While CES gave us a taste of the coolest upcoming electronic gadgets we’ll see this year, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be a giant tech company to make the world more fun with technology. ANYONE can build something that changes the world or makes you go “wow!” That is the spirit of The Great Create. Here are 5 of our favorite recent projects from RadioShackDIY.com:
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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just have a robot salt your frozen driveway instead of braving the cold yourself? This salt-dropping robot uses an Arduino, a Nintendo DS touch screen, and line-following reflectance sensors to dispense salt along a pre-determined path.
Why We Love It: We get to stay warm this winter and we think our Roomba is smitten with this salty dog.
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The Lawnbot400 is a remote controlled lawn-mower. It uses an Arduino to decode the R/C signals and send them to a motor-controller that supplies power to the large power wheelchair motors. There are other remotely controlled additions to the Lawnbot, like headlights, a dump-bucket, and a kill-switch.
Why We Love it: With all the time we’re saving having robots do all the chores, we get to sit back and watch the budding love triangle between the Lawnbot, the Salt-dropping robot and the Roomba. It’s better than most reality TV.
One of the coolest things about the DIY and Maker community is the stuff they make that makes more stuff. Whew, that’s a mouthful. Take the open-source laser cutter from Lasersaur. The goal of the project is a completely open source laser cutter for fabricating darn near anything. Want to laser etch glass, cut acrylic, or even engrave leather? Laser cutters can do all that and more.
Why We Love it: With a personal laser cutter, you can make all the parts of your Terminator robot’s metal exoskeleton from the comfort of your own home.
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This Great Creator wanted a way to burn a large quantity of CDs without having to spend a bundle on a CD duplicator. This homemade device is a fairly simple solution to the problem; it simply grabs a blank CD, puts it in the disk drive, and takes it out when it’s done burning. Oh, and it’s made mostly of LEGOs. How cool is that?
Why We Love it: Building the LEGO castle from the instruction book was cool and all, but it never gave us a mix CD for road trips. I guess you never outgrow LEGOs.
If you didn’t know by now, we love LEDs. This beautiful piece of electronic art is controlled by an Arduino so it’s fully programmable. The creator’s code dims the LEDs randomly, giving the piece of art a subtle shimmer effect.
Why We Love it: Every snowflake should be unique, so this one was 100% made from scratch, even the design etched onto the PCB. There’s not another one like it in the whole world.
What great creations are you working on? We love seeing new submissions, so head over to The Great Create page and upload your project. Got any suggestions for gadgets you’d like the DIY community to create? Leave us some comments about what electronic devices you want to see brought to life.