Bathroom mirror HUD displays time and weather

mirror_hud

By and large, the standard household mirror is one item that has not made much real progress over the years. They hang on the wall reflecting light, and that’s about it.

A few years back, some students studying in the Department of Interaction Design at Chalmers University sought to enhance their morning routine with an interactive mirror. Their project was constructed using a two-way mirror with several Arduino-driven LED displays embedded behind the glass. Once a hand is swiped past the pair of embedded light dependent resistors, the display is activated. Subsequent hand swipes trigger the mirror to toggle between the different modes, providing the user with the current time, weather information as well as a toothbrush timer.

The project writeup is quite thorough, including plenty of source code and information on some of the components they used. You can take a look at their work here (PDF).

Check out the interactive mirror we featured that served as inspiration for their project.

[Thanks Emil]

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Open Source Laser Cutter (v2)

The Buildlog.net 2.x Laser is a second generation open source laser cutter that definitely improves the design of the first model. The 2 axis machine (optional vertical axis is manual or an upgrade is available) boasts a large 12” x 20” x 4” workspace while being smaller than its predecessor, fitting a table top design.

The older model had a goal of being self replicating, which limited the types of materials used, the new 2.x model drops that goal and uses stronger metal parts. Electronics are now modularized that allow easier and cleaner wiring, though you will still need a controller board.

There is an XMOS based controller provided on the main page of BuildLog.net, along with mechanical drawings, schematics, gerbers, instructions for both machines, and kit parts (for the first model) along with resources for the heavy items like laser tubes and power supplies.

DrunkenNES makes a game out of getting hammered

drunkenNES_cart

While handheld breathalyzers are pretty novel to have around while drinking with friends, there’s nothing exciting about a $50 off the shelf unit. If you really want to grab people’s attention, you have to get creative and built something like [Batsly Adams] and his friends did.

One evening, he was casually drinking with some friends and playing around with an electronic alcohol sensor. They quickly put together a NES ROM that would play sounds, changing the pitch depending on how much alcohol the sensor detected. It quickly became apparent to them that a full-fledged breathalyzer video game was in order. In no time, he and his friends had compiled graphics, a soundtrack, and the code to drive their game, DrunkenNES.

To play the game, each player must blow into a gutted NES cartridge that has been fitted with the alcohol sensor. The Nintendo computes the player’s BAC, reporting how intoxicated they are using simple graphics and cheesy animal puns. We don’t know when the code and schematics will be made available, but when they are, you can guarantee we will be building one for “research” purposes to pair with our Power Hour shot glass.

Keep reading to see some in game video of DrunkenNES

[Thanks Adam]

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Gameduino

Gameduino is an FPGA based sound and graphics adapter for microcontrollers. Laid out as an Arduino shield, all it really takes is a microcontroller with SPI and some code to send commands to the board which lets you toggle registers, handle memory, and drawing functions.

Once the data gets there, it is greeted by a Xilinx FPGA which puts out a 800×600 72Hz SVGA sync signal, large 512×512 pixel character scrolling backgrounds, piles of 16×16 (up to 256 color) sprites, each with per pixel transparency, rotation, flip, and if that was not enough a 12 bit frequency synth that can do 16 independent voices.

All the resources to make one of these is listed on the site under the Making a Gameduino link, but if youre interested in getting a made board there is also a kickstarter page available. There are other ways to squeeze video out of micro controllers from the basic like hackvision to AVGA or even Lucidscience AVR VGA v2, and tons of propeller projects, but this one being stand alone and portable, has a certain appeal.

Join us after the break for a quick video.

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