Inventor And Detective Create Range Of Snack-Hiding Devices

Anyone who has had to deal with siblings, their friends, flatmates or parents who are overly fond of snacks may know this issue: you bought some snacks for your own consumption, but before you can get to them they have vanished. Naturally, nobody knows what happened to said snacks and obviously outraged that anyone would dare to do such a dastardly thing like eating someone else’s snacks.

This is the premise behind British inventor [Colin Furze]’s new series of YouTube videos (embedded after the break). Teaming up with former Scotland Yard detective [Peter Bleksley], their goal is to find ways to hide snacks around the house where curious and peckish individuals will not find them. Though a snack-company sponsored series (Walkers) and featuring snack names that will ring no bells for anyone outside of the UK, it nevertheless shows some innovative ways to hide snacks.

The first episode shows how one can hide snacks (or something else, naturally) inside a door. The second tweaks a standing lamp to add some hidden drawers, and the third episode creates a hidden compartment behind a television. Perhaps the most intriguing part of these episodes is the way it highlights how easy it is to not just hide snacks around the house, but also devices for automation and monitoring. Just think how one could use these tricks for IoT projects and the like.

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Venduino Serves Snacks, Shows Vending Is Tricky Business

Seems like just about every hackerspace eventually ends up with an old vending machine that gets hacked and modded to serve up parts, tools, and consumables. But why don’t more hackerspaces build their own vending machines from scratch? Because as [Ryan Bates] found out, building a DIY vending machine isn’t as easy as it looks.

[Ryan]’s “Venduino” has a lot of hackerspace standard components – laser-cut birch plywood case, Parallax continuous rotation servos, an LCD screen from an old Nokia phone, and of course an Arduino. The design is simple, but the devil is in the details. The machine makes no attempt to validate the coins going into it, the product augurs are not quite optimized to dispense reliably, and the whole machine can be cleaned out of product with a few quick shakes. Granted, [Ryan] isn’t trying to build a reliable money-making machine, but his travails only underscore the quality engineering behind modern vending machines. It might not seem like it when your Cheetos are dangling from the end of an auger, but think about how many successful transactions the real things process in an environment with a lot of variables.

Of course, every failure mode is just something to improve in the next version, but as it is this is still a neat project with some great ideas. If you’re more interested in the workings of commercial machines, check out our posts on listening in on vending machine comms or a Tweeting vending machine.

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