Showing posts with label gadget. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gadget. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

[Time Sensitive] Automagically locking your PC is just a key fob away with GateKeeper (GK-Chain). Only a few hours left!

KickStarter - GateKeeper

Multipurpose Bluetooth Smart proximity tag - never leave your phone/keys behind, keep track of valuables, or auto lock computer.

Many features, 1 device, and useful to everyone. A versatile Bluetooth 4.0 proximity tracker that performs item loss prevention, item locating, auto locks and unlocks your Mac or PC. Syncs with our Android app for even more functionality (and iOS iPhone if we reach our stretch goal). The GateKeeper (GK-Chain) is just the start of an amazing proximity technology product.

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What's the problem?

- "$30 billion worth of phones lost in the U.S. every year"

- "Coffee shops, offices, bars and restaurants top the list as the most common venues to lose your phone in the U.S."

- "...people typically lose up to 9 items per day, which calculates to 198,743 in a lifetime!"

- "...according to Boston Marketing firm, the average American burns 55 minutes a day looking for things they know they own but cannot find. That adds up to a total of almost 14 days a year people spend just trying to find lost things."

Our reply:

  • Never lose or leave your phone, keys, or valuables behind EVER again
  • Save time by automatically locking and/or unlocking your computer
  • Increase security with 2-factor authentication

...

Application Scenarios:

Track Your Valuables: Purses, pets, luggage, phone - you'll be alerted when you move too far from your GK-Chain.

Parents: Can warn you if your children go out of range.

Teachers: Consistently lock your PC to prevent students from accessing it.

Health Professionals: Unlock computers automatically so that you can attend to patients.

Office: Keep co-workers or visitors from accessing your computer when you're gone.

Dorms: Don't let your friends change your Facebook status again. Ever.

Home: Protect your PC from siblings or children downloading unwanted programs.

Coffee Shop: Outside with your laptop? Ensure your privacy.

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Instead of typing in your password every time, the GK-Chain unlocks your computer when you approach, and locks when you leave. Or, if you want additional security, you can set the GK-Chain to actually require the key and the password.

The GK-Chains also serve as Bluetooth 4.0 trackers. Using our free companion app, you can find your GK-Chain with a Bluetooth 4.0 enabled smartphone. This way, you'll have a little more help finding your lost keys, wallet, bag, even your luggage at the airport. The GK-Chain app will alert you when your bag is at hand.

...

This is something I've wanted for forever. I hate uber tight timeframes to auto lock my PC and I hate it when I forget to lock my PC when I walk away from it (which only happens once a month [my forgetting to lock it ;] I've wanted to use my camera or phone, badge or something to automagically lock and unlock my PC...

So backing this was a no brainer... :)

I hope they make the 40K goal so the WinPhone support achievement is unlocked. lol

(via technabob - GateKeeper Locks Your PC Automatically, Perfect for the Lazy and Security Conscious)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

[Kickstarter of the Day]Making your paper airplane smart (and powered) - "PowerUp 3.0 - Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane"

Kickstarter - PowerUp 3.0 - Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane

PowerUp 3.0 turns your self-made paper airplane into a smartphone-controlled flying machine

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  1. Fold It: Simply fold a piece of copier paper into a paper airplane
  2. Attach It: Attach the Smart Module to your paper plane with the patented clips underneath the Smart Module.
  3. Connect It: Start the app to connect to the Smart Module with your iPhone.
  4. Fly It: Push throttle to full and launch the paper airplane high up into the sky. Tilt your smartphone to the left or to the right to steer your plane, increase or reduce throttle to go up or down.

...

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Now if there was a Windows Phone or Windows Store App I'd be all over this. Even without it's pretty darn cool...

(via DIY Drones - PowerUp 3.0 - Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane)

Friday, September 13, 2013

No need to fake it 'till you make it when you have this book, "Zero to Maker"

Make: - New to This Whole “Maker” Thing? Great!

As much as the headlines like to focus on 3D printing, robots, and new manufacturing companies, there’s actually a more important trend happening in the maker movement: accessibility. Even (and especially) if you don’t consider yourself a maker or tinkerer.

The tools and services are evolving at a breakneck pace, becoming both cheaper and easier to use. It’s an arms race to see who can create the most accessible, affordable ways to help you build whatever you can imagine! The big winner in this fierce competition is you, the new maker.

Getting involved has never been easier. And a lot can happen in just a few years. For instance, here’s my first Zero to Maker post from two years ago. Fast forward to next week at World Maker Faire where we’ll be demoing the newest version of OpenROV, an underwater robot I helped build with hundreds of other citizen ocean explorers.

...

Zero to Maker

Are you possessed by the urge to invent, design, and make something that others enjoy, but don’t know how to plug into the maker movement?

In Zero to Maker, David Lang explains how he became a pro maker after losing his job, and how the experience helped him start OpenROV—a community and product line focused on open source undersea exploration. It all happened once he became an active member of the maker culture.

Ready to take the plunge into the next Industrial Revolution? This guide provides a clear and inspiring roadmap.

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I love that "Just enough" subtitle. I think that's one of the things that's going to be on my cryogenic case... :)

Available on Amazon, and other sources..

Pre-order the paper...

... or today start reading the Kindle today...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I2BLE (Intro to Bluetooth Low Energy)

Hack A Day - Primer on Bluetooth Low Energy

We’re sure that, like us, you’ve heard at least something about Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Bluetooth 4.0 is another name for BLE and it’s already available in some smartphones; starting with the iPhone 4S, BlackBerry 10, and with Android support added in 4.3 — Jelly Bean. Here’s your chance to get acquainted which what the specification brings to the table. The source material (which we’ll talk about below) provides a ton of background. But if you want a succinct overview check out [Gervasi's] summary of Bluetooth Low Energy.

We won’t republish the technical details here as both articles do a great job of covering those. Here’s what you should take away from BLE: It’s meant for use with devices running off of a tiny power source...

Element 14 - Bluetooth Low Energy

In the past year Bluetooth low energy (BLE) has seen a surge in popularity.

Despite its name, BLE is not that similar to conventional Bluetooth.  One of its selling points is that you can design a BLE device to run off a 230mAh CR2032 Li coin cell.  This is possible, but in practice developers often end up using a larger battery.  The rated 230mAh on a coin cell assumes very low current draw.  If you draw more than a few hundred microamps, except in very short bursts, the capacity is cut in half.  Moreover a Li cell’s internal resistance rises as its power is depleted more than cells of other chemistries.  If your power budget requires more than 100mAh, a CR2032 will be insufficient. 

The BLE physical layer divides ...

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BlackBerry 10 - Bluetooth LE primer for developers

This article is part of a series intended to help developers wishing to exploit Bluetooth® Low Energy® technology in their BlackBerry® 10 applications. No pre-requisite knowledge of Bluetooth Low Energy is necessary to appreciate this article as a summary of the technology is included. Readers of this article ought to be familiar with BlackBerry 10 native development, including Qt® and QML, and should be familiar with C++ in order to appreciate the sample application that is used to demonstrate the concepts.

The approach taken in this article is to describe the concepts and architecture that comprise Bluetooth Low Energy and then use the vehicle of a real world example of a Heart Rate Monitor application (HeartMonitor) to build on these concepts. This sample application has been published on GitHub® as Open Source.

The Authors

This article was co-authored by Martin Woolley and John Murray both of whom work in the BlackBerry Developer Relations team. Both Martin and John specialize in the application of proximity radio technology on BlackBerry devices including Bluetooth and NFC (amongst other things).

An Overview of Bluetooth Low Energy Technology

So, you’ve probably thought to yourself: “What can possibly be new in Bluetooth? What’s this “Low Energy” thing and what can I use it for? ” Bluetooth is a technology that’s been around for many years (it was originally conceived in 1994 as a wireless cable replacement technology) and we’ve become comfortable with its presence everywhere in devices such as Bluetooth Headsets, or other peripherals.

If I was to paraphrase how Bluetooth has evolved since its inception until about 2010, then it would be to say that it was following a path towards higher ...

At Build 2013 Scott Walker of Secret Labs was very excited about the AGENT Smart Watch's support for BLE. I didn't have the heart (or the will to highlight my ignorance) to say that I didn't really know jack about BLE. And while I still am clueless (and not just about BLE, ask anyone! ;) I'm that much less now after reading these, and they didn't even make my eyes bleed or brain explode (much). And now I see why he was so excited... :)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Seeding your hardware hacking with the Seeed Open Parts Library (think "Little Old School Radio Shack in a $75.00 box of component goodies")

Seeed - Seeed brings you Open Parts Library

Do you remember the last time you designed a board? Was it a hassle sourcing your components from multiple vendors? Were you frustrated paying multiple shipping costs?

We’re familiar with those issues and other PCB design headaches, so we created OPL v1, an Open Parts Library that includes more than 100 commonly used components. Besides being an economical master toolbox filled with all of your essential building blocks, there are several other compelling reasons to use the Open Parts Library for your next design

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  • Accelerated Design Time

Ø Not only are the components offered at a great price, but when combined with our express PCB printing service, your design time is greatly accelerated. We accept small batch PCB orders of 2-10 pieces.  And we offer to help you solder those OPL components to your board. We charge $0.05 per pin for SMD and $0.04 per pin for DIP.

     Ø We also created the OPL Eagle library, making it easy to include these items in your design. In addition, datasheets and 3-D modules will be available for each of the components.

Ø Another goal of OPL is to shorten the lead time to bring your product to market. In other words, we will always have the components adequately stocked, so that no matter what stage you are in the design process, like prototyping or bulk production, the components will always be available and manufacturing can begin at any moment.

...

Open parts library (wiki)

OPL eagle library for download

Notice: In eagle library, please pay more attention on layer 46 of footprint, you will find hints for such components.

A package containing the components from the Open Parts Library can be purchased at http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/open-parts-library-p-1560.html

Contents

SNAGHTML10c11f

Open Parts Library (Purchase)

  • $75.00

OPL v1(Open Parts Library v1) is a package of 100+ kinds of components. Such components are commonly-used, quality reliable, DFM friendly and have sufficient stock. Also, their eagle library is free to download. This little package can greatly increase the efficiency for design reference and supply chain optimization.

Here is the Parts List of OPL v1.

Here are the features of OPL v1.

Commonly-used

Including IC, resistor, capacitor, inductor, diode, transistor, crystal oscillator, connector and fuse, etc., components in OPL (Open Parts Library) are selected according to their popularity, practicality and compatibility in open source community. For example, Atmega 328p, 16M Crystal Oscillator and mini USB are all collected to provide more convenience in product design and save you some time in component sourcing.

We also collect wishes from you and then update the components in OPL every 6 months.

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I really wish I was better at hardware. And even though the thought of firing up my soldering iron gives butterflies, I still think this kit is pretty darn cool and think a bunch of you might find it useful.

Friday, August 02, 2013

FEZ Game-O Emulator - Community Edition

Project Update #3: FEZ Game-O Emulator - Community Edition

We are proud to announce the release of FEZ Game-O Emulator - Community Edition.  Please feel to download the latest version at https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/codeshare/entry/776.  Community members have already been using the emulator to create and share gaming examples! Visit the FEZ Game-O code base at https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/codeshare and search for "Game-O".

The FEZ Game-O Team

* Note - The emulator does not support sound or the features of the accelerometer.

GHI Electronics - Game-O Emulator Community Edition

This is a community edition of the emulator for Fez Game-O console. It is WPF based application. To exit the emulator press "Power" button. To change the color of the emulator press one of the colored button at the bottom of the screen.

Enjoy!

Initial submit: Source code only. The installation project is in progress and will be added later.

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I think I just found my weekend project... :)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Full O'Fun with the "FEZ Game-O", an open-source .Net Micro Framework console

Monday, July 15, 2013

Full O'Fun with the "FEZ Game-O", an open-source .Net Micro Framework console

GHI Electronics - FEZ Game-O, an open-source console

GHI Electronics believes in the importance of education and the quality of nurturing future generations. The all new FEZ Game-O is a programmable handheld console that lets developers develop applications using Microsoft Visual Studio with C# and Visual Basic. Developers and students learning how to program on the FEZ Game-O can use the same knowledge to develop applications for computers. Similarly, developers that already know C# and Visual Basic (.NET) already know how to program FEZ Game-O.

Not only is it easy to code but having .NET Micro Framework at its core allows the device to be programmed using just a USB cable. Debugging is also supported over USB, from breakpoints and stepping in code to inspecting variables and invoking commands.

We made FEZ Game-O even more awesome by making it all open source! Advanced users can show off their skills by tweaking the core software and even connect JTAG to run native software, using their favorite IDE or even use GCC with command line. We also invite the entire community to continue this open platform and write open source applications and games.

The core of FEZ Game-O is a 32-bit 168Mhz Cortex-M4 processor, STM32F407. This powerful little microcontroller is capable of running all kinds of arcade games and even a software 3D rendering. Advanced users can take advantage of the RLP feature, which allows native code to be invoked from within C# or Visual Basic.

FEZ Game-O is a hacker-friendly device. We want you to open it! Inside, you will find a MicroSD socket, a placement to solder a Bluetooth module (not included) and few IOs. We did not forget about JTAG/SWD and kept it available.

We are releasing FEZ Game-O on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform. You can pledge to help us out and be among the very first people to receive one of the best educational tools available, FEZ Game-O. Coding will be more fun than ever before!

..." [GD: Post Leach Level: 99%]

Kickstarter campaign, Open-source programmable hand-held console, FEZ Game-O

Learn how to program your own applications and games on this open-source hand-held console.

We believe anyone should be free in how they use their devices. We also believe that writing applications and games on an open-source platform is a great way to learn programming, for both kids and adults. We have built FEZ Game-O from the ground up with these two beliefs in mind. 

FEZ Game-O is an open-source hand-held programmable console.  With it you can accomplish more in less time as it is programmed using Microsoft's Visual Studio, in C# and Visual Basic (.NET). These are the same tools that professionals use today to create all kinds of applications and games for Windows PCs. A developer who knows C# or VB already knows how to program the FEZ Game-O and a beginner learning C# or VB on FEZ Game-O can use that same knowledge to program a PC.

The goal of FEZ Game-O is not to compete with other closed-source platforms or to sell overly priced games. Instead, we want to build an open-source platform with a community where you will obtain the application for free and even receive the source code of that application as well. We want you to share your work, learn from and improve other's work ... this is the FEZ Game-O mentality.

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Advanced Users

There are many options for advanced users. For example, the core libraries include a feature that allows users to load native code within NETMF code (Runtime Loadable Procedures) where game logic can be done with managed C# or VB but the critical inner loops can be done in C or assembly.  This is similar to how DLLs function on PCs. Below is an example of a 3D software raycast rendering.

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Can FEZ Game-O emulate a classic console?

Yes it can! We currently do not have any emulators in development but it is possible to emulate many of the classic consoles. We have a feeling someone in the community will port an emulator. Will that be you?

How easy is it?

Below is a snippet of code to show you how easy it is program the FEZ Game-O using C#. The code shows you how to draw a circle, line, text and bitmap on the LCD.

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Manufacturing Timeline

  • Place order for additional parts (July)
  • Place order for additional PCBs (July)
  • Start circuit board assembly (August - October)
  • Hand assembly of remaining parts (August - October)
  • Quality Check (August - October)
  • Shipping of backer rewards (August - October)

What we will provide

  • FEZ Game-O console with protective pouch and USB cable
  • FEZ Game-O Eagle design files
  • FEZ Game-O board schematics
  • FEZ Game-O 3D PDF
  • FEZ Game-O SDK compatible with both Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012
  • FEZ Game-O tutorials and access to a community-driven code-base

...

FEZ Game-O

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*** This product is being launched on Kickstarter, learn more . ***

FEZ Game-O is a programmable console that is ideal for education and for open-source application development. Its hardware hosts a powerful 32bit 168MHz STM32 Cortex-M4 processor with 1MB of RAM, combined with a 320 x 240 color display, 3D accelerometer and audio circuitry.

By default, FEZ Game-O ships loaded with the .NET Micro Framework (NETMF) sytem, which allows developers to connect it to a PC using a USB cable then use Visual Studio (even the free express version) to program it, using C# or Visual Basic.

Also with an available JTAG/SWD connection, developers can load any ARM Cortex-M4 compiled-code on the core micro-controller, using their favorite IDE or even using the command line with GCC compiler

FEZ Game-O is open source with all hardware design files provided in EAGLE format. The .NET Micro Framework software is also completely open source.

Key Features

  • Cortex-M4 168Mhz microprocessor
  • 1024KB FLASH
  • 192KB RAM
  • 320 x 240 16-bit TFT display
  • 3D Accelerometer
  • Speaker
  • Volume control
  • USB Connection (for loading and debugging applications)
  • Bluetooth option (see below)
  • JTAG/SWD (for advanced users)
  • Runs off 3xAAA batteries

I was backer #8... :)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

No, I'm not gesturing for you to call me, I'm talking into my glove... "Hi-Call’s Bluetooth Glove"

global nerdy - Hi-Call’s Bluetooth Glove Lets You Make and Take Calls Using the “Call Me” Hand Gesture

You probably recognize this as the gesture, which pantomimes speaking on a old phone handset, as the symbol for “call me”:

The Hi-Call Bluetooth glove handset now lets you use that same gesture to make a call:

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With a speaker in the thumb, a microphone in the pinkie finger and Bluetooth components and indicators near the wrist, the Hi-Call glove lets you make and take calls using the well-known hand gesture. It’ll be good for a laugh when you demonstrate it in front of friends, and strangers watching you use the glove from a distance will think you’re one of those crazy people who talk to themselves (although Bluetooth earpieces have had the same effect for years).

..."

hi-Call - Bluetooth talking glove

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hi-Call:
Buetooth talking glove!
hi-Call is a Bluetooth glove that allows you to talk through your hand.
The left glove has a speaker and a microphone sewed into thumb and pinkie, in order to speak to the phone, while protecting from cold.
A pair of warm gloves, perfect for every sport, from skiing to running, with hi-Call you can control the touch screen of your smartphone thanks to the capacitive technology.

Compatible with: all mobile phones with Bluetooth

Specs:
Operating range: 12 meters
Battery lasts up to: standby 10 days - conversation 20 hours
Sizes: man and woman
Garment can be dry cleaned
Colors: black, grey

Inside the packaging:
hi-Call
Charging cable microUSB to USB
Instruction manual

I had to check the calendar to see if this was April 1st when I saw this... But seems this is real? If so, it's fricken awesome.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pedestrian Crossing Pong - Play pong with the guy across the street while you wait for the light to change...

Traffic Light Lets You Play Pong

A very modern traffic light in central Germany that allows you to play a game of pong with someone on the other side of the street while waiting for the light to change. An amazing invention and experiment in social interaction.

That's officially pretty cool...

(via Teusje - Traffic light lets you play pong)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The perfect game room or kids room light switch?

ThinkGeek - Power-Up Arcade Light Switch Plate

ee57_power-up_arcade_light_switch_plate

Power-up your room

Did you ever dream of living in the arcade when you were a kid? Every morning, you'd eat your cereal on the air hockey table (turned on, of course, so your spoon would float ever so slightly). You'd get in a few rounds of your favorite game before school and when you got home, you and all your friends would mash buttons together. Then you'd go to bed, snuggled up in the ball pit. Hear that? The sound of jingling quarters, bleeping, pew pew pewing, and those words you wouldn't say if Mom's in earshot? That's the sound of pure gamer geek happiness.

Recapture that joy in your own home with the Power-Up Arcade Light Switch Plate. The Power-Up replaces your boring, normal light switch with 100% more pew pew pew! A quick few minutes of screwdriver finagling and you'll have arcade nostalgia on your wall, ready to do your bidding. Press the joystick down to turn your lights on. Push it up to turn them off. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! See those two red buttons? Press them for super fun arcade sound effects. Entering a room has never been more fun.

Super-Easy Installation!
No wiring or electrician skills needed! The Power-Up Arcade Light Switch easily fits over your existing wall switch. Simply remove the two screws on your switch plate then place the Arcade Light Switch over top and replace two screws. The Arcade Light Switch is powered by internal AA batteries so no electrical connection is needed.

Remember!
Be aware that since the Power-Up Arcade Light Switch fits over your existing wall switch, your light switch type needs to be the common switch type. Dimmers, flat switches, etc.. will not work. Oh and Electricity is awesome but dangerous. Take all safety precautions when replacing your switch plate.

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Heck forget the game/kids room, I think I want this for my home office!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Future Workstation? Dream Chair? Death to the cubes? [okay, maybe not but these are seriously drool worthy]

WinExtra - The Futuristic Computer Workstation That Will Make You Faint From Desire [Pics]

Oh my freaking Lord how I want this absolutely awesome looking computer workstation setup and just to head off the situation here’s the drool towel that I know you are going to need.

Both of these offerings are from MWE Labs and will definitely make a heavy dent in your pocketbook but come on look at them – you know that you would give anything to be able to have one of these sweet looking setups in your home or office.

First up is the Emperor 200 with its 3 27″ monitors (you can select smaller sizes – but why?) with each monitor sporting a resolution of 2560 x 1440 or 7680 x 1440 across all three monitors. The computer part come with three different configurations – 2 Windows and one Mac OS.

This is the second Windows configuration just to give you an idea of the power available with the Emperor 200:

Intel Core i7 3.60GHz
32 GB PC3-12800 Memory
1 TB SATA3 7200 rpm Storage
Quadro 4000 2 GB
Windows 7 Professional 64Bit

It also comes with its own air filtration and lighting system:

HEPA air filtering system
Climate package (seat)
goLITE BLU Energy light
Perimeter LED lights (RBG)

When it comes to the actual seating and movement components it has seven electric adjustments, four electric actuators a seat with Italian leather wrapping the RECARO style top line XL with a climate package.

Of course all this doesn’t come cheap and will set you back $49,150 USD so for most of us we’ll have to be happy looking at a few more images.

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Imagine getting rid of cube farms and having a number of these instead? They give you a personal space, a place here you can concentrate an focus, yet are open enough to allow for easy communication, teaming and collaboration, all the while staring how tech forward thinking you are! (Do you think my boss would buy that? hum... need to craft some productivity numbers and slide decks and maybe!... okay, hell no, not a chance, but a boy can dream, right? ;)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Roller Coaster Simulator from Ballistic Locomotive... The perfect accessory for your guy-cave or the geek living room?

Hack A Day - Roller coaster simulator for the Redbull creation contest

[Dave] and [Martin], otherwise known as Ballistic Locomotive, sent in their entry for the Redbull creation contest. It’s a roller coaster simulator that can emulate the twists, turns, and drops of a roller coaster in your living room.

The simulator is built around a plywood roller coaster car mounted on a 2 DOF table. With a few first-person roller coaster videos and the speed, roll, and tilt data provided. Ballistic Locomotive had a functioning roller coaster simulator.

Of course, watching a 1st-person shot of a roller coaster just isn’t the same experience without the wind blowing through your hair. To simulate this aspect of a roller coaster ride, so the Ballistic Locomotive team connected a relay to the bullduino and connected a carpet drying fan.

..."

ballisticlocomotive

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Oh... want... waNT... WANT!!!  :P

All I wanted is a frick'n laser... engraved hot dog!

Make: - Laser Settings for Engraving Hot Dogs

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Adam from X-Laser sent in this important last-minute Fourth of July tip for those of you who have laser cutters nearby at your BBQ:

We used an Epilog Helix 35W, I found that the sweet spot for hot dogs was 1200DPI, 14% speed and 100% power. We had less success rastering ground beef though, it seems to be better suited for vector engraving.

Now that's hot... :P

Monday, June 25, 2012

Etch-a-Sketch hack of the day, using an Etch-a-Sketch as a temperature log display.

Hack A Day - Logging temperatures with an Etch-a-Sketch

What do you do if you’re given a gigantic ancient printer? If you’re [IronJungle], you throw that printer on your workbench and salvage all the parts you can. After coming across a few stepper motors in an old Oki printer, [IronJungle] decided to automate an Etch-a-Sketch with the help of a PIC microcontroller and H-bridge chip to log the ambient temperature on an Etch-a-Sketch display.

After [IronJungle] was finished figuring out his stepper motor circuit, the only thing left to do was to add a thermometer. For this task, he chose a very cool one-wire digital thermometer that carries power and data over the same wire.

...

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That's just kind of cool. I was about to suggest that this would be a great seismometer too, but then I thought about it for a second... um... never mind... LOL

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Hackerspace + Los Angeles = Null Space Labs

Hack A Day - Hackerspace intros: Null Space Labs in Los Angeles California

[Charlie] from Null Space Labs in Los Angeles, California sent in this fun little video as an introduction to their hackerspace. Going a bit askew from the traditional “walk through” method of a tour, they decide to first attempt semi-successfully to fly a quadcopter, film some police commotion, then show off some projects in progress. Don’t worry, you do get to see a fair bit of the space and the copious piles of parts as well.

...

Local Hackerspace? How could I not blog about it?

What is Null Space Labs?

We are a place for people who do interesting things with tech; we offer wifi, coworking space, an electronics and hardware lab with soldering stations and rework equipment, a small wet lab, simple wood and metal working tools, public computers, and, most of all, a creative environment that’s open to visitors.

Fields of interest of people you might find at the lab include DIY electronics, hardware hacking, lock picking, game development, entrepreneurship, security, graphics programming, AI, photography, privacy and civil rights, etc.

The group that operates Null Space Labs sees itself solely as an infrastructure provider and exerts little influence over projects and events carried out at the lab. We are trying to be financially independent, and finance our operations through membership fees.

The space was opened in May 2010. Also, we are the only hackerspace that is not saving the world.

Their parking map made me laugh...

Where is Null Space Labs?

...

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I don't know if I'm every going to make it there, but I thought it cool knowing that it's there, just in case.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Bildopolis = Forts! (Keep the "kids" busy for weeks on end!)

You've Been Haacked - Build All The Things With Bildopolis

Recently I’ve been tweeting photos of my kids playing with a new toy my wife bought them that I’mthey are totally enthralled with. It’s called the Bildopolis Big Bilder Kit.

This is a creation of a family friend of ours who used to be an industrial designer at IDEO. He left a while ago to start on his own thing and came up with this. We bought a set immediately in part to to support his efforts, but also because it looked cool. We were not disappointed. This thing is fun.

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Bildopolis

The Bildopolis Big Bilder kit gives kids the freedom to build their own world without rules, in a simple, fun, ecologically friendly way that challenges them to think outside the (cardboard) box. LEARN MORE »

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ZOMG! Forts! I want like 12 of these... Image the things I could build. Wait... um... I mean... I don't have any kids any more (or grandkids yet). errr... um... Practice! Yeah! I need to practice for when I do! That's my story and I'm sticking with it... :P

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Can you hear me now? Adding a retro corded handset to your cellphone

Instructables - Connecting a telephone handset to your cell phone

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Check out the author’s website, http://www.neatinformation.com/, for lots of interesting articles. If you link to this instructable from another website, please include a link to the Neat Information website.

Note - You will need basic electronic skills to build the project in this tutorial. You will also need to do some research to verify whether or not it will work with your phone and what connectors you will need. Use this information at your own risk; do not complain if it doesn't work for you. Only use as prescribed. Your mileage will certainly vary.

Here’s an interesting retrohack which is actually more practical than it seems at first glance – connecting an old telephone handset to your cell phone.

It’s been done before, primarily with Bluetooth. Many of the mods just repackage a Bluetooth headset by removing the handset’s original microphone and speaker and putting the Bluetooth mike and speaker into their locations with whatever extra wiring is required. A few use the original handset’s mike and speaker and connect the wires to a Bluetooth module. But this version is non-invasive (doesn’t change the handset) and is corded.

...

Why corded? Partially because it’s cheaper, partially because it’s interesting looking, and also because, at least to my ears, the sound quality is better.

Bluetooth and cell phones are a marvel of miniaturization. Remember what cell phones looked like a decade ago? They were almost as large as the communicators from the original “Star Trek” series (which ironically was set in the 23rd century.) Miniaturization results in compromises. The current technology for tiny speakers and microphones is pretty amazing, but the quality sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. When I use my cell phone at home I usually hook it up to a repurposed pair of computer speakers to make it easier to understand conversations. So using an old corded handset with your cell phone may result in better voice quality.

In addition Bell Labs put a lot of research into design ergonomics for telephones. They’re designed to be comfortable (within the technology limitations of the time and given that they had to be produced for a reasonable price). Some people actually prefer using a standard phone handset instead of holding a cell phone up to the ear, having a Bluetooth unit stuck inside the ear, or wearing a headset. Unfortunately ergonomics design seems to have been forgotten in today’s cell phones. (What in the heck was Samsung thinking when they placed the far too low volume speaker on the back of my phone facing away from my ear?)

..."

You had me at, well, the thought of walking down the street talking on this kind of handset... Forget the bluetooth borg drones, THIS is the way to chat on a cell! LOL

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Maker Shed helps you get un-screwed with the 54 Piece Bit Driver Kit

MAKE: - In the Maker Shed: 54 Piece Bit Driver Kit

"I hate security screws with a passion. When I become president I’m going to push to make them illegal. But in the meantime, what happens if you come across some that need to be dealt with? You get this 54 Piece Bit Driver Kit from the Maker Shed and get to work! The kit includes plenty of security bits to ensure you can open almost anything. The magnetized driver features a metal shaft, swivel top, rubberized grip, and a 60mm extension. It also includes a flexible 130 mm extension for those hard to reach areas. The entire kit comes packaged in a handy-dandy reusable plastic case.

Includes the following bit types:

  • Slot sizes 1, 1.3, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4 mm
  • Philips sizes #000, #00, #0, #1 (x2), #2
  • Spanner sizes 2, 2.2, 2.6, 3 mm
  • Torn sizes T3, T4 (x2), T5, T6 (x2), T7, T8, T9, T10, T15, T20
  • Hex sizes 0.7, 0.9, 1.3, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 6 mm
  • Posidrive sizes #0, #1, #2
  • Star sizes 2, 3 mm
  • Square sizes #0, #1, #2
  • Triangle size 3 mm
  • Tri-wing sizes #0, #1
  • Drop size 1 mm

..."

 

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And only $19.95! Man, I'll take two! :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

No more Coffee Thieves with the RFID secured Keurig

Hack A Day - Securing your Keurig with RFID

"[Andrew Robinson] and his co-workers are lucky enough to have a Keurig coffee maker in their office, though they have a hard time keeping track of who owes what to the community coffee fund. Since K-Cups are more expensive than bulk coffee, [Andrew] decided that they needed a better way to log everyone’s drinking habits in order to know who needs to cough up the most cash at the end of the month.

He started by tearing down the Keurig B40, making note of the various PCBs inside while identifying the best way to go about hacking the device. The coffee maker is controlled by a PIC, and rather than try to re-engineer things from the bottom up, he left the core of the machine intact and focused on the control panel instead.

He disconnected all of the unit’s buttons from the control board, routing them through an Arduino before reconnecting them to the machine. This essentially rendered the machine inoperable unless triggered by the Arduino, giving [Andrew] control over the brewing process. He wired in an RFID reader from SparkFun, then got busy coding his security/inventory system. Now, when someone wants coffee, they merely need to swipe their office access card over the machine, which enables the use of its control panel.

...

image..."

You've got to love hardware hackers. Now what he needs to do is hook up a Kinect w/ Kinect SDK to get positions and a picture (for verification purposes of course) and... and... and... LOL

Friday, December 30, 2011

[Floppy Drive Music Hack] Christmas music presented by the 8 Floppy Drive Orchestra

Hack a Day - A Floppy Drive Orchestra

"With 8 drives working in concert, this “floppy drive array orchestra” takes drive music to a whole new level! As if that wasn’t enough, [SileNT] decided to use the16x64 LED array that he’s been working on in concert with the drives.

For those that remember, we’ve actually featured [SileNT], AKA [Pawel]‘s, work before, where we were impressed that he was able to play the Imperial March from Star Wars on 2 floppy drives. He’s planning more information about his floppy drive music making in the future and maybe even instructions on building your own personal disk drive orchestra. Apparently [SileNT] has an abundant supply of 3 1/2 inch drives, so maybe even this feat can be topped…

..."

That's pretty sick (cool as heck, but still sick... LOL)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Hardware Music Hack] Star Wars Imperial March theme played by dual floppy drives