Pyrosphere at Burning Man 2010

What’s thirty-seven feet tall, has ninety-one flamethrowers, and is controlled by an Arduino? Why it’s Pyrosphere, an interactive art piece at this year’s Burning Man. It lights up the night along to the music in a way that makes us want to set up a lawn-chair and watch the show. You can see for yourself in the video after the break, but you really should have thrown on the LED fur coat and gone to see it in person.

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Solar powered WiFi repeater

For all those times you need to broadcast your own access point where there’s no outlet [Larry] shows us how to make a solar-powered hotspot. He started by slapping a solar panel on the lid of a cigar box and attaching it to five rechargeable AA batteries inside. These power the mainboard from a router which is the perfect size to friction fit in the opening. It has been flashed with a copy of DD-WRT, and set to scan for open WiFi connections. When it finds one it connects and rebroadcasts its own WiFi signal to the surrounding area. He leaves it in the back window of his car and uses it to get on the net during lunch.

Mini pinball is all-pixels

You won’t find those familiar steel balls inside this mini-pinball cabinet. That’s because [Luis'] latest creation is a fun way to play virtual pinball. The playing field is a 10″ LCD screen with an accompanying 8″ screen in the marquee. Inside the well-crafted case you’ll find a mini-ITX motherboard running HyperPin, a frontend software suite for LCD-based virtual pinball. He’s also using PinMame for the score board that was often provided by a gas plasma display on newer mechanical machines. There’s video after the break, and take a moment to check out [Luis'] other mini-cabinet builds.

What’s that you say? No substitute for the real thing? That’s exactly what [Ben Heck] thinks too.

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PIC programmable power supply

This programmable power supply is the perfect addition to your bench tools. [Debraj Deb], who previously built a whole house power monitor, designed this build around a PIC 18F4520 microcontroller. The desired voltage is set with an attached keypad, resulting in a digital output on the 8-bits of port D. The port connects to another protoboard with an R-2R digital-to-analog converter resulting in the target voltage. A set of transistors amplifies the current and a power transistor then takes care of the final output. After the break you’ll find two videos, the first walks us through the hardware and the second demonstrates the device in action, along with measurements of its performance. This certainly provides a lot more functionality than an ATX power-supply conversion.

Update: A big thanks to [Debraj] who sent us a code package as well as the schematic (PDF) used during testing. We’re having trouble getting the code package up for download right now. Check back later, hopefully we’ll have it up soon.

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Syyn Labs’ Glowing DNA

This beautiful music syncronized double helix was made by Syyn labs. Last time we saw them, they had created that amazing rube goldberg style music video for OK Go. This 100 foot long LED DNA strand took over 1000 combined man hours to build. It took 512 LEDs, 32 LED controllers, 4 Arduinos, 4 computers, over a mile of wire and a very dedicated team, which included [Eliot Phillips]. It takes input from beatmatching/VU software as well as a 32 button console or an iPad. You can catch a video of it in action after the break, and they plan on releasing a timelapse of the build in the near future.

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