Get Your Smarties or M&Ms From A Vending Machine

There are some debates that split the world down the middle. Serious stuff: M&Ms, or Smarties*? Yes, the two chocolate beans may bear a superficial resemblance to each other, but you’re either a Smartie lover, or an M&M lover. No compromises.

[Maximusvo] has sensibly dodged all questions of brand loyalty in his text if not in his images even though it’s obvious what kind of confectionery he’s working with in his candy vending machine. The hard-shell chocolates are loaded into a hopper, from which a colourful cascade is released onto a scale. When the desired weight has been accumulated, it is tipped into a drawer for the hungry recipient.

Behind it all is an Arduino with a motor to release the beans, a load cell to weigh them, and an LCD display to give a status report. A motor vibrates the chute to ensure they move down it, but as can be seen in the video demo below the break it’s not doing an entirely successful job. There is an external buzzer to indicate delivery, and aside from the wooden construction of the machine there are 3D printed parts in the scale.

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iPhone 3.0 adds custom protocol support for addons

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In middle of all the adding features that should have been available day-one, Apple announced something really interesting for the hardware hacking community. The new iPhone 3.0 OS will support application communication over bluetooth or through the dock connector using standard or custom protocols. From Engadget’s coverage:

10:19AM “They talk over the dock, and wirelessly over Bluetooth. Things like playing and pausing music, getting artwork — or you can build your own custom protocols.”
10:19AM “Now here’s a class that we think will be really interesting — medical devices.” Scott’s showing off a blood pressure reader that interfaces with the iPhone — wild.
10:18AM “Here’s an example — an FM transmitter. With 3.0, the dev can build a custom app that pairs up with it, and automatically finds the right station and tunes it in.”
10:18AM “With 3.0, we’re going to enable accessory developers to build custom apps that talk directly to that hardware.”

No solid connection specification has been published yet. We’re excited about the prospect of developing our own accessory hardware, but we wonder what sort of hoops you’ll have to jump through. Apple doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to approvals. Just this week they denied MSA Remote client App Store entry; it’s a multitouch client that uses the standard TUIO protocol. Prepare for similar roadblocks in the future.

[via adafruit]