Your source for daily hacks

Published on: September 11, 2013 / Comments: None

In the near future, your cell phone may not need batteries

In today’s somewhat creepy too-good-to-be-true technology announcement is this technique called Ambient Backscatter.  In the demo, researchers create 2 devices that neither one takes batteries, yet they are able to communicate to each other.  The devices harness radio waves that are already in the air like TV signals.

By either choosing to absorb or reflect the existing signals, the other device notices either a 1 or a 0.  Thus data transfer wirelessly, without batteries!  These devices have to run on real low power to work, because it’s consuming some of the rf signals to harness as power.  The future for these devices is huge, imagine tons of little smart objects that can communicate, that don’t need batteries!  People are already making small things that sip battery power but they do eventually need batteries.  And typically those devices if they communicate wirelessly they are power hungry.

Amazing technology.  Read more on the writeup on for a more detailed explanation, or watch the video below.


Published on: August 22, 2013 / Comments: None

Improve your ABS 3D Prints with ABS juice

I’ve actually heard of this before on various forums.  It’s right next to using hairspray on your heat bed before you print.  It’s ABS juice (or ABS glue).  According to the video, you take 100% acetone and put strips of ABS plastic in it so that it dissolves it completely.  Better yet if you have a couple failed prints you can toss in!

The consistency should be like hazy acetone, not thick like paint.  If you paint it on your heat bed before you print, it’s supposed to help your prints stick to the bed better and help reduce curling (I guess by holding it to the bed).  It doesn’t look hard to make, just make sure you don’t use a container that acetone will melt!

Published on: August 16, 2013 / Comments: None

Overclock your Arduino with liquid nitrogen

After initially overclocking the Arduino to 32.5mhz, Mikhail started experimenting with pushing the Arduino further.  First he was able to up the supply voltage to 8V and nudge it up to 37mhz.  It’s a commonly known trend in the pc overclocking world that you can usually overclock further with more cooling.  So without ramping up from things like water cooling, Mikhail jumps into super-cooling the Arduino with liquid nitrogen.

Liquid nitrogen is around -196 degrees Celsius.  With the liquid nitrogen bath, he was able to get the Arduino running to just over 65mhz.  At this point the looped test sketch running on it started failing.  But before getting that far, from previous tests he ran into issues with the Arduino’s brown out detection.  After replacing some of the capacitors and disabling the blown-out fuse and moving the LCD’s power supply away from the Arduino he was good to go.


You know the best part of this hack, and always my favorite is that it’s for the hell of it.  This is obviously not something you would put into production or have any real application, that’s why it’s awesome.

Published on: July 29, 2013 / Comments: None

Extreme ultrasonic acoustic levitation!

Ok it’s not really extreme, but it is ultrasonic acoustic levitation. Mike is experimenting with ultrasonic transducers and found that if you get the frequency right these large transducers will actually cause lightweight items like foam balls and smoke to be suspended in mid air by the air density pushing and pulling. I don’t have any ideas for practical applications for this at the moment, but it’s really neat to look at.

I wonder if we could scale this experiment up a little bit, add a cool cnc cut foam object and make it a desk toy.

Check out the video.