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Shocking jockey robots

800Px-Robot Jockey Army

Here's another "news from the future"...

...Dubai police have confirmed they uncovered a gang of dealers who were selling electric stun gun kits, for up to £5,000, across the region. These were then being fitted inside the robot jockeys... The electric shocks could be administered by remote control to encourage the camel to run faster.
I had heard of these robots before (not the stun gun part) but seeing this recent story led me to research the robots a bit.

Robotcameljockey

A robot jockey is commonly used on camels in camel racing as a replacement for human jockeys. Developed since 2004, the robotic jockeys are slowly phasing out the use of human jockeys... The government of Qatar initiated development of the robots at the beginning of 2001. The first successful model was made in 2003 by Stanely in co-ordination with Rashid Ali Ibrahim from the Qatar Scientific Club. At the end of 2003, the design, with a revised analysis, was tendered to Swiss robotics firm K-Team. Initial problems faced by the design team, led by Alexandre Colot, included the fact that the camels were conditioned to the use of human jockeys. Early designs confused or frightened the camels. The designs were modified to include more human-like features, including a mannequin-like face, sunglasses, hats, racing silks and even traditional perfumes used by human jockeys


In the USA we have the "Triple Crown Races" - The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and The Belmont Stakes. But, I was unable to find any effort to replace horse jockeys with robots, however - there does appear some effort replacing the horses with robots (video above). I think I'd like to see more humans ride robots...


Someone had to ride Big Dog already.

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Masking tape redefined

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A few years ago, PT introduced us to Australian artist BUFFdiss' amazing masking tape graffiti. Checking out his Flickr stream, it's cool to see how his style has progressed over time, and that he's still making his signature art. Also check out this interview/profile that Upper Playground did of BUFFdiss, if you haven't seen it yet. His take on bringing visual interest to urban decay is fascinating. Who knew masking tape could be so versatile?

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Lego spraycan explosion

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AFOL Cole Blaq of Düsseldorf created this excellent action shot of an exploding can of spraypaint. Who says you can't build everything with Lego?

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Crabfu in Gakken magazine

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Congrats to MAKE contributor I-Wei Huang, aka Crabfu, for his inclusion in the latest Gakken kit magazine. He's especially thrilled because the kit is a model of Theo Jansen's wind-powered Strandbeest kinetic sculpture and I-Wei is a big fan of Theo's. In fact, he's the one who turned us on to this amazing Dutch artist. I-Wei's Steam Spider II, a steam-driven 8-legged walker, is featured in the article.


Gakken "Otona no Kagaku" Strandbeest & Steam Spider II

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Patent illustration Valentine's cards

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Steve Hoefer whipped up these fabulous print-at-home Valentine's Day cards with particularly romantic patent illustrations. He writes:

For a maker Valentine's Day is no Halloween. Or even Christmas. In fact on the list of holidays makers get excited over Valentine's Day is near last, right between Leif Erikson Day and Flag day. And while those are all fine traditions, bu they rarely get people all excited about making stuff for them.

So, in an effort to turn that around I present, straight from the United States Patent Office, Maker Valentine's Day Cards.

What better way for a maker to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a celebration of romantic inventions and innovations from times past complete with illustrations.

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LED-in-resin lamp cast from light bulb it replaces

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If you can't find a reasonably-priced LED replacement for that burned-out appliance bulb, you might do what Andy Brockhurst did: Wire up an LED cluster, yourself, and embed it in resin cast into a mold taken from the original bulb. Looks like he even painted it to match. Check out the Flickr set.

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Making for health: Calling Boston-area makers


Asthmapolis, a GPS-enabled, networked inhaler that helps manage Asthma attacks on a city-wide scale


Following on their success last year, Health 2.0 is hosting code-a-thons in three cities as part of their Developer Challenge: San Francisco, CA on January 29th, Washington, DC on February 12th, and Boston, MA on February 19th. The day brings together developers, designers, researchers, care providers, patients, and anyone else interested in improving healthcare by building new applications and tools.

To support this great cause, MAKE is co-sponsoring the Boston event by bringing some open source hardware and maybe a Kinect or two to the teams participating in the Veterans Health Wireless Innovation Challenge. Issued by the West Wireless Health Institute and the Department of Veteran's Affairs, the challenge is to design a wireless device or application targeting a problem specific to the Veteran's care, such as movement disorders, PTSD, and hearing or vision loss.

For inspiration about what's possible when you combine realtime sensors and health, check out the above video of the Asthmapolis.

The generous folks at the Maker Shed have donated the following goodies for teams to use in their projects:

If you're in the Boston area or nearby (I'm looking at you, Providence!), come spend the day hacking and making for a great cause. The event is February 19 at Microsoft Research's awesome NERD facility from 9:00am - 7:30 pm. (Come early for breakfast!) For general info about the challenges, check out this post on the O'Reilly Radar. For additional details, email odewahn at oreilly dot com.

Hope to see you there!

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What up at the BotCave?

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MakerBot co-founder and former MAKE contributor Bre Pettis wrote a long post on MakerBot.com about what goes on at the BotCave:

When you order your MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, it says 7 week lead time. That means that it's our goal to ship it out within 7 weeks. Because there are more than 200 different types of parts from a massive amount of suppliers, operations at MakerBot are challenging and the operations team here at MakerBot works hard to get things here on time and sometimes our suppliers meet their delivery dates and a lot of times they don't. We've had issues where we order something and the first batch is perfect and the second batch is junk that we have to send back and start over with another supplier. Also, sometimes we go back to order more of something and find that there aren't anymore and we have to get them manufactured from scratch.

He also took a bunch of pics of MakerBot employees, including our favorite, Make: Online contributor Matt Metts in his new digs! Yay Matt!

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Matchstick entomology

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UK designer Kyle Bean, who previously made waves with his laptop/book sculpture The Future of Books, makes all kinds of awesome stuff. These delicate matchstick insects are just the latest page in his impressive online portfolio. [via Dude Craft]

More:


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In the Maker Shed: XGS AVR 8-Bit development system

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The XGS AVR 8-Bit system was developed to be a very competitive entry/midrange development kit for the Atmel ATmega644 AVR processor with 64K FLASH, 4K SRAM, and running at 28+ MIPs. The kit includes everything you need to get started developing applications on the very popular platform.

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Lasercut pendant light

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Thingiverse user Rob Ward of Melbourne created this teardrop light fixture out of laser-cut 3mm MDF. He also created a similar desk lamp. Very nice!

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Laser-cut interlocking Settlers of Catan tiles

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Clever idea from Thingiverse user jmne. I like the art he's chosen to represent each of the various resources. He's also produced a version in transparent red acrylic. I'll be interested to see how this idea evolves.

More:
Handmade Settlers of Catan gameboard

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Hand powered smartphone charger updated

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Back in October 2010 Ben Heckendorn discovered that a hand-cranked LED flashlight had enough juice to recharge his smartphone. He recently revisited this idea on his show and updated the hack by adding a simple voltage regulating circuit using a Zener diode and a 100hm resister. He also added a USB port to plug in a microUSB recharging cable. (via electronista)

Hand powered smartphone charger from an LED flashlight

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Rendering Kinect data in MineCraft

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Kinect hacker Nathan Viniconis has been feeding Kinect data into MineCraft with some rather impressive results. The process, which is still manual at this point, creates motion by rendering each frame independently and then combining them to produce a seemingly realtime video. Supposedly there is an automated version in the works. Join in on the fun with Nathan's Python scripts, which are available on his site. (via CrunchGear)

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Lovely junk-built crystal radio

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Craig Smith (South Milwaukee, WI) writes:

With all of the junk I accumulated, I thought it would be neat to make a crystal radio as a low impact project in the evenings. I unwound the coated wire from a small useless 115V brushless motor that I almost tossed out several times, and wound it about 130 times on a piece of 1.25" PVC. The clear coating got scraped off where the tuner slides back & forth. Then I made a (nicer that I intended) wood frame for the apparatus, as well as some darn nice scrap brass connection plates for the bolts and burr nuts.


A 40' scrap wire antenna runs down my fence and into my basement to the slide tuner bar. A small wire also connects the tuner to the crystal pot. A good household ground and one of the earphone wires connects to one of the coil ends. Choose one or the other, one will be better than the other so stick with that one and ignore the other. The second earphone wire connects to the crystal pinpoint contact. To find the 'sweet spot' on the Galena (or Pyrite fools gold) crystal which acts as a diode, the contact needs to be positioned about the crystal to find the best spot. One can also just use a nice old glass Germanium diode instead. With a pair of amplified computer speakers instead of the crystal earphone, I can crank it up quite loud. Something about the warm mellow sound of AM radio makes a workshop feel like home.

BTW: For those who are unfamiliar with crystal radios like this, there is no external power source. The radio uses collected radio waves to power the unit.


More great projects from Craig Smith:

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