Human powered electric instruments


[Noah] tipped us off to his work with Physically Engaged Electronic Instruments. He is building instruments, that while being electronic, require physical action to drive them. In the video after the break, you can see an example, in the form of a polka. The part that they’re holding (print head?) is attached to a generator which powers the instrument. The effect makes the instrument much more like a traditional stringed instrument that must be strummed. We can easily also imagine an interface similar to a concertina or accordion being functional. There are schematics available on his site in the research reports section, but you’ll have to dig through a pdf or two to find them. We would love to see a breakdown of the instruments and their components in a more accessible form.

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Rovio fire extinguisher


[Colt45] shows us some pictures of his Rovio fire extinguisher mod. Being a fan of model building, he built a new shell for the Rovio and mounted a halon distribution system to the top of it. He says he loaded some custom software for identifying and extinguishing flames, which he’ll upload eventually. We really wish we knew more, or at least had a video of it working. We’re a little bit surprised we haven’t seen more done with these things.

[Thanks Robert]

Electrostatic computer interface

[Justin] sent in his 1st place winning project from Northeastern’s Electrical Engineering Senior Design Capstone. It’s an interface that uses electrostatics to detect your hand position above it. As you can see in the video, it has decent resolution and can detect position on all 3 axes. When they uncover it, you can see the sensors arranged in a grid. They point out that each sensor isn’t just like a button, but rather detects a range of motion. They are using a pic 18×4550 to handle the sensors, which then communicates to the PC via USB. This could be pretty useful for musical performances as well as an alternative interface for people who can’t use a mouse.EO