Hacked Gadgets Forum

August 5, 2014

Drawbot Using Parallax Propeller Microcontroller programmed using PropForth

at 10:22 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets

Drawbot Using Parallax Propeller Microcontroller programmed using PropForth


Martin_H from the Parallax forum has built a cool little robot called Drawbot, it uses a Parallax Propeller Microcontroller programmed using PropForth. The main drive for this robot are the cheap $5 stepper motors that are available on eBay out of China. Looks like it is just powerful enough for this project. There is some loss of position after it draws a lot due to things like wheel slip. This might call for a hacked optical mouse to be added to the bottom of the robot for enhanced position sensing. There are some enhancements to the robot such as remote wireless programming that drives up the price a bit but the convenience of just being able to zap a new firmware file at it without having to plug in is worth it in my eyes. It is programmed in Forth which looks like there would be a bit of a learning curve to it. You can see the code examples on the project page here.



August 1, 2014

NeverSet – Network Time Protocol Clock with Vacuum Fluorescent Display

at 12:38 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets

Network Time Protocol Clock with Vacuum Fluorescent Display


This Network Time Protocol Clock with Vacuum Fluorescent Display was built by pyrofer for his entry in the Hack a Day Contest. It is still a work in progress with many upgrades still in the works. The project uses a Spark Core which is an Arduino compatible board with built in WiFi. The clock uses the wireless internet connection to request time updates so you will never need to adjust it.


July 30, 2014

µVolume USB Volume Control Project

at 7:55 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

µVolume USB Volume Control Project


This neat µVolume project by Rupert Hirst of RunAwayBrainz allows you to control your tunes with a nice big knob that uses a rotary encoder to get the user input. You can see the previous version in action below.

Via: Electronics Lab


              Arduino Compatible (Atmel Atmega32u4)
              Manual volume adjustment using the rotary encoder
              (IR) Infra red  remote control of volume and multimedia controls.
              Apple remote or user defined
              Visual and audible Feedback
               RGB Lighting Customization’s”




µVolume USB Volume Control Project _2

July 28, 2014

Portable Device for Measuring Hydration and Body Fat

at 9:38 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Educational, Electronic Hacks



Cornell ECE 5030 students Uma Mohan, Sarvesh Sukhatme and Priyanka Venkatesh have designed a Portable Device for Measuring Hydration and Body Fat. The project passes a small current through the body to measure the amount of hydration in the person. A 940 nm LED is used to detect the amount of fat the person has by shining it through a part of the body, the amount of light that passes through allows them to calculate the body fat of the person.

“We used a LM358 Opamp to make a voltage dependent constant current source. Setting the resistor connected to pin2 as 200 ohms sets the current as the (voltage magnitude/200) A.  The voltage source used was a square wave with magnitude 0.2V and frequency 2Hz.”


July 26, 2014

Arduino Go-Kart

at 2:15 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets

  Arduino Go-Kart_


This Arduino Go-Kart was built by who is a 15 year old inventor from California. Lots of LED lights on this thing is sure to make it light up great at night. It needs a push start to get it going but once it is rolling the thumb throttle will get it up to speed.


“The drive setup uses a Hobbywing Xerun 150A brushless electronic speed controller to control a Savox BSM5065 450Kv motor. Batteries are 3x zippy lithium polymer – 5 cells, 5000mah. The motor has two large fans I pulled out of an old computer for cooling, mounted right over the motor. The chain drive is a 1:10 overall ratio, using a 15 tooth on the motor chained to a 30 tooth on the jackshaft, and a 9 tooth from the jackshaft to a 45 tooth on the wheel. The tires are 10″ diameter so at 20 volts the top speed is around 30 mph. The ESC is controlled via PWM from the arduino. A throttle potentiometer on the steering wheel controls this. Constant current is around 40-50A, and the batteries last around 30 minutes with an average speed of 10-15mph.”


Arduino Go-Kart__1


Arduino Go-Kart__2

July 23, 2014

Squink – PCB Printer

at 12:39 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets

 Squink - PCB Printer


When you are making a new PCB design don’t you wish you could just print out the design instead of sending your Gerbers out for manufacture? BotFactory has created a PCB Printer called Squink, it prints using conductive ink and places dots of conductive adhesive where each SMD part will be placed. Best of all the machine then does a pick and place of all the parts onto the design. The entire process takes about 15 to 30 minutes depending if you want the optional heat curing to be performed. Just think of the ability to spin your board design a few times in a day. Of course this might not be right for everyone. I am not sure what the work around is to incorporate some through hole parts and vias for double sided designs. These days a double sided board is about the same cost as a single sided board but gives you much more flexible trace options without using jumpers.

If you are interesting in playing with this technology you can jump on the KickStarter for $2,999 (only a handful left at this price)

Via: Technabob



Squink - PCB Printer_2

July 20, 2014

Richard Turere Invents Livestock Protection Device

at 9:28 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks

 Richard Turere Invents Livestock Protection Device_2

 13 year old Richard Turere lives in Kenya. Livestock is very important in their community, however lion are very smart and often kill their animals. The lions wait till everyone goes to bed before attacking. The first attempt at outsmarting the lions was to build scarecrows but the lions soon realized that since they were not moving around that there were not real people and didn’t pose and danger. Using a solar panel to gather electricity, a battery to store it and a car turn signal flasher to blink some lights he was able to place some lights at random locations around the pasture. This makes the lions think that there is someone walking around watching over the livestock at night. What a ingenious idea from such a young inventor.

Via: Hackaday



Richard Turere Invents Livestock Protection Device


Richard Turere Invents Livestock Protection Device_3

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