Message In A Bottle: Bicycle Trailer On A Mission

Graffiti is a controversial subject, and whether you see it as art or vandalism usually depends where and how you come across it. From the scribbled tag on a house wall, to highly sophisticated murals, they tend to have one thing in common though: making a statement — whether that’s political, showing appreciation, or a simple “I was here”. [Sagarrabanana] had his own statement to make, but chose a less permanent way to express himself with his type of graffiti.

Unhappy about the lack of dedicated cycle lanes in his area, he built an automatic, Arduino-controlled water dispensing bicycle trailer, writing his message on every street he rides on. The build is documented in a video, and shown in action in another one — which are both in Spanish (and also embedded after the break), but pictures are worth their thousand words in any language.

Inspired by persistence of vision (POV), where moving LEDs sync up their blinking to give the illusion of a static image, [Sagarrabanana] transformed the concept to water on a road using an array of solenoids attached to a water tank. Each solenoid is controlled by a relay, and a predefined font determines when to switch each relay — the same way pixels on a display would be set on or off, except small amounts of water are squirted out as the bicycle is moving along. The message itself is received via serial Bluetooth module, and can be easily modified for example from a phone. To adjust the water dispensing to the cycling speed, the whole system is synced to a magnetic switch mounted to one of the trailer’s wheels, so you could theoretically take it also with you on a run.

Time will tell if [Sagarrabanana]’s mission has the success he hopes for, but there’s no doubt the trailer will attract attention anywhere he goes. Well, we wish him all the best to get the message through without requiring a too drastic alternative as writing medium. Although, we’ve seen a graffiti robot that uses chalk spray in the past, so there’s certainly room for a not-too-permanent upgrade if needed.

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Tymkrs’ Deconstruction For The Zombie Apocalypse

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We’ve seen a few of the projects from The Deconstruction, a 48-hour build-a-thon for hackerspaces and other groups around the globe. Of course Tymkrs, a pair of geeky vloggers famous for their building prowess, were part of The Deconstruction, and in the process they came up with a few really cool builds at their hackerspace, The Rabbit Hole, in Rochester, MN.

Their theme for The Deconstruction was “a zombie apocalypse”. Instead of homemade crossbows and electric fences, Tymkrs and the rest of The Rabbit Hole put a ‘rebuilding society’ spin on the whole zombie apocalypse and ended up building things that would be useful after Z-day.

First up is a PVC bike trailer┬ádesigned to easily attach to the back of a bicycle. The frame is made out of a few pieces of 2″ PVC pipe with some nylon rope knotted together for a nice webbed platform. a 5/8″ steel rod was turned down to accept two 20″ bike wheels. A useful build, even if it’s not the zombie apocalypse.

The second build is a solar japanese lantern, combining [Addie]’s love of solar lanterns and japanese-style lanterns into one great project. The materials for this build came from a broken solar-powered lantern with completely revamped electronics. There’s a Joule thief to keep the LED lit, and a few solar panels to charge up the batteries during the day. Of course the build wasn’t complete without a little decoration, so [Addie] drew four panels of rabbits for The Rabbit Hole team.

By far the most dangerous build undertaken by The Rabbit Hole is their can crusher. It’s a pair of snowblower tires powered by a disused garage door opener. The theory of operations is that a can will drop in between the rotating wheels, crushing the can, and sending it to a waste basket below the device. In practice, the device didn’t really live up to expectations, but it’s loud and dangerous, so we’ll give it a pass.