Carbon Monoxide: Hunting A Silent Killer

Walt and Molly Weber had just finished several long weeks of work. He was an FBI agent on an important case. She had a management job at Houghton Mifflin. On a sunny Friday evening in February of 1995, the two embarked on a much needed weekend skiing getaway. They drove five hours to the Sierra Mountains in California’s Mammoth Lakes ski area. This was a last-minute trip, so most of the nicer hotels were booked. The tired couple checked in at a lower cost motel at around 11:30pm on Friday night. They quickly settled in and went to bed, planning for an early start with a 7am wakeup call Saturday morning.

When the front desk called on Saturday, no one answered the phone. The desk manager figured they had gotten an early start and were already on the slopes. Sunday was the same. It wasn’t until a maid went to check on the room that the couple were found to be still in bed, unresponsive.

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Minicut2d And Omniwheel Robot

You’d think we would be done with the World Maker Faire posts by now, but no! We keep looking at our memory cards and finding more awesome projects to write about.

[Renaud Iltis] flew over from France to show off MiniCut2D, his CNC hot wire foam cutter. MiniCut2D uses X and Y, and Z stMINICUT2epper motors much like a 3D printer. Rather than print though, it pulls a heated nichrome wire through styrofoam. Foam cutting is great for crafts, but it really takes off when used for R/C aircraft. [Renaud] was cutting some models out of Depron foam in his booth. [Renaud] has set up as a central location for users to upload and share designs in DXF format.

One of the neater features of MiniCut2D is that it can be loaded with a stack of foam boards to make several cuts at once. Not only is this a time saver when cutting repeating designs like wing ribs, but it also ensures the cut pieces are identical. Hey, even CNCs make mistakes once in a while.

 Omniwheel Robot


In the MakerShed booth, we found [Victor Aprea] showing off Wicked Device’s new product, the Omniwheel Robot. Omniwheel utilizes a holonomic drive with omnidirectional wheels. The kit comes with a Nanode Zero, Wicked Devices’ own Arduino Uno clone, a motor control board, 3 motors, 3 omnidirectional wheels, and a whole list of hardware. The only thing needed to complete the kit is a radio control unit and receiver. Omniwheel may be simple, but we found driving it around to be mesmerizing – and a bit challenging. It’s a good thing [Victor] brought that plexiglass cover, as we bumped it a few times.

We’d love to see one of these little bots with a couple of sensors and autonomous control. If you build one, make sure to post it to!

Something WiFi This Way Comes; Wicked Device Unveils Wildfire


Wicked Device has released the WildFire board to the world. WildFire is a an Arduino compatible processor board with a Texas instruments CC3000. WildFire adds a few interesting features to the typical ‘Duino clone. Instead of the ATMega328 used in the Arduino Uno, the WildFire uses an ATMega1284p, which gives 16K of SRAM and 128K of Flash ROM (as compared to 2K RAM and 32K Flash in an Uno). A micro SD card slot is also on-board for data logging functions.

In the name of full disclosure, we should mention that [Adam] has known [Victor and Ken] over at Wicked Device for a few years now, and got his hands on a pre-release version of the board to play with. As with any non-standard Arduino board, the WildFire does require some modification to the Arduino IDE. This took a bit of time with the pre-release board. Wicked Device has streamlined the process since then. Everything is contained in a zip file on their product page. Once the IDE is up and running, its easy to get the WildFire’s CC3000 connected to your local access point. From there the internet is your playground. For those of you already asking “So, Hack?”, watch this space – Adam is working on a hack using the WildFire board which will show up in a few days.