Archive for April, 2010

How to decode infrared transmission

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

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Alright, here we’re going for chapter on Manchester Encoding. Brian J Hoskins did just that when building this RC5 decoder. This protocol is widely used in television remote controls. You use them on a daily basis, don’t you think it’s time you understood what’s going on? Check out his writeup and learn the dark art of invisible light communication. Or just skip the learning and follow this how-to.

courtesy: Hack a day

How to build your own RFID reader

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

DIY RFID

Do you have any idea on how easy it is to build your own RFID reader? Well, we stumbled upon some sites that’ll give you some clearer picture on how to make this thing happens. As pointed out by hackaday,

[Klulukasz] left a comment pointing to this DIY RFID reader that was a final project in 2006 for a class at Cornell University. It is well documented and includes not only a schematic and code, but an explanation of the design considerations used during the build. The project uses an ATmega32 and the parts list priced out at about $50 at the time. There were plenty of responses to theRFID spoofer post pointing out that there are readers available for $40, but we want the fun of building our own.

A bit more vague with the details but no less interesting is this other simple RFID reader design.

Courtesy: hackaday

Tomatoes the new biofuel?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

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This sounds like a sci-fi movie, instead – they use tomatoes other than humans! Thank god, we’re safe! We all know tomatoes pack a powerful acidic punch, but we never thought we’d see one lighting up a room! Cygalle Shapiro of Israel-based d-VISION has created an incredible LED lamp that is completely powered by real, edible tomatoes. Currently exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair, the design collects energy from a chemical reaction between tomato acids, zinc, and copper. This design doesn’t only explore advances in lighting technology – its also an art piece that sends clear and powerful social-conscience messages about where and how we receive energy.

courtesy: inhabitat

Radio monitoring book re-released under a Creative Commons license

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

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Make contributor T.J. “Skip” Arey says:

Many of you know that, some time back, I authored a book called Radio Monitoring — A How To Guide. Originally published by Index Publishing Group and later released by Paladin Press, is had two very successful editions that sold for many years. This book has recently gone out of print but I am pleased to say that I have now released it on line (for FREE) via Creative Commons license. I admit that a few points are a bit dated but the book still has a lot to offer the beginner or even experienced radio hobbyist. You can download a copy thanks to the North American Shortwave Association (NASWA) who have consented to be the primary online source for distribution. The hobby has been good to me over the years. I am happy to give this book back to the radio community. Enjoy.

Courtesy: Naswa.net via Make

Automated rain barrel watering system

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

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To some crowds, irrigating a small garden is a relatively relaxing and sometimes therapeutic activity, well if you are a botany/biology nerd or desperately really need a hobby – but going away for any length of time can present a problem. The simple solution of course is to purchase a hose-bib/timer package from Home Depot for about $30 and set up a small drip system to efficiently water each plant or row of plants (rather than a wasteful sprinkler system). Going along with conserving water is using a rain barrel collection system to capture rain for later use thus eliminating or more likely reducing treated water consumption.

Adding a rain barrel complicates the system significantly as there isn’t much water pressure at its spigot compared to a standard city spigot which has somewhere around 40 psi. Also, if the barrel is empty, you don’t want your plants to die and thus you need to be able to detect that the barrel is empty and switch to city water.

Courtesy: HAXORYOURMOTHERHARDRIVE

Public bus transportation notifier

Friday, April 16th, 2010

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Knuckles904 at Random Hacks of Boredom was tired of waiting for the bus. His town had installed GPS units on the buses so that riders could track their locations via the Internet so he knew there should be a way to avoid the wait while also never missing the bus. He developed a sketch for an Arduino to check the bus location and notify him when it was on its way.

This method saves him from leaving his computer running. It parses the text data from the public transportation website and updates both an LED display, as well as a Twitter feed. Now he can monitor several different bus lines via the hardware at home, or though a cell phone if he’s on the go.

This guy have done a useful tricks and provides some sources to make this project works. Well done!

Data-logging shirt for analyzing baseball biomechanics

Friday, April 16th, 2010

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The shirt was developed by Marcus Moche, Alexandra Morgan and David Schmidt as a Capstone Design Project—a senior-level team project that requires students to solve a “real-world” engineering problem or develop a viable product.

Pitchers become more susceptible to injury when they lose consistency in their mechanics—the physics of how they throw the baseball, pitch after pitch. After this, is going to be logged for analysis.

Courtesy: Northeastern

Open Source Lion-Tracking Collars In the Works

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

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Want to help save some lions in Kenya? Well, help these guys make some open source lion-tracking collars, complete with GPS and GSM on board.

Lions are not doing too well in Kenya, with only 2,000 or so left. Two groups called Lion Guardians and Living with Lions are dedicated to studying and saving the diminished lion population. In order to help them out, Justin Downs of Brooklyn’s GRND Lab built them a solar-powered treehouse last year. Now, he’s working on some of the aforementioned collars to help them track the lions.

He’s looking for donations on Kickstarter for the project now, so if your passions create a Venn diagram between open-source hardware and lions, well, here you go.

Source Kickstarter via Clay Shirky

Flood Triggered Automated Camera System (FTACS)

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

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When the Department of Natural Resources of Australia decided that they needed to capture data about the natural flooding of a cave, they turned to a hacker to get results. The goal was to photograph the area during these floods with an automated system. In the end, they used a gutted Lumix digital camera mounted in a trash can, covered in aluminium foil. Though it sounds a bit silly, the final product turned out quite nice. You can see the build log, schematics, and results on the project page.

In this case the event they are trying to capture pictures of a cave flood with a Flood Triggered Automated Camera System. The system consists of a camera that is connected to a moisture sensor so that the a camera can start taking pictures when the sensor gets wet. Pictures will continue to be taken every 15 minutes until the moisture levels go back to normal. Since it is being installed in a remote location it needed to be self sustaining.

The water sensor is an interesting design since it has the ability of killing the power to the entire system when the conditions are dry. This is done by using a Darlington transistor feeding a relay.

Courtesy of Penguins Lab

More functional GPS in minutes

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

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Sparky with his hack to allow interaction with the core of an Aldi GO Cruise 4300 GPS Windows CE OS. All that’s required is a few programs and registry edits to the GPS, which anyone can accomplish within a few minutes. But, suggested you go slow and double-check your work, anyway; nobody wants a bricked system. After you’re done you can run such great programs like the one Sparky suggest for 4WD enthusiasts,Ozi Explorer.

via Hack a Day