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Showing posts from November, 2010

Android-Powered, Automated Cat Feeder

This is my Android-powered, automated cat feeder:


The attached HTC Magic is running SL4A and provides scheduled and on demand feeding as well as an MJPEG webcam feed. Feeding is triggered via Bluetooth. The Arduino is hooked up to a SparkFun BlueSMiRF and a simple relay circuit I made on perfboard for powering the motor on and off.


The brackets and food chute were designed in SketchUp and printed on my MakerBot. You can find all the SKPs, STLs, schematic, and parts list on Thingiverse.

Here's the 50 odd lines of Python code running on the phone via SL4A that make the magic happen:
import android # See http://android-scripting.googlecode.com/ import gsd # See http://getshitdone.googlecode.com/ import socket import threading import time def feed(droid): droid.toggleBluetoothState(True) droid.bluetoothConnect('00001101-0000-1000-8000-00805F9B34FB', '00:06:66:04:b2:07') droid.bluetoothWrite('f') class Server(gsd.App): def __init__(self, droid, webcam_…
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Making The diNovo Edge Work On Ubuntu Lucid

The Logitech diNovo Edge is a pretty slick Bluetooth keyboard. It's thin, light, has months of battery life, and looks great too. It even works out of the box on Ubuntu Lucid. Well, almost.

I had trouble with it disconnecting. It would be fine for a day or so, but then not work some evening. Sometimes just the keyboard would stop and the touchpad would be fine. Other times it wouldn't work at all.

I had read that one of the great things about the keyboard is that it's capable of pairing with the dongle without any help from the OS. However, this only works if the dongle isn't initialized as a Bluetooth device. For example, in the BIOS screen, the keyboard works flawlessly. So, I set about preventing it from being initialized as a Bluetooth device.

There's a lot of bug reports and workarounds related to pairing problems, etc. and I didn't have success with any of the suggestions. Instead, I did something similar to this more recent suggestion and changed my udev…
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From Photo to Inkscape to DXF to OpenSCAD to MakerBot to Costume Jewelry

There is a similar tutorial to this one that uses Adobe Illustrator. However, Inkscape is a great, free, opensource vector graphics editor. Yesterday I learned how to use it to go from a photo to a 2D drawing and from that to a 3D extruded version of that drawing and finally to a real live object.

Laura is going as Rachel from Glee this year for Halloween. To complete the outfit, she wanted a "Finn" necklace like the one Rachel is apparently wearing this season


I opened the picture of the necklace in Inkscape, traced it with the Bezier curve tool, cleaned it up a bit, then selected and deleted the image I traced over. The next step was exporting a DXF.

The DXFs exported by Inkscape don't seem to work with OpenSCAD. Instead, I had to install an extension called Better Better DXF Output. Download the zip and extract it into the extensions folder for Inkscape. On Ubuntu Lucid, the extension should be extracted to /usr/share/inkscape/extensions.

Naturally, the fun didn't…
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