Own a Fully Functional WWII Enigma Machine with “Open Enigma”

For those interested in WWII history or cryptology, one item that still carries with it an air of mystique and awe is the German Enigma Machine. Well, now you can own or make your own!

The electro-mechanical rotor cipher Enigma machines used by the Germans were once considered unbreakable until Allied forces reverse-engineered it allowing them to read top secret Axis correspondence.

Now teachers, history buffs and crypto fans can own their very own fully functional Enigma machine!

Check out the open source, Arduino based “Open Enigma Project” a KickStarter project by S&T Geotronics:

So cool!

Arduino Tracked Robot with Ping Ultrasonic Sensor

Not nearly as impressive as the CIA robots in the prior post, but this one is home grown.

Meet “FRED the Robot”:

For my die hard security fans, don’t worry, I just took a few days off of security news and finished assembling this guy. I have always enjoyed robots, and this is actually my second robot that I have built.

I made this out of a Tamiya tank track kit with dual bi-directional motors. The Wall-E looking eyes on the front is actually a Ping Ultrasonic sensor mouted on a HS-55 micro-servo. Realtime distance measurements from the Ping are sent to an Arduino control board that processes the signals, and sends control signals to the engine driver board. In turn the engine driver board converts the digital and analog signals from the arduino and moves the robot to either follow or avoid whatever the Ping Ultrasonic Sensor is tracking.

So far works great at terrorizing the cat and entertaining the kids. The short video is from two of its maiden voyages. I need to tweak the program a bit on it, as it keeps throwing its tracks when making the quick turns.

I am thinking of making it a tad bigger in the future and maybe adding a GPS unit. Not sure, just having some fun with it right now.  

Xbox Kinect Robots are Here!

Well, its about time. I mean, come on the Xbox Kinect visual system was hacked two weeks ago.  Geez…

Okay, kidding aside, this has to be one of the fastest turn arounds of technology that I have ever seen. Just two weeks after the Xbox Kinect was hacked, Philipp Robbel, of MIT’s Personal Robotics Group, created one of the first functional robots using the kinect.

The Robot, made with an iRobot base, performs wireless 3D mapping and can detect and respond to visual directions. Amazing, and this is just the beginning. Expect this technology to develop very rapidly. In a few months we should see some very amazing things.

Thanks again to Bill at iElmira.com for the heads up!

XBox Kinect for your PC or a Robot!

Time out for a message for your inner geek. Most of you have heard about XBox’s new amazing Kinect controller, if not, here is one of their commercials:

What could be cooler than that you say? How about Kinect for the PC? Or using Kinect in your latest robotics project? Adafruit Industries offered a cash reward for anyone who could hack the Kinect, and what do you know they did it already.

Here is an example of Kinect connected to a PC:

Also, anyone into robotics will be very interested in the options that will eventually become available with using Kinect with an arduino or other microcontroller platform.