What Makes A Hacker

I think I can sum up the difference between those of us who regularly visit Hackaday and the world of non-hackers. As a case study, here is a story about how necessity is the mother of invention and the people who invent.

Hackaday has overlap with sites like Pinterest and Instructables but there is one vital difference, we choose to create something new and beautiful with the materials at hand. Often these tools and techniques are very simple. We look to make things elegant by reducing the unnecessary clutter, not adding glitter. If something could be built with a 555 timer we will let you know. If there is a better choice for a processor, we will tell you.

My first real work commute was a forty-minute eastward drive every morning and a forty-minute westward drive every evening. This route pointed my car directly into the sun twice a day. Staring into a miasma of incandescent plasma for an hour and a half a day isn’t fun, and probably isn’t safe, but we can fix that.

Monday, the Day I was Annoyed

The first Monday, I was annoyed by the sun hovering over the road. To and from work, I squinted and used the visor as best I could, but it was a losing battle. The visor made it difficult to see cars in my lane even when the sun was off to one side.

We have all been here, metaphorically. We encounter a problem and at first, it is just a thing that is. Our brains register this as a new event and file it under something which annoys us.

Tuesday, the Day I Made the Easy Choice

On Tuesday, I bought sunglasses, but they were not enough. When the sun was right on the horizon I could not lower the visor far enough and sunglasses did not help while staring directly into that distant nuclear reactor.

At this point, regular problem-solving skills start to kick in. The standard solutions, like sunglasses, are tried and maybe we get a little upset that things are not going our way. Our brains start to see a pattern after four commutes full of looking at a burning ball of hydrogen.

Wednesday, the Day I Did Something

On Wednesday, I diverged from the path of a non-hacker. The non-hackers would go on to complain about the layout of the roads. They would whine about how the roads should not run east-west and how their tax dollars were paying for roads that weren’t usable during rush hour. They would spend all their energies coming up with new ways to gripe.

Not me. I grabbed a couple of magnets from the refrigerator and a 3×5 note card before I left for work that morning. I put one magnet on the outside of my windshield and I placed the other magnet and the note card on the inside. The magnets held the note card in place and allowed me to position it anywhere on the windshield. Unfortunately, the flimsy note card did not do a good enough job of blocking light. That space orb was more powerful than thinly pressed dead trees.

Thursday, the Day I Did Something Better

On Thursday, the design was revised. The magnets did a good job of moving across the windshield so I did not change them. The size of the note card seemed a bit larger than necessary and I needed something which could block light more effectively. A poker playing card was swapped into the design. Playing cards are designed to keep light from passing through so no one can read your card from the backside. A fortunate side-effect was that the low-friction finish on the card helped it shuttle around the windshield.

Most of my problems were solved except the low-friction finish allowed the magnet to slip off the card. The card was small enough to block the sun itself but light still spilled around it and I had to keep my head in exactly the right spot. It turns out that the size of the notecard was better than I had thought.

One of the caveats of engineering is that it leads to over-engineering. My mind started swimming with ways to use a third magnet or a carefully crafted shuttle that could hold the magnet while hugging the windshield.

Friday, the Day I Had Something New and Beautiful

On Friday, the final tweaks were made. Tape held the magnet to the playing card and more tape held the playing card to the notecard. I had no problems. As I drove, I simply positioned my magnet-card on the windshield every time the sun was shining in my face. When I did not need it, I moved it off to the side so the windshield wipers could not touch it. It is a functional product but maybe it will get some finish so it looks like it belongs in the car. Faux carbon fiber?

This investment of time was a risk, a time-gamble, but the rewards were worth it. Not every creation improves life more than it costs to make it, but being willing to look down that path, instead of just resorting to constant complaining, is what separates us. We are the ones who use our energy to make our lives better and share it with the world in the hope that someone else can benefit from our experience.

Legal Note

I should warn you that this was technically illegal in my state since there is a law about placing anything between the driver and the windshield. Fuzzy dice, parking permits, and radar detectors are all illegal to display while driving. Check your own area’s laws before performing this hack on your own. Another thing that separates us from them, is that I will tell you the law and what I did then let you decide what you do with that information.

Expanding Upon a Simple Idea

If you are like me, coming up with a simple and effective idea does not mean sitting back and just using it, it has to be improved beyond the initial hack. A good idea can become a great idea. A great idea can become an awesome idea. An awesome idea, with a product to back it up, can make money or make your life significantly better.

This is also a symptom of scope-creep but that is not what this article is addressing.

Hand-operated-window-mounted-solar-blocking-apparatus, HOWMSBA, did not receive any more modifications because it suited my needs but, while my brain was set to overdrive in invention-mode, more ideas popped up. Adjusting the card by hand worked fine for a proof-of-concept but anytime the car followed a curve in the road, it had to be adjusted. Connecting strings and motors seemed like a reasonable course of action. Four motors could be attached with suction cups at the corners of the windshield to pull the shuttle around. Adjusting pulleys could be powered with some stepper motors or simple continuous rotation servos with tensioner feedback.

An X-Y table would work but it would be hard to fit the curve of the windshield without obstructing the view significantly. It would also require a lot of tension to account for hysteresis. Whichever motor was selected, a little analog joystick, the $1 variety, could control the motors like a video game. Maybe the joystick could be mounted on the steering wheel and talk to a controller wirelessly. It could have a solar-powered battery pack too. Better yet, it could all be made automatic with a sun tracker mounted on a headrest which would automatically track the brightest point and position the card for me with a short offset to account for the mounting position.

Whew.

That is what a mental dump looks like. Some of you readers undoubtedly had better ideas for ways to improve upon such a simple hack. Maybe one of those ideas will end up on Hackaday because we are not the people who just follow the recipes, we are the people who add our own ingredients.

Posted in automobile, car hacks, cars, driving, Featured, Interest, obstruction, Original Art, sunglasses, trucks, vision | Leave a comment

Solving Mazes with Graphics Cards

What if we told you that you are likely to have more computers than you think? And we are not talking about things that are computers while not looking like one, like most modern cars or certain lightbulbs. We are talking about the powerful machines hiding in your desktop computer called ‘graphics card’. In the ordinary gaming rig graphics cards that are much more powerful than the machine they’re built into are a common occurrence. In his tutorial [Viktor Chlumský] demonstrates how to harness your GPU’s power to solve a maze.

Software that runs on a GPU is called a shader. In this example a shader is shown that finds the way through a maze. We also get to catch a glimpse at the limitations that make this field of software special: [Viktor]’s solution has to work with only four variables, because all information is stored in the red, green, blue and alpha channels of an image. The alpha channel represents the boundaries of the maze. Red and green channels are used to broadcast waves from the beginning and end points of the maze. Where these two waves meet is the shortest solution, a value which is captured through the blue channel.

Despite having tons of cores and large memory, programming shaders feels a lot like working on microcontrollers. See for yourself in the maze solving walk through below.

If we got you hooked on GPU programming keep your eyes peeled, there’s more on the way. Until then you may enjoy creating pixel shaders from the command line or using them to drive WS2811 LEDs with VGA.

Posted in color channels, gpu, how-to, maze, programming, shaders, Shadron, solver, video hacks | Leave a comment

MakerBot Really Wants You To Like Them Again

For the last couple years, a MakerBot press release has generally signaled that more pink slips were going to be heading out to the already shell-shocked employees at their NYC factory. But just last week something that could almost pass as good news came out of the once mighty 3D printer manufacturer, the unveiling of “MakerBot Labs”. A number of mainstream tech sites heralded this as MakerBot’s first steps back into the open source community that launched it nearly a decade ago; signs of a newer and more thoughtful MakerBot.

Reading the announcement for “MakerBot Labs”, you can almost believe it. All the buzz words are there, at least. In fact, if this announcement came from anyone else, in any other field, I’d probably be on board. Sharing knowledge and listening to the community is essential if you want to connect with hackers and makers. But this is MakerBot, and they’ve dug themselves into a very deep hole over the years.

The spectacular fall from grace that MakerBot has experienced, from industry leader to afterthought, makes this hat-in-hand peace offering hard to take seriously. It reads like a company making a last ditch effort to win back the users they were so sure they didn’t need just a few years ago. There is now a whole new generation of 3D printer owners who likely have never even seen a MakerBot printer, and it’s hard to imagine there’s still enough innovation and life in the company to turn that around before they completely fade into obscurity.

MakerBot in 5 Steps

The tale of how MakerBot managed to go from synonymous with desktop 3D printing to “the people who host Thingiverse” is rather interesting. [Brian Benchoff] wrote an excellent history of the company, and Netflix even made a movie about it. But to summarize quickly, the highlights go something like this:

  1. Take open source ideas and make commercial 3D printer
  2. Iterate commercial 3D printer until it becomes market leader
  3. Decide to take market leading open source printer and make it closed source
  4. Sue community members who gave you the ideas for Step 1
  5. Take printer from Steps 2/3 and run it into the ground

Somewhere mixed in there was a corporate takeover, where MakerBot got bought out by the “old guard” industry leaders they originally set out to undercut. They also produced hardware that not only had rampant vendor lock in, but also planned obsolescence. They really have nobody to blame but themselves for their constantly shrinking market share.

But the story of MakerBot is bigger than just 3D printing, it’s an example of how you absolutely should not operate an open source company.

What is Open?

Reading through the MakerBot Labs press release, the very first line tells us all we need to know about this new “innovation”:

MakerBot is proud to announce the arrival of MakerBot Labs, an experimental platform for engineers and developers to create, build, customize, and collaborate on MakerBot 3D printing solutions. It was born out of the feedback from MakerBot’s advanced users looking to tap their innovative spirit and expand their 3D printing experience.

If this sounds like how nearly every other 3D printer company already operates, that’s because it is. Manufacturers like Ultimaker, LulzBot, PrintrBot, and of course Prusa Research all manage to deliver printers that not only make use of the collected knowledge of the open source community, but actively give back. None of these companies need a press release to tell you that the community is invited to experiment and collaborate, because it’s already a given.

MakerBot’s tone deaf statement here reminds me of a recent video from [Thomas Sanladerer], where he asks representatives from different 3D printing companies what open source means to them, and how it’s integrated into their products and business.

The answers [Thomas] gets back are excellent, and show a refreshing understanding of what it means to be “open” in the true sense of the word. You could argue there may have been some selection bias in who [Thomas] interviewed, but on the whole the video showed that open source is alive and well in the minds of some of the industry’s top players.

Which makes this latest effort from MakerBot to regain some tracking in the community appear all the more hollow.

MakerBot Labs

So what exactly is MakerBot Labs? Well, there’s a GitHub repo that allows you to poke around inside the MakerBot proprietary file formats that perhaps 1 in 100 owners of current generation 3D printers has ever even seen, so there’s that. But the true star of the show is the new “Experimental Extruder”, which under the banner “Designed To Be Hacked” describes the game-changing feature that MakerBot has graced us with.

Think about it, really let it settle in. MakerBot, a company that once set the standard for an entire industry to follow, is now advertising the ability to change your hotend nozzle as an “experiment”.

Look at those gloves! This is serious business.

To double down on how little they think of their users, they even uploaded STLs for the obscenely over-sold “Experimental Extruder Jig” to Thingiverse. It is a rectangle. With a smaller rectangle subtracted from the center.

This is after they already encased their hotend in a plastic box to begin with. So now you have a plastic box to hold your plastic box. It’s like one of those Russian nesting dolls, but in the tiniest doll is just the feeling you wasted a lot of money.

Oh, and did I mention that since this new version of the extruder is “Experimental”, that MakerBot will not cover it under their normal warranty? That’s right, if you have the audacity to put a 0.8 mm nozzle on your 3D printer, you are officially persona non grata in the eyes of MakerBot. Interestingly enough, back in 2011 Makerbot used to sell a whole selection of different sized nozzles for their early 3D printers; no lab coat required.

Why Now?

It’s easy to see a press release like this and assume MakerBot is making one final RadioShack-style appeal to the community, one last shot before they’re really in trouble. It could be. But to give credit where credit is due, CEO Nadav Goshen only took the reigns of the company in January, the third person to hold that position since Bre Pettis did his best D. B. Cooper impersonation in 2015.

The wheels of progress turn slowly in any large organization, and perhaps doubly so in one that has gone through so much turmoil in a relatively short amount of time. It could be that it’s taken Goshen these last nine months to start crafting a plan to get MakerBot back into the community’s good graces, and we’re witnessing the first creaking moves of a wheel that’s been rusted up for far too long. Whether it’s the usual marketing department hand-waving or a genuine appeal, this quote from Goshen from the press release certainly hits all the right notes:

After setting high industry standards for what makes a quality and reliable 3D printing experience, we’re introducing this new, more open platform as a direct response to our advanced users calling for greater freedom with materials and software.

Is It Too Late?

Is there still a road back into the hearts and minds of makers for MakerBot after all these years? With stunts like this, it’s hard to see a path forward. MakerBot has lost so much ground to the competition that, short of starting all over with a newly designed and vastly cheaper printer, I can’t imagine who outside of academia would ever give them the time of day.

You could buy two Prusa i3 MK3’s for less than what a MakerBot Replicator+ costs. Open source printers are offering features like multi-material extrusion, high flow hotends, automatic leveling, and filament out sensors, while MakerBot counters by offering a 3D printed block to store your overpriced extruder in.

Jabs at MakerBot aside, of course we would all like to see them return to the open source principles that put them on the map. While the desktop 3D printing market has no shortage of open source success stories, MakerBot’s backing down from their walled garden approach could be the biggest of them all. It would serve as a cautionary tale for other manufacturers; a practical case study in how the open source community can make, and in time perhaps even break, a tech startup.

To be sure, Labs is not the fundamental shift that we would like to see out of MakerBot. But it’s a sign that they haven’t completely forgotten the users who are looking to do more than the bare minimum with their hardware. With any luck, MakerBot will treat Labs not as a destination, but a path forward.

What do you think? With no shortage of hackable printers on the market, what would it take to get a MakerBot back into your lab?

Posted in 3d Printer hacks, Business, extruder, Hackaday Columns, makerbot, makerbot labs, news, open hardware, open source | Leave a comment

The Grafofon: An Optomechanical Sequencer

There are quick hacks, there are weekend projects and then there are years long journeys towards completion.  [Boris Vitazek]’s grafofon falls into the latter category. His creation can best be described as electromechanical sequencer synthesizer with a multiplayer mode.
The storage medium and interface for this sequencer is a thirteen-meter loop of paper that is mounted like a conveyor belt. Music is composed by drawing on the paper or placing objects on it. This is usually done by the audience and the fact that the marker isn’t erased make the result collaborative and incremental.
 These ‘scores’ are read by a camera and interpreted by software.This is a very vague description of this device, for a reason: the build went on over six years and both hard- and software went through several revisions in that time. It started as a trigger for MIDI notes and evolved from there.
In his write up [Boris] explains the technical aspects of each iteration. He also tells the stories of the people he met while working on the grafofon and how they influenced the build. If this look into the art world reminds you of your local hackerspace, it is because these worlds aren’t that far apart.


We sure do like large musical machines like this contraption by [Wintergatan] and sequencers made from random stuff also get our love. If this kind of project piques your interest, be sure to check out the ‘musical hacks’ category below.
Posted in algorithmic music, art, digital audio hacks, digital music, image processing, musical hacks, sequencer | Leave a comment

Lithium Ion Versus LiPoly In An Aeronautical Context

When it comes to lithium batteries, you basically have two types. LiPoly batteries usually come in pouches wrapped in heat shrink, whereas lithium ion cells are best represented by the ubiquitous cylindrical 18650 cells. Are there exceptions? Yes. Is that nomenclature technically correct? No, LiPoly cells are technically, ‘lithium ion polymer cells’, but we’ll just ignore the ‘ion’ in that name for now.

Lithium ion cells are found in millions of ground-based modes of transportation, and LiPoly cells are the standard for drones and RC aircraft. [Tom Stanton] wondered why that was, so he decided to test the energy density per mass of these battery chemistries, and what he found was very interesting.

The goal of [Tom]’s experiment was to test LiPoly against lithium ion batteries in the context of a remote-controlled aircraft. Since weight is what determines flight time, cutting even a few grams from an airframe can vastly extend the capabilities of an aircraft. The test articles for this experiment come in the form of a standard 1800 mAh LiPoly battery and four 18650 cells wired together as a 3000 mAh battery. Here’s where things get interesting: the LiPoly battery weighs 216 grams for an energy density of 0.14 Watt-hours per gram. The lithium ion battery weighs 202 grams for an energy density of 0.25 Watt-hours per gram. If you just look at the math, all drones are doing it wrong. 18650 cells appear to have a much higher energy density per mass than the usual LiPoly cells. How does that hold up in a real-world test, though?

Using his neat plane with 3D printed wing ribs as the testbed, [Tom] plugged in the batteries and flew around a field for the better part of an afternoon. The LiPo flew for 41.5 minutes, whereas the much more energy dense lithium ion battery flew for 36.5 minutes. What’s going on here?

While the lithium ion battery has a much higher capacity, the problem here is the internal resistance of each battery chemistry. The end voltage for the LiPo was a bit lower than the lithium ion battery, suggesting the 18650 cells can be run down a bit further than [Tom]’s test protocol allowed. After recharging each of these batteries and doing a bit of math, [Tom] found the lithium ion batteries can fly for about twice as long as their LiPo counterparts. That means an incredibly long test of flying a plane in a circle over a field; not fun, but we are looking forward to other people replicating this experiment.

Posted in drone, drone hacks, lipoly, lithium ion, rc | Leave a comment

Hazardous Dollhouse Teaches Fire Safety

Fire safety is drilled into us from a young age. And for good reason, too, because fire hazards are everywhere in the average home. Even a small fire can turn devastatingly dangerous in a matter of minutes. But how do you get kids to really pay attention to scary (and often boring) adult concepts? You can teach a kid to stop, drop, and roll until you’re blue in the face and still might not drive home the importance of fire prevention. Subjects like this call for child-sized visual aids that ignite imaginations.

That’s exactly what firefighters in Poznań, Poland did in collaboration with mlabs, a local software company. They built a mobile, interactive fire safety education tool that simulates common household fire hazards in great detail (translated). This is easily the most tricked-out dollhouse we’ve ever seen. The many different hazard scenarios are controlled via touchscreen using a custom-built application. At the tap of a button, the house becomes a total death trap. The lamp-lit hazards glow realistically and with varied intensity, and there is actual smoke coming out of them that triggers smoke detectors. Cameras embedded throughout the house provide a first-person view of the terror on a nearby monitor.

Almost no room is safe for the figurine family that lives inside this intricately detailed 1:12 scale dwelling. Dad’s in the kitchen standing idly by while food scorches on the stove. Grandma’s sitting on her bed upstairs, her forgotten cigarette burning a hole in the duvet. Daughter is overloading the electrical outlets in her bedroom with all her gizmos. Smoldering coals have spilled out from the toppled stove in the utility room.

This isn’t the first smart dollhouse we’ve seen, but it’s probably the most intriguing. The fire safety dollhouse was on display this week at POL-EKO-SYSTEM, an annual environmental fair in Poznań. Nowhere near Poland? Check out the video after the break.

Thanks for the tip, [Radomir]!

Posted in dollhouse, Educational, fire safety, misc hacks, smart home | Leave a comment

Making the Best Plywood for Laser Cut Puzzles

Plywood laser-cuts fairly well but has drawbacks when used in serious production runs, as [Marie] explains in a blog post about a quest for the ultimate laser-cutting plywood. One of the things [Nervous System] makes and sells is generative jigsaw puzzles, and they shared their experience with the challenges in producing them. The biggest issue was the wood itself. They ended up getting a custom plywood made to fit their exact needs, a process that turned out neither as complex nor as unusual as it may sound.

An example of how a dense knot hidden in one of the plywood layers caused the laser to not cut all the way through.

Plywood is great because it’s readily available, but there are some drawbacks that cause problems when trying to do serious production of laser-cut plywood pieces. Laser cutting works best when the material being cut is consistent, but there can be areas of inconsistent density in plywood. If the laser encounters an unexpected knot somewhere in the wood, there is no way to slow down or to increase power to compensate. The result is a small area where the laser perhaps doesn’t quite make it through. A picture of an example from my workshop shows what this looks like.

When doing basic project work or prototyping, this kind of issue is inconvenient but usually some trimming and sanding will sort things out. When doing a production run for puzzles like [Nervous System] was doing, the issue is more serious:

  1. A jigsaw puzzle with a large number of cuts in a relatively small area has a higher chance of running into any problem spots in the material. If they exist, the laser will probably encounter them.
  2. Trouble spots in plywood can be on the inside layers, meaning they can’t be detected visually and are only discovered after they cause an incomplete cut.
  3. Increasing laser power for the whole job is an incomplete solution, as excessive laser power tends to make the cuts uglier due to increased scorching and charring.
  4. An inspection process becomes needed to check each puzzle piece for problems, which adds time and effort.
  5. A puzzle that had even one piece that did not cut properly will probably be scrapped because rework is not practical. That material (and any time and money that went into getting the nice artwork onto it) becomes waste.

Plywood is great stuff and can look gorgeous, but [Marie] says they struggled with its issues for a long time and eventually realized they had gone as far as they could with off-the-shelf plywoods, even specialty ones. They knew exactly what they needed, and it was time for something custom-made to serve those specific needs.

Having your own plywood custom-made may sound a little extreme, but [Marie] assures us it’s not particularly difficult or unreasonable. They contacted a small manufacturer who specialized in custom aircraft plywoods and was able to provide their laser-cut plywood holy grail: a 3-ply sheet, with high quality basswood core with birch veneers, and a melamine-based glue. It cuts better than anything else they have used, and [Marie] says that after four years they had certainly tried just about everything.

Posted in custom plywood, custom wood, Laser cutting, laser hacks, plywood, puzzle | Leave a comment

The Web Clock You Can Control Over a LAN

Not every project is meant to solve a new problem. Some projects can be an extension of an existing solution just to flex the geek muscles. One such project by [limbo] is the Web Clock 2.0 which is an internet-connected clock.

Yes, it uses a WEMOS D1 mini which is equipped with an ESP-12F (ESP8266) and yes, it uses an LCD with an I2C module to interface the two. The system works by connecting to the Google servers to get GMT and then offsets it to calculate the local time. It also has the hourly nagging chime to let you know that another precious hour of your life has gone and you need to set it up.

What [limbo] adds to the conventional functionality is a LAN application to send custom messages to the LCD. The software is called ‘Clock Commander’ and can be downloaded as a Windows binary through the source code is unavailable for now. Simply point it to the correct IP address and you can then send it commands to display stuff as well as control the sound. The project comes with Lua scripts and instruction how to DIY.

We imagine this can be used to create a custom geeky table clock or hack a digital coo-coo clock to drive your co-workers crazy at the press of a button. For those who are looking for something with lasers, check out the Laser Pointer Clock for a slightly more challenging build.

Posted in clock hacks, misc hacks | Leave a comment

Chemotransfer for DIY PCBs

Making PCBs with the toner transfer method has been around since you could buy your traces at Radio Shack. There are a million techniques for removing copper from sheets of fiberglass, from milling to using resist pens, to the ubiquitous laser printer toner transfer. Here’s a technique we haven’t seen before. [Darko Volk] is calling this ‘chemotransfer’. It’s mostly a laser printer toner transfer process, but the toner is transferred from paper to copper with the help of a special mix of solvents.

This chemotransfer process is almost identical to the usual process of making a toner transfer PCB. First, the design is printed in reverse on dextrin-coated paper, the paper is placed down on polished copper, the entire assembly is sent through a laminator, and finally the board is etched with the chemical of your choice. The key difference here is a solvent applied to the copper just before the design is laid down. [Darko Volk] made a mixture of 25% “cleaning petrol” (benzene, naphtha, or gasoline, or some sort of light hydrocarbon, apparently), 5% linseed oil, and 70% isopropanol. This apparently aids in releasing the toner from the paper and sticking it down to the copper.

From there, the process is effectively a standard toner transfer process. [Darko Volk] is using a solution of sodium persulphate for the etch, and rigged a camera up to a CNC machine for the drilling.

This process can be expanded to two-layer boards very easily using a light table to align the layers of paper before placing them down on the copper. You can check out a video of the fabrication of a single side and double sided board below.

Thanks [Andrej] for the tip.

Posted in chemistry hacks, etching, pcb, pcb drill, toner transfer | Leave a comment

FruitNanny: The Raspberry Pi Baby Monitor For Geeks

Having a child is perhaps the greatest “hack” a human can perform. There’s no soldering iron, no Arduino (we hope), but in the end, you’ve managed to help create the most complex piece of machinery in the known galaxy. The joys of having a child are of course not lost on the geekier of our citizens, for they wonder the same things that all new parents do: how do we make sure the baby is comfortable, how many IR LEDs do we need to see her in the dark, and of course the age old question, should we do this with a web app or go native?

If you’re the kind of person who was frustrated to see that “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” didn’t even bother to mention streaming video codecs, then you’ll love FruitNanny, the wonderfully over-engineered baby monitor created by [Dmitry Ivanov]. The product of nearly two years of development, FruitNanny started as little more than a Raspberry Pi 1n a plastic lunch box. But as [Dmitry] details in his extensive write-up, the latest iteration could easily go head-to-head with products on the commercial market.

[Dmitry] gives a full bill of materials on his page, but all the usual suspects are here. A Raspberry Pi 3 paired with the official NoIR camera make up the heart of the system, and the extremely popular DHT22 handles the environmental monitoring. A very nice 3D printed case, a lens intended for the iPhone, and a dozen IR LEDs round out the build.

The software side is where the project really kicks into high gear. Reading through the setup instructions [Dmitry] has provided is basically a crash course in platform-agnostic video streaming. Even if a little bundle of joy isn’t on your development roadmap, there’s probably a tip or two you can pick up for your next project that requires remote monitoring.

It probably won’t surprise you that geeky parents have been coming up with ways to spy on their kids for some time now, and if you can believe it, some don’t even include a Raspberry Pi.

Posted in 3d printed, baby monitor, dht22, hardware, home hacks, NoIR, Raspberry Pi, WebRTC | Leave a comment