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The Design blog

How to make your own solar-powered weatherproof bike helmet

Posted: 06 Nov 2011 06:11 AM PST

Sourish Karmakar:
The Green Helmet
The Green HelmetSolar-powered weatherproof bike helmet.

It is always wonderful to have some useful appliance that do not require frequent charging and wire clutter. The solar powered all weather helmet is one of such wonderful innovation. You can ride your favorite bike even in night with full lights on. You do not have to fit the lights on bike and certainly do not have to remove them when you park outside to save it from being stolen. The helmet does not require any external charging. All you need is to ride in daylight with your helmet on and you will have always charged helmet with considerable light power to ride even in night. The all weather helmet need no external charging. It even works in rainy seasons. The fitting is not at all tricky. However, considerable time is spent on fine circuitry. If you want to have this solar powered light helmet for yourself, then you can follow the procedure to make one for yourself.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Time required: 4-5 hours working time. 24 hours for glue drying and another 24 hours for spray paint drying.

Resources required

1. Multimeter

2. File

3. Soldering gun

4. Insulation tape

5. Solder and Flux

6. Circuit board

7. Helmet

8. Silicon Solar Charging unit

9. LED bulbs ( Two 10mm Rainbow LED, Two 10mm Red LED, Two 10mm yellow LED,

10. Wire cutter and stripper

11. Waterproof LED mount

12. O ring LED Mount lens

13. Battery holders for 3 AAA batteries

14. 3AAA rechargeable Batteries

15. Switch

16. Two 9 volt battery connectors

17. Soft casing from any old mp3 shutter

18. Black shoe goo

19. Super glue

20. Black wrap

21. Tubings

22. Black spray paint

Estimate Cost:

Since, most of the tools and the helmet you may be already with you, so the cost is not high on that side. However, to purchase all other things you may need up to 50 dollars. If you do not have tools, you can borrow them from friends or buy them from local hardware shop.


STEP 1: LED Mounting

If you have a breadboard, then test your LED bulbs all together to check whether it is working with 3 AAA batteries or it will need 4 of the same. After that put shoe goo in the mounts. Place the mount, the vent of helmet in such a way that it does not block the aeration. Solder the wire on LEDs and put the wires inside via the air vent. Fix the mount on the helmet and glue the LEDs on to the mount. You can decide the arrangement of LEDs according to your need.

STEP 2: Installing the solar panel

For installing the panel, you need to reinforce the leads of the solar panel on the Black shoe goo and connect the leads with wire via soldering.

STEP 3: Fixing the black Velcro.

Put the fuzzy side of the Velcro outside with the inner side towards the helmet. Take six pieces of Velcro and align it perpendicular to wire leaving the panel. Mount few more Velcro on panel Velcro to give strength and alignment. Fix the solar panel on the sticky side of Velcro and place the whole arrangement on the top of the helmet. Press it fix on the helmet. You can also use glue to give strength to the attachment. The glue will also prevent water damage and leakage.

STEP 4: Working the electrical connection

Fix the soft case on the Velcro and fix it on the helmet. Connect the wire on to the battery holder and put shrink tubing on them. Once you have soldered the wires, you need to connect the LEDs to the battery holder. After, that panel needs to be connected to battery holder. Solder the wires to connect panel with the battery holder. Put the shrink tubing on the wire joints. Then cover the entire wiring with tape. Once the assembly is ready, you need to connect the switch to the main power supply. Cover the assembly with shoe goo. Mount the switch on the black shoe goo or you can use the super glue to connect the switch on to the side of your helmet. Put on tubing on the wire.

STEP 5: Finalizing the helmet

Spray paint on the entire assembly with black paint or the matching paint to your helmet color. Therefore, that wire clutter, scratches or goo merges with helmet. Once the painting is done then let it dry for 24 hours. Put the batteries and let it stay one sunlight for 5 to 6 hours. Your solar powered helmet is ready.

Frequently asked questions

Q1: Do the wire, batteries and circuitry hurt you while wearing the helmet?

Ans: No, all the connection, wiring and fixing of bulb is to be done on outside the helmet or in the vents.

Q2. Does it even work on rainy season?

Ans: Yes, it certainly works in rainy season. As the 3 AAA batteries do not require heavy sunlight for recharging, they do retain charge for quite a long time when it is fully recharged.

Q3. How much time the charge holds?

Ans: The charge holding depends on the number of cells used in the assembly and their recharging time. If it gets proper sunlight, then it can stay charged for up to 6 to 8 hours, otherwise on rainy days you get a minimum of 4 hours with 6 hours exposure to the outside light.

Quick tips

1. Work Carefully with your solar panel as it is prone to breakage.

2. Velcro and superglue both prevents water leakage, so use them both for building the electrical assembly.

3. Test the LEDs and required number of batteries on breadboard. If you want to use more number of batteries for longer charging time then put some resistors to distribute the load.

Things to watch out for

1. Be careful while working with soldering gun.

2. Do not burn the plastic of the wire while working with the heat gun.

3. Remove the solar panel before spray paintings, so that it does not get coated with paint.

Travel Brewing Mug lets you make a fresh cuppa on the go

Posted: 05 Nov 2011 03:08 PM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Brewing Mug
Brewing MugPortable Brewing Mug

Back in the good old days if you needed to take a hot beverage along while you commuted to work or went someplace where a fresh pot of coffee or tea would not be available, you simply got yourself an insulated bottle that kept your prepared cuppa hot and ready to serve through the day. Though the method was and is, to some extent one of the most popular means of taking your hot beverage along, users often complained that their coffee or tea tasted stale if the drink wasn't consumed within a few hours of having been prepared and then there was the problem of keeping the temperature of the drink steady to a drink-able level through the day. Other popular methods of having fresh beverages were carrying sachets of coffees or tea and taking hot water separately though that never produced a good brew! To counter this problem of having fresh-tasting coffee or tea on the go, designer Nicole Metivier created the Travel Brewing Mug which may be just a concept for now, but it promises users a fresh cup every time.

Picture Gallery
Brewing Mug
portable Brewing Mug

The concept basically features an innovative travel mug that can be filled with hot water by users when they leave the house or the office. The cap of the mug comes with a special compartment that can be used to store the tea or the coffee separately. When the user wants to have a cuppa, all he needs to do is push the compartment into the mug and allow the tea or coffee to steep for a while and then release it back up into the cap.

This basically functions like using a tea bag but it allows for a more effective and functional brewing process since the hot water is never exposed to the air and doesn't cool down while the tea/coffee is brewing. When the user wants to consume the beverage, he can simply unscrew the cap and drink from the mug. To clean, the cap can be unscrewed and the coffee/tea compartment can be removed, washed, dried and fitted back in with a fresh teaspoonful of tea or coffee.

The product is completely reusable and sustainably manufactured since it is made up of recycled plastics and rubber. For added stabilization and traction, the bottom of the mug comes fitted with a grey strip of rubber that provides grip and keeps the liquid inside insulated and prevents the outside of the mug from heating up. An air gap between the inner and outer wall of the cup lets the liquid inside stay hot through the day.

Via: Behance

Bluetooth-enabled Heart Rate Variability sensor by Hans Lee

Posted: 05 Nov 2011 02:28 PM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Bluetooth HRV
Bluetooth HRVDesigned by Hans Lee

Heart rate monitors are one of the most grim-looking medical devices out there that provides medical professionals with all the data they need but are almost completely inaccessible to untrained people like the patient, relatives and visitors which often means that if the device is being used by someone at home, they need to hire a full-time nurse or another medical professional to read the data provided by the monitor. Not only is this very inconvenient for patients, it is also very inconvenient for people living in the same house as the patient since the bulky device forms an intimidating presence in the house as well.

Picture Gallery
Bluetooth HRV
Designed by Hans Lee

Created by designer Hans Lee as a co-design project, the mobile HRV (Heart Rate Variability) sensor is created with a view to appear friendlier and less menacing than regular heart rate monitors. Still very much a fully-functioning medical device that gives users professional suggestion and health care personnel with a convenient way to monitor an at-home patient.

With two sensors and one neck strap, this device can be easily worn by users and allow medical staff to analyze data collected through the day or a specified amount of time which can later be transferred to a computer via Bluetooth thus allowing patients and medical professional with a far more convenient method of keeping track of heart rate data during different states and time.

Users can carry the device all the day and record serves as a health states recorder that can be worn the patient's person and whenever they need to record data (i.e., at the times specified by a medical health professional), they can simply slide the belt down close to their wrists to let the sensors record data by monitoring the pulse rate.

The concept does not look to replace a serious medical device or a life support system in severe cases but looks more to serve as an at-home monitoring device to record daily data during recovery or rehab phases. The petite mobile device is perfect for patients who need to monitor their heart rates without having to sit down strapped to a bulky device to collect the necessary data. The HRV thus provides medical professionals with a more accurate reading of the patient's heart rate during the course of their dally lives than ordinary devices that only read the resting heart rate of users that can lead to misdiagnosis of results.

Via: Behance

10 unique gaming mouse designs to sustain those extended sessions

Posted: 05 Nov 2011 01:25 PM PDT

Arjun Wadia:

unique gaming mouse
unique gaming mouseunique gaming mouse

Only a gamer knows the difference between a gaming mouse and a regular mouse. If you’re up for a battle, you got to have the best equipment. Gaming lovers all over the world search for accessories that can meet their gaming requirement which the usual computer peripherals just can’t deliver. From a hobby it becomes your passion and sometimes it becomes your profession. To be a pro in gaming, you have to learn what the usual players can not perceive. Brands like Microsoft, Belkin, Logitech and many more are stepping into the race of providing gaming lovers with the best computer accessories possible. If there is a very popular game which has been there from a long time, mice and other accessories are built according to its special requirements. Here’s a list of the 10 best gaming mouse designs for that top notch performance.

1. World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse

World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse
World of Warcraft MMO Gaming MouseWorld of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse

This is a fully licensed World of Warcraft gaming mouse especially designed for the players of this world. With the first look you will be convinced that this mouse looks pretty amazing. It comes with 14 programmable buttons which you can configure according to your own preferences. The built of the mouse is pretty solid with a cutting edge sword like design. This is a complicated title and not something that you can just learn by the rules, hence a few controls shifted from the keyboard to the mouse is definitely going to help. Believe me even 14 buttons will be less to control your toon in this world. This one is as brilliant as it looks, just a little bigger in size.

2. Microsoft Sidewinder

Microsoft Sidewinder Gaming Mouse
Microsoft Sidewinder Gaming MouseMicrosoft Sidewinder Gaming Mouse

Microsoft has stepped in to compete with brands like Logitech in this genre too. The Sidewinder Gaming Mouse is definitely an out of the box creation. The design of the Sidewinder is pretty standard and simple. It boasts on its functionality rather than design. Like all high end gaming mouse it comes with 10 total buttons with 5 button customization. It also features a built in LCD and Games Explorer Button which not might be very useful. The shape is likable and so are the functions.

3. Belkin n52te Gaming Mouse

Belkin n52te Gaming Mouse
Belkin n52te Gaming MouseBelkin n52te Gaming Mouse

Now this is something really unique. Belkin, the design masters have come up with an accessory which on the first look seems like a new kind of device but is actually a simple mouse with all kinds of customization buttons. The Belkin n52te Gaming Mouse is really impressive in looks with 15 programmable buttons, a cool blue back light and an 8-way thumb pad with removable joystick. A soft touch wrist pad for enhanced ergonomics also really get this one going. Once you try it, you find a whole lot of things to like.

4. Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse

Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse
Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming MouseCyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse

The Cyborg R.A.T 7 Gaming Mouse it the perfect equipment for your online gaming battles. The R.A.T 7 features a twin eye laser sensor providing 5600 DPI for extra responsiveness. It has a mind blowing cutting edge design which is hard to match. It also features 5 programmable buttons, 3 Cyborg modes and much more. You can even adjust the scale according to your thumb size. The Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse is a wonderful gaming product.

5. R2 Gaming Mouse Mark II

R2 Gaming Mouse Mark II
R2 Gaming Mouse Mark IIR2 Gaming Mouse Mark II

The R2 Gaming Mouse Mark II looks more like a mini spaceship to me than a mouse. Its surprisingly round in shape with lights, buttons an pressure sensors. The light weight mouse can be easily moved along the desk and it has features like 4 buttons, 3 pressure zones which act like buttons and colorful LED lights. This is an average gaming mouse for regular gaming.

6. Gameboard

GameboardLogitech Introduces Game-Changing G13 Gameboard

Logitech has fired the competition with the introduction of the G13 Gameboard which is not just a conventional gaming mouse but more like a gaming console in itself. For serious gamers, this is something that they will cherish buying. It comes with not less but 25 programmable keys, a programmable analog stick and back light for precision. It also has an on board memory if these features were not enough.

7. Razer DeathAdder Mouse

Razer DeathAdder Mouse
Razer DeathAdder MouseRazer DeathAdder Mouse

The DeathAdder Mouse is yet another creation by Razer to build a perfect gaming mouse. The DeathAdder comes with a 7-foot long USB cable for all kinds of gaming setups. It gives you two thumb buttons on the side which are pretty easy to access making it a total of 5 programmable buttons. The polling rate and the DPI settings can be extended to an amazing 1,000Hz and 1,800dpi, respectively. The DeathAdder is an accurate mouse with exceptional responsiveness.

8. Logitech G9 Mouse

Logitech G9 Mouse
Logitech G9 MouseLogitech G9 Mouse

The Logitech G9 Mouse is a fine example of what a gaming mouse should look and work like. The G9 is not at all complicated with completely programmable buttons. The different aspect of this mouse is its two interchangeable grips. Choose from the “Wide Load Grip” or the “Precision” grip whatever suits your gaming requirements. The slightly elongated rear end supports the palm pretty well. The Logitech G9 is a delightful mouse for even extensive gaming.

9. “Novint Falcon” 3D Gaming Mouse

Novint Falcon 3D Gaming Mouse
Novint Falcon 3D Gaming MouseNovint Falcon 3D Gaming Mouse

The First Person Shooter games can now be played with an entirely different perspective. The round ball like mouse offers you a gun grip for a delightful gaming experience, just like 3D. It’s not a mouse but rather an interface device which can have many faces. The Novint Falcon 3D Gaming Mouse really does the job when it comes to First Person Shooter games.

10. Zalman FG-1000 Gaming Mouse

Zalman FPSGUN FG-1000 Gaming Mouse
Zalman FPSGUN FG-1000 Gaming MouseZalman FPSGUN FG-1000 Gaming Mouse

The Zalman FPSGUN FG-1000 Gaming Mouse is yet another gaming peripheral for FPS players. The device is especially designed in a shape which looks more like a gun rather than a mouse giving the gamers a real experience in shooting. It comes with 4 programmable buttons with intrusive wrist movement. You can actually hold it like a gun and fire it away to be the master of your FPS games. It looks real different and works differently as well.

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