Sunday, September 28, 2008

Invention lab and project ideas

One of the most interesting emails I've gotten in the last couple days was pointing me to a set of websites with lots of cool gadget and project ideas. Someone mentioned that they thought it would be neat to make the Invention Lab page more like the kind of pages over at Radio Shack and Bug Labs:

Radio Shack Invention Lab
The funny thing is, I must have seen this in passing, but never really spent a lot of time there. There were a couple of pretty interesting projects that I think I'll try to make with my Arduino one of these days... the point would be to prove that you can make a lot of things with the Arduino, and that it really does simplify life quite a bit!

-A solar car
-World's smallest security system
-OBDII MPG Display - Actually, I spent some time learning OBDII a while back, so this one shouldn't be too hard...
-Homeland security helmet - A slight spin on this one that might be fun might be to make a little desktop interface that turns the TouchShield different colors when the security status changes?
-PDA notebook - this one is especially cool looking, so maybe I'll try to compress my Arduino laptop project into a book holder case

Buglabs Idea Management
Someone else wrote in saying I should check out this link... wow! Really cool stuff. I kinda look up to the guys over at Buglabs, since they're a "real" company with real funding, and a huge team of programmers. Anyway, I think it'd be a pretty nice complement to their stuff if the Arduino community had similar gadgets too, like:

-Mesh networking - actually, this one's probably not too hard to do, given some of the cool stuff over at Libelium. I have two of the Libelium Xbee shields right here on the desk, so maybe it's time to try them out!
-Solar panel module - I think solar power is definitely the future, but the hardest part is getting a large enough current to make it useful. Anyway, next time I buy something from digikey or mouser, I'll grab a few panels too.
-Qwerty keyboard - the funny part is that Pete posted this one himself. Hey Pete, feel free to grab some of the code I wrote over here! That should work for any PS2 keyboard (I'm still working on the USB one... let me know if you make anything cool with it).
-Mass storage reader - Hmmm... that's really interesting. I know Limor has hacked out SD access on her media shield... I wonder how hard it would be to make something similar for USB drives, for instance?

So I guess my little "invention lab" online notebook seems pretty lame by comparison to the ones up above, but here are a few things I'm working on:

-Etch-a-sketch project - ever since I was a kid, I wanted to make my own
-Gesture recognition PC input system - this would look so cool controlling Mathematica objects (especially now that Steve Wolfram and team have opened up the GUI for external input sources)
-Motorcycle lap timer - I can't bring myself to buy one of the expensive ones they sell in catalogs, and I feel like I could make a decent one myself now.
-Networked Arduino with token ring protocol
-Stacked RelaySquids - this one just looks cool, and would be neat controlling all the lights in my apartment :)

Anyway, thanks again for all the links and inspiration. What am I doing still typing? I have lots of projects to work on!


Justin said...

Don't forget about this one I've been trying to build for ages! I think it would be cool...

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