Didgeridoo, now does real time video

Some of you may remember when we introduced you to [Kyle's] Electronically Modified Didgeridoo. Those same members will have their hearts warmed knowing he’s still playing and advancing on his Didgeridoo, now including real time video processing. There isn’t too many details aside from it being controlled by an ATMega168 and an unknown analog switching chip, and in its infancy it just looks like a bunch of dancing white lines but we expect this to turn into one amazing display.

Oh, and those determined on making their own Electronically Modified Didgeridoo should keep an eye out for the April ’10 issue of Popular Science where the instrument will be featured.

Floppy disk augmented reality is a head-scratcher

[Iain Gildea] tipped us off about a drill-powered coffee grinder he made but it was the floppy-disc augmented reality display a few paragraphs down that caught our attention. He’s taken 36 white floppy discs, sprayed one side black, then mounted them each with a center pivot into a 6×6 grid. Through a convoluted system of pulleys and servo motors the display can be manipulated to produce augmented reality markers. After the break you can see the display itself, then the result of viewing it through a webcam.

We’re amused, but also scratching our heads. There must be an easier way, such as a light-up grid covered in dark plexi or something along those lines. But then again, it’s his hack and he can do what he wants… and he seems to have a thing for floppies.

[Read more...]

Die bloodsuckers – pew pew

In a bid to combat malaria, Intellectual Ventures is developing a method of killing mosquitoes with lasers. The system is called a Photonic Fence and identifies the beasties by the frequency of their wing flapping (hey, that’s exactly how we know when they’re dive-bombing our heads). Once locked-on, it’s death to the filthy blood-suckers.

This story was latched onto by the gambit of news sources in the middle of 2009. Since then, the development team has added some pretty interesting info on their webpage. Last Feburary several videos of mosquito flight were posted. These were shot at 6000 fps using specially designed photographic rigs (probably much like this one) to make sure the shots were in focus. Now they’re slated to give a talk at the 2010 TED conference. The publication of these talks sometimes lags behind by several months so be patient. Watch the video after the break to get some abstract shots of the hardware being used; they’re not giving up the goods until the conference.

[Read more...]

XBMC hiding in an SNES controller

Here’s another SNES controller converted to house a USB system. The one we saw last time used a kit as an adapter for the controller but this version uses a home-built PCB and an ATmega8 microcontroller with the latest revision of an open source adapter for NES and SNES controllers. As you can see after the break, [Atarity] built the adapter, then added it along with a USB hub and thumb drive so that he could run a copy of XBMC from the controller. Now he’s got XBMC as a way to launch emulators for those classic games, as well as play traditional media.

You will be seeing more of this type of mod soon. We were tipped off that an in-depth tutorial for SNES controller hacking is on its way, although that is unrelated to [Atarity's] work.

[Read more...]

All terrain Roomba

This little rover gets around on rough terrain pretty well. [Dean Segovis] built it using parts from a Roomba. The Roomba uses wheels in conjunction with gearboxes that handle a lot of the dirty work in getting this prototype going. [Dean] grabbed four of them, as well as the motor controller board and batter, and installed them on this Rocker-bogie suspension. In the video after the break he mentions that this would be quite a good climber if the batter were relocated to the center of the body. An ultrasonic sensor adds obstacle avoidance with and Arduino taking care of the processing. We can’t wait to see future versions of the Roomba’s rough-and-tumble outdoor cousin.

[Read more...]

Massive no-touch physically-interfaced display

[Daniel] wrote in to show us the project his group has been working on. It is a massive display wall consisting of 28 projectors and 30 computers.  With a resolution of 7168×3072, viewing a 13.3 gigapixel image is a treat. That treat is made even stronger by the fact that navigating the image is done multitouch style with a touchless system built from web cams.  We’ve seen lots of projects come out of the NUI group with similar interfaces, but none that used the webcams like this. Usually, the webcam is detecting some kind of interaction between the person and an infra red light source. Maybe that is happening here and we just don’t see it.

1-Wire LAN with an LCD

[Viktor], one of our favorite avid hackers, has been playing around with 1-wire systems all this month. What started out as a MicroLAN Fonera has turned into an iButton interface, to a 1-wire powered hub, and finally a 1-wire character driven LCD. Anyone looking at 1-wire systems or OWFS could surely benefit from his testing.

However, if you still haven’t gotten your fill of 1-wire goodness, let us remind you of the 1-wire HVAC and IPv6 to 1-wire protocol translator.

[Thanks Juan]