Hackaday Podcast 086: News Overflow, Formula 1/3 Racer, Standing Up For Rubber Duckies, And Useless Machine Takes A Turn

Hackaday editors Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys peruse the world of hacks. There was so much news this week that we lead off the show with a rundown to catch you up. Yet there is still no shortage of hardware hacks, with prosthetic legs for your rubber ducky, a RC cart that channels the spirit of Formula 1, and a project that brings 80’s video conferencing hardware to Zoom. There’s phosphine gas on Venus and unlimited hacking projects inside your guitar. The week wouldn’t be complete without the joy of riffing on the most useless machine concept.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

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Mirror, Mirror, On Your Cam, Show Us What You’ve Drawn By Hand

Working and learning from home may be the new norm, and if IKEA shelves are any indication, folks are tricking out their home office with furniture, gadgets, and squishy chairs. While teleconferencing has proven to be an invaluable tool, paper documents aren’t going down with out a fight.

Unfortunately dedicated document cameras require significant space and monies, so they’re impractical if you only share once in a while. [John Umekubo] didn’t want students and teachers hobbled by the same costs and inconveniences, so he modeled a mirror holder that slides over a laptop’s webcam and directs the view downward.

[John]’s adventures started with a Twitter post, as seen below, but the responses were so encouraging that he published his design on Thingiverse for everyone. There’s also a version that can be laser cut out of cardboard, though we imagine a pair of scissors would work in a pinch. He admits there’s already a consumer model, but wasn’t planning to sell them anyway. Like us, he wants to get people to share their work.

We recently covered a simpler version of the same idea in use at Northwestern University, and we’ve seen a similar hack that gives a split-screen effect to sketch and maintain eye contact. If you want to share the view in your room, we have a Raspberry Pi streaming option that’s worth checking out.

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$5 Lets Your Documents Go Virtual

Video conferencing is nothing new, but the recent world events have made it much more mainstream than it has been in the past. Luckily, web camera technology is nothing new and most software can also show your screen. But what about your paper documents? Turns out that [John Nelson] can show you how to spend $5 for an old laptop camera module and put your documents center stage on your next Zoom, Skype or other video conferences.

This is especially good for things that would be hard to draw in real time during a conference like a quick sketch, a schematic, or as you can see in the post and the video demo below, chemical molecule diagrams.

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