Bubble Display

As hackers we have come up with some pretty wild and unique ways to display data, but that never stops us from creating even wilder ways such as this Bubble Display. Inspired by a Hackaday article called Liquid Display the bubble display started out as a one column lexan tank so the team could check out different liquids, and build methods, which gave them the opportunity to test out their wet/dry vacuum in the basement as well.

After the leaks were solved in the prototype, different fluids were tried out to see what would work best,  glycerine (though the most expensive out of the 3 items tested) gave the best performance in how the bubbles rose to the top, and the uniformity of each individual bubble.

The final tank design features (24?) channels to keep bubbles from interacting with each other and are fitted with some Parker A005-C23-2P pneumatic valves hooked up to a standard air compressor. Electrically it’s pretty standard, with the solinoid driver stuff all run by a PIC18F4455 clocked at 48MHz.

Software wise the device has 3 modes, one mode allows users to enter text or simple bitmaps from a computer using a homebrew GUI written in Visual Basic, there is also a demo loop for when you still want to show it off, but there is not someone there to constantly bang data into it, and finally a live keyboard mode which acts as a bubble music visualizer when there is a keyboard connected via MIDI. Check all 3 out in a short video after the break.

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Interactive dice game pits man against machine


While most dice games are based on luck and chance more than anything else, [Mike] decided he wanted to create a dice game that took a little more skill to play. He built a replica of a game found in Ian Stewart’s “The Cow Maze”, a book of mathematical stories and puzzles.

The theory behind the game is as follows:

A number is randomly drawn and is considered the “heap”. Players take turns reducing the heap, using the die to represent the number they would like to remove. The only restrictions placed on moves are that you cannot re-use the same number chosen by your opponent in the preceding move, nor can you use the number on the die face opposite that number. The winner of the game is the individual reducing the heap to exactly zero, though you can also lose the game automatically if you reduce the heap to a negative number.

The game operates using a magnet-loaded wooden die and hall sensors built into the playing surface. The sensors relay the value of the die’s face to the ATmega chip he used to run the game. His code provides the logic for your computer opponent as well as for keeping score.

The whole project is wrapped up in a nice-looking wooden box that gives it a bit of old time-y charm, micro controller and LCD aside.

Be sure to check out the video below to see a few rounds of the game being played, and swing by his site for more details.

[via SparkFun]

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Kinect + Minecraft Trifecta

Today we have a special treat, three projects combining the “fastest selling consumer electronics device”, Kinect, and the “fastest selling indie java game that once kept us from sleeping for an entire weekend”, Minecraft!

[Sean Oczkowski] writes in to tell us about his efforts to play Minecraft with Kinect using no more than the OpenKinect Java wrapper on Ubuntu.  The code was written in about 4 days with some help from Wikipedia.  Using  histograms to locate the player in the field of view, the script calculates the center mass of the body and defines interactions for the limb occupying that quadrant of the screen. [Sean] does an excellent job of running through the whole process as well as the decisions made along the way. The whole thing is a bit like running in place, and we can’t imagine the flailing that will occur during the inevitable creeper encounter.

Next we have  [Wade McGillis] with his award winning Minecraft Kinect Controller. [Wade] provides source code and executables at his site. This version of control uses skeletal tracking data to sense the user’s gestures. This still involves holding your hands out like a zombie but it is a bit more versatile as one can pass their arms in front of their own body.

Finally [Nathan Viniconis] has been doing some very interesting work using the Kinect to import giant three dimensional models into the game world. [Nathan] then goes the extra mile and animates the figures! Check out the video below for the really impressive results. We here at Hackaday feel that this is the most appropriate use of this technology, and may begin building gigantic statues of ourselves on public servers.

Check out the the tricrafta (minefecta?) of videos after the jump!

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