Forget Smart Watch; Build A Smart Hat

Smart watches are pretty common today, but how many people do you know with a smart hat? [Oliver] built Wilson which he bills as “the IoT hat.” We wonder if the name was inspired by the Home Improvement character of the same name who only appeared as a hat above the fence line. You can see a video of the project, below.

The project is pretty straightforward for hardware. An LED strip, an Arduino, and a Bluetooth module. Oh. And a hat. The software, as you might expect, is a bit more complex. It allows you to display SMS messages to your hat.

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How To Keep Your Head Warm With A Skirt

We’re not sure what we like better about this upcycled trapper hat — that [ellygibson] made it as a tribute to Holden Caulfield, the anti-hero of the classic teen angst novel The Catcher in the Rye, or the fact that she made it out of a skirt that cost a dollar from the thrift store. Oddly enough, one dollar is exactly what Holden paid for his hat in the book.

To make this hat, [elly] started by measuring the circumference of her head, then used math to figure out the radius of the circle for the top part. She made a prototype first to get the fit right, then cut the pieces from the skirt and the lining pieces from black flannel. We love that [elly] used the tiny pocket from the skirt in one of the ear flaps, because it will surely come in handy one day.

[elly] doesn’t provide pattern pieces, but that’s okay — between the explanation of how she arrived at the hat band circumference and the step-by-step instructions, it should be easy to make one of these for yourself from whatever fabric you’ve got.

Before you go cutting up an old coat, consider whether it could be fixed. Remember when [Ted Yapo] fixed the zipper box on his son’s winter coat by printing a replacement? Or how about the time [Gerrit Coetzee] cast his own pea coat buttons?

A Raspberry Pi 400 UPS Add-On, It’s Not All Plain Sailing

Since the recent launch of the all-in-one Raspberry Pi 400, the global hardware community have taken to the new platform and are investigating its potential for hardware enhancements. On the back it has the same 40-pin expansion connector as its single-board siblings, but it’s horizontal rather than vertical, which means that all of the conventional HATs sit in a rather ungainly upright position.

One of the first Pi 400 HATs we’ve seen comes from [Patrick Van Oosterwijck], who has made a very neat 18650-based UPS add-on that is intended to eventually fit in the back of the machine in a similar way to the home computer cartridge peripherals of old. Unfortunately not all has gone according to plan, and in finding out why that is the case we learn something about the design of the 400, and maybe even take a chance to reflect on the Pi Foundation itself.

On the face of it the 400’s interface is the same as that of its single board computer stablemates, but something this project reveals is that its 5 V pins have a current limit of 1 A. This turns out to preclude the type of plug-in Pi UPS that sits on a HAT that we’re used to, in that 1 A through the 5 V pin is no longer enough to run the computer.

This effectively puts a stop to [Patrick]’s project, though he can repurpose it for a Pi 4 and its siblings once he’s dealt with a converter chip overheating problem. He does however make a complaint about the Pi Foundation’s slowness in releasing such data about their products, and given that long-time Pi-watchers will remember a few other blips in the supply of Pi hardware data he has a point. A quick check of the Raspberry Pi GitHub repository reveals nothing related to the Pi 400 at the time of writing, and though it shares much with its Pi 4 sibling it’s obvious that there are enough differences to warrant some extra information.

Hardware hackers may not be part of the core education focus of the Pi range, but a healthy, interested, and active hardware community that feels nurtured by its manufacturer remains key to the supply of interesting Pi-related products feeding into that market. We’d like to urge the Pi Foundation to never forget the hardware side of their ecosystem, and make hardware specification an integral part of every product launch on day one.

If the Pi 400 catches your interest, you can read our review here.

True Networked KVM Without Breaking The Bank

For administering many computers at once, an IP KVM is an invaluable piece of equipment that makes it possible to get the job done over the network without having to haul a keyboard, monitor, and mouse around to each computer. The only downside is that they can get pricey, unless of course you can roll one out based on the Raspberry Pi and the PiKVM image for little more than the cost of the Pi itself.

The video linked below shows how to set all of this up, which involves flashing the image and then setting up the necessary hardware. The build shows an option for using HDMI over USB, but another option using the CSI bus would allow for control over options like video resolution and color that a USB HDMI dongle doesn’t allow for. It also makes it possible to restart the computer and do things like configure BIOS or boot from removable media, which is something that would be impossible with a remote desktop solution like VNC.

The creator of PiKVM was mentioned in a previous post about the creation of the CSI bus capture card, and a Pi hat based on this build will be available soon which would include options for ATX controls as well. Right now, though, it’s possible to build all of this on your own without the hat, and is part of what makes the Pi-KVM impressive, as well as its very low cost.

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Baseball Cap Mouse Provides A Look-And-Click Interface

Once upon a time, the computer mouse didn’t exist. Early computers used a variety of other input devices, from the typical keyboard to more esoteric options such as joysticks or light pens. While the mouse as we know it dominates all, it doesn’t mean other tools can’t find their place. One such device is this hat mouse, from [Jacek Fedorynski].

The mouse consists of an Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Sense, mounted upon a basic baseball cap. The development board packs in a 9 degree-of-freedom motion sensor package featuring the ST LSM6DS33 acceleromater/gyro and LIS3MDL magnetometer. Through a robust sensor fusion algorithm, this enables the board to measure the orientation and motion of the wearer’s head with a great degree of finesse. This allows the user to look at different parts of the screen to move the mouse cursor, with the system working in an absolute rather than relative fashion. Commands are sent to the attached PC with the Feather’s built-in Bluetooth, avoiding the need for dangly cables running down the user’s neck. Files are available on Github for those eager to spin up their own.

Combined with some built-in accessibility aids in Windows, the setup allows the user to move the mouse well, with foot switches used to activate the left and right mouse buttons. For those who find using a traditional mouse difficult, this could be a great tool for better productivity. Of course, if you wish to learn more, it pays to take a look back at the very earliest days of mouse technology. Video after the break.

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A Baseball Cap That Films The Past

The vast majority of cameras will start recording at the press of a button. This is perfectly acceptable behaviour if you wish to film something that hasn’t happened yet. If you want to film something that’s already over, you’re out of luck. [Johan Link] has built a camera designed to do just that, however, and put it on a cap.

The project consists of a Raspberry Pi 3B, combined with a 1080p USB webcam and a 5000 mAh power bank. These are attached to a baseball cap in order to shoot footage from the point of view of the wearer. The camera records continuously, saving the last 7 seconds of recorded video when the button is pressed — perfect for capturing things just after they’ve happened.

It’s a rolling record feature similar to that included with many dashcams and action cameras. Software is available on Github for those interested. While [Johan] has chosen a New York Yankees hat as the basis for the build, we’re confident it should work similarly well with your Seattle Seahawks cap. Raiders fans should contact the garment manufacturer.

Sound-Triggered Eye Protection For The Forgetful Among US

Eyes are fragile things. They tend to fail under extreme heat, pressure, and are easily damaged by flying objects. Enterprising humans have developed a wide range of eye protection solutions, but most only work when the user remembers to put them on. [gocivici] had just such a problem, forgetting to put his safety glasses back on when working. Naturally, the solution was found through hacking.

The build starts with a regular baseball cap. [gocivici] fitted an Arduino nano, which is connected to a small microphone. The Arduino uses the microphone to determine the sound level in the room. Above a certain trigger level, the Arduino triggers a servo to move protective glasses into place in front of the wearer’s eyes, protecting them from flying shrapnel from whatever they may be working on.

It’s a fun build, that obviously still has the pitfall that you’re going to get hurt if you forget to wear your magic hat for the day. Another approach could be putting your multimeter display in your goggles so you never want to take them off in the first place. Video after the break.

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