Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 28, 2009

3D Electrostatic Computer Interface

at 5:03 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment


Justin Schunick, Mark Hollenbeck, Luke Shaheen, Scott Gillette and Glenn Black from Northeastern University have created one of the coolest sensor system I have seen in a long time. It uses a PIC 18F4550 microcontroller and an array of simple sensors that are made out of copper plates. It can detect hand movements in 3space all around the tops of the sensors to provide an accurate position indication. At the video example shows the sensitivity of the sensor array is very good and would have many applications such as drawing and modeling. Since no sensor contact is needed the sensor array can be covered with something that is transparent to the sensors such as the cloth in the demo. I could see this being featured behind a fabric wall in an art gallery as a cool interactive piece.

Update. Added some high res system pictures. Thanks Justin.


Arduino based Capacitive 3D Controller

at 2:32 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment


This Arduino based Capacitive 3D Controller that Kyle McDonald built looks like it is way to simple to function. Have a look at the video to see the amazing type of accuracy this device is capable of. The possibilities are endless for this cheap setup, I can imagine a security pass code that is not a code but rather a gesture within the 3space that the sensor field can detect.

"The "circuit" is just two resistors per piece of aluminum. To understand why they’re there, it helps to know what we’re doing with the Arduino. What we’ll do with each pin, sequentially, is:

  • Set the pin to output mode.
  • Write a digital "low" to the pin. This means both sides of the capacitor are grounded and it will discharge.
  • Set the pin to input mode.
  • Count how much time it takes for the capacitor to charge by waiting for the pin to go "high". This depends on the values for the capacitor and the two resistors. Since the resistors are fixed, a change in capacitance will be measurable. The distance from ground (your hand) will be the primary variable contributing to the capacitance."

April 26, 2009

Fireball V90 CNC Router Assembly

at 7:35 am. Filed under DIY Hacks

The Fireball V90 CNC Router is a CNC machine that comes in kit form requiring assembly. There was a sneak peak of its capability last week. See the text that the Fireball V90 routed into an old circuit board, with a PCB routing bit the Fireball V90 CNC Router easily went through everything that was in its way, and that included surface mount chips!

Currently the Fireball V90 is one of the cheapest CNC machines on the market and is a great way to get your feet wet with CNC machining. I spent considerable time researching entry level machines prior to making the plunge with this model. I first heard about the machine from a Nuts and Volts article that Vern Graner wrote. In addition to being a well designed machine I hear that Probotix which is owned by Len Shelton offers great support (although I haven’t needed anything replaced under warranty yet). There is also a Yahoo support group which currently has 989 members, this group of people includes John Hansford who is the creator of the machine.

The following pages will show the assembly steps needed to put together a Fireball V90 CNC Router, the video below will also give you a high level feel of what is involved in putting together one of these machines. Depending on your comfort level with hand tools it should take between 4 and 8 hours to put together. Other than the machine that is built here a motor controller, a control computer and CNC software is also needed. The construction of a motor controller and the setup of the computer will be covered in future articles so stay tuned!

Update: Here is the Fireball V90 CNC Router Motor Driver Controller Build

Inventory the parts to make sure you have everything. (page 2)
Assemble the gantry. (page 3)
Install gantry lead screw and gantry drive nut. (page 4)
Assemble the CNC frame. (page 5)
Mount gantry to frame and install Y axis lead screw. (page 6)
Install motors. (page 7)
Install deck and tool holder. (page 8 )

Next Page

Piyola Single Octave Keyboard by Ozan Sarier

at 4:34 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks


Ozan Sarıer is a composer, performer and a designer for musical instruments and interfaces. His latest creation is this Piyola, it is a USB device which was made from recycled parts. The keyboard plays a single octave, key presses are transferred to the computer using a found USB joystick.


April 25, 2009

Jeri Ellsworth Projects – CD-ROM Cup Holder Heater and Cooler, Floppy Disk Audio Recorder

at 11:20 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Funny Hacks


Jeri Ellsworth who is well known for her C-One creation has been working on some crazy projects over at FatMan and Circuit Girl! Hack a Day featured the Floppy Disk Audio Recorder which is a thing of beauty. It can record about a 1/2 second on each track and uses the internal sensor to automatically move the head to the next track after every disk rotation. See that video below. Jeri also has made a crazy CD-ROM Cup Holder Heater and Cooler, unlike my lame joke version, this one uses a peltier device to provide cooling and some microprocessors to provide the heating!

Automated Slinky Machine

at 10:36 am. Filed under Funny Hacks, Toy Hacks


The guys at Stupid Inventions made an Automated Slinky Machine, yes it’s a pointless machine, but that is the point. 🙂

"Are you tired of not being able to use your Slinky Jr. because it’s too small to fall down the stairs? Well the folks at Stupid Inventions have come up with a way to use your Slinky Jr. without any stairs at all!"

April 24, 2009

Name the Thing Contest – 85

at 11:09 pm. Filed under Contests

Thanks to Mountain Dew Voltage for sponsoring the contest this week, they are having a contest themselves that you may want to check out. There will be two winners who will get a some Mountain Dew Voltage product and a Voltage T-shirt . This contest will run for one week (April 25 – 30, 2009) . Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item pictured above and give an example of what can be done with it.

Please do not give the answer in the comments. 

Send an email to contest @ hackedgadgets.com with "Name the Thing Contest" as the subject, and the message body consisting of:

  • The name of the item in the above picture
  • An example of what the item pictured above can be used for

The winner will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries.


Added May 2, 2009

The item to guess was a read head assembly from a hard drive

The winner is David L. (There were 136 entries)

Added May 6, 2009

The second winner is Alex O. I forgot that there were two prize packs to give away…


Below is a picture of the the prize product.

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