Robotic animal companions were once all the rage, though their limited personalities and annoying sound effects often relegated them to the bin fairly quickly. This makes them all the more ripe for hacking. [David Bynoe] had a Baby Butterscotch that was in need of a new home, and he decided to put the pony to work at his local hackerspace.
The Baby Butterscotch pony is a charming beast in stock form, yet highly menacing once its skin is removed. Mounted to a plaque, the pony has three PIR sensors that detect movement. These sensors are used to allow the pony to act as a door greeter, waking up when people enter the hackerspace and following them around the room. The additional hardware interfaces with the pony’s stock electronics by using floating capacitors and relays to activate the original capacitive touch sensors. The final piece is finished with a coat of gold paint and some RGB eyes to complete the look.
It’s a fun project that gives Vancouver Hack Space a little personality, and we’re sure it’s enjoyed by the members. We’ve seen other companion toy hacks before, with the Furby always being a ripe target for projects. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Robo Pony Greets Hackerspace Visitors”
[Lvl_joe] has been having a little fun with fire and an animatronic pony. The skeletal horse seen above is a child’s toy denuded of its original plush shell. That’s a good thing, because those synthetic fibers don’t play very nicely with flames. The toy originally retailed for around $300 bucks, but if you’re lucky, like [Joe], you can get one second-hand for $25 or less.
Since the horse is already motorized, it’s not too hard to patch into the drivers. Here an Arduino is used to take input from a Wii Nunchuck, letting you swing the fire sprayer to and fro. A grill igniter makes sure it’s not just spraying automotive starter fluid everywhere. You can hear the click of that tiny spark repeatedly firing in the demo video after the break. The starter fluid comes in an aerosol can. A custom trigger system holds the can in a PVC pipe, and actuates the valve with a Bowden cable.
Continue reading “A Little Fire Breathing Pony To Call Your Own”
[Cal Henderson] delivered a keynote titled Why I Hate Django at the first annual DjangoCon. Django is an open source BSD licensed web framework written in Python. Google has posted the keynote in its entirety to YouTube, which you can find embedded above. While the talk is humorous (and takes many jabs at Rails developers) it does provide insight into what makes a good web framework. [Cal] is Director of Engineering at Flickr and is an authority on how to make websites scale. He points out that most frameworks are designed to get projects off the ground quickly, but are lacking when it comes to building an even larger service. He talks about several things in Django that need work and improvements that could be made. It’s really an interesting look at what it takes to go big. Continue reading “Why I Hate Django”