The challenge of the Autonomous Vehicle Competition, hosted by hobbyist electronics vendor SparkFun at its Boulder, Colorado, headquarters, seems simple enough: Build a robot that can navigate itself around the company's parking lot. Though the AVC course is dotted with small obstacles, it's really just one lap — a distance of less than 900 feet. But for the majority of competitors, it feels more like the path into Mordor.
Let's say you and your friends like to get together to build outrageously tough and seriously fast off-road vehicles and race them in far-off-the-grid places, like the Baja 1000. Now let's say that some component of your beast of a race vehicle fails or just plain falls off, and your chase vehicle is a hundred miles away. As IT specialist and off-road enthusiast Bud Gaston put it, “A phone is useless out there.” Which is why Gaston built DesertTrax.
Full-length trailers for the latest Star Wars film aren't even out yet, but a new character is already fast become a fan favorite. BB-8, an orange droid that looks like a half-dome head resting on top of a ball, appeared onstage earlier this month at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, where delighted fans could see the actual, physical robot that makes BB-8 work. How the robot itself works is a mystery (though we have theories), but fan Christain Poulsen has already made his own working version.
Patrick Priebe isn't Iron Man, but he's getting pretty close. In a video uploaded to YouTube earlier this week, the Priebe shows off his homemade Iron Man gauntlet, which has not one but two lasers--one on top and one in the palm--as well as an ejectable piece of metal for that ultra-realistic “empty shells falling onto the ground” sound effect.
With a click of the trigger, the gbg-8 shoots! Except it's not expelling bullets; it's taking a picture. In essence, the gbg-8 is a camera masquerading as a gun. After taking a photo, with a camera mounted inside the "barrel," the image become visible on the cannibalized screen of a gameboy mounted on the side of this weird piece of cyberpunk gadgetry. In seconds, a thermal printer then spits out the image on paper. Made by the artist vtol in Moscow, it seems less about the functionality--there are better cameras and portable printers out there--and more about the materials used. Built from a game boy, an arduino board, a camera of unknown origin, and a thermal printer, gbg-8 is an alternate vision of the 1990s where polaroids were outlawed and only outlaws made polaroids.
Augmented reality glasses are hotter than Drake right now. Last fall, Microsoft's Hololens glasses dazzled us with promises of 'holograms' beamed throughout our workplaces. NASA announced this week that they plan to guide astronauts with projection glasses. And CastAR wants the whole family to play games in augmented living rooms.
Ever wanted to see the world through the eyes of a Scout Trooper chasing Luke Skywalker through the forest of Endor? Thanks to hobbyist Adam Woodsworth, you can now do so vicariously. Like the work of Olivier C before him, whose quadcopter conversions gave us a drone Millenium Falcon and TIE Interceptor, Woodsworth combined quadcopter parts and a toy to make a vehicle straight out of Return of the Jedi.