The other night there was a power outage in our area, so naturally all of the flashlights are brought out so everyone is able to see. There have been these crank flashlight hanging around for years, and I actually cannot remember the last time they held a charge. They would light up when you crank them, but the batteries were long gone, or so I thought.
Had all the materials laying around and had a bit of time so I decided to make an 3x3x3 LED cube. Its something I have been meaning to do for a while. Eventually I will move up to 8x8x8 or something huge and more time consuming. For now this is good enough.
The basic idea for this ring was to take a piece of a aluminum to make the ring out of, design it to fit the PCB and peltier, and create a heatsink that mounts on the other side of the peltier unit. Originally I had planed to make this a single finger ring but somewhere along the way my brain had fallen for a 2 finger design; It was much more practical, and surprisingly the PCB I made was the perfect size to fit across two fingers, leaving the heat sink on the side. Oddly enough I have a few ring sizing tools hanging around (thanks to my Grandpa having lots of random tools) so I measured the two fingers it would go on and away I went with a design.
The moment I discovered Peltier units I was amazed. First it was at the fact of how cold something could get just by applying a current. As I extended my research, my focus turned to the other effect – or SeeBeck Effect – as it’s called, which is the process or generating a current or voltage through temperature differentials. I know this technology has been used for some time, but the average person is not aware of what electricity, or energy for that matter, really is. Every time I show someone what the peltier unit is able to do just by putting my hand on it, they are amazed. I wanted to design something that would be able to find wasted heat energy from my body and transform it into usable electrical energy. A very simple proof of concept.
I have been meaning to make a self balancing robot for awhile so the other day I decided to see what I could do with some stuff I had laying around. I also had not seen overly small ones made so far so the real goal was to make it as small as possible. Basically I ended up with a Arduino Mini Pro with some components literally soldered to it. I found the wheels and motor from one of those small IR vehicles, cut it in half, and soldered the old battery mount to the lower part of the arduino. For the balancing part I need to note that I did not have a gyro/accelerometer on hand which is why I decided to use the IR switch. I just placed an order at SparkFun for a Gyro, so it should be here in a week or two for me to update this little bot and really make it perform.
Video after the jump.. Continue reading