I thought about creating different ways to control a toy car in a race track, instead of the typical handheld joystick-like device. One of those ideas was based on the use of a sonar (that measures distance to an object) as the controller for the car – the closer the hand to the sonar, the highest the acceleration.
However, considering that the sonar works through eco-location and that the track makes an infernal sound, the sonar accuracy is affected by the sound of the track, thus rendering this approach useless.
Any alternative ideas? I will try the best one (as long as it is not cost-prohibitive)
When I was a kid, I used to do these spinning paintings using a small motor (salvaged from a broken toy car) connected a 9V battery with a piece of paper on top. The effect was mesmerizing and I had fun for hours.
Last week, given the amount of hardware I gutted for parts (for a digital fabrication workshop), I ended up with a bunch of different motors and that brought back those memories. So, I decided to do the same setup again, this time using an arduino (to easily control the speed given to the motor) to see if my son would find it as amusing as I did.
Check the video for a demo:
My son loved it … and so did I Here’s the setup:
And an interesting result:
I’ve never actually been that much into cars but I have a general curiosity on how most things work and this includes the inner workings of vehicles. This golden-oldie video depicts the simple, yet effective, mechanism of differential steering, so if, like me, you didn’t know how this worked…well, now you know. Enjoy:
Don’t know what “recursion” is? Google explains:
I know this is old news, but I guess it’s worth the consideration: asteroid 2011 AG5, an asteroid roughly the size of a football stadium, is thought to be in a (albeit improbable) collision course to Earth.
Before you start panicking, let me explain: this asteroid is currently cruising through our Solar System and is orbiting our Sun pretty much the same way as our 8 planets are. It will pass by our planet in 2023 but in a completely safe trajectory. The problem is when it is planned to pay us a visit again in 2040. According to scientists, there is a 1 in 625 chance that the asteroid will hit Earth.
Scientists will know more about the asteroid (and its trajectory) once it comes out of the other side of the Sun, which should be later this year. Future observations will probably reveal that there’s no reason to worry. But… what if? The chances are really slim, but after seeing what an (estimated) 15 meters asteroid did in Russia, I think we should consider what our plan is going to be.
What happens when you want to start a band and you can’t find just the right partners to play the other instruments? Well, you can use Legos NXT Mindstorms:
However, the use of the Web Audio API (I didn’t want to use MP3 or WAV) for this end proved somehow useless mainly because the sounds it generates are only comparable to those of the good old days of dial-up connections. Moreover, the API is only available (for now) in Google Chrome and Mac OS X’s Safari’s latest version.
Perhaps, in the future, I’ll change it once there’s some more interesting way of doing that and that works across more browsers.
So, for now, enjoy only the visual aspect of the game.
I thought about it. Then, I implemented it. It’s here.