Guitar Hero actuator


Another day, another EE that refuses to play Guitar Hero properly. [Julian Bleecker] went into the design of this Guitar Hero actuator not really knowing how to size solenoids properly. Luckily, trial and error can get you a long way. The first solenoids he purchased couldn’t apply enough force. The second was overkill. It was certainly strong enough but too heavy and too large to mount to the neck. The final set ended up being both the right size and working well even at 12V, half the design voltage. The elegant mounting system is what really makes this project shine. [Julian] provides the schematic for the ATmega168 driver board, which is an Arduino stripped of the extraneous bits.

Related: Slashbot and AutoGuitarHero

[via Make]

Drive Slagging


Maybe you wiped your iPhone by filling the hard drive with music, or maybe you used a more sophisticated method. In either case, your phone is clean, but the hard drive in your computer is still chock full of evidence of your misdeeds (or just personal emails to your mother). If you fear forensic analysis will expose your wheelings and dealings, then a full format is not enough; you’re going to have to obliterate the plates inside the hard drive.

To that end, [Eecue] posted this worklog of slagging a hard drive. Using a propane powered furnace, he melted most of the drive’s components by placing it in a steel crucible which was lowered into the furnace. After a few minutes everything but the steel casing and a few bits of woven fiberglass from the PCB were melted down completely. You can see the entire process in [Eecue]‘s drive slagging photo album.

With solid state drives becoming popular and their inherent difficulty of assured erasure, physical destruction is looking like a lot more reasonable option. As you readers have stated in the past: it’s certainly a lot more fun.

Synaptics trackpad swap


Some people are really picky about their trackpads. [John] posted a guide on retrofitting a Synaptics pad in place of the newer, but less user friendly ALPS touchpad/stick combo used in the Dell Inspiron 8200. On the opposite end, [C. Järnåker], loves laptop keyboards enough to mod them for use on his desktop machine.

Perceptual chronograph


All praise to [Limor] for uncovering this incredibly odd project. [magician]‘s perceptual chronograph is designed to test whether time “slows down” in stressful situations. The device flashes a random number on the display very quickly so that it is impossible to perceive what is actually being displayed. If you can read the number while under stress, it means that your ability perceive time has increased. It’s hard to believe, but check out the video embedded after the break that investigates the phenomenon. We can’t help, but wonder how [magician] personally plans on testing this.

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