Prog | Electro| Mech

Each Day, we serving up Robotic News, Hacks, How-Tos, ect.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Nerd Bias?

I have heard lots of people debate whether Wikipedia is a reliable source or not, but today, some odd accusations came out. One website is claiming that nerdy topics (like light saber combat) are better written than non-nerdy ones. It seems logically true to me. People write about what they know, and nerds are more likely to edit wikipedia. Therefore, nerdy topics are better written. Link

Make a Trebuchet

Makezine has a video podcast up of how to build a balloon flinging trebuchet. Link

Going Away

As I stated in an earlier post; tomorrow, I am leaveing for Alaska. Because of the 12 hour trip, I will be unable to post many things. If possible though, I will post something during our layover in Phoenix.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

MY CNC Router

My CNC router made some real progress today. For about 4 hours, I struggled to get an EDE1204 Bi-poler Stepper driver IC working. I finally gave up and decided to write a program for the Parallax Propeller to drive the stepper. Five minutes later, I had a working X axis. Its bad enough that I wasted 4 hours, but those stupid ICs (I bought 4 of them) were $9 each.

CNC Mill How-To

Well, once again, I've had lot of stuff to do today. All day today I've been down in the basement working on my CNC router. I designed mine, but if your interested in building one, there are designs all over the internet for them. One of the particularly good how-to's is posted on Engadget. Enjoy.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Too much to Do

Sorry about yesterday's lack of posts, but I was incredible busy. Summer vacation starts tomarrow, though, so I shouldn't be quite so busy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Downloading Videos How-To

About a month ago, I finally decided to upgrade my mp3 player. I ended up getting a Microsoft Zune for several reasons, 1) it has the potential of running Linux (and becoming a small robot controller) and 2) it was cheap for a 30 GB player. On of the first challenges I faced was where to get video to watch on it. After a while I discovered an awesome Firefox plug in to help with this. Sorry, this only works for Firefox users.
1) Download and Install Video Down loader 1.1.1.
2) Download and Install Media Coder
3)After Watching a video on YouTube(or letting it fully load) , click on the VideoDownloader icon
4)Left Click to Save video (you must add .flv to the filename)
5)Use Media coder to convert from a FLV file to what ever file type you like/

I know it's not very detailed; but I thought it might help some of the people with Ipods and Zunes to get the videos they want.

Awsome Robot Snake

This has ought to be one of the coolest robots ever built. I can't imagine how much power the processor would need to have to generate movement that smooth. Just Pure Awesomeness.

Voltage Interfaces

In my experiences with the Propeller Microcontroller (a 3.3v device), I have had to interface numerous 5v devices to it. At first, I thought it would be alright just to hook 5v right to the I/O pin. However, after I started loosing I/O pins, I learned that it isn't a 5v tolerant chip. After that, I started using proper interfaces (resistors, FETs, etc). Anyway, Spark Fun Electronics posted a tutorial on voltage interfaces this morning. Thought everyone might like to read it. Link

Pumped for the Olympics

Not the Summer of Winter Olympics, the Robolympics (or RoboGames). This years games are planned for June 15-17. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend (I'll be in Alaska at the time); but I will bring you all the coverage I can. Anyway, if you'd like to go, it's in Fort Mason, San Fransisco California. Link

3 Barrel Potato Gun

Just when I thought most robotisists were sane, Make magazine posted this. It's a 3 barrel PIC controlled potato cannon. 2 PICs control the user interface. The Human uses a joystick to aim and fire the cannon. The potatoes are propelled using a precise amount of propane, ignited by what I'm guessing is a peizo-electric generated spark. All it needs now is a web cam attached to the barrel and Ethernet support. Hew could then aim and fire his creation from the other side of the planet, provided he had internet access. Link

Monday, June 4, 2007

Finally got the Video Uploaded

After using my high-speed internet connection to the full for roughly 4 hours, I finally got the test video uploaded (again). During one scene, the audio is a little funky, but the rest of it is fine. Anyway, hope you like the video.

Government Mind Control a Reality?

Well, kind of. In 2006 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) published news of insect/small mammal mind control, via a small chip implanted into he animals brain. Then, via a wireless link to a computer, they controlled how the animal behaved. This lead them to driving Rats around like RC cars, thanks to a Joystick attached to the computer.
DARPA made the News again today, saying that they have now embedded these chips in the pupa stage of insect development. This means that the insect lived it's entire life completely scientist controlled, never having brain power itself. The best part of the whole story though, the NY Times calls them, "Tiny Terminators."

Promised SubZero Test

I took the video that I promised you and uploaded it on youtube (it took over an hour). Anyway, youtube totally messed up the sound. So I'm uploading it in a different format, hopefully the next one will work. Unfortunately, it will take just over 3 hours. So until then, have fun with the messed up version.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

'Transformers' looks good?

I can't believe I'd even say this, but, Transformers looks good. Really good. I figured that it would never be more that a stupid Saturday morning cartoon, but the new movie coming out on July 4th (directed by Michel Bay) looks as if they leaped over the cartoon genre and into the sci-fi action genre. Anyway, I'm looking forward to it.

I would get a Roomba, except it might kill me

Looks like Hollywood might have ruined another industry, consumer robotics. Acording to, people are increasing afraid that "intelligent" consumer robots, such as the Roomba or Scuba, are capable of inflecting bodily harm. It boggles my mind how people can't tell the difference a robotic vacuum and the Terminator.