Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 31, 2007

Solar Picaxe Pool Fountain

at 10:01 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

If you have a pool why not spend the winter months building something to enjoy in the warmer months? Have a look at this pool project for some inspiration.

“This is a solar powered microcontroller driven pool fountain. It was designed to provide an entertaining, pleasant visual and audible water effect in a cordless low-maintenance device.


The basic hardware design has the following features:

– Low-voltage battery powered
– Solar charged (normally)
– Battery voltage sensing
– LED status indicator
– User controllable
– Dual ported water pump
– Weatherproof
– Waterproof
– Self-contained”

Energy Drink Lamp

at 5:07 am. Filed under DIY Hacks

This is my own personal mod, it’s simple to make, and it looks great. Great addition to my other individualistic geeky items :]

** Before you take part in this modification, please be aware that you are using an AC house current to power the light bulb, AC can kill. So please, for all of us at Hacked Gadgets, be careful**


1) 60 Watt light bulb (other wattages can be used)

2) Power cord (can be scavenged from anything)

3) Encasing (in this case, a “Jolt Energy Drink”)

4) Wire Strippers

5)Electric Tape (if you want to go the fast and easy route, I found a socket from a lamp and got it to fit with some slight grinding)

6) Soldering Iron if you use my method

7) Solder (duh)


Alright, the hardest part is probably acquiring all the supplies. First you need to strip part of your power cord. After you strip it you should have two wires showing, strip the individual wires. After this, depending on the method you used, you can either use the electrical tape and tape the wires to the electrical contacts on the light bulb (usually the the threaded part is one contact, and the dot at the bottom is the second) Or you can find an old socket like I did and hook it up that way.

That is pretty much the basic design, now of course I do have an even cooler design in the works. I plan on getting one of the larger project boxes from Radio Shack, similar to this one maybe slightly larger, and getting a lighted toggle switch to turn the light off and on, and a photodiode so the lamp can go on automatically.

I hope you liked this simple hack, hopefully when ACT’s are over I can work on some even cool projects.

Other pictures:


December 30, 2007

Learning Gestures by Imitation in a Humanoid

at 5:20 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks, What Were They Thinking


Want your very own robot to learn to do your job? Sylvain Calinon and Aude Billard from the Autonomous Systems Lab, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne have made great strides to make that dream happen.

Additional information.
Read a paper on their research. (PDF)

“This video shows how a humanoid robot can learn incrementally new skills by interacting with a human instructor. By using active teaching methods that puts the human teacher “in the loop” of the robot’s learning, this video shows that a skill can be efficiently transferred by interacting socially with the robot. In a first phase, the robot observes the user demonstrating how to lift a foam dice while wearing motion sensors. The motion of his/her two arms and head are recorded by the robot and encoded probabilistically in a Gaussian Mixture Model. The robot then tries to reproduce the skill while the user observes the imitation attempt. Due to the different embodiment between the robot and the user, the robot first fails at reproducing correctly the task. In a second phase, the user helps the robot refine its skill by kinesthetic teaching, i.e. by grabbing and moving its arms throughout the task to provide the appropriate scaffolds. The model of the skill is then updated by an incremental Expectation-Maximization learning algorithm. After three demonstrations, the robot finally reproduces perfectly the skill on its own.”

December 29, 2007

Articulated Hand for under $20

at 5:22 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Funny Hacks

Looking for a cool science fair project? Forget the exploding volcano, check out this Articulated Hand project!

“My niece Sydney needed help for a 7th grade Science Fair project. I helped another friend’s daughter (Kaitlin) build an articulated hand for a project in the past and suggested we resurrect the project. The build is fun for the kids and I wanted to try some enhancements on the original idea.

You can get everything you need at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
1 – 3/4″ hardwood dowel
1- 4″ x 1″ Pine plank (I’m calling it ‘1×4’ here)
5 – bags of #216-1/2 small screw eyes (eyelets)
1 – roll of braided nylon string (one color for ligaments. We used yellow)
1 – roll of braided nylon string (another color for tendons. We used pink)
1 – bag of 1/4″ wide rubber bands (like the Post Office uses)
1 – cup hook (open eyelet)
1 – can of white spray paint
2 – 3/4″ sheet rock screws

Various hand tools (you already have them if you are a maker! πŸ™‚
We used a small drill press, 4” side grinder, jig saw (my Dad taught me this was called a “Saber saw”) and a chop saw with a trim blade. These are time savers, but you could do it all with hand tools if you can spend the time.”

Thanks Robert.

Guess what this isn’t contest

at 1:51 am. Filed under Contests

Congratulation to the last contest winner.

Last short contest of 2007! No emails this time, simply reply in the comments what this device isn’t. πŸ™‚ Make it funny, crazy, weird… Just use your imagination. With a short vote the best comment will win the prize.

The prize this week will be another one of those cool tiny helicopters.

This contest will run from Saturday to Wednesday (December 29, 2007 – January 2, 2008) . Ending time is based on central standard time.

Added January 10, 2008

The item to not to guess was an old radio., not that it mattered for this contest. πŸ™‚ I was amazed at the number of comment entries and was it ever fun reading through all of them. My sides hurt and I still have a partial tear in my eye from laughing so hard. πŸ˜‰

It was hard to narrow it down to one, the winner after much debate is TBlough for comment number 30.

“Does anyone really realize how much danger we were in during the Cold War?!?!? This is the Russian β€œΠ”ΠΎΠΌΠ΅Π½Π½Π°Ρ ΠΈΡ… Π² ад” MKIV Nuclear β€œFootball” that was used in the 50’s.

The warhead coordinates were entered by the red punch tape (this picture is a file photo showing a dummy tape loaded – you can see it is encoded with all β€œ1β€³s). The identity of the operator was verified with the um… β€œprobe” connected to the red and blue wires.”

The winner is TBlough.

Thanks to all who entered.

Below is a pictures of the prize.

December 28, 2007

Hacked Gadgets Holiday Contest – Last Chance

at 1:25 pm. Filed under Contests

Less than a week left to enter the Hacked Gadgets Happy Holidays Contest. This year we are giving away a $75 gift certificate to Think Geek! Contest entry is simple so why not try your luck. πŸ™‚

Wireless Impact Guardian – But can you find good sushi with it?

at 11:38 am. Filed under Contests, Electronic Hacks, Human Hacks

There was a time when NASA Tech Briefs was required reading in every cube farm. Subjects from agriculture to zoology where covered and some times in a light hearted way.

Well now NASA sponsors the “Create the Future Design Contest”. Not only does every entrant get a tee shirt, they can also earn $250 if their entry is one of the most viewed. One of my favorite entries is the WIG (Wireless Impact Guardian).

True it’s a little short on details about the technology but the marketing is solid.

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