66% or better

Overclocked ATmega32 gaming

With more pixels and more objects to track you’re going to need to get that AVR running pretty fast to get the job done. But [Vladutz2000] figured why stop at 16 MHz when you can overclock an ATmega32 to 27 MHz for a faster gaming experience?

This build may not be as colorful as Super Pixel Bros, but choosing a KS0108 graphic LCD certainly brings a lot more definition to the images. You can see in the video after the break that the AVR does an excellent job of generating and animating multiple objects. It doesn’t take much to put this together yourself but if you want the board layout done for you, you’re out of luck. The hardware for the project is installed on a PCB that was hand-drawn with an etch resist marker. [Read more...]

Range finder musical toy

parallax_arduino_ping_organ

Instructables user [sketchsk3tch] was looking to make a fun toy for his kids using things he had around the house and came up with the Ping Organ. The organ is played by standing in front of the Parallax Ping range sensor, and moving around any which way you please. He interfaced the range sensor with an Arduino, scavenging a small speaker from an old toy for audio output.

The code for the project is fairly straightforward, borrowing most of it from the demo software that shipped with the Ping and the Arduino. He made a few small tweaks in order to get the organ to play frequencies of actual notes, as well as to allow for some flexibility when calculating the specific note to play.

While not the most complex project we have ever featured, [sketchsk3tch] reports that his kids love to spend time flailing around wildly in front of the organ, which is exactly what he intended.
Video of the organ being tested after the break.

[Read more...]

LaunchPad MIDI synth

launchpad_midi_synth

[NatureTM] sent in a writeup for the MIDI synthesizer he recently built using a TI LaunchPad. The construction is pretty simple overall, consisting of little more than the MSP430, a handful of resistors, and an optoiosolater. Of course, a MIDI controller is required, but he already had that on hand.

Once the MIDI data is read from the optoisolator, his code takes care of the rest, adjusting the square wave sound generator to get the proper note. He does mention that since the synthesizer is monophonic, special care is taken to ensure that simultaneous notes are processed properly. You can route all of the sound into a single speaker, but he used the optoisolator to send the sound data to multiple LaunchPads instead, resulting in a fun little MIDI quintet.

He provides code and plenty of video on his site, but keep reading for a sneak peek of his synth in action.

[Read more...]

Flash trigger with programmable delay

Here’s a flash trigger with a programmable delay. These triggers are often used to capture quick events like a balloon popping. The technique takes place in a dark room with the shutter open. When the event is triggered the flash illuminates the scene and an image is captured. Because these require precise timing it has typically been a chore to synchronize the event, hence solutions like using a pressure plate.

This build, which centers around a PICAXE 08M, allows the photographer to use any trigger they desire, but adds a delay. The box above shows the apparatus set up for a 42 millisecond delay. So if you’re using the sound of the balloon pop as a trigger, you can hold the flash off until the event really gets going.

[Thanks Two Part Epoxy]

NES game pad guided robotic arm

nes_robotic_arm

Instructables user [Bruno] sent in his most recent creation, a robotic arm controlled using an old NES game pad. He scavenged the majority of his parts from a pair of old HP printers, including motors pulleys, belts and more. In fact, most of the metal and plastic components that he used come from the old printer chassis as well. He has included copies of the templates he used when manufacturing both the plastic and metal components, which should come in handy should anyone try to replicate his work.

[Bruno] also included all of the source code for the robotic arm and mentions that the project required two PICs due to pinout requirements. He ultimately decided to use two cheaper models over a single more expensive unit that would have supplied all of the pins he needed. His cost conscious build is impressive and undoubtedly demonstrates just how many old components can be reused in new projects if you really put some thought into it. Great job with this build, keep up the good work!

Be sure to keep reading to see some video of the arm in action.

[Read more...]

Modern freaking: pull phone numbers from YouTube audio

[Charlie X-Ray] is having some modern fun with the phone system by pulling dialed numbers from the audio track of YouTube videos (translated). The first step was to find a video where a telephone is being dialed and the sounds of the keypresses are audible. You can’t tell those tones apart, but a computer can. That’s because each number pressed generates a combination of two out of seven closely related frequencies. [Charlie] isolated the audio using Audacity, then wrote a python script to generate a spectrogram like the one above. By matching up the two dark nodes you can establish which two frequencies were played and decode the phone number being dialed. So how does this work again… find audio of a phone being dialed, decode the number.. profit?