S1axter's Tech Log of Crazy Stuff s1axter

Circuits, electronics, hacks, software, firmware and anything else cool

Arduino Etch-a-sketch clock

Post image Sorry for the delay in posting for a while, my server burned down, there was a traffic jam, I had to save a school bus full of kids, my dog died, my dead dog ate my posts....pick an excuse, :-).

There are a bunch of computer controlled Etch-a-sketch projects out there such as these:

Nice laptop
Atmel Etch-a-sketch mouse interface
Etch CNC
General Etch controller

However none of these projects is a clock! Saw this on Makezine today and thought it was post worthy. Check out this project which turns an Etch-a-sketch into a working clock using an Arduino:

http://angelayuan.com/build.htm

Not a whole lot of details but some cool links

via: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/03/arduino_etchasketch_clock.html

This color is BADA55!

Post image Like mustard green? Yeah, it's BADA55, and now you can buy #BADA55 in a can!

Check out this post on Makezine about the paint color #BADA55!

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/03/bada55_in_a_can_bada55_in.html

Chicken Sandwich

Post image Ok, who searched for 'chicken sandwich'. That's funny!

http://geeksinside.com/searchlist/

Trossen Robotics and Johnny-5!

Post image Yesterday the the Trossen Robotics Team dropped us a tip letting us know their fourth project contest came to a conclusion on February 29th. Trossen Robotics contest is a general technology project contest showcasing cool projects dealing with "robotics, automation, art, RFID, DIY, mods, inventions, and anything else demonstrating some form of technological creativity". In the submitted tip they say "We run this contest to help promote and encourage innovation and ingenuity.", (sounds just like what we here at GI strive for!)

Projects are scored on "Wow" factor, Ingenuity, Creativity, and Presentation (graphics, videos, documentation, explanation, etc.) and submissions are open to anyone who has something to enter. While the fourth contest ended last month, you are in luck, they are running another one right now that ends in May 2008. Over $800 in prizes were given out last contest, and there will probably more for this one, so make something cool and submit!

I took a look at some of the projects entered in the fourth contest and I really liked the servo based Johnny-5. Reading the specs the thing runs Windows XP on a Pico-ITX board @ 1GHZ! Not exactly what I whould have done but it is still cool. Check it out

Contest page: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/contest.aspx
Showcase: http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/forumdisplay.php?f=101

Build a CPLD dev board

Post image Check out these two tutorials on how to build a simple CPLD dev board and an introduction to Verilog found on pyroelectro.com.

The dev board is quite sparse, but could be a really good base for a series of tutorials on how to work with programmable logic.

http://www.pyroelectro.com/tutorials/cpld_board/
http://www.pyroelectro.com/tutorials/verilog_intro/

About programmable logic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programmable_logic_device

Evolution of a programmer

Post image I love stuff like this, lol!

http://www.ariel.com.au/jokes/The_Evolution_of_a_Programmer.html

Guitar Amp

Post image Check out some pix of a simple guitar amp I made using an 8-Ohm speaker and an LM386 audio amp from Radioshack

http://mybitbox.com/gallery/amp/

Here are some links for making a min amp:
http://www.cigarboxguitars.com/workshops/CigarBoxAmp.php
http://www.runoffgroove.com/littlegem.html

And a video of the amp in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHqhDsH4HUo

Sparkfun contest doing well

Post image Looks like the Sparkfun gift certificate contest is going well, lots of comments. I am really looking forward to giving out the prize, should be interesting.

Check out the number of submissions per person: http://geeksinside.com/comments.php

There are a few things on the horizon for Geeksinside and I would love to get some feedback from our readers.

First, the guys here and I have been talking about opening GI up for unrestricted registration for blogs. The system would work just like it does now, discrete blogs with the option to post to the main page. Posts suggested for main would be reviewed by admins and either approved or not (They stay in the blog). For major contributors admins could grant auto main post approval, article ability, file storage (kinda like this), admin rights, etc. Think of it as Slashdot but with blogs ;-) What else would you the user want?

I would also love to do more contests, any suggestions?

Embedded.com: Is Assembly Language Obsolete?

Post image Embedded.com has an interesting article on the perceived obsolescence of assembly by some professions. I've spoken with a number of programmers and engineers, and almost every one, with the exception of low level computer engineers, says 'Nobody programs in assembly anymore'. This might be true for desktop applications, server applications, or web service engineers, however nothing is further from the truth for embedded engineers. I've always believed that to understand how something works, you need to know how it is implemented. This article shares this thought and asserts that any good embedded engineer needs to understand computer architecture and thus assembly. That or you are going to be stuck with this:

"If a Java-only developer ever pondered CPU design, can you imagine the horribly-complex room-full of logic he'd envision? 'Here's the circuit that implements a formatted print instruction.'"

What do you do and when was the last time you programmed some assembly?

Article: http://www.embedded.com/design/206801678
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assembly_language

Deka Research Star Wars 'Luke arm'

Post image Dean Kamen's company, Deka Research (creators of the Segway), has been working for the past two years on a prosthetic modular arm to help amputees. The arm weighs in around 50 7.5 lbs and has an impressively wide range of motion. From the IEEE Spectrum article:

"The arm has motor control fine enough for test subjects to pluck chocolate-covered coffee beans one by one, pick up a power drill, unlock a door, and shake a hand. Six preconfigured grip settings make this possible, with names like chuck grip, key grip, and power grip. The different grips are shortcuts for the main operations humans perform daily."


This is really cool but I don't know about the foot controls, what happens when the guy walks?

Article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/feb08/5957
Via Science Punk

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