Everyone must have a few things that are emotive of their childhood, perhaps a sight, a sound, or a smell. For me, growing up as I did on a small British organic farm in the 1970s, my emotive things are the smell of rain hitting parched earth, or of the slightly sulphurous diesel exhaust from a clapped-out Fordson Major tractor. And wheelbarrows, strangely. My dad, you see, is both a blacksmith by trade and an inveterate experimenter in the field of handcarts and barrows. A small self-sufficient farm generates a huge range of different loads that need carrying around, and he fashioned a variety of inventive contraptions for the purpose. Of most use are his oversized builder’s barrows with a full-size van wheel at the front and able to cross the bumpiest of ground, but other highlights included the low-loading barrow for shifting the heaviest one-piece loads, or the two-wheeler for very long objects.
As you might expect then, I have an eye for a barrow, as I’ve pushed a few in my time. So when I read about how traditional Chinese barrows are constructed, they caught my attention and I had to ask: why don’t we do it that way?
[Craig Turner] shows that simplicity can be surprisingly interesting. He connected up different colors of blinking LEDs in a grid. There’s no controller, but the startup voltage differences between colors make for some neat patterns with zero effort.
It takes four really big propellers to get an ostrich off the ground. This quadcopter’s a bit too feathery for us, but we still couldn’t stop laughing.
This Kinect sign language translator looks pretty amazing. It puts the Kinect on a motorized gimbal so that it can better follow the signer. We just had a bit of trouble with translation since the sound and text are both in Hebrew. This probably should have been a standalone feature otherwise.
We may be good at soldering but when it comes to hauling topsoil our scrawny arms quiver. [Johndavid400] did the smart thing here by letting the machine do all the work. Instead of hauling an entire truckload of dirt across the yard one wheelbarrow at a time, he built a shelf on the top of his Lawnbot400. We saw this lawnmower Arduino-powered, remote control mower back in November. The addition of its ability to handle some of the manual labor makes it the perfect backyard hack.