Wire Light LED Strand – 12 Cool White LEDs + Coin Cell Holder: Add sparkle to your project with these lovely silver wire LED strands. These strands are very interesting, they use two silver wires that are coated so they don’t short if they touch, then tiny 1000mcd LEDs are bonded onto the wires and coated with epoxy. The result is a very flexible silver wire with sparkly “fairy” lights that are much less visible than normal LEDs. They’re still just LEDs, but in a fun new form-factor! They’re even waterproof – you can dunk these or have them outdoors, just be sure to protect the battery holder. Read more.
Technabob has more information on the new LEGO Mars Rover set coming out in 2014. So cool!
Here’s a new year’s gift from LEGO that fans will appreciate. Start off 2014 with bricks, not a bang! This super sweet NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover launches on New Year’s Day. Prepare to spend the day building it in your LEGO lair.
This 295-piece set was originally a design put up on the LEGO Cuusoo site as a fan-generated idea. What made this one stand out was that its designer was a mechanical engineer. That engineer was Stephen Pakbaz, who worked on the actual Curiosity. So he knows what he is doing. In other words, you won’t find a better version.
He has been working with LEGO ever since his design was accepted, making this version as close to the real thing as possible. The LEGO Curiosity Rover will retail for only $29.99(USD) in the LEGO Shop when it launches on New Year’s Day.
Louis Pelissier got into the holiday spirit maker-style by crafting this Christmas Wreath out of old computer parts. He spoke to Laura Cochrane at Make about the project:
It is made out of 15 memory chips from old computers. The bow is a red Cat5 network cable. Three old keyboards were used for the lettering (three Rs were needed). One keyboard was taken apart and the housing that holds the keys in place was cut to the number of letter spaces to hold the words “Merry Christmas” and 4 extra spaces for the wire ties.
Steve Sammartino and Raul Oaida built this car out of legos, pistons, and four orbital engines in Romania. via gizmodo
What happens if you take 500,000 pieces of Lego and 256 pistons, then hand them over to Steve Sammartino and Raul Oaida? This fully functioning, life-size, air-powered Lego car is what.
With four orbital engines powering the massive lump of plastic bricks, the vehicle can hit speeds of up to 20mph. Styled to look like a hot rod, Sammartino and Oaida built the vehicle in Romania, but it’s since been shipped to Melbourne.
I have here a Neo Geo Pocket Color (AKA NGPC) and an old Gravis Gamepad Pro. The Gravis has excellent button placement and feels great in the hand, but the d-pads on them always sucked because back in the day Nintendo still had a patent on the good kind. Well, as it turns out, there was one directional input which was still better than a cross-shaped d-pad, and that’s the clicky thumbstick on the NGPC. It’s amazing, and is the only thumb-control I’ve ever liked for shmups or fighting games, because you can actually pull off a dragon-punch move without breaking your thumbs. IMO, the thumb stick of the NGPC was the very best part of the whole system.
So I’m transplanting the thumb stick into the Gravis, and converting the whole thing to bluetooth.
Bluefruit EZ-Key – 12 Input Bluetooth HID Keyboard Controller – v1.2 – Create your own wireless Bluetooth keyboard controller in an hour with the Bluefruit EZ-Key: it’s the fastest, easiest and bestest Bluetooth controller. We spent years learning how to develop our own custom Bluetooth firmware, and coupled with our own BT module hardware, we’ve created the most Maker-friendly wireless you can get! (read more)
Diff is a small device that monitors the internal events stream of The New York Times and prints out a summary each time an active headline is changed. As it runs, it generates a long stream of changes printed on thermal paper: text that was removed from a headline is rendered as inverted, while additions to a headline are underlined.
Add a mini printer to any microcontroller project with this very cute thermal printer. Thermal printers are also known as receipt printers, they’re what you get when you go to the ATM or grocery store. Now you can embed a little printer of your own into an enclosure. This printer is ideal for interfacing with a microcontroller, you simply need a 3.3V-5V TTL serial output from your microcontroller to print text, barcodes, bitmap graphics, even a QR code!
Add a floppy drive to your setup! This tutorial from Alan Page of virtualfloppy will show you how to bring that old school look and feel to your computer. Retro is soooo in again.
The Catweasel is an add-on card for the PC which allows reading TRS-80 floppy disks. It works by emulating a floppy disk controller using a combination of hardware and software. At the very start of the current project I believed that similar functionality would be possible by reversing the input and output signals and connecting a TRS-80 floppy drive to the interface board. Just recently I have succeeded in doing this.
The interface board plugs into the top of the Raspberry Pi and the floppy card edge connector plugs into the TRS-80 floppy disk drive. The logic analyzer plug is for testing and development only and is not required for operation.
The interface board sits on top of the Pi during use. It is about the same size as the Raspberry Pi. No PC or Mac is required as this is a complete standalone computer system…
This is a great starter project from TheFreeElectron via Instructables. This tutorial is perfect for someone just starting out with their Pi.
The Raspberry Pi is an amazing 35 dollars mini-computer. It allows you to do everything you could do with a regular Linux computer (Connecting to the internet, watching videos, launching applications, …) but also to interact with the world surrounding it, just like an Arduino. That’s why I qualify it as a mix between a computer and a micro-controller.
That’s also why I chose it for this project. I’m going to show you how to control LEDs with your Raspberry Pi. Firstly directly from the Raspberry Pi itself, then from any device in your house like your Smartphone or your tablet…
Candy is an important part of Halloween! However, eating all that candy can lead to cavities. Make brushing fun this Halloween by creating your own electric toothbrush! All you need is a toothbrush, rubber bands, a wooden block, and littleBits! This toothbrush also has a programmable timer so you can decide how long to brush your teeth for (the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth two times a day for two minutes). Show that sweet tooth who’s boss this Halloween.
Back in 2010 I made a series of illustrations featuring incandescent bulbs. Since the light bulb is the symbol for the birth of an idea, I played on this visually for a while, using them in place of blades of grass, flowers, and the like.
Like my delta robot army, this project was inspired by these ‘idea’ illustrations from the past. I have always wanted to make a bouquet of light bulbs that was portable, and finally with the right materials and a little push from my friend… I sat down this week and made it happen.
As anyone who has worked away from wired urban areas will know, it can be hard to get connected and stay online. And yet the equipment used to get online in say Kenya, India or the rest of the developing world is the same as you’d use in London or New York, even though the conditions are totally different.
This is what motivated the team at Ushahidi in Nairobi to solve that problem for the world they live in – Africa. The BRCK is a physically robust, back up generator for the internet and was successfully funded through Kickstarter over the summer.
We loved the project so we got in touch with them to say so. Their reply was awesome.
Erik, from the team, said “I can’t tell you how much we love sugru. We had a joke during the early prototyping that BRCK was a connectivity device made entirely out of love, kapton tape, and sugru! We’ve used it in every prototype for little fixes to 3D prints that arrived chipped, adjustments, mounts and making whole buttons.”
Now how cool is that?! Check out their Kickstarter page for loads more on the project.
I’ve been listening to a really great podcast lately called No Quarter. It’s all about remembering and reliving classic arcade games, of the sort us folks-of-a-certain-age grew up with. If you’ve never played Dig Dug or Space Invaders in a smoke-filled, dimly-lit room with purple carpet, blacklights, and a creepy dude shifting pot in the corner, then you don’t know what I’m talking about. Also, get off my lawn.
The boys at No Quarter have rekindled my love of those games, but to play them properly you need the right equipment. Rather like a samurai making her own sword, this is something of a right of passage for people who want to play these old games The Right Way™. Namely, building a control panel. I wanted something clean, fairly compact, but beefy enough to play most games from 1970 up through about 1993. Here’s what I came up with.