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Annoy your sound guy even more

“I can’t hear myself in the mix,” “yeah, man, I’ll be there at 8,” and “dude, we need like four more mics.” Each and every one of these words is documented in actuarial tables and doesn’t bode well for your sound tech’s risk of a stroke. Luckily, there’s an even better way to kill your sound guy and this time, it’s actually pretty clever.

[@dop3j0e] at the Stuttgart hackerspace Shackspace came up with the Noiseplug. It’s a very small build that could almost fit into a quarter-inch jack. It’s all SMD with a tiny (unknown) ATtiny9 microcontroller powered by a watch battery.

The music coming out of the Noiseplug is really interesting. All the code on the microcontroller is a one-liner written in C. Similar ‘algorithmic chiptune’ programs can be run on any PC: check out these three examples.

These potential entries to the International Obfuscated C Code Contest throw chars into an 8-bit PCM stream. Piping the output of these programs to /dev/audio would generate an actual song – written entirely in one line of C.

Of course, [@dop3j0e] could have made his Noiseplug a little less annoying, but sound techs are underappreciated for a reason, right?

Check out the Noiseplug in action after the break along with a few one-liner C songs.

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Simple earphone repair saves a big chunk of cash

shure_earphone_repair

[Spode] has been rocking out with a pair of Shure E4C earphones for about six years now, and he has no intentions of buying another set any time soon. The earphones cost him £200, so when the right channel started acting up, he decided to fix them rather than toss them in the trash bin.

His first attempt was successful, but just barely so. He ended up damaging the earphone case pretty badly, and in time the same problem reappeared. Undeterred, he opted to fix them once again, but this time around he did things differently.

Upon disassembling them, he found that his repair job had become frayed over time. [Spode] desoldered both drivers from the wires and cut them back a bit to expose some nice clean (and structurally sound) cable. He spent a little more time carefully soldering things back together to mitigate the chances of having to repair them again before replacing both earphone shells with a bit of black Sugru.

Having saved himself £200, [Spode] is quite happy with the repair. We probably would have tied an underwriter’s knot in each cable before soldering them to the drivers in the name of strain relief, though the Sugru should help with that.

Say hello to our little friend, the BeagleBone

Small and more powerful… what more can you want? This is the newest BeagleBoard offering, called the BeagleBone. It’s packed with some pretty intriguing features, but let’s take a tour of the hardware first.

Like its predecessors, the BeagleBone sports an ARM processor. This time around it’s a TI AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8. It will ship with a 2 GB microSD card and has an Ethernet port and USB connection. The dual pin headers on either side of the board are designed to receive ‘Capes’ for expansion. Currently a DVI cape is in the works, with HDMI and others to follow.

Linux is running on board and one of the best features we see in the video after the break is the browser-based programming interface. When connected to a network, the BeagleBone serves HTML5 web pages. One of these is an IDE that lets you write and execute code directly from your browser.

Now, can we finally have our open-hardware set top box (hopefully running XBMC)?? At an MSRP of $89 this should be able to give AppleTV 2 a run for its money as an easy way to get your television some network connectivity. [Read more...]

The Rube-Goldberg of car audio

[Anthony Pray] had his car stereo stolen. When thinking about replacing it he realized the he and his wife never used it for anything other than an Auxiliary connection to play songs from their cellphones. So instead of buying a head unit he pulled an unused home audio amplifier out of a dark corner of his house and wired it to the car speakers. Problem solved, except that the under-dash installation meant the only volume control is on the phone playing the audio. He decided to build a wireless audio controller that would let him send commands to the phone without quite as much distraction from the road.

The device you see above is his creation. What a beauty. But seriously, it’s so random and hacked together how can you not love it? And, it works!

The frame is made from plastic coat hangers, and the wheel is an old RC control knob. There’s even a play/pause feature built from the clicking properties of a retractable ball-point pen. A Cypress PSoC board reads the knob and pen positions, then pushes commands via a Bluetooth module in order to control the phone. He recorded a testing video (after the break) which gives you a better look at the functionality of this setup. [Read more...]

Amazingly realistic skeleton prop

[Cjmekeel] spent weeks getting his Halloween display ready this year. The centerpiece of his offering is this full-sized motorized skeleton. But there’s a few other gems that he worked on to compliment it. There’s an old-fashioned radio whose dial moves mysteriously and plays a news flash warning of an escaped mental patient. He also spent a couple of dollars to outfit a crow with some glowing red eyes and a servo motor.

But the creepiness of the skeleton means you might not even notice those other props. He started with a rather boring looking plain plastic head and did some real magic to build up the rotting flesh and gaping wounds. Those penetrating eyes don’t hurt either. The head moves on a few servo motors which use random values and sleep periods for disturbingly jerky movements. Check out the video after the break to get a glimpse at what kept kids away from his house on Halloween.

This is just a build log and unfortunately there’s no post yet showing the finished product. If we can get enough information together we’ll try to run a follow-up.

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Halloween Hacks: The Headless Dogman

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headless_horseman_dog_costume

Typically, when people hear that you’ve made a Halloween costume for your dog, the statement is met with the eye rolling and polite lies about how cute the outfit is. There are few exceptions to this rule, and [Dino’s] latest creation is one of them. For this week’s entry in his Hack a Week series, he created a “Headless Horseman” costume for his dog [Sophie].

The costume borrows parts from one of his previous hacks, the Hexababy. Reclaiming the dismembered head from the disturbing crawler, [Dino] reattaches it to the doll’s body, just not in the traditional manner. He screws the baby’s head to the arm of the doll after fashioning its outfit from some scrap cloth. The doll’s head retains it’s beady red LED eyes from the previous project, but [Dino] added a tilt switch to the setup so that they light up sporadically as the dog runs about.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the final result of [Dino’s] work. The doll looks great, though it seems that its saddle needs some reinforcement to handle [Sophie’s] bountiful energy stores.

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Skeleton does a Looney Tunes style song and dance

[Kevin Harrington] throws a curve ball with this skeleton in a coffin. Instead of going for the cheap scare, he conjures memories of old cartoons when the bony figure puts on a song and dance. When activated it leans forward to hang out of the coffin donning a tattered tuxedo and top hat. You can hear the servos working as they give jerky yet realistic motion to the tune “Hello! Ma Baby” in the true Michigan J. Frog style. Classic!

He figures it took about $36 in parts to put the skeleton together plus the DyIO module to control it from a PC. Four servos are used in total, connected to the skeleton with some steel cable. Connecting it via a computer makes it a bit easier to synchronize music with motion than just using a microcontroller capable of playing back audio would have been. Code is available from the site linked at the top, and a demo video is embedded after the break.

This would also have been possible by using an Arduino as a DMX controller.

[Read more...]