At least one in their lives — or several times a day — everyone has wished they had a third hand to help them with a given task. Adding a mechanical extra arm to one’s outfit is a big step, so it might make sense to smart small, and first add an extra thumb to your hand.
This is not a prosthetic in the traditional sense, but a wearable human augmentation envisioned by [Dani Clode], a master’s student at London’s Royal College of Art. The thumb is 3D-printed out of Ninjaflex and mounted to a printed brace which slides over the hand. One servo rotates the thumb, and a second pulls it closed using a bowden cable system — not unlike that of a bicycle brake. Control of the thumb is achieved by pressure sensors in the wearer’s shoes, linked via Bluetooth to a wristband hosting the servos and the electronics. We already use our hands and feet in conjunction, so why not capitalize on this intuitive link?
The main thrust of this project is to expand human ability and expression: in the same way that a pair of glasses can express individual character while their capacity as a medical device takes a secondary role, [Clode] hopes that her third thumb will have an aesthetic component alongside broadening our capacity as humans. This isn’t to say that traditional prosthetics cannot be works of art in and of themselves.
[Uri Shaked]’s lamentation over the breaking of his smart bulb was brief as it was inspiring — now he had a perfectly valid excuse to hack it into a magic light bulb.
The first step was disassembling the bulb and converting it to run on a tiny, 130mAh battery. Inside the bulb’s base, the power supply board, Bluetooth and radio circuits, as well as the LED board didn’t leave much room, but he was able to fit in 3.3V and 12V step-up voltage regulators for the LiPo battery.
[Shaked]’s self-imposed bonus round was to also wedge a charging circuit — which he co-opted from a previous project — into the bulb instead of disassembling it every time it needed more juice. Re-soldering the parts together: easy. Fitting everything inside a minuscule puzzle-box: hard. Kapton tape proved eminently helpful in preventing shorts in the confined space.
In the interest of safety, [Shaked] also isolated the bulb from its base in case it gets mixed in with some regular light bulbs. He notes that it’s illegal in some countries to mess with bulbs like this unless you are a licensed electrician, since this could easily have a significant failure if plugged(screwed?) into a house’s circuit.
[Shaked] has also managed to tie this project in with a beacon he’s previously built for some cool effects, as well as integrating Bluetooth-based IoT functionality that detects sound, changing the bulb’s colour and brightness appropriately.
If you’re an Apple user, we’ve previously featured one method to get Siri to control a Phillips Hue bulb. Better yet, if one could fuse this with idea with Visible Light Communication, one might be able to control a suite of devices that have a photodiode or other such receivers like a real magic wand — er, bulb.
Ergonomic. Wireless. Low-latency. Minimalist. Efficient. How far do you go when you design your own open-source keyboard? Checking off these boxes and providing the means for others to do so, Redditor [reverse_bias] presents the Mitosis keyboard, and this thing is cool.
The custom, split– as the namesake implies — mechanical keyboard has 23 keys on each 10 cm x 10 cm half, and, naturally, a custom keymapping for optimal personal use.
Upper and lower PCBs host the keys and electronic circuits respectively, contributing to the sleek finished look. Key caps and mechanical switches were ripped from sacrificial boards: two Waveshare core51822 Bluetooth modules are used for communication, with a third module paired with a Pro Micro make up the receiver.[reverse_bias] spent a fair bit of time attempting to minimize the power consumption of the keyboard so it could be powered by a pair of coin batteries, giving it an estimated six month lifespan of daily use. These are pinched between the upper and lower boards by little dabs of solder and the slight spring tension of the boards themselves. However, a bit of de-soldering is required to change the battery.
Laser-cut adhesive neoprene adorns the base, proving a comfortable springiness, grip, and protection for the pins as well as cushioning from any debris on the desk. The final product has almost zero flex, has a low enough profile to negate the need for a wrist rest. If you’re interested in building your own, [reverse_bias] has linked all the relevant files here.
Solar power has surged ahead in recent years, and access for the individual has grown accordingly. Not waiting around for a commercial alternative, Instructables user [taifur] has gone ahead and built himself a solar-powered Bluetooth headset.
Made almost completely of recycled components — reducing e-waste helps us all — only the 1 W flexible solar panel, voltage regulator, and the RN-52 Bluetooth module were purchased for this project. The base of the headset has been converted from [taifur]’s old wired one, meanwhile a salvaged boost converter, and charge controller — for a lithium-ion battery — form the power circuit. An Apple button makes an appearance alongside a control panel for a portable DVD player (of all things), and an MP4 player’s battery. Some careful recovery and reconfiguration work done, reassembly with a little assistance from the handyman’s secret weapon — duct tape — and gobs of hot glue bore a wireless fruit ready to receive the sun’s bounty.
Taking the initiative to go green using solar power– taken literally — could also result in getting into hydroponic gardening.
Instructables user [Roboro] had a Mad Catz Xbox steering wheel controller he hasn’t had much use for of late, so he decided to hack and use it as a controller for a robot instead.
Conceivably, you could use any RC car, but [Roboro] is reusing one he used for a robot sumo competition a few years back. Cracking open the controller revealed a warren of wires that were — surprise, surprise — grouped and labelled, making for a far less painful hacking process. Of course, [Roboro] is only using the Xbox button for power, the player-two LED to show the connection status, the wheel, and the pedals, but knowing which wires are which might come in handy later.
An Arduino Uno in the wheel and a Nano in the robot are connected via CC41-A Bluetooth modules which — despite having less functionality than the HM10 module they’re cloned from — perform admirably. A bit of code and integration of a SN754410 H-bridge motor driver — the Arduino doesn’t supply enough current to [Roboro]’s robot’s motors — and the little robot’s ready for its test drive.
[Roboro]’s suggested improvements are servo steering for the robot, upgrading to the HM10 module, more sensors to take advantage of the other buttons on the wheel, and a camera — because who doesn’t love some good ol’ fashioned FPV racing?
How do you make the most awesome gaming peripheral ever made even more bad? Give it a 21st-century upgrade! [Alessio Cosenza] calls this mod the Power Glove Ultra, and it works exactly as we imagined it should have all those years ago.
The most noticeable change is the 3D-printed attachment that hosts the Bluetooth module, a combination USB charger and voltage booster, and a Metro Mini(ATmega328) board. On top of a 20-hour battery life, a 9-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass gives the Power Glove Ultra full 360-degree motion tracking and upgrades the functionality of the finger sensors with a custom board and five flex sensor strips with 256 possible positions for far more nuanced input. [Cosenza] has deliberately left the boards and wires exposed for that cyberpunk, retro-future look that is so, so bad.
[Cosenza] has also modified a Wiimote Nunchuck controller to provide complimentary functionality for games that require an analog stick (such as a first-person shooter game). [Cosenza] aims to keep the project open source for the love of the glove and the community surrounding it, though he says the code isn’t at the point where he’s comfortable releasing it.
Until those files are released, our craving for something we love because it’s so bad must be satiated by a few other Power Glove hacks. A few years ago, we saw the Power Glove used as the perfect tool for stop-motion animation, and take over Maker Faire with a glove-controlled drone. There’s still a lot of life left in the electronic glove, and with the current trend of wearable electronics, we’re only going to see more. This time, hopefully without pre-teen antagonists telling us how bad something is.