Hacked Gadgets Forum

June 20, 2013

Unicorn Buster – Workstation Auto Lock Project

at 3:26 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks



If you are tired of your co-workers messing around with your computer when you get up to grab a glass of water this Unicorn Buster, Workstation Auto Lock Project is just the thing you need. As soon as you walk away from your computer with your locking fob in your pocket your computer locks automatically.

Via: Dangerous Prototypes

UV LED Drawing Parallax Robot

at 12:25 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Check out the cool UV LED Drawing Parallax Robot that Gareth built from a S2 scribbler robot.

“I have replaced the pen slot with a bar of downward pointing UltraViolet LEDs one placed central to the hole and the others fanning out…..
This arrangement means that i can send the Propellers internal character-set (no costly data tables) to the UV array and plot to a Phosphorescent screen.”

June 18, 2013

Energy Harvesting Roads and Sidewalks

at 10:08 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks



Are sidewalks and roads of the future going to be generating energy to power things around them? Some embedded Piezo Generators might be just the thing we need. This is an interesting concept. Only thing is that laying a sidewalk or road with this technology is sure to be expensive. Will the energy savings outweigh the cost of installation and maintenance? Nice thing about this technology is that it isn’t obtrusive like wind generators or solar farms are.

“According to people at Innowattech the Piezo Electric Generator (IPEG™) should be able to produce 200KWh, while a four-lane highway would produce about 1MWh of electricity, per kilometer, enough to provide power to 2500 households. Considering that Israel has about 250 kilometers of roadways suitable for the technology, in terms of volumes of traffic, and the mass of vehicles taking the roads, you can very well imagine how much electricity can be produced.”

June 17, 2013

Autonomous Car Build

at 12:19 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks



Jason Dorweiler has built an Autonomous Car that is based on a simply off the shelf $100 RC car. The car is loaded up with a bunch of sensors and visual technology. An Arduino is being used to tie everything together. The video below demonstrates a parking lot test that seems to have worked very well.

Thanks for the email Paul.

“For the localization of the car I’ll be using a GPS sensor and accelerometer. First, the GPS will find the starting coordinates of the car. Then the car will start moving, somewhat blindly at first. Once the car is moving, data from the accelerometer and elapsed time can be used to calculate the velocity of the car. These two measurements are then passed into a Kalman filter to improve the accuracy of the car’s position.

At the same time, heading data from the GPS and gyroscope are passed into another Kalman filter to get an accurate heading on the car. The position and heading data from the Kalman filters is then compared to a GPS waypoint given to the sensor and motor control. Next, a heading toward the desired GPS waypoint is calculated, and the appropriate signal is sent to the steering servo in order to point the car in that direction.”



June 15, 2013

Skot 9000 DigitGrid

at 5:03 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks


Check out the Skot 9000 DigitGrid. It is a huge grid of 7 segment displays that can be used to display a picture or even a video in a crude way. The result is beautiful!

Thanks for the tip Stan.

“The DigitGrid is an array of seven-segment displays. There are 4096 LEDs, forming 512 7-segment digits (they are actually 8 leds each if you count the decimal point). Every 16 digits is grouped together into a “module” with a Texas Instruments TLC5920 LED Driver/Controller. Each module has it’s own PCB with input and output headers. The modules connect together end-to-end to form rows of 32 x 2 digits. There are 8 of these rows. All of the rows are controlled by a Spartan 3E FPGA that also receives frames over serial. The various animations are written in Processing and then sent out frame by frame to the FPGA over 230kbps serial. The TLC5920 has a current limiting setting and as a result, the whole display draws less than 1 amp.”


Skot 9000 DigitGrid

Skot 9000 DigitGrid_2

June 12, 2013

DIY Vacuum Fluorescent Display Driver using a 555 Timer

at 5:40 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

 DIY Vacuum Fluorescent Display Driver using a 555 Timer


This DIY Vacuum Fluorescent Display Driver uses a 555 Timer to drive it. Most of us have used a 7 segment display before and they are very simply to power since they are just LEDs and it is very simply to power LEDs. Kerry Wong had a VFD but no driver, he built one using a 555 timer, a hand wound transformer and a hand full of other components.

“One of the key design considerations for the filament driver is the need to “float” the filament potential above the ground. This offset voltage is necessary to prevent ghosting (see this app note for more detailed explanation). Also in order for the illumination to be uniform, an AC drive current waveform from a center-tapped transformer is desired.”

June 11, 2013

Arduino based Indoor Environmental Quality Station

at 8:22 am. Filed under Electronic Hacks

 Arduino based Indoor Environmental Quality Station


There are a ton of sensors available for the Arduino. These days indoor air quality is on the mind of many people wanting to improve the quality of life and health. What could be better than a home made system that uses and Arduino and a bunch of sensors to monitor everything around you. This project also interfaces with Thing Speak to allow the data to be viewed online.

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