Robot Project (Mantis) Teaser Video

Here it is, folks. Just finished our latest and greatest robot project. We edited together a quick teaser video to show off a bit of what the robot (affectionately named “Mantis”) can do.

You should see a full blown episode in the next day or two of exactly how the control system works and how you can build your own! If you’ll be around the Detroit area at the end of the month, we will be showing off Mantis and a few other robots at Maker Faire Detroit! We will be located in the i3 Detroit hackerspace booth. Hope to see you all there!


Green Screening in Final Cut Pro X

Hey all,

I wanted to make a quick video showing off how to do chroma keying (Green Screening) in the latest Final Cut Pro X for anyone who may be unfamiliar with the new version. Enjoy!


New Android/Arduino App – ipgamepad

Just wanted to post a little update here about the latest project I’ve been working on called ipgamepad. If you’re looking for a video, don’t worry. We’ll be documenting this fully in the next episode.

In a nutshell, ipgamepad is a simple app that runs on any Android device and acts as a virtual gamepad controller that transmits the control data wirelessly. Right now it’s extremely simplistic in nature (just 2 analog sticks), but I have plans to build out a full controller with buttons and switches. My motivation behind building this is for controlling Arduino/Netduino robots over WiFi.

If you’re like me, you probably have a spare wireless router lying around the house and there’s a good chance you’ve got an Android device accessible to you. With those 2 components you’re literally a microcontroller + ethernet interface away from a wireless control system. On the Google Code page, I’ve also provided an Arduino sketch that you can run if you have an Ethernet shield. You can directly control servos or speed controllers from the Arduino, providing a complete robot control system.

If you’re an Android developer and are interested in helping with the project, let me know! I definitely could use the help developing the app and there are a lot of things to improve/implement before I consider the app anywhere near polished.

The video episode will be following soon with a full explanation and robot demo. Enjoy the code until then!

Projects in the Pipeline

Hello Tech Junkies fans!

Just wanted to give an update on our status and the projects we’ve been working on the past several months. In the future the format of our show may change slightly. We are currently planning on releasing shorter “quick tip” videos in addition to our larger project videos.

That being said, here are a few things we’ve been developing and will be creating video demonstrations of in the near future:

-Building large scale robots (Arduino-based control system + Android Remote Control)
-MIDI instrument creation
-Simplified RFID Door Unlocking Circuits perfect for temporary installations (Dorms, Apartments, etc…)
-RFID card spoofing (hand wrapped coils and microcontrollers)

We’re also planning on being at Maker Faire Detroit 2011 to demonstrate some of these projects. Hope to see you there and make sure to check back for new videos and project write-ups!

Action Sports Game Timer

Timer for airsoft and paintball games that has multiple game modes (defense/attack/capture). Timer must be “diffused” by a player in defense mode, armed/diffused in attack mode, or 2 teams fight over control in capture (king of the hill) mode.

This is currently a work in progress. More details and code coming soon.

The Tech Junkies Episode #6 – OpenWRT Jukebox

In this episode of The Tech Junkies, Ben and Eric show how to hack an Asus WL-520gu wireless router into a music playback device. By loading the OpenWRT firmware onto the router and adding a USB sound card, it is possible to convert this cheap/powerful router into a streaming box to be placed anywhere your WiFi is in range. Now you can build your own shoutcast/icecast receiver for cheap and get music wirelessly to any room in your home.

Electric Go Kart

A complete conversion from a gasoline powered go kart into an electric go kart featuring a full control system with feedback.

Pictured here are the four motors powering the vehicle, motorcycle batteries, brake lights, electronic speed controllers, and various other components of the control system.

The dashboard of the vehicle is outfitted with an LCD screen that displays current power being sent to the left and right drives. A potentiometer inserted into the steering shaft allows the system to dynamically alter motor speed based on turning.

Reprogramming the software running onboard the system.

The system uses a modified set of steering wheel/pedals from a racing video game. The system has variable speed control by use of this method.

The electronic bits that make everything actually work.