[Alex] shows us what happens when Dance Dance Revolution meets Simon

ddr-simon

[Alex] was digging through his closet and came upon an old PS2 game pad for Dance Dance Revolution. He hated the idea of throwing it out just slightly more than the idea of playing DDR again, so he decided to find a way to reuse it.

He was a big fan of the game Simon (aka Genius) as a kid and thought that the DDR pad would make a novel interface for the classic game. Using the PS2XLib by [Bill Porter], which allows an Arduino to easily communicate with a PS2 controller, [Alex] put his Simon replica together in no time flat.

He painted an empty ice cream container with the classic Simon colors, installing a small LED under each quadrant, then wrote the game’s code.

As you can see in the video below, his version of the game works nicely, and forces you to actually get up and move a bit, which we like.

[Read more...]

DIY shade finder tool takes the tedium out of solar surveys

diy-shadefinder-tool

[Steven Dufresne] does a lot of tinkering with solar-powered applications, a hobby which can be very time consuming if done right. One process he carries out whenever building a solar installation is creating a sun chart to determine how much (or little) sun the target area will get.

The process requires [Steven] to take elevation and Azimuth measurements of many different points, which often consumes about half an hour of his time. While taking measurements recently, he started thinking about how he could improve the process, and came up with a stellar solution that reduces the process down to a one-minute task.

In short, his shade finder tool uses a pulley, a pair of rollerblade wheels, and a pencil to accomplish a full shade survey in under a minute. The science behind the tool is best explained by [Steven], so be sure to check out his site for plenty of details and diagrams.

We have to say that we’re extremely impressed by his shade finder – hopefully his work can help others maximize the efficiency of their solar solutions.

Stick around after the jump to see a short video of the shade finder in action.

[Read more...]

Rainbow board of many ping-pong balls

[George] just finished his first project: an 8×8 matrix “Board of Many Ping-Pong Balls” with 64 RGB LEDs. He started this project when he was 14 years old and finished the build over this last Christmas break. We won’t make any presumptions about [George]‘s age, but we couldn’t think of a better project to start out on.

For the build, [George] used a Colorduino LED driver shield for his Arduino. This made the wiring simple, but the finished product is where this project really shines. For the base, [George] got a board laser cut at his school and used ping-pong balls to diffuse the LEDs. We’ve seen this many times but with this build there’s a neat way to drill a hole in a ping-pong ball; simply put the drill into reverse. The friction is enough to open the ball up, and the chips of plastic come outside instead of remaining in.

We’re really impressed with [George] and his winter break project. He’s lucky enough to have access to a laser cutter at school, and from a look at his monitor, he’s reading the right websites. You can check out his demo rainbow pattern after the break.

[Read more...]

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