an Arduino, a Bluetooth module, and an accelerometer-plus-gyroscope IMU.
Continue reading “DIY Virtual Reality Snowboard”
Lots of people get a pet and then hack solutions that help them care for their new friend, like an automatic door to provide access to the great outdoors. Then again, some people build the pet door first and then build the pets to test it.
It’s actually not quite as weird as it sounds. [Amir Avni] and his wife attended a recent GeekCon and entered the GeekCon Pets event. GeekCon is a cooperative rather than competitive hackathon that encourages useless builds as a means to foster community and to just have some fun. [Amir] and his wife wanted to build a full-featured automatic pet door, and succeeded – with NFC and an ESP8266, the stepper-powered door worked exactly as planned. But without any actual animal companions to test the system, they had to hack up a few volunteers. They came up with a 3D-printed dog and cat perched atop wireless cars, and with NFC tags dangling from their collars, the door was able to differentiate between the wandering ersatz animals. The video below the break shows the adorable plastic pals in action.
It’s clear from all the pet doors and automatic waterers and feeders we’ve seen that hackers love their pets, but we’re pretty sure this is the first time the pet itself was replaced by a robot. That’s fine for the test environment, but we’d recommend the real thing for production.
Continue reading “Robotic Pets Test An Automatic Pet Door”
A zoetrope is a charming piece of Victoriana, a device that gives the sensation of a moving image by exposing its successive frames through slits in a rotating drum. [Brian Corteil] however is not content with a mere 19th century parlour amusement, he’s connected twelve OLED displays to a Raspberry Pi and mounted them on a circular platform with a rotary encoder to make a fully digital zoetrope.
Connecting 12 SPI devices to the Pi was always going to be something of a challenge, because only two CS lines are provided. [Brian] has a rather elegant solution to this problem, he’s daisy-chained his displays to form a shift register in which each image is passed to the next display on a rotational increment.
His resulting zoetrope sits on a laser-cut frame which rotates over an encoder disc which looks to be made from printed paper. It is still something of a work in progress, but he has plans to record video on the Pi camera for immediate playback on his creation. You can take a look at his code for the zoetrope on GitHub.
This isn’t the first zoetrope we’ve covered here at Hackaday, or even the first digital one. We’ve seen a couple of 3d-printed ones, and one featuring laser-cut images captured with a Kinect. But it’s a good piece of work, and has the promise of more to come if his camera plans come to fruition. Continue reading “Digital Zoetrope Powered By Pi”
Microchip just published their USB-MSD Programmer firmware. This open source project allows a board to enumerate as a USB Mass Storage device. Programming is as simple as copying a .hex file to the “drive”.
This code is what’s running on the $10 Xpress board that they released last month which includes a PIC18F25K50 to serve as a PICkit On Board (PKOB) programmer for the actual target micro; a PIC16F18855. In its stock version, the XPRESS-Loader firmware programs any PIC16F188xx chips that have a row size of 32 words. But it should be possible to tweak this package to program any chips that use the 8-bit LVP-ICSP protocol.
Now, this may seem like small potatoes at first look: it requires two microcontrollers on your board and is capable of programming just a small subset of the vast PIC inventory. But in our minds it’s the USB-MSD that is killer since it doesn’t require any software or drivers on the computer side of things. That’s a big invitation for all kinds of hacks. But there should be even more on the way from the Xpress team before too long.
It turns out the microcontroller [Voja Antonic] chose to use on the Hackaday | Belgrade badge is the 25k50. Since hearing about the Xpress board we’ve been talking to some of the PIC engineers and they are exploring a loader that will program onto the same chip. This means device upgrades without special hardware or drivers – perfect for badge hacking at a conference. This can be done with a precompiled hex, one created on MPLAB X, MPLAB Xpress, or others. We’ll keep you updated if we hear more on that part of the project.
make tool turns the big 4-0 next month, and we thought we’d start up the festivities early. In a two-part series, I’ll cover some of the
make background that I think is particularly useful, and then focus on microcontroller-specific applications. If you’re still cut-and-pasting a general purpose makefile to run your toolchain, hopefully you’ll get enough insight here to start rolling your own. It can be a lot simpler than it appears!
Just as soon as the C programming language was invented, and projects started to get a little bit bigger than a “hello world”, it became obvious that some tool was needed to organize and automate compilation. After all, if you’ve got a program that’s spread over a number of files, modules, or libraries, it’s a hassle to have to re-compile them all any time you make a change to just a single section of code. If some parts haven’t changed, you’re just wasting time by re-compiling them. But who can keep track of all of this?
Continue reading “Embed With Elliot: March Makefile Madness”
Winter is hanging on like clinical depression, which means it’s that time again for the greatest 3D-printing festival on the planet Earth. It’s time for the Midwest RepRap Festival, next weekend, March 18-20th in Goshen, Indiana.
I can’t explain why, but for some reason the Midwest RepRap Festival is an oasis of building, doing, and hacking right in the middle of the county fairgrounds for Elkhart County, Indiana. It’s free for everyone to attend. The event isn’t choked with vendors, leaving the people who actually do stuff left to fight over a few picnic tables on the outskirts of the venue. It is, by far, the most community-centered event we go to every year.
If you’re wondering what you can expect at a 3D printer convention in the middle of nowhere, check out a few of the posts we’ve published from MRRF over the last few years. We’ve seen 3D printed waffles, resin casting with 3D printed molds, bizarre movement platforms, Bioprinting, and stuff from Lulzbot. That’s just the stuff that has deserved its own Hackaday post: we’ve seen the world’s largest 3D printed trash can, R2D2, battle droids (it’s even money if BB-8 is going to show up this year), a Printer made out of K’nex, and the most beautiful 3D printer we’ve ever seen. There was a T-shirt cannon powered by 300 psi shop air.
Every year I write a post announcing that we’ll be heading to MRRF next week, simultaneously praising the event as one of the greatest ‘maker’ and ‘DIY’ meetups, while pointing out the local WalMart parking lot has a place to park horse-drawn buggies. Both observations are true. For one weekend a year, Goshen, Indiana is the place everyone reading Hackaday should go to, and that is why we are once again proud to sponsor this glorious event.