Back in 2004, Jason Levin and Chris Hopkins, two students at Cornell, hacked a serial mouse into an Etch-a-Sketch:
The public was introduced to the EAS in 1960 and since then it has stayed virtually the same. This nostalgic toy is recognized by many generations and we decided to put a new spin on the device. Most Americans are familiar with the two knob design which allows a user to control the movement of a stylus by turning each knob. The left knob controls horizontal motion and the right knob moves the stylus vertically. Turning both knobs at the same time causes the stylus to draw out a diagonal line. We decided to mount a stepper motor on each knob and control those with the Atmel Mega 32. By connecting a serial mouse to the microcontroller and using our line drawing algorithm, we could move the stylus directly by moving the mouse. The ability to record movements and play them back is available for creating more interesting designs.
In designing this project, we decided to create something that was a mix of mechanical and electrical components and would ultimately be fun to use. Using an EAS would be a throwback to our childhood but adding the mouse also revitalized the toy. Many students who saw us working with the EAS were immediately interested in what we were doing because it is such a popular childhood toy. Though the control of an EAS with a mouse is not necessarily a practical project, we thought it would be a good way for us to practice our engineering skills and would be something entertaining to do.
Behold, the Blue Marlin, a “semi-submersible heavy lift ship” that is capable of hoisting and transplanting other, full-sized ships (that is ships as big or bigger than a US Destroyer-class vessel) all around the oceans.
Mister Alphabet is an action-figure designed to cleverly bend and contort into every letter of the Latin alphabet; the website is long on trademark warnings and arty Instagram photos, but short on details, like, “Is this an object of commerce?” and “If so, where does one buy it?” (via Kottke)
Phone chargers usually only deliver a few volts of juice at a feeble amperage, but they’ll deliver a lot more if you give them the chance. The BBC writes that a UK man died in the bathtub after being shocked by a charger connected to an extension cord. Richard Bull, 32, died when his iPhone […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]