Hacked Gadgets Forum

November 17, 2010

Tabletop Robot

at 10:15 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks


This little robot by Ted Larson packs a bunch of processing power which is spread across 10 PIC processors!

“This robot is turning into a reusable platform that could be used for more than the tabletop challenge….perhaps even a Trinity fire-fighter!  Here is a shot of the board stack that Bob and I designed for this robot.  Lots of MCU processing horsepower in there.  All total there are 10 PIC’s working in parallel to solve the computing problems.”

November 16, 2010

3D Kinect Hacking

at 10:27 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Game Hacks, Insane Equipment

Oliver Kreylos from UC Davis has built on the hacked Kinect drivers that was released last week. His work is truly amazing and it demonstrates just the start of the possibilities of the Kinect. I can see companies spinning out some new products that build a device that relies on the Kinect as the main data acquisition portion. Just imagine placing someone on a chair and give them a spin in front of the Kinect, with a bit of software magic and a laptop you now could have a 3D full color representation of that person with a cheap Kinect doing all of the heavy lifting.

November 15, 2010

Constant Current Source Project

at 6:50 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment


YourITronics has a good article on making a Constant Current Source using a Texas Instruments TPS54232 chip.The TSP 54232 is a flexible little chip but you will need to get out the fine pitch soldering iron tip and cut down on the coffee since it is only available in a surface mount package. There is an interesting DIY thermal via system that is used on the board to allow the non-etched copper of the back of the board to be used as a heat sink.

“The solder drops that you can see on the back of the board are a sort of DIY thermal vias. I’m not sure how efficient they are but I gave them a try with this board, probably because I had too much time available. First when I designed the board I included a area of copper in the top layer right beside the resistors. Next I drilled some 0.7 mm holes and I placed 0.7 copper wire in the holes securing it by soldering on both sides. The trick is to make the solder joint as small as possible so it doesn’t spaces your component from the board. As I’ve said I don’t know their efficiency but I think they work, I can feel the heat transferring from one side to the other faster. If you like them you can try them.”

November 14, 2010

DIY Bench Power Supply

at 10:07 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Felipe La Rotta from Engallamientos de La Rotta has built a number of cool DIY projects, this DIY Bench Power Supply is one of my favorites. Everyone who is tinkers with electronics will eventually need to progress from a battery as a power supply to a plug in wall wart then eventually to variable supply. This DIY supply quite a good variable supply since it is based on a computer power supply that can supply tons of current at quite a stable voltage. It uses a LM317 and a pot to allow a variable output in addition to the fixed outputs. Best of all the finished boxed supply looks great which isn’t always the case with all DIY projects. I can look around and see that lots of my projects that were created for some utility perform well but look like they were made in my basement.

November 13, 2010

Name the Thing Contest – 157

at 3:57 pm. Filed under Contests


Thanks to Gadget Factory for putting up the prize this week. They are providing a Papilio Barcode Genie kit to the lucky winner of the contest, simply plug in your scanner and increase your productivity. Of course the hardware is completely hackable so you could really make it do whatever you would like it to do! If you can’t wait to get one you are in luck, they on sale right now. This contest will run for one week (November 13 – November 19, 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.

Here is some details on the prize:

“The Papilio Barcode Genie kit is a flexible, expandable, and portable barcode scanning kit. It is based on an FPGA for maximum hardware flexibility and written in the Arduino IDE for maximum ease of use. It is a platform that encourages hacking and remixing to adapt it to exactly what you want it to do. Anything you’ve ever wanted to do with barcodes is possible; save them to an excel spreadsheet on a SD card, send them out wirelessly over Zigbee, or add a TFT LCD with a touchscreen. Open Source code and modular building blocks help bring your ideas to life!”

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 November 27, 2010

The item to guess was Doug Engelbart’s computer mouse

The winner is Pete T. (there were 387 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.



Kinect Cracked and used for Laser Tracking

at 3:12 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks, Game Hacks

We have seen what the inside of a Kinect looks like, now we can interface to the cool box if electronic bits.  Hector Martin apparently hacked some code together and got it working 3 hours after he got his hands in the Kinect! From what I see this thing has tons of potential. The Wiimote Hacks were being created at a fast and furious pace after it was opened and I think we will see the community take on the Kinect with the same speed. Have a look at the lower video where the fist hacked proof is shown, the video above is where Hector is having some fun with the system interfacing it with his laser system. In this interview he gets the esteemed lower third title of Hacker. 🙂 If you want to give it a try yourself get the code here.

Best of all he won the bounty that was put up by Adafruit.

November 12, 2010

RGB Spinning Display

at 5:48 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks


Brad from Brads Electronic Projects shows us how to make 8 RGB LEDs create a large circular display. He uses a spread sheet to create the HEX data that the PIC microcontroller will be using to turn on the RGB LEDs to make the system display what you would like but the display data is stored on an EPROM to allow for large moving displays. Reminds me a bit of my POV Display that I made many moons ago, only thing is that Brad’s is about 100 times better. 🙁

“Parts List

8x Common Cathode RGB LEDS (5mm) 
1x 16f648a or 16f628a microcontroller 
5x 74373 tri-state buffers / latches 
1x 27C512 / 27E512 EPROM / EEPROM 
1x IR LED 
1x Photo Diode 
1x 2n2222 NPN Transistor 
24x 100 ohm resistors 
4x 10k resistors 
1x DC motor”

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