Ultrasonic Sensor housing

I built a roaring beast device. It detects when a person (or animal, or object) is within range and then triggers an audio file to play through the speakers. Roar!

To place the sensor out under a bush or fence for Halloween, I wanted to run a long length of CAT5 cable from it to the Arduino Uno running things. I mounted the rangefinder (a Maxbotix from Adafruit) to a RJ45 breakout board from Sparkfun, angling it up so the sensor can be placed low to the ground.

In the original application, I was able to hide this under a giant furry Neverbeast head (from Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast) coming out of the floor in the lobby of Disneytoon Studios. But now I needed to place on outdoors, so I decided to model and 3D print this little enclosure.



Finally, I mounted another RJ45 breakout in my Arduino/WaveShield case and ran the voltage, signal, and ground wires to the Arduino.

Now, I’ll be able to set this up to scare trick or treaters this Halloween as they get near the house.

Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder slideshow

The Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder was delightful. Star Foreman’s LA Weekly slideshow is a nice glimpse into the activities.

wowBot wowPick wowTrick

The above photos Star shot capture a few of my activities during the event: a talk on creative making featuring Chauncey the flower care robot, workshops I taught on lock picking, and an impromptu human body tricks performance during a talent show one evening.

Jumping Spider fails


My first attempts at the Jumping Spider obstacle from American Ninja Warrior. I loved training on this, but definitely have my work to do on leg strength in order to start sticking it. Arnold Hernandez built this awesome course in his back yard, and is an excellent coach on how to approach these obstacles.

Slackline adventure begins

Slacklining! I’d never done it before, so I decided to dive in head first. Figuratively, and possibly literally.

IMG_8537slack  IMG_8551slackIMG_8553slack  IMG_8555slack IMG_8556slack  IMG_8557slack IMG_8558slack

What I’ve built is a “primitive” slackline which is made entirely from climbing webbing, two rappel rings, and four carabiners (ignore the extra carabiners and accessory cord in my photo above, those are for a different project). No ratchets or any specialized gear that I couldn’t repurpose for other climbing activities. The system is a really simple/clever friction lock that’s easy to set up, pull huge tension onto, and simple to break down with one tug of the line. This one can go for a 50′ run and cost $75 from REI.

Continue reading

Lockpick case

Yesterday I got annoyed with all of my lock picks being clumped together in a few different cases and sort of hard to find. So, I’m sewing part of the arm of an old leather jacket into a lock pick tool roll.

Happily, the leather is thin enough to work pretty easily on the sewing machine.