Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 26, 2010

Multichord – Hard Drive Musical Instrument

at 3:44 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Here is another project idea for one of those old hard drives you have laying around. The Multichord turns your hard drive and some other miscellaneous items into a musical instrument.

“The Multichord musical instrument is an acoustic stringed instrument with a single string, constructed from wood, a hard drive, 20-lb monofilament, and assorted electronic components. It was the culmination of a project to build an acoustic instrument capable of playing multiple notes without fretting or manual, time-consuming retuning. The Multichord achieves this by attaching a hard drive read/write head assembly between the resonant string and a tensioning spring to adjust the tension of the instrument’s string. Careful adjustment was made to the tension of both the string and the spring with the hard drive head in a neutral, unpowered position to ensure a bipolar application of voltage within the safety ratings of the hard drive’s coil could cause the string to cover a full musical octave. In the end, the Multichord was tuned to a C-major scale (no flats or sharps) running from A at 220Hz through (but not including) A at 440Hz.”

Carnegie Mellon University Business Start-up Tips

at 2:35 pm. Filed under Educational

Carnegie Mellon University recorded a great talk about starting up a business. Steven Fleck who started ClearCount Medical Solutions moderated the panel. The panel members are Bryan Kaplan of Collaborative Fusion, Nathan Martin of Deep Local, Jessica Trybus of Etcetera Edutainment and David Chen of Fooala.

It looks like CMU is doing a good job of fostering business building acumen into their current students. Nice to see that Nathan is successful even though he has had a number of product failures. It was interesting to hear about the issues that David had when he had to hire technicians for his company when he was 12.

See a video below, it is the Nike Chalk Bot that Nathan Matrin mentions.

January 25, 2010

LEGO CNC Machines

at 3:15 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks

Lego mindstorms nxt CNC-FrΓ€se

There are tons of cool LEGO CNC machines that have been made. The one pictured above can be seen in operation here (unfortunately we can’t embed the video here). It shows how so many people have real creativity since these CNC machines are obviously only for fun since a LEGO frame would not be adequate for doing any real work. Nice thing about LEGO is that once your design is done you can rip it apart can move on to your next creation. I am still waiting to see a LEGO pick and place machine populating surface mount components onto a circuit board. πŸ™‚

January 24, 2010

X10 Camera Turret Face Tracking

at 4:22 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


I have used some X10 modules in the past and they work like magic, just plug in the module and you have instant remote control of lighting and appliances. In my case I was controlling the boiler of a 30 suite apartment block and it worked great.

“The ActiveHome Professional SDK provides you with OCX server DLLs that run on Microsoft Windows PCs. This allows you to script or program the CM15A transceiver from any scripting or programming language that can interface with ActiveX controls. I used Borland Delphi Professional 6 for the utility I created for this article.

X10 commands are simple English text strings that begin with a command type, followed by a module ID, and then by a command verbβ€”although sometimes there may be a few other parameters after that. For example:

sendplc A1 on
sendplc C1 on
sendrf C1 CamCenter

The command type here for the first two commands is “sendplc” which is used when you want to send a power line command. For the third command it is “sendrf” since the X10 camera turrets respond to RF for movement control. This script would be handy for turning on the lights and the camera and then centering the camera in one fell swoop, possibly for remote viewing at night.”

January 23, 2010

Hard Drive LED Clock

at 1:07 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Martin sent in a video of his Hard Drive LED Clock which is based on the original Hard Drive Clock that I built quite a few years ago. Martin is going to change the color of the LEDs and mount all the electronics into the hard drive.

Name the Thing Contest – 116

at 12:20 am. Filed under Contests


Thanks to X-mi for sponsoring the contest this week. They will be providing a X-mini MAX II Capsule Speaker (PDF) to the winner. Have a closer look at the speaker by going here and clicking on the X-mini MAX II at the top. If you are looking for music on the go these should work just great for you.

“Technical Specifications
Dimension (LΓ—WΓ—H): 65.8mmΓ—53.4 mm (closed resonator)
Net Weight: 178g
Speaker: MAGNETISM PREVENT D40*H20mm (4 ohms)/2W
Loudspeaker Output: 2.5WΓ—2
Frequency Response: 200Hz~18K Hz
Signal-to-Noise: K80dB
Distortion: L1.0%
Playback Time: Up to 12 hours
Battery Voltage/Capacity: 400mAh
Battery Charging Voltage: 5V/+0.5V
Battery Charge Time: 5V input – 2.5 hours”

This contest will run for one week (January 23, 2010 – January 29, 2010) . 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 Feb 6, 2009

The item to guess was a Brushless Electric Motor

The winner is Matt C.


Below are some pictures of the prize.


January 22, 2010

Web controlled Wireless Robot

at 1:16 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


This robotic platform can be drive from the web. It uses an ioBridge IO-204 to link things together.

“The robot uses a pair of serial bluetooth adapters to form a wireless link with the ioBridge IO-204. The serial levels of the IO-204 are TTL and a circuit using the MAX-232 was required to allow the serial interface work properly. On the robot is a set of serial servo drivers that control the steering and speed.”


Internal Links:



Hacked Gadgets

Site Sponsors:

Nuts and Volts Electronic Labs Trossen Robotics Free Technical Publications Blue LED


Recent Comments:

More RSS Feed Options

Site Sponsors:


Interesting Sites: