Automatic telephone recorder

[James Bond] types and those suffering from a hefty dose of paranoia can now record all telephone conversations. [Trax] built this module that monitors the phone line and starts recording when a handset is picked up. A computer does the actual recording, triggered by the microcontroller via a USB connection.

We like the use of an old PCB for a faceplate, we’ve certainly got some duds of our own sitting around. The three cords are a bit confusing though. One for the phone line, one for the USB, but what does the third do? Is it an audio-out connection?

We’ve asked [Trax] to post a schematic and source code if possible so that might clear up the mystery.

Update: [Trax] let us know that there is a red button with white lettering at the bottom labeled “download”. This contains schematic, code, pcb layout, and PC software. We just missed it the first time around.

FanWing is like a harvester in the sky

The FanWing aircraft concept has been around for a while but this is the first time we’ve seen working models. It gets rid of the propeller and adopts a rotating cylinder for propulsion. The look reminds us of a combine harvester and in a way it does reap the air, pulling the craft through the sky. We’re not holding our breath for the decommission of jet propulsion in the wake of this method, but we’d love to see some fun-loving death from above whenever you can get your own off the ground. Check out the video clips after the break to see, and hear, this in action.

[Read more...]

Hacking space without profit or secrecy

Reader [Jacob] tipped us off about a project the aims to make the final frontier open source. The mission of the Copenhagen Suborbitals is to launch a man into space. What they’re not interested in is turning a profit, carrying hazmat or weapons, or keeping what they learn to themselves.

Surprisingly enough, isn’t this the next logical step after hobbyists send cameras into space? This team thinks so and they’ve been hard at work building and testing rockets. With the last round of successful tests behind them, they’ve paved the way for a launch of the first round of the campaign on June first. Da duh daaaah da duh duh da daaaaa

Smart flash synchronization

[Max] designed this circuit to add smart flash synchronization to his photography arsenal. He did this because ‘dumb’ TTL based flashes won’t play nicely with more sophisticated systems like the Nikon Advanced Wireless Lighting. By building a microcontroller into the mechanism, he’s added functionality for several different scenarios, ensuring that he’ll never again have problems with early flash triggering. Now that the kinks have been ironed out in the prototype, the code and hardware can be migrated over to whatever microcontroller suits you.

Portable Squeezebox with serial

The Squeezbox media streaming systems are compact Linux WiFi enabled radios that let you stream your collection anywhere,so long as you have an AC or USB outlet nearby. But [Achim Sack] wanted to stream his collection from anywhere with no wires attached (translation). Some poking and prodding revealed a connector actually designed for a battery and serial, but no commercially available battery yet.

The system requires a temperature sensor and if you want serial, a USB converter, but overall a simple process that could be done in an afternoon. Giving your box ~10 hour of life and even fits inside of a back compartment.

[Thanks Thomas]

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