The popular open-source Arduino microcontroller has been implemented in countless projects worldwide, and this very success has led the hacker community to create several smaller and cheaper alternatives to the Arduino, such as the Digispark
. TinyDuino continues in this miniaturization trend but, crucially, does so while promising to retain all the flexibility of its illustrious forbear.
One of the most established luxury auto marques is teaming up with one of the market's latest, buzziest firms to visualize the future of design and technology. BMW is working with crowd-source guru Local Motors in a new contest designed to gain a broader perspective on the future of sustainable urban mobility.
In the past year alone, Swiss research institute EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) has brought us things such as a mini ionic motor for satellites
, “nano velcro
” that removes pollutants from water, and a system that allows paralyzed rats to walk again
. While none of these items will ever likely be available to regular consumers, now there is
a piece of EPFL-developed technology that you can get your hands on. It’s an open-source educational robot known as Thymio II, and it only costs a little over a hundred bucks.
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Concerned about the lack of fresh water in the developing world, designer Gabriele Diamanti wanted a solution to desalinate water that was available to households rather than relying on giant centralized plants
. He also wanted it to be something inexpensive that could be made by local craftsman. The result is a ceramic solar still called the Eliodomestico that operates like an “upside-down coffee percolator”.
The open-source Arduino
micro-controller is a very useful piece of kit which has been implemented by hackers to power countless endeavors from Musical Umbrellas
to Angry Birds Slingshot Controllers
. For some projects however, the flexibility of the Arduino can be overkill and it's this issue which prompted Digispark to create a simpler, cheaper alternative - a tiny Arduino-compatible developmental circuit board that costs as little as US$12.
A 3D printer that pops out steaming hot burritos before your very eyes? That sounds like the plot of the next stoner movie turned cult hit. In this case, though, it's actually the thesis project of an NYU masters student. And it's fast becoming a reality.
Underwater remote-operated vehicles, or ROVs, are almost impossibly fascinating. They’re controlled by a surface-based operator, who watches their real-time video feed and pilots them via a long umbilical cable. Although the big-league multi-million-dollar ROVs are used for things such as exploring the wreck of the Titanic
or studying hydrothermal vents, hobbyists have quite a bit of fun using their own home-built versions
just to see what’s under the surface of the local lake. Unfortunately, even to build one yourself, you need to be pretty technically skilled. That could change, however, as the OpenROV project is developing “easy to assemble” kits – it may even provide li’l ROVs that are ready to go, right out of the box.
After attracting more than three times its funding target on the Kickstarter crowd-sourcing portal, the TriggerTrap universal camera trigger is now speeding towards production. The battery-operated, pocket-sized device has five built-in trigger modes - including firing the flash or shutter release in response to light or sound input - and is compatible with a growing list of camera models. It has a touch-sensitive user interface and an LCD display to help take the guesswork out of choosing settings, and can control hundreds of different cameras via wired or IR trigger systems. It has also been built to allow (if not actively encourage) hacking.
DIY gadgets' makers have a new solution for quick and easy building of custom devices in the form of the .NET Gadgeteer platform. Utilizing .NET Micro Framework and C# programming language, .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit combined of a basic ARM CPU-equipped mainboard and a choice of easily attachable modules, including displays, buttons, camera, Ethernet, USB ports, or WiFi. The idea resembles the Arduino
platform or EZ-Builder kit for DIY robotics projects like DJ Sures' WALL-E
As laptop computers continue to shrink in size and mobile phones become more and more powerful, can it be that long before the two merge into a device with the portability of a mobile phone and the functionality of a laptop? While it is just a matter of time before the power of a fully-fledged PC can be crammed inside a device the size of a mobile phone, our fingers aren't getting any smaller so overcoming the problems of interacting with such a small device will require some creative thinking. Creative thinking like that of designer Billy May who has come up with a mobile phone concept called the “Seabird” that is designed to address some of the frustrations people face when using such physically small devices.