The internet enabled coffee machine/wooden table



  • Saw this short article about an internet enabled coffee table:

     

     http://hackedgadgets.com/2007/09/12/internet-enabled-coffee-machine/

     

    But this comment made me LOL:

     

    My co-worker and I (both computer technicians) made one of these three or four months ago.

    The design was not as clean. We used a CD-ROM tray’s PCB, and wired the eject button to the power button on the coffee maker. Using one of the small exhaust port holes to trail the wires out of, we had the computer sitting beside the coffee-maker, and could use the Windows “Right-Click -> Eject” feature over a remote desktop connection to power on the pot.

    We turned it on one night at my apartment, went to work and then had some coffee already made. IT pwnt. Sitting in the back room now though, buried underneath a bunch of other little frankensteins ..

     



  • Less WTF if it's one of these modern PCs without a parallel port.

    Back then this was SO simple... port[$378] := $A3, and it set the data wires to 10100011. 8 wires to REALLY EASILY toggle from DOS apps... those were the times.

    Now, good lock doing that via USB. MUCH more complex... 



  • @Helix said:

    The design was not as clean. We used a CD-ROM tray’s PCB, and wired
    the eject button to the power button on the coffee maker. Using one of
    the small exhaust port holes to trail the wires out of, we had the
    computer sitting beside the coffee-maker, and could use the Windows
    “Right-Click -> Eject” feature over a remote desktop connection to power on the pot.

     

    ITAPPMONROBOT 

     



  • @OperatorBastardusInfernalis said:

    Less WTF if it's one of these modern PCs without a parallel port.

    Back then this was SO simple... port[$378] := $A3, and it set the data wires to 10100011. 8 wires to REALLY EASILY toggle from DOS apps... those were the times.

    Now, good lock doing that via USB. MUCH more complex... 

     

    Not really all that complex.

     

    int fd = open ("com9", O_RDWR);

    write(fd, "DIR1 00", 7);

    write(fd, "OUT1 A3", 7);

    You do need £25's-worth of usb gpio board, of course, it's not builtin anymore.  But it's still pretty simple.



  • Just rig the switch on your coffee maker through a pic microprocessor with ethernet support. If you can't get ethernet, use a serial/ethernet convertor from www.tibbo.com.  They even have wifi hookups you can use and trigger it thorough your wireless lan. Simply program it so that either a switch or external command can activate the coffeemaker.  Add a simple relay for any isolation and you're good to go.



  • @OperatorBastardusInfernalis said:

    Less WTF if it's one of these modern PCs without a parallel port.

    Back then this was SO simple... port[$378] := $A3, and it set the data wires to 10100011. 8 wires to REALLY EASILY toggle from DOS apps... those were the times.

    Now, good lock doing that via USB. MUCH more complex... 

     

    Yeah...sounds really simple.  Its a wonder EVERYONE wasn't using parallel ports!



  • @pitchingchris said:

    Just rig the switch on your coffee maker through a pic microprocessor with ethernet support. If you can't get ethernet, use a serial/ethernet convertor from www.tibbo.com.  They even have wifi hookups you can use and trigger it thorough your wireless lan. Simply program it so that either a switch or external command can activate the coffeemaker.  Add a simple relay for any isolation and you're good to go.
     

     That's too much work.I usually just reverse the polarity of the main deflector.



  • @Soviut said:

    @OperatorBastardusInfernalis said:

    Less WTF if it's one of these modern PCs without a parallel port.

    Back then this was SO simple... port[$378] := $A3, and it set the data wires to 10100011. 8 wires to REALLY EASILY toggle from DOS apps... those were the times.

    Now, good lock doing that via USB. MUCH more complex... 

     

    Yeah...sounds really simple.  Its a wonder EVERYONE wasn't using parallel ports!

    Cause they die easly, and printers used to be attached to them. Great for tinkering around with hardware. Sure, USB is more usefull for the general user, but it sucks from a hardware tinkering point of view.



    And you can still access ports like that. I bring you, porttalk: http://www.beyondlogic.org/porttalk/porttalk.htm

    And under linux you can use simular functions as root.


    And I bought a new PC a week ago, and it still has a parallel port.



  • @Daid said:

    And I bought a new PC a week ago, and it still has a parallel port.
    Whoah.

    It's like the coelecanth. Or a floppy drive.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    Whoah.

    It's like the coelecanth. Or a floppy drive.

    I intentionally made sure when I built my newest computer that it had a parallel port, serial port, and a floppy drive.



    If only floppies didn't degrade over time. I can't rescue the data off of most of the ones I have.



  • If it was me, I'd put the cdrom drive in front of the "on" button for the coffee machine. Then I'd log in remotely, type "eject /dev/cdrom", and I'd know that the cdrom tray would pop out and whack the "on" button. There you go, coffee made, and life's even easier!



  • should have just brought the best computer you can find and then purchased a usb floppy. You could always add a PCI parallel card if you wanted to

     



  • I almost want to find a way to do this with my lawnmower.  I could just sit at my comp and get a live video feed to I could control where it was headed.  Giving it some custom AI would be awesome too, although A LOT more work.



  • @galgorah said:

    I almost want to find a way to do this with my lawnmower.

    I've wanted to do that for years. But considering I have zero experience with custom electronics, I doubt it will happen anytime in the near future.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    @galgorah said:
    I almost want to find a way to do this with my lawnmower.

    I've wanted to do that for years. But considering I have zero experience with custom electronics, I doubt it will happen anytime in the near future.

     

    Just buy one then.



  • @galgorah said:

    I almost want to find a way to do this with my lawnmower.  I could just sit at my comp and get a live video feed to I could control where it was headed.  Giving it some custom AI would be awesome too, although A LOT more work.

    Don't forget to add a pyrotechnic device (or 2) that you can fire straight up that will give you a birds eye view to see if you missed any spots...  Or just have another feed mounted to your house... seconded as a security camera. The physical challenge for the lawnmower is the steering. You'd have to notch out room and add the mechnical parts and sheild them from the cutting area. Boxing it all in would be best.  You should be able to use a hobby reciever /remote like you use for model airplanes. Any system that is a candidate for autonomous operation should also be able to work in a manual mode. The software can override the manual mode to do some custom AI. however, I wouldn't do it from afar, because you never know what could happen with a lawnmower. If you run over your neighbors flower garden (or pet) or something worse, you'd be in a real fix. It would make a nice hobby, but I would still supervise the lawn mower from a short distance to avoid being a hazard.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Just buy one then.

    What's the fun in that?

    @pitchingchris said:

    You should be able to use a hobby reciever /remote like you use for model airplanes.

    That's what I was thinking. Building a steering system wouldn't be hard as the mechanics are relatively simple. As you pointed out, it would definitely have to be shielded from the cutting. I think the thing that would take the most work is rigging up a controllable self-propulsion system. I haven't owned a walk-behind self-propelled model, so I don't know what type of control it has (manual clutch disconnect, resistance disconnect, etc). Either way, it would still probably need some work because I doubt a self-propelled on its own could go as fast as someone pushing it would.

    @pitchingchris said:

    If you run over your neighbors flower garden (or pet) or something worse, you'd be in a real fix.

    Actually, chasing the neighbor's pet might be fun. I doubt it could run over it, though. Honestly, have you seen a pet sit still in front of an oncoming lawnmower? My dog freaks at the sound of a vacuum cleaner.

    @pitchingchris said:

    I would still supervise the lawn mower from a short distance to avoid being a hazard.

    If I rigged one up, I'd build a curb around the yard that it couldn't run over. I doubt I could otherwise chase down a runaway 6HP autonomous lawnmower.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    I doubt I could otherwise chase down a runaway 6HP autonomous lawnmower.

    Don't need to... use a remote throttle cut feature that will kill the engine. Most 6 channel R/C remotes already have a button for that.



  • Some all terrain tires won't hurt either. Most push mowers have crappy tires.



  • @pitchingchris said:

    Don't need to... use a remote throttle cut feature that will kill the engine. Most 6 channel R/C remotes already have a button for that.

    Well that would be there, but when I say "runaway", I mean a complete disconnect from the lawnmower -- one in which the fail-safes.. well.. failed. Obviously it's a remote possibility, but if we are talking about a homicidal overlord lawnmower akin to something out of Maximum Overdrive, then all possibilities must be considered.

    @pitchingchris said:

    Some all terrain tires won't hurt either. Most push mowers have crappy tires.

    That would be mandatory in my case. I must have 20+ species of grass and weed in my yard, some of which are tough enough to push over. Also, there are varying slopes and ruts to deal with. If the lawnmower has to pull/push itself through all of that, it would definitely need some tires that get traction -- not those cheap Playskool hard-plastic things they come with.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    @pitchingchris said:
    Don't need to... use a remote throttle cut feature that will kill the engine. Most 6 channel R/C remotes already have a button for that.
    Well that would be there, but when I say "runaway", I mean a complete disconnect from the lawnmower -- one in which the fail-safes.. well.. failed. Obviously it's a remote possibility, but if we are talking about a homicidal overlord lawnmower akin to something out of Maximum Overdrive, then all possibilities must be considered.

    yeah, you're right.. Although two other things could be done... is a built in fail-safe that powers down when it goes out of range (but this is not good because it could take awhile :)) The other one would be to use ultrasonic accostics or something to try to detect your distance from "home"



  • @pitchingchris said:

    @AbbydonKrafts said:

    @pitchingchris said:
    Don't need to... use a remote throttle cut feature that will kill the engine. Most 6 channel R/C remotes already have a button for that.
    Well that would be there, but when I say "runaway", I mean a complete disconnect from the lawnmower -- one in which the fail-safes.. well.. failed. Obviously it's a remote possibility, but if we are talking about a homicidal overlord lawnmower akin to something out of Maximum Overdrive, then all possibilities must be considered.

    yeah, you're right.. Although two other things could be done... is a built in fail-safe that powers down when it goes out of range (but this is not good because it could take awhile :)) The other one would be to use ultrasonic accostics or something to try to detect your distance from "home"

     

    This whole thing is overblown and retarded already, but ultrasonic distance detection??

    Why on earth wouldn't you just buy and modify one of the 'invisible fences' they use to keep dogs in yards with??

     

    This is would end up being the SSDS version of a lawnmower if you had your way...



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    This whole thing is overblown and retarded already, but ultrasonic distance detection??

    Why on earth wouldn't you just buy and modify one of the 'invisible fences' they use to keep dogs in yards with??

     

    This is would end up being the SSDS version of a lawnmower if you had your way...

    I disagree with you. I've used ultrasonics a lot in the industrial field. It is usually much more reliable than optical methods and otherwise. Heres a sample of what I was thinking about, although it does not have enough range for our project. http://www.hobbyengineering.com/H1053.html

     



  • @pitchingchris said:

    I disagree with you. I've used ultrasonics a lot in the industrial field.
     

    I have used them too.What you are talking about is still way overblown for what you need though.

    However this whole thing is pretty ridiculous so far... But I hope you two really do go ahead and make it, and post it. Should be a great read!

    The WTF Lawnmower... Maybe we could all pitch in and ship it to Spectate.



  • @pitchingchris said:

    The other one would be to use ultrasonic accostics or something to try to detect your distance from "home"

    But what would be considered home? For my yard, the front is about half the depth as the back. It would have to be able to know which side it's on in order to know how far it can go. That would require a combination of checking distance from home as well as direction.



    I was thinking about it.. it would probably be easier to build a dead man's switch+valve into the fuel line. The valve only remains open as long as a signal is received from the remote. If signal is lost, such as getting out of range or batteries dying on either end, the switch would lose power and the valve would close.

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    However this whole thing is pretty ridiculous so far... But I hope you two really do go ahead and make it, and post it. Should be a great read!

    The WTF Lawnmower... Maybe we could all pitch in and ship it to Spectate.

    Speculating on an overboard, autonomous lawnmower is more fun than watching the Swamp Thing run in circles. If he would at least progress into new weirdness, it wouldn't be so bad. But, he seems to be hung up on speck photos now, so it's not really amusing.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    But what would be considered home? For my yard, the front is about half the depth as the back. It would have to be able to know which side it's on in order to know how far it can go. That would require a combination of checking distance from home as well as direction.

    I was thinking about it.. it would probably be easier to build a dead man's switch+valve into the fuel line. The valve only remains open as long as a signal is received from the remote. If signal is lost, such as getting out of range or batteries dying on either end, the switch would lose power and the valve would close.

    You're right, and it could be a good learning experience for me, even if I do go overboard. The only reason I suggested something like ultrasonics was because I was trying to detect an adequate distance, and we kinda want a decent precise measurement, that way we could use it for both a fail safe and AI, etc. Sounds stupid, but I was picturing it like you could put the transmitter on your roof, with a reciever on the mower but I realize this is stupid because you will have some blind spots. The basic idea was that if the mower could not recieve or the distance was too great, than it would kill the mower (or first attempt to move closer to the signal.)  I would still put your dead mans method in, but I was thinking it would almost be out of sight before you lost the signal from the remote. I'm open to ideas, I was just throwing up some methods I've used before. The underground fence would work, but I'm lazy with a shovel and actually programming some other mechanism would be cooler educationally.



  • @pitchingchris said:

    fail safe
     

    Please don't even use that langauge around an idea like this... your design has all sorts of safety implications that really border on scary.

    The underground fence would not be perfect, but I would trust it a small amount if I was monitoring it... 

     

    Saying either of those ideas is 'fail safe' is just awful though.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Saying either of those ideas is 'fail safe' is just awful though.

    Maybe, but if I use it in a way that is in terms that other people or engineers with the same hobby, I figured I was safe. Not from MPS though. Most RC have a fail safe switch that simply stops the vehicle when it either goes out of range or the battery runs dead. I was simply trying to broaden this aspect to include a more specific boundary without having to use an underground fence.  We're just throwing out possibilities.

     Fail safe switch for an RC car or plane http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXHLV3&P=7



  • @pitchingchris said:

    Sounds stupid, but I was picturing it like you could put the transmitter on your roof, with a reciever on the mower but I realize this is stupid because you will have some blind spots.

    Maybe a "net" of them, or instead of an underground fence, you can do perimeter posts -- like a laser tripline of sorts.

    @pitchingchris said:

    I would still put your dead mans method in, but I was thinking it would almost be out of sight before you lost the signal from the remote.

    Power switch on the remote = Instant lost signal. I wonder if it would be easier to put a DMS on the spark plug wire instead. It wouldn't require as much "effort" for the mechanical parts whereas the valve one could get stuck in either position easier.

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Please don't even use that langauge around an idea like this... your design has all sorts of safety implications that really border on scary.

    You think that's scary -- how about adding in my idea of fold-down trimmers that are mounted on the front. Take out tall stuff and things growing along the edges.... as well as the legs of small creatures. You would definitely need fail-safe on that one.



  • @pitchingchris said:

    Fail safe switch for an RC car or plane http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXHLV3&P=7

    Cool. Relatively cheap, too.



  •  @pitchingchris said:

    Maybe, but if I use it in a way that is in terms that other people or engineers with the same hobby, I figured I was safe. Not from MPS though. 

    Hobby RC car or plane != Renegade lawn mower

    It would be significantly more important to actually make the system failsafe rather than relying on 'toy' devices to stop it.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    You think that's scary -- how about adding in my idea of fold-down trimmers that are mounted on the front.

    Saw that on the show American Inventor last year, I thought it was pretty cool. Forget taking your trimmer out too, just build it on the mower and it clicks down when going around the house. Hope you don't have kids :)



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Hobby RC car or plane != Renegade lawn mower

    It would be significantly more important to actually make the system failsafe rather than relying on 'toy' devices to stop it.

    We're offering you an opportunity to give ideas. We're just having fun. Its easy for anybody to point fingers and complain, but I think this is an interesting area. It has interesting applications in the field of robotics, not just in lawn mowers.



  • @pitchingchris said:

    It has interesting applications in the field of robotics, not just in lawn mowers.
     

    Except that it has already been done, and in ways that are less likely to kill a neighborhood full of children and pets...



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Except that it has already been done, and in ways that are less likely to kill a neighborhood full of children and pets...

    What fun is a hobby if it doesn't involve a small risk of being charged for manslaughter? 



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Hobby RC car or plane != Renegade lawn mower

    It would be significantly more important to actually make the system failsafe rather than relying on 'toy' devices to stop it.

     I don't know.. An R/C plane or helicopter can be pretty dangerous at times. They travel pretty fast and without the proper caution, if they go off course onto a public roadway, they can collide with or distract a driver thus leading to equally dangerous possibilities.



  • @pitchingchris said:

     I don't know.. An R/C plane or helicopter can be pretty dangerous at times. They travel pretty fast and without the proper caution, if they go off course onto a public roadway, they can collide with or distract a driver thus leading to equally dangerous possibilities.
     

    Which is why you wouldn't normally use them in a populated residential area like your front yard...

    Assuming you were responsible enough in the first place...



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Except that it has already been done, and in ways that are less likely to kill a neighborhood full of children and pets...

    And it probably couldn't cut some of the grass that grows in my area. I'm telling you, even if the grass has been cut recently, there's this one variety that can almost stall a 6HP mower. Every picture of those autonomous mowers I've seen are little things running around on a 1/8 acre sodded yard. I have 1/2 acre (split between the back, front, and right-of-way across the road) of "native" plants (the other 1/2 is wooded) and the back is sloped. I doubt the commercial ones could tackle all of that.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    What fun is a hobby if it doesn't involve a small risk of being charged for manslaughter?

    That gave me a laugh! Also, it must involve the risk of getting maimed. I swear, my brother couldn't tinker with electronics without burning something.

    @pitchingchris said:

    I don't know.. An R/C plane or helicopter can be pretty dangerous at times. They travel pretty fast and without the proper caution, if they go off course onto a public roadway, they can collide with or distract a driver thus leading to equally dangerous possibilities.

    I'd be more concerned being around someone flying a large-scale RC plane than a renegade mower. I doubt the mower could attain the speed of the plane.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    And it probably couldn't cut some of the grass that grows in my area. I'm telling you, even if the grass has been cut, there's this one variety that can almost stall a 6HP mower. Every picture of those autonomous mowers I've seen are little things running around on a 1/8 acre sodded yard. I have 1/2 acre (split between the back, front, and right-of-way across the road) of "native" plants (the other 1/2 is wooded) and the back is sloped. I doubt the commercial ones could tackle all of that.
     

    Then wouldn't the sensible thing be to modify one of those mowers with more power instead of designing some bastardized thing that Spectate would envy?

     

    I propose a new tag, with a new fault checking of posts....

    "What would SpectateSwamp think?"



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Then wouldn't the sensible thing be to modify one of those mowers with more power instead of designing some bastardized thing that Spectate would envy?

    How exactly could someone "upgrade" those things? It's like comparing a laptop to a full-tower. There's no room to drop an 8HP Briggs & Stratton engine on an outdoor Roomba. With a flat deck mower, anything is possible.



    Also, why are you envisioning it as a "bastardized thing"? Obviously the final product would have some style. Only the "tinker" stage would be Frankensteined.



    Come on! Join the fun. Don't worry about whose going to get hurt. We'll just slap some "Illegal within 1000 feet of daycares and schools", "Warning: Has a foot fetish", "Danger: Sharp objects", etc, labels on the box.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Then wouldn't the sensible thing be to modify one of those mowers with more power

    Not when an "unmodified" mower costs over $2K. We could buy a mower for $100 - 200, The controls for another $100 (strictly the mechanical parts, not the radio) and we've only spent 3 - 4 hundred so far max. We don't want to waste 2K buying a remote mower that we'll have to strip down and reprogram. 



  • @pitchingchris said:

    Not when an "unmodified" mower costs over $2K. We could buy a mower for $100 - 200, The controls for another $100 (strictly the mechanical parts, not the radio) and we've only spent 3 - 4 hundred so far max. We don't want to waste 2K buying a remote mower that we'll have to strip down and reprogram. 
     

    Good luck with that. Be sure to video it, we could use the laughs on the front page.



  • cough http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/31/robot-lawnmower-kills-danish-man-begins-resistance/ cough

     

    Still, there's a risk with regular mowers, too.  However, I would never try to build my own regular mower.  Even if it saves a ton of money and is fun, I wouldn't want to put myself in a position where a small error could lead to someone's disfigurement or death.  I would be so paranoid I wouldn't be able to let the thing out of my sight which seems more stressful than just mowing by hand, but maybe it's just me.  Of course, this isn't a big deal for me since I live in an apartment and the nearest grass is probably a few miles away.  You sound committed to the idea, though, so I'll wish you good luck. 



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Good luck with that. Be sure to video it, we could use the laughs on the front page.

    Video is a given. I'd love to see someone make one. As it stands, I don't have the funds to take this on myself.



  • I would be all for this kind of adventure if it involved improving the current state of the art...

    But so far the objectives have been clearly progressing backwards from what is out there. The only thing I hear that is to be improved is the power... That certainly wouldn't warrant starting over from scratch.

    I believe this kind of mindset is truly what leads to many of our front page WTFs.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    I'd love to see someone make one.
     

    Ok: http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9727482-1.html

    And actually this seems to fill your power need too: http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/31/robot-lawnmower-kills-danish-man-begins-resistance/



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    cough http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/31/robot-lawnmower-kills-danish-man-begins-resistance/ cough

    When you have a squat device with a high center of gravity, especially with those caster wheels, what do you think would happen when placed on a slope? I'm thinking of something more like a regular lawnmower that has a wider deck, so it would be less prone to that sort of thing. Also, whose idea was it to put that thing on a slope? Even riding lawn mowers specifically instruct how to mow on a slope.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Even if it saves a ton of money and is fun, I wouldn't want to put myself in a position where a small error could lead to someone's disfigurement or death.

    You'd have to mess up pretty bad to make a remote control lawnmower go after someone. It's not like an automated bush-trimmer.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I would be so paranoid I wouldn't be able to let the thing out of my sight which seems more stressful than just mowing by hand, but maybe it's just me.

    I wasn't thinking about letting one out of my sight. Either remote-controlled by hand, or autonomous through a computer-controlled route with onboard wireless cam.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    You sound committed to the idea, though, so I'll wish you good luck.

    Heck, yeah! We need capital!



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    Video is a given. I'd love to see someone make one. As it stands, I don't have the funds to take this on myself.

    I hear you, I've got two kids and fixing to move closer to work by the end of the year. It would be a good project, and the neat part is that we could probably do most of the software without having all of the hardware by simulating inputs. From a computing point of view, its interesting and fun. It might not be so marketable without some help making it look nicer and some other safety features for the general public, but projects such as these get the creative juices flowing. Any current product once started as small experiments. It might be more expensive for that first model, and further engineering will bring the cost down by integrating parts, etc.

    It beats looking at 1 pixel aliens in my book. We all know when you do any raster operations, you have at least a chance of this happening anyway. Thats why on TV, all the "zoom" on video is utter bulls**t. If you didn't zoom on the original shoot, there is only so much resolution there for you to muck with.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Ok: http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9727482-1.html

    That doesn't count. That's a Roomba with a blade. It would choke due to lack of power and too much deck containment. Also, $2K is way beyond what a normal person would pay. I could get a super-nice riding mower for that.



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    You'd have to mess up pretty bad to make a remote control lawnmower go after someone. It's not like an automated bush-trimmer.

    Very funny. I've come to like this stange sense of irony from you over the last year. What makes it funny is that the automated bush trimmer would be right behind it :)


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