Your source for daily hacks

Published on: October 22, 2013 / Comments: 2

The Happy Birthday Box

Everyone usually agrees that home made gifts are usually more heart felt.  So instead of buying a gift,  Christian decided to make one for a friend.  Not too far from a musical birthday card, the Birthday Box, will present a message to the receiver on an LCD screen, and sing the song happy birthday.

The Happy Birthday Box uses a piezo buzzer for a speaker generated by an Arduino.  The text message is displayed on a standard 16×2 LCD screen, and powered by a battery pack.  There is a small roller switch as well, I assume everything turns on / off when you open and close the box but it wasn’t specifically stated as the functionality.

Keep this project bookmarked, and add a few LEDs for that valentine of yours.

Check out a quick video after the break;  Source code and more pictures on Christian’s blog.


Published on: October 14, 2013 / Comments: None

The Tricorder project is about making discoveries with sensors

When you hear the term Tricorder, you might think of Star Trek but I assure you, this is no toy prop.  Keeping with the same concept of the Tricorder used on the TV show the Tricorder is about reading data, _lots_ of data.  And that is what the Tricorder project aims to do, develop handheld devices that are fitted with lots of diverse sensors in order to observe them.

So far the project has produced a few different versions.  The Mark 1, the Mark 2, etc.  They are currently working on the Mark 5.  Each version is pretty different from the other, and they all contain a wide variety of sensors such as atmospheric temperature, humidity, pressure and electromagnetic field, color, infra-red.  And the obvious like GPS.  They’re even working on developing their own sensors like this 3d printable mini spectrometer.

The project is open, and there are tons of pictures, and schematics on the tricorderproject’s web site.

Published on: October 11, 2013 / Comments: None

A Disney inspired Haunted Mansion portrait using Rapsberry Pi

If you’ve ever been to the Haunted Mansion at one of the Disney Parks, you remember lots of small spooky stuff going on.  One of the things they like to do in the Haunted Mansion is have these portraits that slowly change from regular people into ghouls and ghasts.   Brandon decided to craft one up himself.

Powering the portrait is a Raspberry Pi, with a 19″ LCD.  The whole thing is wrapped in a decorative IKEA frame, painted with a little patina to look antique.  On the face Brandon is using Gila Platinum Window film which makes the glass into a 2 way mirror.  Software wise it’s using a Raspberry Pi Video Looper.  And here is a link to the video loop of Master Gracy on YouTube, but you could probably make your own if you wanted to.

Check out Brandon’s web site for more details, and here is a PDF containing a BOM and a few more details.

Check out the video after the break;  Kind of creepy.


Published on: October 2, 2013 / Comments: 3

DIY Watch uses OLED screen and ATMega328

With the advances of shrinking technology it’s becoming more and more easier to roll your own every day items.  Ever thought of making your own watch ?  Sure you have, it was probably going to turn out larger than you anticipated too huh?   How’s 1.5mm thick sound ?   Sounds pretty good to me too.  Zak has a really awesome writeup of him rolling his own watch.

The display is a 0.96″ OLED display (128×64 pixels), it uses a DS3231M RTC, 2 LEDs, a buzzer, a 3 way switch and runs off of a 150mah LiPo battery.   Impressive!  Features of the software include, window animations, up to 10 alarms, games, stopwatch, and flashlight mode.

Power consumption numbers are decent too.  6ua in sleep mode, and 10ma with normal on.  That means depending on how much time you spend with the screen on will dictate how long your charge will last.  This puts you anywhere between 15 hours and 3 years.  With those sort of numbers and a modest use of your watch you should be able to get 15-30 days out of a single charge.

The Schematic and source code are available on Zak’s web site, a long with more photos of the build.  Enjoy a video and a few more pics after the break.


Published on: September 9, 2013 / Comments: None

Use an Arduino USB host shield to add a display to a USB scale

Believe it or not there’s actually a USB Host shield for the Arduino.  The shield and accompanying libraries will let you communicate with USB client devices… like this USB digital scale.  Normally this USB digital scale is plugged into a PC which will read the weight (I assume for weighing packages for mailing).

Oleg decided to to add an LCD to the device so it could be used stand alone.  He’s using your run-of-the-mill 16×2 hd44780 compatible display, an Arduino, and the USB Host shield.  The scale reports itself as a HID device to the host but still a little reverse engineering was needed to extract the weight information from the HID report.  Once the target packets were identified, Oleg whipped up a sketch to read the USB report packets and throw the info out to the LCD display.

I probably wouldn’t have the patience for doing it this way, I would have tried to open it up and read data from one of the sensors directly, but this hack just introduces you to another vector of modification or input method.  For instance using a USB joystick or flight stick with the USB host shield might be a great addition to a flame-throwing robot or something (lol).

Source sketch and more info here.

Published on: August 30, 2013 / Comments: None

Can’t get enough Raspberry Pi CarPuter’s

Title says it all, we can’t get enough of people doing cool car stuff with their Raspberry Pi’s.  Each one is a little bit different and have a little different purpose.  So up is Keith’s Toyota Echo.  Keith is going green, he wants to watch the environment and his wallet.

So he’s got his Raspberry Pi, an OBD-II sensor, and a Nokia LCD.  He’s written an app in python that reads his vehicle speed and mass air flow sensor.  From that he is able to calculate his estimated fuel consumption at that specific point in time.   He’s logging this data in a SQLite database and displaying it in real-time on the LCD.   Nice job Keith.

Source code and build here.

Published on: August 25, 2013 / Comments: 1

Using a Raspberry Pi to make a fallout inspired pip-boy

If you’ve played the game Fallout you probably remember the Personal Information Processor, or PIP-boy. A guy named Panda decided to make the PIP-boy a reality. Not quite a picture perfect replica, but pretty a pretty functional recreation.

He’s using a Raspberry Pi model B, with a 2.8″ LCD touch screen, wi-fi and a rechargeable battery.  All of this is mounts on your arm in a custom-made case.  There’s also a Bluetooth mini keyboard.  Pretty cool.

Read the rest and check out more videos here.