Last September, Doctor Kristen Stubbs -- a roboticist who makes sex-gadgets for her Toymaker Project -- released a video (NSFW) demonstrating her prototype pelvic-floor strength-tester, called "The Hammer." The Hammer has a bulb that is internally inserted, containing a squeeze-sensor, and a penis-shaped, light-up readout that protrudes between the wearer's legs. The harder the wearer squeezes, the more the readout lights up.
Right now The Hammer has two modes: the test-your-strength game, where the more you squeeze, the more it lights up; and a demo mode which cycles through all of the colors of the LEDs. Soon I hope to connect the Arduino to my Android phone, and then I’ll be able to do even more cool things!
I’ll be following up on this with more technical details over the next few weeks. (Update, 10/11/12: If you would like to hear me talk about how I made The Hammer, you can see some excerpts and my slides from my technical talk at Arse Elektronika 2012.) My plan is for The Hammer to become an Open Hardware project. This is still very much a prototype, but I would be thrilled if anyone else wanted to build their own.
Adafruit has announced "Gemma," a bite-sized, Arduino compatible board intended for use in wearable electronics projects. It measures 1" in diameter, and while it's not shipping yet, they're taking names for people who want to get 'em when they ship:
Powered by the ATtiny85 with 3 available I/O pins, one of which is also an analog input and two which can do PWM output*
Progammable over the micro USB connection*
Onboard 3.3v Regulator and power LED*
Works with our Flora NeoPixels (can drive about a dozen - not much RAM!)*
Super tiny design, only 1" (25mm) diameter & 4mm thick
I had a lot of time on my hands this holiday season and decided to get an arduino kit (I have solar panels I want to aim for max efficiency during the day, on a VW van.) A lot of intro titles seemed interesting but Simon Monk's 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius grabbed my attention. Good title!
Sadly, this is no guide to building shark-mountable lasers. There are however a lot of simple, short projects that help you understand building with an arduino controller. Monk uses very clear pictures and schematics to show what needs doing. His text is precise and understandable. The steps are easy to follow and the thing you should learn from an exercise is blatantly obvious. Most importantly these projects are fun! I'm not just making an LED blink or a speaker chirp when I work with this book. Projects like the temperature monitor and computer controlled fan are giving me the foundation I need to aim my solar panels. The results and functions are easy to apply to the types of things I want to do with an arduino.
The good folks at Darwin Aerospace have figured out how to use drones to parachute burritos directly onto your property. They await pending FAA reforms before they can go into business, however. Here's how it works:
It works like this:
You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends your current location to our server, which generates a waypoint file compatible with the drone's autopilot.
We upload the waypoint file to the drone and load your burrito in to our custom made Burrito Delivery Tube.
The drone flies to your location and releases the Burrito Delivery Tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.
We built Burrito Bomber using a handful of open source projects and some new bits we created ourselves. All the code and 3D models we created for Burrito Bomber are on our GitHub page so you can build one too!
The Arduino Esplora is a ready-to-use, easy-to-hold controller that lets you explore the infinite possibilities you have in the world of Arduino, without having to deal with breadboards or soldering. Shaped like a game controller, it’s designed to be used out of the box without extra parts since it comes with many sensors and actuators already on it.
For the time being, it's available at RadioShack stores.
Scanlime's Beth modded a remote control vibrator, replacing the interface with an Arduino-based sonar controller that she can activate with any part of her body, playing it like a theremin. The result is pretty cool -- it "closes the feedback loop" between the vibrator's intensity and the user's physical response. The post includes a detailed technical breakdown of the reverse-engineering steps that she used to work out how to hijack the control mechanism, and the steps that went into building the remote, including a 3D printed chassis. The plans are open source hardware (CC-BY-SA), and posted to Github.
This toy serves as a kind of analog bridge between two remote spaces: the column of ultrasonically-oscillating air in front of the remote, and whatever body part happens to be in contact with the vibrator. Touch that invisible space above the remote, and the vibrator touches you.
In fact, it does start to feel like there’s a palpable object in space above the remote’s sensors. Move your body close to it, and it reacts. Press into it lightly, or tease the edges. Flick your hand through it, or make graceful waves back and forth. You can use your whole body to touch it, almost like a big fuzzy vibrating cone floating in air.
If the sensor can see your body’s rhythms, it responds in kind, effortlessly synchronizing to its frequency. This is exactly the sort of closed-loop control I was after.
Here's a cute way to gimmick a keyboard out of a grid of beercans, using Raspberry Pis and Arduinos:
We did this at Webstock, event which took place in Bucharest in September. Staropramen, one of the sponsors of the event asked us for an innovative way to offer a trip to Prague to one of the event's guests.
So, we came up with a keyboard made out of 44 Staropramen beer cans. Each beer can was a key, and whenever someone touched it, the corresponding letter appeared on a large plasma screen (just like any regular computer keyboard).
And the surprise was fantastic! The user experience and engagement overcame any expectation. Every single person who attended Webstock tried the keyboard and participated to the contest.
Behind the scene, the system is built around an Arduino board and a few capacitive controllers (just like the ones which are inside smartphones' touch screens), connected to a Raspberry PI board which controls the plasma screen display.
Electromagnetic Field is a three day camping festival for hackers, geeks, scientists, engineers, artists, and crafters. From the 31st August to the 2nd September we'll be taking over a field in Milton Keynes and turning it into a place for makers and breakers to meet, build and learn from each other.
Katsideswide has modded her alpha-version Makie doll with a pair of expressive animal ears. She drilled holes in the head of her custom, 3D printed dolls, used the head-cavity to house a controller, and went to town.
Ok, i've just started tinkering around with some tiny servos to get Suekat expressing herself. I'm yet to get the drill out to perform amateur surgery on her skullcap but I'm hoping the results will be exciting! I don't want to promise anything yet but I've hooked up an arduino pro mini, and the conveniently sized head cavity means I think i can get a fair amount in there. It looks like there's a handy hole in the neck leading to what looks suspiciously like a space for a battery in Suekat's back. Unfortunately I can't get a standard 9V battery into the space! It's a fraction too small. I was wondering what battery it was designed for? And if there's any chance I can get 9V out of it?
Cody Brocious -- a Mozilla dev and security researcher -- presented a paper on a vulnerability in hotel-door locks last month at Black Hat. Many electronic hotel door-locks made by Onity have a small DC power-port that also supplies data beneath them. Brocious showed that if he plugs an Arduino into these locks, reads out the 24-bit number sitting there, and re-transmits it to them, some appreciable fraction of them (but not all of them) spring open.
Testing a standard Onity lock he ordered online, he’s able to easily bypass the card reader and trigger the opening mechanism every time. But on three Onity locks installed on real hotel doors he and I tested at well-known independent and franchise hotels in New York, results were much more mixed: Only one of the three opened, and even that one only worked on the second try, with Brocious taking a break to tweak his software between tests.
Even with an unreliable method, however, Brocious’s work–and his ability to open one out of the three doors we tested without a key–suggests real flaws in Onity’s security architecture. And Brocious says he plans to release all his research in a paper as well as source code through his website following his talk, potentially enabling others to perfect his methods.
Brocious’s exploit works by spoofing a portable programming device that hotel staff use to control a facility’s locks and set which master keys open which doors. The portable programmer, which plugs into the DC port under the locks, can also open any door, even providing power through that port to trigger the mechanism of a door lock in which the battery has run out.
Massimo Banzi is the co-creator of the popular electronics prototyping system called Arduino. He spoke at TEDGlobal 2012 about the cool things people are making with Arduino.
Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that's inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine -- from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, "You don't need anyone's permission to make something great."
Massimo Banzi co-founded Arduino, which makes affordable open-source microcontrollers for interactive projects, from art installations to an automatic plant waterer.
Alexandra sez, "I'm writing to tell you about Modkit, a new interface for
microcontrollers like Arduino. Modkit uses a graphical programming
language based on the kids' programming language, Scratch. To
write an Arduino program, you simply snap little blocks of code
together. Basically, I think Modkit will make microcontrollers
accessible to a much wider audience (younger, less tech-savvy,
etc.). Modkit also has a lot of other cool features, like
automatic hardware detection, both an in-browser and desktop
version, and lots of supported hardware. They're running a
Kickstarter campaign right now, so I thought I would pass along
One the highlights of Maker Faire for me was meeting Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of the Arduino project. He's very friendly and we had a nice time talking about design. I also enjoyed meeting Luisa Castiglioni, his girlfriend. She's a writer for a number of design magazines, including Domus. (Here's an article she wrote for Domus about makers in the Italian design world.)
Massimo brought with him to Maker Faire samples of the new packaging for Arduino's line of products, and they are beautiful. There were designed by Todo studio, which is run by Giorgio Olivero. Massimo was Giorgio's professor at the Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, Italy.
Fourteen-year-old Luna Ito-Fisher started making her own clothes and accessories when she was nine, after attending a friend’s birthday party at a sewing studio in LA.
“I remember at the beginning, threading was so hard and I could never get it through the needle,” Luna tells me as she sets up her machine on her family’s dining room table. Now, she slides the thread through the tiny clips across the top of the machine, guides it up and down the rigging, licks the end and pokes it, like nothing, straight through the eye.