Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 25, 2011

Sensing 3D surfaces with Gelsight

at 2:38 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks


GelSight, a new 3D surface sensing material can be used to visualize and measure surfaces. Zedomax member reports that GelSight is a pretty top-notch stuff that can detail at even microscopic levels.

The optical property of the material is making it very complicated to see the surface structure”, said Johnson, co-founder of GelSight, Inc.

For more information, you can read the paper presented at SIGGRAPH 2011 named: “Microgeometry Capture using an Elastomeric Sensor” or you can visit the website of GelSight, Inc .  

Checkout this video to know more about sensing 3D surfaces with Gelsight:



December 24, 2011

Tiny Bipolar Stepper Motor Control

at 3:36 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks


Check out the super macro video of this Tiny Bi-Polar Stepper Motor being controlled with an Arduino. This great part was scavenged from a blu-ray player.  This cute little motor has only 20 steps per revolution which is much less than the number of steps you would find in the large style steppers. I can normally think of a bunch of project ideas from every bit of electronics I see but this is something that I am just not sure how I could use it. I am thinking it would not have enough power to move anything substantial. I guess it would be used to move a tiny mirror to deflect a laser beam and display the time in the form of a line on the wall or something… What would you build with it?

Thanks for sending it in Dmitriy!

“So, here is what I’ve found out about the nano-sized stepper and the linear stage assembly:

  • It’s a 20 steps per revolution bipolar stepper.
  • The windings are 27.1Ω
  • The windings are most likely energized from the 1.8V source in the Bluray drive. I’ve used Arduino’s 3.3V output for the load supply of A3967 to simplify the setup. The motor gets slightly warm after a few minutes but the load current can also be adjusted on EasyDriver board to alleviate that
  • The linear stage has 2.5mm travel and it gets there in 14 full rotations. So, in theory, you can position this lens (or whatever else you choose to mount on it instead) with pretty darn good precision:
    it’s 0.179 mm lead step (thread step) and A3967 can take 160 steps (winding energizing steps) to complete one rotation, so, it’s a whopping 0.00111 mm or, in other words, 1.1 micron per step. This is millimeters, by the way, not to confuse with thousands of an inch. Sounds like it could be used for positioning of samples under a microscope by someone who does not want to shell out $500 for a professional positioning stage. Just a thought …
  • The end position sensor has three wires coming out of it and is most likely an LED/photodiode pair – I’ve yet to do more research on that. but it’s nothing short of amazing how they managed to put it in the assembly!”


December 23, 2011

Crazy hacked Monitor looks Invisible unless you are wearing special Glasses

at 6:37 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Funny Hacks


Instructables member Dimovi shares a wonderful hack where you can turn your old LCD monitor into a privacy monitor!  The crazy thing with this privacy monitor is that it  looks all white to everybody except you, because you are wearing “magic” glasses!

People might think you are crazy, staring at a blank white screen wearing sunglasses! But I guess that makes it even more fun!

Materials required for this build are:

  • An LCD monitor of course
  • Single use 3D glasses from the movie theater (old sunglasses are just fine)
  • Paint thinner (or some other solvent such as toluene, turpentine, acetone, methyl acetate, ethyl acetate etc)
  • Box cutter (and CNC laser cutter)
  • Screwdriver or a drill
  • Paper towels
  • Superglue

You can refer the step-by-step procedure of making this project here.


Crazy Walking Machine Project

at 6:33 am. Filed under Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Funny Hacks, Toy Hacks


Have you ever heard of a walking machine made from bent wires and run by a single 1.5V AA battery wherein the motor and battery can rotate with crank?

Hackolog member brought this amazing concept, where you can build your own walking machine just by using fewer components.  You can start by connecting the motor to the crank to which the wheels are fitted. Now when the wheels meet an obstruction the motor starts driving the crank round, the spinning eccentric weight of the motor causes the robot to jump up and down and the foot oscillates. 

To get an idea how the machine looks like, you can refer to the pic below:



December 22, 2011

Ultrafast Camera – capturing light particles moving through space

at 4:59 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, Insane Equipment


Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have developed an imaging system that can capture visual data at a rate of 1 TFPS. With such a speed of visual data acquision, the researchers were able to create virtual super-slow-motion videos of light particles traveling and scattering through space. The technique to create the videos relies on what’s called a streak camera.

The complete virtual slow-motion movies are created by stitching together each scan lines data comprising of several pulses of light.

So what you are seeing is actually an average of many pulses, but because our camera and laser are synchronized very well, all the pulses look exactly the same,” Velten said. “That’s basically the trick.”

Check out the video below if you want more on this technology:


Open Picus Dancing Twitter Santa

at 9:54 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Toy Hacks


If you want to drive the guys over at Open Picus nuts send a tweet to their dancing santa! Check out their Open Picus Dancing Twitter Santa project to see how they connected the santa with a few bits of electronics to their system. I have a feeling that this will be a fun gadget on the desk until it keeps dancing non stop for a few hours…

“I have a Santa Claus that lights up and moves when you turn on its switch. So bypassing the switch, you can build a virtual switch with an NPN transistor. The base is controlled by the signal coming from the “out2″ of Flyport with a resistor to limit the base current. Our Santa Claus, it’s like an active load between the collector and VDD (2 AA batteries) and the emitter to ground (GND) shared by Flyport and Santa Claus.”



December 21, 2011

Hacked Typewriter with Magical Effects

at 10:14 pm. Filed under Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Funny Hacks


Makezine in its blog reported that Yoonjo Choi has modernized her old typewriter by adding force sensors and monitor connectivity, so that her old photographs can now be flipped quickly through projection. The way in which her old photo displays on the monitor possesses a magical effect. The project draws attention to the photos in a way that a digital slideshow or picture frame cannot.

The most amazing feature is that you can only see the photo when you type at a certain rate. For example, if you type less than five letters within ten seconds you will only get a vague outline of the photo. If you type more than five and less than ten letters it gets a bit more crisp, and so forth.

 Watch out this video to know more about this hacked Typewriter:


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