The $250 Arduino-powered prosthetic hand made by a teen

Arduino, 3D printing, and clever engineering result in an affordable prosthesis.

Easton LaChappelle has made a series of continuously improving robotic hands. The first, which he made at age 14, won 3rd place at the Colorado state science fair, and the second, which we previously covered, won 2nd place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the top science fair in the USA. At the Colorado fair he met a little girl who wore an $80,000 prosthetic arm, and he was convinced he could do better.
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An air-powered robotic tentacle using Processing and Arduino

Soft robotics at home.

Matthew Borgatti of HAR.MS made this slightly disconcerting yet undeniably fascinating prototype of an air-powered robotic tentacle. The tentacle itself is made of silicone, and an Arudino and three solenoid valves control the flow of air that make the tentacle bend and twist. Borgatti also made a simple visual user interface with Processing to operate it.

“Soft robotics” like this have several potential advantages over the more traditional “hard” systems. A soft arm is more gentle with far fewer moving parts, and is, in some ways, more resistant to damage that a typical robotic arm.
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How to use an old Nokia to send text messages from an Arduino

Put one of those old cellphones lying around to good use.

Most people have at least one or two old cellphones sitting in a drawer somewhere. Now you can use one for your next Arduino project. Alex of insideGadgets has kindly posted a detailed tutorial showing how to hack and old Nokia 6110 (or any derivative) to send text messages from an Arduino. Even if you don’t have one of these sitting around, old technology (aka project materials) can be bought at absurdly low prices.

Via Arduino blog

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Making a bioprinter from an old inkjet

Welcome to the early days of DIY biofabbing.

Instructables user Patrik has put together a guide for making a simple bioprinter out of and old inkjet print and a couple old CD drives. He has successfully printed bioluminescent E. coli in the form of readable text (image after the jump). Bioprinting is still largely in the research stages for medical and industrial purposes, but DIY enthusiasts are close behind.
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3D print your own humanoid robot

It picks up objects, talks, and obeys your voice.

An open source, 3D printable humanoid robot is in development and available for download from Thingiverse. Right now only the arms can be downloaded, but the head and torso are promised as soon as the design has been refined.

InMoov is a project by Gael Langevin, a French sculptor (Thingiverse user hairygael). Langevin has been working on InMoov since early 2012 and has gone through numerous design iterations and discarded 3D prints since that time. The progress is nothing short of outstanding. As you can see in the video below, this is a fully articulated humanoid robot, a rarity outside the research labs of corporations and universities.
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A 3D printed 4k resolution OLED TV is coming

3D printing hits mainstream manufacturing.

Panasonic has unveiled a new television manufactured with the help of 3D printing. It’s not clear exactly what portion of it was 3D printed; it’s likely the body was 3D printed while the screen and internal components were manufactured traditionally. Regardless, it’s a major step forward to see 3D printing being used in mainstream manufacturing.

First 3D printing was used by major companies to make prototypes, then makers and small companies started using it to produce niche products, and now it seems that the technology has advanced sufficiently for a major corporation to use it for direct manufacturing.

The new 56-inch OLED television measures in at a shockingly thin half-inch thick, weighing a small fraction of equivalent LED TVs. It also boasts a 4k resolution, which is roughly equivalent to putting four full HD screens together.

Via TechCrunch

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Re: Sound Bottle remixes everything it hears

Arduino audio processor packed in to a bottle full of beats

Everyday sounds become dynamic, ever-changing musical tracks with this student concept by Jun Fujiwara from Tama Art University in Japan.
The Re: Sound Bottle hides some complex electronics behind that sleek outer shell, in order to process and pump out some rockin’ beats.

The bottle begins recording as soon as you pop the cork, and it stores these audio samples to then remix them on demand in a cool rhythmic track. Here’s how Jun describes this mini DJ-in-a-jar:

“I felt something missing in the habitual use of music reproduction media, so I thought to create an interactive music medium that changes. By using everyday voices as sources of music, the sounds that are heard all the time every day carry infinite possibilities and help us reaffirm the enjoyment of music. I hope people can experience their own music.”

Click through to see a perky clip of the Re: Sound Bottle doing it’s thing, and you’ll understand why it was a deserving prize winner at the Mitsubishi Chemical Junior Designer Awards in 2012.

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All-in-one controller board for making your own 3D printer

New grassroots hardware from the Pacific Northwest.

The BrainWave board by Metrix Create:Space and Matthew Wilson is an all-in-one controller specifically designed for DIY 3D printers. It includes support for 4 stepper motors, a heated extruder, and a heated print bed. It’s also open source. And did I mention it was fabricated, assembled, and tested in the Pacific Northwest? The components are from overseas, but that’s nearly impossible to avoid these days.

Unfortunately, it’s not widely available quite yet; it is currently being beta tested to work out the bugs. Once launched, the BrainWave will sell for the very reasonable price of $100.
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Circuit Playground teaches kids about electronics

Web series uses puppets to inspire the next generation of inventors


Adafruit continues in their quest to make DIY electronics easy for all ages with Circuit Playground, a children’s web series that teaches electronics in a quirky and fun way.

“We’ll have each component have a story, a song and something to do”

From Cappy the Capacitor to Hans the 555 Timer Chip, this light-hearted approach will enable enquiring youngsters to immerse themselves in technology as they gain valuable real-world knowledge.

Supporting the show there are additional fun low-tech teaching aids including a colouring book and a set of plush dolls that will bring the characters to life. Combine this with the Circuit Playground iOS app and you’ve got plenty to not only keep the kids entertained and engaged with the learning process, but also maintain the underlying goal of inspiring the next generation of engineers.

“We want to celebrate the fun and good parts of making things, and even tackle complex subjects like what’s ‘good’ to make”

Circuit Playground is scheduled to air in March on Google+ and Ustream.

via Wired

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An Arduino keeps this motorized unicycle balanced

Riding a unicycle without the faceplant.

Nick Thatcher built this self-balancing unicycle using an Arduino UNO, a IMU (gyroscope) from Sparkfun, a 24v 350w geared motor, a wheelbarrow wheel, and a handful of other basic parts.

The IMU senses when the unicycle tilts too far forward or backward, the Arduino does some calculations, and then the motor compensates. The rider still has to put a little effort into maintaining balance (and not falling sideways), but it wouldn’t be much fun if the Arduino did all the work.

Via Hack a Day

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