We were fortunate to run into [Sp4m] at DEFCON31 and see his Modular Cyberdeck Creation Kit in person. In fact, he was wearing it around the hallways like a rogue decker in search of fellow runners. Holding the unit feels like a serious tool because of its weight, mainly from the battery. Everything hangs from a single-point sling on a metal handle, probably from the cabinetry aisle, and we could move silently and comfortably. The sling is firearm-rated, which is appropriate since he has a printed Weaver rail on top. It just needs a flashlight/laser combo.
[Sp4m] aims to create printable parts that combine any on-hand materials into a usable cyberdeck. In this iteration, he uses a wired Apple keyboard and trackpad he found in the trash, so we have to assume he works in IT. Most of the trackpad is covered, but enough is accessible to scroll and maneuver the mouse, saving almost six inches. The Steam deck is the current head but is removable so that this hardware collection can work for many USB-C tablets without fuss.
The eye-catching white/orange is no accident and may earn it a top spot in the Icebreaker category of the 2023 Cyberdeck Contest. The judges are currently deliberating, so keep an eye out for an announcement about the winners shortly.
We all have those gnarly hacks that we still think about years after we first saw them. For serial tipster [Inne], one of those is [Patrick Baudisch]’s soap mouse, which is a DIY device for mousing in mid-air that uses components from off the shelf and around the house.
How does it work? The guts are encased in plastic shaped like a flattened pill, which slips into a fuzzy sock. By squeezing it a bit, the plastic pill rotates, spinning the outward-facing sensor round and round. Although we briefly reported on the soap mouse way back in 2006, we think it deserves to be in the spotlight today, especially since there’s a complete PDF guide to building one that’s optimized for gaming. If you want a regular pointing device instead, the conversion is described within.
[Patrick] uses a CompUSA (RIP) mouse in the guide, but any sufficiently slim and also short mouse should work as long as it has a decently long focal range, which is necessary for the sensor to see the hull. Plenty of travel mice out there should fit the bill.
The hull itself is made from two small (empty) bottles of hand sanitizer, chosen for their size, shape, and clarity of plastic. The outermost housing is a baby sock with a snap sewn on. [Patrick] says moving the sock against the plastic is difficult, and has tried various methods for lubrication, such as a bit of mineral oil inside some plastic bags.
Be sure to check out the video after the break, which does a great job of explaining everything from the various types of interaction to construction in 5½ minutes.
Since 2006, [Patrick] has held workshops where people have built their own soap mice. Have you built one? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget about the Digi-Key-sponsored Odd Inputs and Peculiar Peripherals contest, which runs through July 4th. Declare your independence from regular keyboards and mice and win big!
Continue reading “Soap Mouse Is A Slippery Interface For Mid-Air Input”
For anything involving video capture while moving, most videographers, cinematographers, and camera operators turn to a gimbal. In theory it is a simple machine, needing only three sets of bearings to allow the camera to maintain a constant position despite a shifting, moving platform. In practice it’s much more complicated, and gimbals can easily run into the thousands of dollars. While it’s possible to build one to reduce the extravagant cost, few use 100% off-the-shelf parts like [Matt]’s handheld gimbal.
[Matt]’s build was far more involved than bolting some brackets and bearings together, though. Most gimbals for filming are powered, so motors and electronics are required. Not only that, but the entire rig needs to be as balanced as possible to reduce stress on those motors. [Matt] used fishing weights to get everything calibrated, as well as an interesting PID setup.
Be sure to check out the video below to see the gimbal in action. After a lot of trial-and-error, it’s hard to tell the difference between this and a consumer-grade gimbal, and all without the use of a CNC machine or a 3D printer. Of course, if you have access to those kinds of tools, there’s no limit to the types of gimbals you can build.
Continue reading “Handheld Gimbal With Off-The-Shelf Parts”