Collect and analyze ECG data

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Although we’ve covered DIY ECGs before, [Scott Harden] sent in his version that gives an in-depth explanation of what to do with the collected data. He built a basic battery-powered op-amp-based ECG for under $1. The circuit just amplifies the signal from the chest leads and feeds it into a computer via the microphone port. He then used GoldWave to record, filter, and save the signal. From there, he used python to analyze the heartbeat and calculate his heart rate and further manipulate the data. His previous blog posts go into more detail on how the python code works and why he chose software over hardware filters.

A Linux server that tweets power changes

apcupsd_twitter

Twitter has been used for lots of experiments, both useful and just for fun. [FIRESTORM_v1] sent in his project that falls under the useful category. When he wanted a way to monitor his server’s power statistics, Twitter was a logical choice. Similar to the Tweet-a-Watt, he wrote a script that posts messages from APCUPSd to a Twitter account that he follows, and gets the updates on his phone. [FIRESTORM_v1] documents all of the scripts he used and the steps to get your server up and tweeting.

Maple beats up Arduino, takes its shields

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The Atmega168 at the heart of every Arduino is an eminently capable chip; its ilk have been seen working as a basic web server, playing back digital audio, even generating TV signals. But as projects continue to grow in sophistication, reality rears its ugly head: Arduino can handle any one of these tasks very well, but it often requires squeezing every last instruction cycle or bit of memory in the device. Even the ’368 chip and the Arduino Mega are stopgap measures. Sooner or later, you have to graduate to long trousers—move up to a more capable microcontroller platform—an uncomfortable change usually involving a hefty investment in new hardware and an intimidating learning curve. Leaf Labs’ Maple aims to change all that…
[Read more...]

The Serpent Mother

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The Serpent Mother is certainly an appropriate name for this 168foot long snake fire art installation filled with enough goodies to impress anyone who is into flame effects. [The Flaming Lotus Girls] were allocated $60,000 in May of 2006 to bring this art project to Burning Man. A team of nearly 100 people worked together at a furious pace to pull it off. The collaboration of skill-sets is unfathomable between the metal art, firmware, software, LEDs, and propane design. The primary flames consist of  41 “poofers” along the spine of the serpent each one capable of delivering a 8′ tall flame. Tucked away near the tail is a egg that makes use of methanol and boric acid to create a massive green fireball. When the egg is open nobody is allowed with 150′ of the project. The brain that runs the beast is nothing more than a RS-485 network of humble ATmega8s. The microcontrollers are wired with XLR cable and chatting at a 19200 baud. Max/MSP is used on a laptop to control flame patterns. Here is a enjoyable write-up and video. We particularly enjoy the bit about the strange looks the team got when purchasing 50 stun guns.

Bottled Nixie clock

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Who could not love the tender glow of a Nixie display? It isn’t a new concept for them to be used in clocks, and usually it’s how they are housed or encased for display that sets them apart. [crazy_phisic] did the near impossible by building his Nixie clock almost entirely inside of a glass bottle. The circuit boards and logic components were soldered outside, but the final combination of parts (sometimes requiring specialty homemade tools) were assembled inside. We wonder how long it took him from start to finish after learning boats in bottles can take from minutes to months. The original post is in polish, but if you want to find out more there is a Google translation.

[via Semageek]

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