Do it yourself

DIY Shortcut Keyboard

Working with CAD programs involves focusing on the task at hand and keyboard shortcuts can be very handy. Most software packages allow the user to customize these shortcuts but eventually, certain complex key combination can become a distraction.

[awende] over at Sparkfun has created a Cherry MX Keyboard which incorporates all of the Autodesk Eagle Shortcuts to a single 4×4 matrix. The project exploits the Arduino Pro Mini’s ability to mimic an HID device over USB thereby enabling the DIY keyboard. Pushbuttons connected to the GPIOs are read by the Arduino…

Gas Heater Gets A Battery Backup

With the availability of cheap modules, it has become easy to hack/make stuff at home and home appliances see the most creative hacks of all. In one such hack, [Vadim] takes the DIY route to adding battery backup to his gas heater.

His existing unit operates on two D-type batteries which need to be replaced once they are depleted. [Vadim] wanted to implement a reversible method since he lives in a rented place. He replaced the original cells with battery adaptors and brought out the connections using two wires. He then proceeded to add two cellphone batteries with a TPS54233 regulator so as…

How Many Hacks in an LED Display?

There are so many nice hacks in [Joekutz]’s retro LED display project that it’s hard to know where to start. There’s his DIY LED display controlled by an Arduino UNO. To have some text or picture for the display, he’s wired the output of a Bluetooth speaker directly to the Arduino, and sends it speaker tones that encode the text to draw. And as if that wasn’t enough, he’s hacked a quartz driver board from an analog clock to use the display as a clock as well.

Let’s start with the LED matrix display, perhaps the best excuse for trying your hand at shift registers. This display uses two such 8-bit shift registers daisy chained together feeding two 8-bit Darlington arrays. The display has ten rows of sixteen columns, and you guessed it, the columns are controlled by the sixteen shift registers. Two Arduino pins tell the shift registers which column to turn on. The rows are turned on and off using ten transistors controlled by ten more Arduino pins. Scanning at 80 frames per second he gets a nice, flickerless display.

To make both the LED matrix circuit board and the control board, [Joekutz] carved out isolation paths in copper clad boards using his homemade CNC mill. Be sure to check out…

3 types of artificial intelligence, but only 2 are valid

For all of the visions of robots taking over the world, stealing jobs and outpacing humans in every facet of existence, we haven’t seen many cases of AI drastically changing industries or even our day-to-day lives just yet. For this reason, media and AI deniers alike question whether true broad-scale AI even exists. Some go as far as to conclude that it doesn’t.

The answer is a bit more nuanced than that.

Current AI applications can be broken down into three loose categories: Transformative AI, DIY (Do It Yourself) AI, and Faux AI. The latter two are the most common and therefore tend to be what all AI is judged by.

The everyday AI applications we’ve seen most of so far are geared toward accessing and processing data for you, making suggestions based on it, and sometimes even executing very narrow tasks. Alexa turning on your your music, telling you what’s happening in your day, and how the weather is outside is a good example. Another is your iPhone predicting a phone number for a contact you don’t already have saved.

While these applications might not live up to the image of AI we have in our heads, it doesn’t mean they’re not AI. It just means they’re not all that life-changing.

The kind of AI that will “take over the world” — or at least, have the most dramatic effect on how people live and work — is what I think of as Transformative AI. Transformative AI turns data into insights and insights into instructions. Then, instead of simply delivering those instructions to the user so he or she can make more informed decisions, it gets to work, autonomously carrying out an entire complex process on its own, based on what it’s learned and continues to learn, along the way.

This type of AI isn’t yet ubiquitous. The most universally-known manifestation of it is likely the self-driving car. Self-driving cars are an accessible example of what it looks like for a machine to take in constantly-changing information, process and act on it, and thereby completely eliminate the need for human participation at any stage.

Driving is not a fixed process that is easily automated. (If it were, AI wouldn’t be necessary.) While there is indeed a finite set of actions involved in driving, the data set the AI must process shifts every single time the passenger gets into the car: road conditions, destination, route, oncoming and surrounding traffic, street lanes, street closures, proximity to neighboring vehicles, turning radiuses, a pedestrian stepping out in front of the car, and so on. The AI must be able to take all of this in, make a decision about it, and act on it right then and there, just like a human driver would.

This is Transformative AI, and we know it’s real because it’s already happening.

Now, imagine the implications of this technology…

Try Out These 5 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts

You could get away with giving Mom painted flowerpots or glittery picture frames for Mother’s Day when you were seven, but it’s time to up your game. Mom deserves a thoughtful gift. Why not make her something that she’ll appreciate more, due to your efforts? Here are some easy DIY gifts all moms are sure to love. (See also: 30 Meaningful Mother’s Day Gifts for Every Budget)

1. A statement necklace

Have you been ignoring DIY jewelry? I have, because I’m lousy with intricate handcrafts. I had ruled that out until seeing this gorgeous DIY statement necklace. And the possibilities for other styles are endless. I like the fact that even little hands could make one of these.

2. Indoor herb garden

Is your mom a fan of Mason jars? They’re homey, inexpensive, practical, and can be used for pretty much anything. They also make a really great base for an indoor herb garden. If you don’t have time to start herbs from seed, just transplant seedlings into the jars with soil, label them with cute stickers,…

DIY Posable Papercraft Makey Mascot

Papercraft is a fantastic way to explore model making. Generally speaking, paper models are cheap and relatively easy to assemble. You may need a steady hand, and a decent amount of time to devote, but the results can be quite stunning.

One person particularly astute in this area is Rob Ives (@robives). Once a classroom teacher, Ives has been making paper models professionally since around 2000. He has authored two books: Paper Locksmith and Paper Automata, both of which incorporate models that function mechanically as well as look good.

We asked Ives if he would be up to the task of making us a poseable version of our Makey robot mascot and he jumped on the opportunity. Every new model and every new job is a chance to obtain a new skill.

Photo by Hep Svadja

In this case, Ives saw an opportunity to learn the common papercrafting software Pepakura. Previously he had done all of his work in Illustrator and by hand,…

DIY Posable Papercraft Makey Mascot

Papercraft is a fantastic way to explore model making. Generally speaking, paper models are cheap and relatively easy to assemble. You may need a steady hand, and a decent amount of time to devote, but the results can be quite stunning.

One person particularly astute in this area is Rob Ives (@robives). Once a classroom teacher, Ives has been making paper models professionally since around 2000. He has authored two books: Paper Locksmith and Paper Automata, both of which incorporate models that function mechanically as well as look good.

We asked Ives if he would be up to the task of making us a poseable version of our Makey robot mascot and he jumped on the opportunity. Every new model and every new job is a chance to obtain a new skill.

Photo by Hep Svadja

In this case, Ives saw an opportunity to learn the common papercrafting software Pepakura. Previously he had done all of his work in Illustrator and by hand,…

DIY Posable Papercraft Makey Mascot

Papercraft is a fantastic way to explore model making. Generally speaking, paper models are cheap and relatively easy to assemble. You may need a steady hand, and a decent amount of time to devote, but the results can be quite stunning.

One person particularly astute in this area is Rob Ives (@robives). Once a classroom teacher, Ives has been making paper models professionally since around 2000. He has authored two books: Paper Locksmith and Paper Automata, both of which incorporate models that function mechanically as well as look good.

We asked Ives if he would be up to the task of making us a poseable version of our Makey robot mascot and he jumped on the opportunity. Every new model and every new job is a chance to obtain a new skill.

Photo by Hep Svadja

In this case, Ives saw an opportunity to learn the common papercrafting software Pepakura. Previously he had done all of his work in Illustrator and by hand,…

DIY Posable Papercraft Makey Mascot

Papercraft is a fantastic way to explore model making. Generally speaking, paper models are cheap and relatively easy to assemble. You may need a steady hand, and a decent amount of time to devote, but the results can be quite stunning.

One person particularly astute in this area is Rob Ives (@robives). Once a classroom teacher, Ives has been making paper models professionally since around 2000. He has authored two books: Paper Locksmith and Paper Automata, both of which incorporate models that function mechanically as well as look good.

We asked Ives if he would be up to the task of making us a poseable version of our Makey robot mascot and he jumped on the opportunity. Every new model and every new job is a chance to obtain a new skill.

Photo by Hep Svadja

In this case, Ives saw an opportunity to learn the common papercrafting software Pepakura. Previously he had done all of his work in Illustrator and by hand,…

DIY Posable Papercraft Makey Mascot

Papercraft is a fantastic way to explore model making. Generally speaking, paper models are cheap and relatively easy to assemble. You may need a steady hand, and a decent amount of time to devote, but the results can be quite stunning.

One person particularly astute in this area is Rob Ives (@robives). Once a classroom teacher, Ives has been making paper models professionally since around 2000. He has authored two books: Paper Locksmith and Paper Automata, both of which incorporate models that function mechanically as well as look good.

We asked Ives if he would be up to the task of making us a poseable version of our Makey robot mascot and he jumped on the opportunity. Every new model and every new job is a chance to obtain a new skill.

Photo by Hep Svadja

In this case, Ives saw an opportunity to learn the common papercrafting software Pepakura. Previously he had done all of his work in Illustrator and by hand,…