The First PipBoy We’ll See This Year

You heard that we’re shutting down Hackaday on November 11, 2015, right? That’s the release of Fallout 4, and trust me: I’m not getting anything done that day.  A new game in the Fallout series means more power armor cosplay builds, and hundreds of different wearable electronics from the friendly folks at Vault-Tec. I speak of the PipBoy, the wrist-mounted computer of the Fallout series, and [THEMCV] built the first one we’ll see this year. It won’t be the last.

The PipBoy [THEMCV] created is the 3000a model, the same one found in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. We’ve seen a few real-live versions of the PipBoy before; this one used the PipBoy prop that came with the Amazon exclusive special edition of Fallout 3. Things have changed in the years since the release of Fallout 3, and  to build his PipBoy, [THEMCV] just bought one from Shapeways.

The electronics consist of a Raspberry Pi Model A, 3.5″ LCD, a battery pack, and a great piece of software to emulate the software of the PipBoy 3000. It looks great, but [THEMCV] still needs to find a few retrofuturistic buttons and dials to complete the PipBoy experience.

Video below.

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Arm Mounted Computer

Yet Another Awesome Working Prototype Of A PipBoy 3000

When we’re not busy writing up features on Hack a Day, some of the writers here have some pretty impressive projects on the go. One of our own, [Will Sweatman], just put the finishing touches on this amazing (and functional!) Pipboy 3000!

The funny thing is, [Will] here isn’t actually a very big gamer. In fact, he hasn’t even played Fallout. But when a friend queried his ability to build this so called “PipBoy 3000”, [Will] was intrigued.

His research lead him full circle, right back to here at Hack a Day. We’ve covered several PipBoy builds over the years, and [Will] fell in love with [Dragonator’s] 3D printed version — it was the perfect place to start. You see, [Dragonator] shared all the 3D models on his personal site!

Now this is where it starts to get cool. [Will] is using a 4D systems 4.3″ touch display, which doubles as the microprocessor — in fact, he didn’t even have to write a single line of code to program in it! The hardware can be programmed using the free Workshop 4 IDE, which allows him to use a visual editor to program the device. Watching a YouTube video on the Fallout 3 PipBoy, he was able to recreate all the menus with intricate detail to load onto the device. It even has GPIO which allow him to use buttons to navigate the menus (in addition to the touch screen stylus).

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A Wearable Pipboy 3000

[Zachariah Perry] builds a lot of replica props, and judging from the first few offerings on his blog he’s quite good at it. We enjoyed looking in on the Captain America shield and Zelda treasure chest (complete with music, lights, and floating heart container). But his most recent offering is the wearable and (kind of) working Pipboy 3000 from the Fallout series.

From his description in the video after the break it sounds like the case itself came as a promotional item that was part of a special edition of the game. He’s done a lot to make it functional though. The first thing to notice is the screen. It’s domed like the surface of a CRT, but there’s obviously not enough room for that kind of thing. The dome is made from the lens taken out of a slide viewer. It sits atop the screen of a digital picture frame. [Zachariah] loaded still images from the game into the frame’s memory, routing its buttons to those on the Pipboy. He also added a 12 position rotary switch which toggles between the lights at the bottom of the screen.

A little over a year ago we saw a more or less fully functional Pipboy. But that included so many added parts it was no longer wearable.

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Hacker Maketh Kingsman Umbrella

Yes! Someone made the Kingman umbrella and yes it can shoot and yes it has a display on the inside. [James Hobson] just put up a video on YouTube for this excellent project detailing the process that went into creating this live working prop and it is amazing.

The build starts with finding a rugged umbrella and was tested by standing on it as well as decimating a few household objects. Compress CO2 cartridges provide the fuel for propelling blow darts as well as other non-lethal forms of ammunition. The coolest part of the project is the screen inside the portable that allows you to see-through the dome. This is accomplished by a combination of a small camera and a portable mini projector. Simple yet awesome.

The camera is mounted near the muzzle whereas the projector is sliced-up and integrated into the grip. The handle in question is itself 3D printed and includes a custom trigger into the design. Check out the video for a demonstration of the project.

Movie props have a special place in every maker’s heart and this project is an excellent example of imagination meeting ingenuity. After seeing this video, security agencies are going to be giving umbrella owners some suspicious looks though creating own of your own could be a very rewarding experience. If you are looking for a more obvious prop, then check out the PiPBoy Terminal from Fallout which is sure to get everyone’s attention. Continue reading “Hacker Maketh Kingsman Umbrella”

Project Kino: Robotic Jewelry And Tech Accessory

Researchers from MIT and Stanford are taking the ‘person’ in ‘personal assistant’ to mean something more literal with these robots that scurry around on the user’s clothing.

Project Kino — inspired by living jewelry — are robotic accessories that use magnetic gripping wheels on both sides of the clothing to move about. For now they fill a mostly aesthetic function, creating kinetic accents to one’s attire, but one day they might be able to provide more interactive functionality. They could act as a phone’s mic, adjust clothing to suit the weather, function as high-visibility wear for cyclists or joggers, as haptic feedback sensors for all manner of applications (haptic sonar bodysuit, anyone?), assemble into large displays, and even function as a third — or more! — hand are just the tip of the iceberg for these ‘bots.

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Mechatronic Cat Ears For The Rest Of Us

Every now and then you see a project that makes you smile. It may not be something that will deliver world peace or feed the hungry, but when it opens in your browser in the morning you go to work a bit happier for the experience.

Just such a project is [Radomir Dopieralski’s] set of wearable mechatronic cat ears. A cosplay accessory that moves as you do. Very kawaii, but fun.

You may have seen the commercially available Necomimi brainwave activated mechatronic ears. [Radomir’s] version does not share their sophistication, instead he’s using an accelerometer to detect head movement coupled to an Arduino Pro Mini driving a pari of servos which manipulate the ears. He provides the source code, and has plans for a miniaturised version using an ATtiny85 on its own PCB.

Amusing cuteness aside, there are some considerations [Radomir] has had to observe that apply to any a head-mounted wearable computer. Not least the problem of putting the Pro Mini and its battery somewhere a little more unobtrusive and weatherproof than on top of his head. He also found that the micro-servos he was using did not have enough range of movement to fully bend the ears, something he is likely to address in a future version with bigger servos. He’s yet to address a particularly thorny problem: that a pair of servos mounted on your head can be rather noisy.

We’ve covered quite a few cosplay stories over the years. This is not even our first cat ear story. More than one example of a Pip Boy, a HAL 9000 costume, and a beautifully made Wheatley puppet have made these pages, to name a few. So scroll down and enjoy [Radomir’s] video demonstration of the ears in action.

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Kicking The Tires Before You Buy: 3d Printers

So you’re looking to buy your first 3D printer, and your index finger is quivering over that 300 US Dollar printer on Amazon.com. Stop! You’re about to have a bad time. 3D printing has come a long way, but most 3D printers are designed through witchcraft, legends, and tall tales rather than any rigorous engineering process. I would say most 3D printer designs are either just plain bad, or designed by a team of Chinese engineers applying all their ingenuity to cost cutting. There are a few that are well designed, and there is a comparatively higher price tag attached.

I’ll start by going through some of the myths and legends that show up in 3D printers. After that I’ll go through some of the common, mostly gimmick, features that typically hinder your printer’s ability, rather than adding any useful function. Next I’ll go onto the things that will actually make your printer better. Finally, I’ll add some special consideration if you’re a beginner buying your first printer.

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