Make: a robotic xenomorph candy collector for Halloween

Phil Torrone from Adafruit writes, "Why roam around with a boring pumpkin bucket when you collect delicious candy with a robotic Xenomorph head? This robotic candy bucket shoots out a small receptacle to retrieve candy and bring it back into the bucket. Some 3D printing is required to create the linear actuator. Two servo motors controlled by a Circuit Playground Express, coded with MakeCode, power this project." Read the rest

Purism starts shipping its Librem 5 open/free phone

Purism (previously) is a company that crowdfunds free/open laptops and phones whose design goal is to have no proprietary software, even at the lowest levels. The company is best known for its Purism laptops, and I'm very fond of mine (it didn't end up replacing my Thinkpad, only because I'm addicted to the trackpoint for mousing, and trackpads give me raging RSI) (that said, getting any GNU/Linux to run on a current-model Thinkpad is so hard and results in such a rotten experience that I'm reconsidering whether to switch back). Read the rest

Fridge0: an open source hardware solar fridge with no battery requirement

Joey Hess designed the first Fridge0 a year ago: it uses a standard chest freezer with added thermal mass, a simple controller, and a photovoltaic panel that effectively stores sunshine as coldness, obviating the need for expensive backup batteries. The Fridge0 is an advance on traditional off-grid 12v solar fridges that assume that solar panels are expensive and inefficient; by exploiting modern PV technology, Hess says "A kilowatt of solar panels provides enough power to run a conventional fridge on even most cloudy days, and costs less than a commercial offgrid fridge." (via Kottke) Read the rest

Turning a recalled children's unicorn boot into a display for endless product recall notices

Phil Torrone from Adafruit told us about Consumers Should Immediately...: "This uses a live data feed from The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) to randomly display thousands of products recalled for reasons such as fire, electrocution, entrapment, choking and a variety of other unintended dangers. Every two minutes the embedded screen lists the name of the product, the identified danger, the product manufacturer, and the original recall date. The electronics are enclosed in an actual recalled children’s unicorn boot, along with an embedded rechargeable battery, allowing for an uninterrupted stream of recalled products in any location." Read the rest

The Pegleg: an implanted, meshing, networked mass-storage device that you sew into your skin

New biohacking from the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective (previously): the Pegleg, a stripped-down Piratebox (previously) based on a Raspberry Pi 0 with needless components removed and an extra wifi card soldered on. Read the rest

How a sex researcher and a cosplaying 3D printing specialist created an open source, orgasm-measuring butt-plug

Nicole Prause is a sex researcher who wanted to design a gender-neutral orgasm-measuring tool that would fit in the anus and detect and measure pelvic contractions but all the buttplugs she tried to modify ("We ordered like 20 of these butt plugs off Amazon, and it messed up my recommendation engine for all time") were designed to be pistoned in and out, and thus had a taper that made it prone to popping out at the moment of orgasm. Read the rest

Make: a machine-learning toy on open-source hardware

In the latest Adafruit video (previously) the proprietors, Limor "ladyada" Friend and Phil Torrone, explain the basics of machine learning, with particular emphasis on the difference between computing a model (hard) and implementing the model (easy and simple enough to run on relatively low-powered hardware), and then they install and run Tensorflow Light on a small, open-source handheld and teach it to distinguish between someone saying "No" and someone saying "Yes," in just a few minutes. It's an interesting demonstration of the theory that machine learning may be most useful in tiny, embedded, offline processors. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Open Insulin: biohackers trying to create a "microbrewery" for insulin as an answer to price-gouging

The Open Insulin project ("a team of Bay Area biohackers working on newer, simpler, less expensive ways to make insulin") is trying to create an open source hardware system for making insulin in small batches, through a process that uses engineered yeast to "produce a modified proinsulin protein, and an enzyme to convert the modified proinsulin into insulin glargine" so that insulin co-ops can produce and test their own insulin for a cost "from ten thousand to a few tens of thousands of dollars." Read the rest

People with diabetes are scouring the internet for a discontinued insulin pump that can be reprogrammed as an "artificial pancreas"

Since 2014, open source hackers have been perfecting the OpenAPS, an "open artificial pancreas" made by modifying the firmware of discontinued Medtronic insulin pumps, which were discontinued due to the very security flaw that makes them user modifiable (that flaw also leaves them vulnerable to malicious modifications). Read the rest

A glowing, 3D printed rose that "blooms" when you touch its petals

Daren Schwenke's 3D printed blooming rose embeds a capacitive touch sensor -- a magnetic wire -- in one of the leaves, which trips an Arduino-controlled actuator that changes the rose's lighting and causes the petals -- 3D printed and then shaped over a hot chandelier bulb -- to splay open or fold closed. Read the rest

Alias: a smart-speaker "parasite" that blocks your speaker's sensors until you activate it

Alias is an open source hardware/free-open firmware "parasite" that fits over your smart speaker's sensors and fills them with white noise; the Alias has its own (non-networked, user-controlled) mic and speaker and when you speak a magic phrase, the Alias temporarily stops the white noise and transmits your commands to the speaker; Alias also lets you specify strings of commands and other useful utilities that restore control over your smart-speaker to you. Read the rest

A laptop built into a mouse

Electronic Grenade's "'Computer' Mouse" project fits a fully functional computer into a fully functional, 3D printed mouse; the computer is a Raspberry Pi Zero W, with a teeeny leeetle flip out keyboard and a tiny little itsy bitsy flip-out screen. (via Motherboard) Read the rest

Underclocking a baseband chip creates a stealth wifi channel

CNLohr discovered that underclocking the ESP8266 wifi module's Baseband PLL made the wifi channel progressively narrower, until it could not longer be detected by an unmodified wifi receiver -- but a similarly modified wifi module can detect the narrow signal, creating a s00p3r s33kr1t wifi channel; here's sourcecode (which may violate FCC Part 15 rules, so please use responsibly). (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Illumipaper: paper that can selectively illuminate to provide interactivity

Illumipaper is a well-developed prototype from Interactive Media Lab Dresden; the researchers behind it used a variety of techniques to create regular-seeming paper with all the traditional characteristics (it can be crumpled, folded, written on with pen and ink, etc); but a wireless controller allows it to be selectively illuminated to provide interactivity (e.g. to provide tips on homework problems). Read the rest

Make: an open source hardware, Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine

How To Mechatronics has pulled together detailed instructions and a great video explaining how to make an Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine whose gears can create arbitrary vector images out of precision-bent continuous lengths of wire. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming. Read the rest

This year's Electromagnetic Field hacker campout demonstrated the awesome power of DIY cellphones and DIY stingrays

Every year, security researchers, hardware hackers and other deep geeks from around the world converge on an English nature reserve for Electromagnetic Field, a hacker campout where participants show off and discuss their research and creations. Read the rest

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