Hacked Gadgets Forum

October 26, 2007

Animatronic Eye Mechanism

at 11:47 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks, Funny Hacks

If I had one of these Animatronic Eye Mechanisms I could put it to good use this Halloween.

“In order to make it possible for puppet eyes to be animated a puppet eye mechanism (commonly called an “eye mech”) must be constructed. Some eye mechanisms are manually controlled by the puppeteer’s hand inside a puppet’s head or externally via a cable control, string or lever. Moving puppet eyes can also be remotely operated using radio control.”

High Power Demonstrations

at 5:39 am. Filed under Crazy Hacks, Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking


Mental note, don’t short out bus bars. πŸ™‚

“Here arcs were intentionally initiated by bridging wires across three copper bus bars in a testing laboratory. Three phase 480 volt power was then applied across the bus bars for about 1 second. The wires immediately explode, forming a conductive plasma which forms high current power arcs between phases. The actual fault current in the demonstration is not known, but is likely in the range of tens of kiloamps.”

October 24, 2007

Rand McNally GPS Hack

at 11:13 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

If you can get your hands on a Rand McNally GPS this Rand McNally GPS Hack will show you how to get the serial data out of it. Since these GPS devices are quite old now they should be quite cheap. Does anyone know of a cheaper serial GPS solution? If so please share it with me. πŸ™‚

“Buy a RandMcNally GPS for the Palm III from http://www.randmcnally.com The GPS circuit board is held on to the sub circuit board by a to the sub circuit board by a 5 pin header. Since I did not have a big fat solder iron tip, I held my solder iron accross all five pins, and slowly worked the boards apart slightly. When there is enough room, bend the circuit boards back and fourth untill all five pins break. Be carefull not to over stress the circuit board. If you have a better solder iron, or patience with soaking up all the solder you can easily improve this method. I then removed each individual pin that was left broken in each hole.”

Huge Rubiks Cube Subwoofer

at 5:27 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks, Funny Hacks, Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking


If you are wanting to add some bass to your home theater why build a Huge Rubik’s Cube Subwoofer! It isn’t as big as this gigantic subwoofer but it looks a lot more fun.


"Sealed Enclosure: 3 Cu. Feet Driver Diameter: 15", Aluminum Cone Outer Enclosure: 3/4" MDF Shell with 3/4" MDF ’tiles’ overlaying it, forming the Rubik’s Squares Reinforcement: 1 Y/Z-Axis piece of 3/4" MDF, cut to allow driver. 1 X/Y-Axis piece of 3/4" MDF, cut to allow driver and Plate Amp. 1 Z-Axis piece of 3/4" MDF, cut to allow Driver. 1 full piece of 1/2" MDF at top. 1 Cut piece of 3/4" MDF on bottom. Total Box measurements: 20.75" Wide, 20.75" Tall, 20.75" Long Tile size: Face: 7.5" X 7.5", Cube: 7.5" X 7.5" X 7.5" Total Measurements: 22.5" Wide, 25.5" Tall (w/ 3" feet), 22.5" Long Total Weight w/o Speaker, wiring, Poly-fil, Amplifier: ~98 lbs. Total Weight: ~144 lbs. It’s a beast, I must say, but before we begin how about some background information? My current system utilizes 2 Paradigm v3.0 Studio 100s (fronts), 1 CC-590 center, and 2 Studio 20s for 5.1 surrounds. Driving all that is an NAD T773, biamped with 2 NAD C272s for the fronts and discrete 7.1 inputs biamping the 20s – Long live the Canadian sound! Likewise, when I finally moved into my new apartment with space for a television (that’s a luxury in Boston) I wanted the extra kick for DVDs – what HT is complete without a sub? I’ll admit I’m a bit of a purest and can’t stomach the thought of attaching an external sub to my stereo so my search began for something that could rock the 60hz range in movies but neither force me to rewire every time I want to play a CD… Being a huge fan of my Paradigms, I naturally went to the accompanying model for my Studio 100s – the Direct Servo 15. Despite making a great sub, I also played around with the option I eventually went with – making one. Reasons for this were two-fold – I hadn’t taken on any art pieces in a while and just having dropped first, last, security, etc for the new place I didn’t want to make a large purchase (insert your Alanis Joke here). Long story short, I chose to go with a Rythmik Audio Servo-15. One visit to Rythmik Audio’s website and you can see that these guys aren’t messing around. "

Thanks Reverend Jones

Check out the new line of the best home audio subwoofers from The Speaker Company.


October 23, 2007

Fiber Optic LED Rose Project

at 5:30 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

If you have ever wanted to play with some fiber optics here is a Fiber Optic LED Rose Project that you could try out. Nice to see some of my LEDs were used to make a cool project!

Parts Needed:

“Wires, solder, and soldering gun (of course)
1 green led (I used 6000mcd) – Found online
1 red led (6000mcd) – Found online
On-Off Switch – (a few bucks at RADIO SHACK)
Fiber Optics – I salvaged mine from a UFO Toy I found on Ebay.
Silk Rose
Plastic Tube – (ACE HARDWARE) Mine was clear but I sprayed glass frosting spray
paint on it (HOME DEPOT)
9v battery

Plastic flower pot (found basically anywhere)
Decorative Pebbles (found at local crafts store) ”

Via: Hacked Gadgets Forum


October 22, 2007

Face Tracking Hexapod Robot

at 5:15 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks, Toy Hacks


Matt Denton of MicroMagic Systems specializes in animatronics for the film industry. Check out the very interesting (creepy) face tracking robot called i.c Hexapod.

“i.c. Hexapod interacts with people by following them around. If his gaze is held long enough, he takes a picture and uploads it to a website: hexapodrobot.com

Some additional information (thanks Matt):

“The hexapod was my fourth generation robot, and took around 2 weeks to build, the hexapod locomotion engine has been developed on and off over a couple of years. The face recognition software was based on OpenCV libraries, integration of face recognition into the i.C. hexapod face tracking took around 1 week, but with several weeks of fine tuning and enhancements.

A bit of technical background:

i.C. has an on board processor I have developed called the p.Brain, this takes care of all body leg and body locomotion. The p.Brain runs on a PIC ds33F processor.

There is an off board Windows XP Mini-ITX based PC with a Pentium M 1.73Ghz processor which takes care of the face recognition and tracking. This PC is connected to the p.Brain via a serial link. Only simple commands such as X,Y and Z rotation of the head and body are sent to the p.Brain from the PC. This means that if the PC crashes (which they so often do!) The p.Brain will put i.C to sleep without damaging any of the servos.

There are 21 servos on i.C. hexapod. 3 degrees of freedom for each leg, 2 for head pan and tilt, and one which acts as a blink shutter for the main lens. i.C. blinks when a picture has been taken, pictures are stored locally with the time data and location they were taken, and also uploaded to a server for his website (still under development).”

Thanks Matt.

October 21, 2007

PIC 12F683 Microcontroller Based Logic Probe

at 11:52 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Have a look at this cool PIC 12F683 Microcontroller Based Logic Probe.

“The purpose of this device is to test a wire to determine the logic state. Two LEDs show the logic state as either high, low, or high impedance (aka floating). Simply attach the ground probe to any ground connection of the circuit you want to test, then touch the test probe to the signal you want to test.

First, this device determine if the wire is floating, this is done by applying a weak current into it with a pin on the microcontroller and see if the state changes, and draw a weak current from it using the pin and see if it changes. The current is weakened by the 10k resistor attached to the pin, commonly called a pull up or pull down resistor if used for this purpose (overriding the state of a floating wire). If the state changes, it means the wire is floating, and the device indicate that using a LED.

If it’s not floating, then the voltage on the wire should indicate a logic high or low, and the device indicate that using another LED.”

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