Everyone knows plastic trash is a problem with junk filling up landfills and scattering beaches. It’s worse because rather than dissolving completely, plastic breaks down into smaller chunks of plastic, small enough to be ingested by birds and fish, loading them up with indigestible gutfill. Natural disasters compound the trash problem; debris from Japan’s 2011 tsunami washed ashore on Vancouver Island in the months that followed.
Erin Kennedy was walking along Toronto Island beach and noticed the line of plastic trash that extended as far as the eye could see. As an open source robot builder, her first inclination was to use robots to clean up the mess. A large number of small robots following automated routines might be able to clear a beach faster and more efficiently than a person walking around with a stick and a trash bag.
Erin founded Robot Missions to explore this possibility, with the goal of uniting open-source “makers” — along with their knowledge of technology — with environmentalists who have a clearer understanding of what needs to be done to protect the Earth. It was a finalist in the Citizen Science category for the 2016 Hackaday Prize, and would fit very nicely in this year’s Wheels, Wings, and Walkers challenge which closes entries in a week.
Join me after the break for a look at where Robot Missions came from, and what Erin has in store for the future of the program.
Continue reading “Rovers To The Rescue: Robot Missions Tackles Trash”
The DropoScope is a water-drop projector that works by projecting a laser through a drop of water, ideally dirty water crawling with microorganisms. With the right adjustments, a bright spot of light is projected onto a nearby wall, revealing a magnified image of the tiny animals within. Single celled organisms show up only as dark spots, but larger creatures like mosquito larvae exhibit definite structure and detail.
While simple in concept and requiring nothing more high-tech than a syringe and a laser pointer, getting useful results can require a lot of fiddly adjustment. But all that is a thing of the past for anyone with access to a laser cutter, thanks to [ingggis]. His design for a laser-cut a fixture lets anyone make and effortlessly adjust their own water-drop projector.
If you’d like to see some microorganisms in action, embedded below is video from a different water-drop projector (one identical in operation, but not lucky enough to benefit from [ingggis]’s design.)
Continue reading “Microorganisms Can’t Hide From DropoScope”
[Matthias Wandel] is a woodworker par excellence. He’s the guy behind all those wooden gear contraptions, he made cove molding on a table saw, and if the phrase, ‘don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing’ applies to anyone, it applies to [Matthias]. Now he’s getting into the fidget spinner craze, but there’s a problem in the workshop: [Matthias] couldn’t find the right sized drill bit, so he modified a Forstner bit to contain the heart of a spinner.
[Matthias] has a few roller skate bearings, which are 22mm in diameter. However, the closest drill to this size was 7/8″, or 22.23mm. A drill can be ground down, so the bit was chucked into a hand drill and taken over to the bench grinder. As with most things [Matthias] demonstrates, you shouldn’t do this unless you know what you’re doing. [Matthias] does.
With the bit ground down to 22mm, [Matthias] drilled a hole in a piece of wood, inserted the bearing, and completed an epic quest that was his destiny. There is no use for fidget spinners, so [Matthias] decided to make this one explode. After cutting several notches in this wooden spinner, [Matthias] applied shop air liberally and spun the spinner up until it fell apart.
You can check out the video of the fidget spinner carnage below, or check out [Matthias]’ write-up here.
Continue reading “Customize Forstner Bits For Fidget Spinner Explosions”