Make Your Own Pet Fire Breathing Dragon

[Jorvon Moss] a.k.a. [Odd_Jayy] is known as a maker of “companion robots” which he carriers perched on top of his shoulders. (I don’t know about you, but we’re getting some pretty strong Ash and Pikachu vibes.)

In one of his recent builds, he decided to give his companion bot a bit of sizzle. His Widget Dragon Companion Bot is an impressive 3D printed build, divided into a surprisingly few parts. The robot is controlled using an Adafruit Crickit, marketed specifically for robotics projects, and is easily programmed using the increasingly popular Microsoft MakeCode.

With a few servos, [Odd Jay] was able to animate his bot giving it more of an “alive” feel. Finally, he added a vape pen to give the dragon some pyrotechnic effects.

This is just the kind of energy we love to see here at Hackaday. While you’re around, take a look at some of [Odd_Jayy’s] other robot projects and head over to his Instagram page to see more real-time project updates.

A Sweet Little Insulin Reminder Light

So much of what we do relies on a certain societal structure that has been absent for a few months now. When the days run together, it’s hard to remember to do the things that must happen daily. You think you did something, and maybe you’re right, but it’s quite possible you’re thinking of yesterday.

[Flameeyes] has diabetes and must use an insulin pen every morning without fail, no matter what’s happening outside his door. This was pretty much a non-issue in the before-time, but quickly became a serious problem as the routine-free weeks wore on. With no room for false positives, he needed a solution that doesn’t trigger until the deed is done.

Now when [Flameeyes] puts the pen away, he also triggers a Flic smart button mounted nearby. The Flic shares its status with a Feather M4 Express through a web app, and the Feather in turn changes the RGB LED inside of Pikachu’s base from red to yellow for the day. Pikachu sits in plain sight by the kettle, so there’s no guessing whether [Flameeyes] took his insulin.

Insulin is a critical commodity with a lot of DIY interest, which is probably starting to spike about now. Our own [Dan Maloney] wrote a great piece on the subject that brings up an insulin hack from around 80 years ago.

Open Source Computer Controlled Loom Weaves Pikachu For You

The origin story of software takes us back past punch card computers and Babbage’s Difference Engine to a French weaver called Joseph Marie Jacquard. Jacquard created a way to automate mechanical looms, giving weavers the ability to change a loom’s pattern by simply switching punch cards. This invention not only made it possible to produce detailed fabrics in a vastly simplified way, it was an extremely important conceptual step in the development of computer programming, influencing Babbage’s development of the Analytical Engine amongst many other things.

So, when [Kurt] saw his son’s enthusiasm for weaving on a simple loom, he started thinking about how he could pay homage to the roots of software by designing and building an open source computer controlled loom. He knew this was going to be difficult: looms are complex machines with hundreds of small parts. [Kurt] wrestled with wonky carriage movements, cam jams, hook size disasters and plenty of magic smoke from motor control boards. After a year and a half of loom hacking he succeeded in making a 60 thread computer controlled loom, driven by an iPhone app using Bluetooth.

As well as writing up the story of this build on his blog, linked above, [Kurt] has also has made all of his design files, PCB layouts, firmware and code available on GitLab.

We’ve featured a few weaving hacks over the years, including this cheap, simple 3D printable loom and a Jacquard inspired bitmap display.

Fun, informative build video after the cut.

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Pikachu Is Coming For You (especially On Carpet)

If you look closely, you’ll see that Pikachu isn’t sporting a pair of funky throwing stars, but is actually suspended between there. Our furry friend is just putting a happy face on this carpet roving robot called the Carpet Monkey V5. It’s been in the works for years, and this is just one more stop in the prototyping process as the development of version 6 is already under way.

The project is a testament to what can be accomplished using all of the design tools at your disposal. The motive mechanism was conceived as a cross between the qualities of legs and the ease of using wheels. Each of the appendages are covered with strategically placed points meant to grab onto carpet, and allow the ‘wheel’ to grip objects as the machine vaults over them. You can see that each has a spring mechanism to further facilitate gripping with each turn of the axle. This seems to go far beyond what usually comes out of hobby robotics, and we think that’s a great thing!

After the break there’s a video showing how all the parts of these grippers are assembled. See the bot cruising around the room at about 3 minutes in.

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Pikachu Circuit Bent Goggles

pikachu_goggle1 (Custom)

These nifty looking goggles are actually an instrument. The guts of a pikachu doll have been splayed and mounted to the goggles. The controller is an external box that allows you to make all kinds of changes to the pitch and sample section. You can see a video of it after the break. We don’t really find this to be great music, but find watching the guy fairly amusing.

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