Building A Drone Umbrella: The Future Of Staying Dry

In the future, will we all have drone umbrellas autonomously follow us, hovering just above our heads to shelter us from the rain? Maybe! But Youtuber I Build Stuff couldn’t wait for the future, so he took matters into his own hands and constructed his own drone umbrella. While this one doesn’t autonomously follow its user, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. That step being one out of the rain, just to be clear.

After hand drawing the design, I Build Stuff then reproducing it in CAD, and the parts were 3D printed. The design is a large quadrocopter, with each rotor on a long arm to allow enough space for an umbrella to fit between them.

The design works well, although it appears any amount of wind causes the umbrella to quickly start drifting away. And rain and wind DO go hand in hand. With enough interest in the project, I Build Stuff says he’ll add a camera to the dronebrella and write the code to track his movement so it can autonomously follow him. This will also help the drone compensate for wind by trying to constantly stay above him. That’s a good idea. Another good idea? Adding some safety cages around those spinning blades right above your head.

[via TechEBlog]

13-Year Old Becomes First Human To Beat Tetris On NES

13-year-old gaming streamer Blue Scuti has become the first human to beat the classic Tetris game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, almost 35 years after its release. Previously, the game had only been beaten by artificial intelligence. Blue achieved the feat during a semi-final round of the Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC) and set three world records in the process: the highest overall score (6,850,560), the highest level achieved (Level 157), and the most total number of lines (1,511). Wow!

The game is “beat” when it crashes, and the screen freezes. For the first two decades of the game’s existence, it was believed that progress past level 29 was impossible because the pieces are falling so fast that holding left or right will not move a piece all the way to one side or the other before it reaches the bottom. That led gamers to start getting creative with how they used their controllers.

According to Polygon, Blue’s strategy “was a culmination of the technique that younger players have been developing in recent years. These newer strategies, like ‘hypertapping’ and later ‘rolling,’ emerged in 2016 and 2020 respectively, allowing players to operate the NES controller even faster than the buttons by tapping the underside of the controller.” I’ve seen players doing that in videos and wondered what was happening! That explains it. Me? I’m lucky to hit the right button at all, let alone at lightning speed.

[via BoingBoing and Polygon]

Man Constructs Stunning Rubber Band Firing Wooden Minigun

The brainchild of Youtuber GenericWoodworking, this electric-powered wooden minigun shoots rubber bands and sets off cap gun caps as it fires them for extra loud sound effects. It probably goes without saying, but this man will not be allowed to participate in my next rubber band gunfight. Finger guns only!

Since the gun is electric-powered, it’s not entirely wooden and uses parts from a lawn trimmer and belt sander for its drive mechanisms. Its maker did try to make everything he possibly could out of wood, though, including some of the gun’s larger gears.

The minigun took over 300 hours to construct, and the man behind Generic Woodworking suffered numerous setbacks. Me? If I hit a single setback, I abandon the entire project. Sure, that’s led me to never actually finish any project, but think of all the hours and aggravation I’ve saved myself.

[via TheAwesomer]

Mark Rober Builds World’s Longest Hot Wheels Track

Because records were made to be broken, Mark Rober recently constructed the world’s longest Hot Wheels track in his new CrunchLabs warehouse. The track measures over a half-mile long and utilizes a series of switchbacks and boosters to achieve the record-setting length in a warehouse that isn’t anywhere close to a half-mile long. Me? I would have gone with a long straight track down a steep hill.

How much does a half-mile of Hot Wheels track cost? No clue, but I’d definitely buy the off-brand stuff to save on construction costs. Kind of like when my wife and I had our house built, and I opted for no windows. Is it day or night right now? Beats me, but I’m tired regardless.

Mark filmed the Hot Wheels action with some cool drone flying, which really adds an element of excitement that the otherwise boring track was missing. I mean, not even a single jump or loop-the-loop?! For shame, Mark. For shame.

[via The Awesomer]

Golfi Robotic Golfer Putts Like a Pro

After the robotic uprising, all sports will be played by robots, reducing humans to mere spectators of our own demise. And ready to compete in the robotic PGA is Golfi, a robot designed to be able to sink putts with the very best of them. The very best of them being me at miniature golf, just to be clear. You should see me putt right between those windmill blades!

Golfi uses a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera to create a depth map of the putting surface, then uses its 3,000 putt neural network training database to make a shot based on a physics model. It takes additional factors into consideration before swinging the club as well, including “the rolling resistance of the turf, weight of the ball, and its starting velocity.” It probably does not take into consideration me rushing the green and kicking the ball into the rough yelling, “Robots suck!”

Well, at least it’s can’t drive or chip balls yet; at least there’s that. Also, I would love to see this thing try to maneuver itself into a sand trap without falling over and rendering itself incapacitated in the sand. Now that’s something I would tune in to watch on television.

[via TechEBlog]

MIT’s Self-Assembling Assembler Robots: Builders of the Future

Researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms have developed an autonomous robot capable of assembling new versions of itself, as well as other building structures. Not only that, multiple robots can transfer both power and data modules from one to another, allowing the newly constructed bots to begin performing tasks on their own. The future, ladies and gentlemen! I’m pretty sure this is how Terminators are built.

The robots are also capable of determining the best building sequence to perform to minimize effort. Even I don’t have that capability! I always do things the long and hard way and am usually exhausted halfway through. I’ve never successfully finished a project.

The researchers imagine future versions of their robots constructing even larger versions of themselves, buildings, and even vehicles. Will it actually happen? Only time will tell. It wouldn’t hurt to have John Conner on speed dial though, just in case.

[via TechEBlog]

LEGO Ferris Wheel Great Ball Contraption

Designed and built by Berthil van Beek for the Eurobricks T23 competition (where I’m sure it will be a contender), this LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) is a massive functional Ferris wheel, with a diameter of a 91cm (~36″). For those of you unfamiliar, Great Ball Contraptions are modular machines built to move LEGO soccer or basketballs from one place to another in unique and unusual ways. A Ferris wheel definitely fits the bill. So would a tilt-a-whirl or a gravitron.

Berthil built the ferris wheel GBC using 128 strings, 63 pods, 2.5 meters of 3 mm rigid hose, and is 100% LEGO. For reference, my nephew is always around 1% LEGO depending on exactly how many pieces he’s eaten in the past few days. He takes after his uncle.

I can still remember the first time I got a LEGO soccer ball stuck in one of my nostrils. I panicked and went to the doctor. What an idiot I was! Now I just leave them there and wait for a good sneeze.

[via GeeksAreSexy]

‘Pocket Miku’: A Synthesizer That Sings

The Pocket Miku is a tiny synthesizer that turns its key presses (or audio input) into Hatsune Miku’s voice. For those of you unfamiliar, Miku is a Vocaloid software voicebank created by Crypton Future Media and its official anthropomorphic mascot, a Japanese idol with long, turquoise hair. And now I can make songs with her! I guess I can go ahead and add Music Producer to my résumé.

In the video below, YouTuber David Hilowitz Music actually does a fantastic job using the synthesizer to create a song with Miku on vocals. I probably don’t have the necessary musical talent to do the same and suspect my song would end up sounding like Miku yelling for me to take her batteries out.

If you’re seriously interested, some Pocket Mikus are available on eBay, but they’re going for around $400, so I guess you’ll have to be SERIOUSLY interested to buy one. Me? I’m not really that serious about anything besides what’s for dessert. I’m hoping for a berry crumble with ice cream!

Creepy Tentacle Robot Can Carefully Grasp Fragile Objects

Because what good is a robotic gripper if it breaks everything it touches, researchers at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a robotic gripper that can carefully grasp and pick up objects with its creepily long tentacles. Just imagine that thing slithering up your pant leg!

Drawing inspiration from nature (specifically octopuses and jellyfish), the SEAS researchers created a soft gripper that uses thin tentacles to “entangle and ensnare object, similar to how jellyfish collect stunned prey.” A rather unsettling image when applied to robotics. The tentacles are powered by air alone and don’t require any sensing, planning, or feedback control to operate. The individual pneumatic tentacles contract when air is removed, causing them to curl up and grab any objects they run into. Again, unsettling.

Fine, but if these things make their way to the doctor’s office, you can count me out. I can’t help but play with all the equipment after the nurse leaves, and I’m waiting for the doctor; there’s no telling what sort of trouble I’ll get into with one of these. I really don’t want to have to change doctors again.

[via adafruit]

The Baby Flask Is the Best Way to Sneak Booze

Pure genius Instructables user mikeasaurus has created step-by-step instructions detailing how to create a Baby Flask, a doll baby in a chest-mounted baby carrier you can fill with booze. A lot of booze too. Goodbye, hip flask, hello, Baby Flask!

The Baby Flask consists of a baby carrier holding a doll with all its stuffing removed and replaced with a 2-liter hydration bladder. The straw from the bladder comes out of the baby’s forehead, so it looks like you’re just kissing your baby on the head whenever you’re drinking. As far as genius inventions go, this might actually rival the wheel or inclined plane.

As Mike points out, if anyone asks to see your baby, you can just dismiss them with a “Shhhh, she’s sleeping.” Of course, that may be easier said than done, considering I already had a baby carrier and hydration bladder but no doll, so I had to use a Godzilla toy instead. Fingers crossed that everyone just thinks it’s a really ugly baby.

[via Instructables]