Tag Archives: system

Makeblock Is A New Modular Aluminum Extrusion System

Makeblock is here to solve your robot problems. The t-slot aluminum extrusion is a tried-and-true way of building modular frames, and even simple mechanisms. It works, but it has an Achilles Heel…the nut.

t slot nut boltThat nut has to be inserted into the slot so that the bolt can torque down on the beam. Some designs include a nut that can be inserted straight through the slot and twisted instead of needing to be slid in from one end (FAZTEK). Others turn the bolt around so that the head of the bolt takes the place of the traditional nut and the nut tightens down from the outside of the bolt (MakerBeam).

A new Kickstarter campaign does away with the nut all together. Instead of using a t-slot, they have a slot with parallel sides and just the right threading to allow you to screw in a nut at any point along the slot.

Makeblock looks like an extremely well integrated system for prototyping cyber-electro-mechanical systems. They have the modular beam system itself, but they also have their own electronics with the correct footprint to fit on the beams and adapters for common things like Lego and servos. Additionally, they have it working in the real world and appear to have the manufacturing muscle to produce a lot of the kits.

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All The Uses For An Old Android Phone

Modern smart phones are incredibly capable devices. The guidance computer that got Apollo 11 to the moon and back could be simultaneously emulated 10,000 times on the smart phones that we are replacing every couple of years.

There’s got to be something better than just chucking them in a drawer.

After an exhaustive survey of the interwebs, I’ve turned up roughly 15 things that it makes sense to do with your old phone. The most obvious, and least satisfying, is to just keep it charged so you can use it as an emergency phone. Meh. An improvement would be to install a VOIP service and use it to make free calls over your home Wi-Fi network. If you don’t want to use your old phone as a phone, you can take advantage of all that memory; load it up with content and it can be an MP3 player, an e-reader, a game system, or even a full-fledged media server (yes a server). Whatever you do…please don’t just use it as an alarm clock.

All that and more after the jump. Continue reading

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