If we are to believe many science fiction movies, one day throngs of people wearing skin-tight silver spandex jumpsuits will be riding around on hovercraft. Hovercraft haven’t really taken the world by storm, but [Fitim-Halimi] built his own model version and shows you how he did it. You can see the little craft moving in the video below.
In theory, a hovercraft is pretty simple, but in practice they are not as easy as they look. For one thing, you need a lot of air to fill the plenum chamber to get lift. That’s usually a noisy operation. The solution? In this case, a hairdryer gave up its motor for the cause. In addition, once floating on a near-frictionless cushion of air, you have to actually move without contacting the ground. Like many real hovercraft, this design uses another fan to push it along. You can see in the video that the designer uses Jedi hand motions to control the vehicle.
Here at Hackaday, we’re always enthralled by cool biohacks and sensor development that enable us to better study and analyze the human body. We often find ourselves perusing Google Scholar and PubMed to find the coolest projects even if it means going back in time a year or two. It was one of those scholarly excursions that brought us to this nifty smart bandage for monitoring wound healing by the engineers of FlexiLab at Purdue University. The device uses an omniphobic (hydrophobic and oleophobic) paper-based substrate coupled with an onboard impedance analyzer (AD5933), an electrochemical sensor (the same type of sensor in glucometers) for measuring uric acid and pH (LMP91000), and a 2.4 GHz antenna for wirelessly transmitting the data (nRF24L01). All this is programmed with an Arduino Nano. They even released their source code.
To detect uric acid, they used the enzyme uricase, which is very specific to uric acid and exhibits low cross-reactivity with other compounds. They drop cast uric acid onto a silver/silver chloride electrode printed on the omniphobic paper. Similarly, to detect pH, they drop cast a pH-responsive polymer called polyaniline emeraldine salt (PANI-ES) between two separate silver/silver chloride electrodes. All that was left was to attach the electrodes to the LMP91000, do a bit of programming, and there they were with their own electrochemical sensor. The impedance analyzer was a bit simpler to develop, simply attaching un-modified electrodes to the AD5933 and placing the electrodes on the wound.
A little over a year ago, we ran a contest that challenged readers to leave the comfort of their PCBs and breadboards. We wanted to see circuits built in three dimensions, with extra points awarded for creativity and artistic flair. Truth be told there was initially some concern that the “Circuit Sculpture” contest was a bit too abstract for the Hackaday community, but the overwhelming number of absolutely gorgeous entries certainly put those doubts to rest.
In a recent video, [Michael Aichlmayr] walks viewers through the creation of his mesmerizing entry Wonderlandscape, which ended up taking honorable mention in the Circuit Sculpture contest for Best Metalworks. Though this is much more than just a simple walk-through of a project. Sure you’ll see how brass bar stock was artfully twisted and wrapped to create a metallic winterscape that looks like it could have come from Bob Ross’s hitherto unknown cyberpunk period, but that’s only half the story.
In the video, [Michael] recalls how he discovered the burgeoning electronic sculpture community, and points to a few exceptional examples that got him hooked on finding the beauty that’s usually hidden inside of a plastic enclosure. Eventually he heard about the Circuit Sculpture contest, and decided it was the perfect opportunity to build something of his own. That’s right, Wonderlandscape is his very first attempt at turning electronics into art.
But the best may be yet to come. [Michael] explains that, due to the time constraints of the contest, he had to use metal stock purchased from the crafts store. But his ultimate goal is actually to melt down salvaged brass and bronze components and make his own wire and rods. We can’t wait to see what he’ll be able to accomplish when he starts working with his own custom made metal, and are eagerly awaiting the future video that he says will go over the techniques he’s been working on.
This story is a great reminder of how stepping out of your comfort zone once and awhile can be a good thing. Entering the contest with no previous experience was a risk to be sure, but [Michael] came out the other side more experienced and with a few new friends in the community. So why not enter our latest contest and see where it takes you?
For most involved in the hobby, model trains involve buying track from off-the-shelf suppliers, and lots of delicate painting and finishing. Conversely, [Ivan] just wanted to make something fast and fun, busting out the 3D printer in due course.
While the title of “World’s fastest toy train” is somewhat dubious, the build has its value as an interesting way of doing things. The train is 3D printed, with pressed-in ball bearings and metal shafts for the bogies. Differing from usual practice, this train carries its power supply on board, in the form of a LiPo battery. It’s hooked up to a brushless motor and controlled by a standard RC car setup.
The track is an impressive structure, consisting of 3D printed rails and supports. These are assembled and then screwed down to plywood baseplates, which are hot glued to the flat concrete floor of [Ivan]’s workshop. Strings were used to align everything as straight and true as possible. The track features a steep banking which helps with cornering. However, the straights remain banked in an effort to avoid the complex modelling of a transition. This leads to some derailments at higher speeds on the flat sections.
While it’s not yet perfect, [Ivan] has done a great job of demonstrating a quick and easy way to build a model railway out of almost entirely 3D printed components. We can’t wait to see improvements to the rails and railcars, and hope to see speeds increase significantly in future tests. 3D printing tends to bring some interesting results to bear on the model train world, such as this vertical hanging setup. Video after the break.
Personally, I am a fan of the real thing, but dogs aren’t an option for all. Plus, robotic dogs are easier to train and don’t pee on your couch. If you are looking to adopt a robotic companion, Stanford Pupper might be a good place to start. It’s a new open source project from the Stanford Robotics Student group, a group of robotic hackers from Stanford University. This simple robotic quadruped looks pretty simple to build, but also looks like a great into to four-legged robots.
This is the first version of the design, but it looks pretty complete, built around a carbon fiber and 3D printed frame. The carbon fiber parts have to be cut out on a router, but you can order them pre-cut here, and you might be able to adapt it to easier materials. The Pupper is driven by twelve servos powered from a 5200 mAh 2S LiPo battery and a custom PCB that distributes the power. That means it could run autonomously.
In the two months since the harsh realities of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 have come into sharp focus, Americans have become increasingly familiar with a man who has been quietly serving the people since the days when Ronald Reagan was up for re-election. For many, Dr. Anthony Fauci is the national voice of reason in a sea of dubious information. He has arguably become the most trustworthy person the government has to offer in the face of this pandemic.
Officially, Dr. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a position he was appointed to in 1984. He has worked under six presidents, advising them on every outbreak from the HIV/AIDS epidemic up through Zika and Ebola. Now, he is part of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
At 79 years old, he still works 18-hour days, sticking it to infectious diseases with one hand, and smoothing the feathers of the American people with the other. Dr. Fauci certainly feels like the right person at the right time. So how did he get to this point?
Though mostly known for its releases on countless 8-bit personal computers from the 1970s and 1980s, the game of Zork began its life on a PDP-10 mainframe. Recently, MIT released the original source code for this version of Zork. As we covered a while ago, the history of Zork is a long and lustrous one, a history that is based on this initial version written in MDL.
To recap, MDL is a LISP-derived language that excels at natural language processing. It was developed and used at MIT’s AI and LCS (now CSAIL) departments for a number of projects, and of course to develop games with. The use of MDL gave Zork as a text-based adventure a level of interaction that was far ahead of its time.
What MIT has made available is the source code from Zork as it existed around 1977, at a time when it was being distributed to universities around the US. For purely educational purposes, obviously. This means that it’s a version of Zork before it was commercialized (~1979), showing a rare glimpse of the game as it was still busily being expanded.
Running the game will take a bit of effort, however. These files were retrieved from an original MIT backup tape that was used with their PDP-10 machines. Ideally one would use a 1970s-era PDP-10 mainframe with an MDL compiler, but in a pinch one could run a PDP-10 emulator as well.
Let us know whether you got it to run. Screenshots (ASCII or not) are highly encouraged.