Hans Summers has an amazing collection of projects. His most popular project is the binary clock. It runs off of mains, uses a bunch of TTL logic chips and a binary counter. He has posted links to the many projects that have been derived from his original post. Warning: project uses LEDs. If the binary clock isn’t your thing he has lots of other clocks, radio, frequency counters, computer and other projects.
[thanks Alan Parekh]
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[Coreyfro] recently sent me a thank you note for the biquad wifi antenna article I did for Engadget last fall. He directed me to his monster Beerquad antenna he built based on it. While searching for materials to build his antenna he discovered that flattened Guinness cans are the perfect size for regular antennas and that 25oz Labatt cans make for great double wide versions. He says the reception is great . I’m sure he’ll raise some OpSec eyebrows once he gets the laptop mount done. Most biquad wifi projects on the web are based on Trevor Marshall’s antenna.
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[Ben Kokes] put together this guide for building an LED marquee. The design uses two 555 timers plus a bunch of shift registers. The first 555 handles the rate at which the LEDs turn on/off. The second controls how fast the sequence advances. The shift registers cascade through each row of LEDs. Here’s a CoralCDN of the video. The project is pretty simple, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. It does fit well with our “LEDs whee!” attitude.
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[Ben Miller] came up with a really simple way to turn a Roomba into a line following robot. The Roomba already has four “cliff sensors” built into it. Ben just added a potentiometer to the two outside sensors and then tuned the pots so that the Roomba could detect black tape on the ground. It isn’t your standard line follower, but if you draw a path using two strips of tape the Roomba will gladly stay inside. Here’s a CoralCDN link to the video.
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Inspired by raphnet’s projection clock, imakeprojects decided to build their own version. The clock only turns on when a source of IR light is pointed directly at it (i.e. television remote). This would be good for a room that you would normally like as dark as possible, like a home theater. The clock uses a 38kHz IR detector to trigger a Luxeon LED. You need to rotate the polarizing filter on the clock so that an inverse image will show up on the wall. imakeprojects was able to get a clear image without a lens while projecting up to 6 feet.
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[Jared Bouck] certainly has a unique project on his hands this time. He started out wanting to build a somewhat complex system for visualizing Cherenkov radiation. With a little investigation he found some new ideas and decided to build a really compact apparatus. Cherenkov radiation is seen as a blue flash when a particle passes through a medium at a speed greater than the speed of light in the medium. Jared used a webcam CCD as the medium and a small piece of radioactive americium sourced from a smoke detector. The camera housing is sealed from any light leaks and is shielded to block EMI. Watching the camera output you can see flashes of white and blue streaks. It’s a neat home built demo and I bet it could be used as a random number generator as well. In the real world, scientists use Cherenkov radiation detection to determine fission reaction intensity, measure radioactivity in spent fuel rods, and detect the origin of cosmic rays. Similar techniques are used in neutrino detectors like the massive IceCube project.
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[Igor Carron] pointed out that Derrick Parkhurst and his colleagues at Iowa State have been hard at work improving their lightweight eye tracker that we covered in January. The new version uses digital cameras instead of analog ones. This time they’ve included step by step build instructions instead of just a PDF describing the device. Most of the build involves removing the CCD from a couple cheap webcams and then building an extension back to the board. All of this work is part of the Human and Computer Vision Laboratory’s open-source openEyes project. If you want a quick intro into how this type of eye tracking works I suggest reading our previous post.
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