Weekly Roundup 2/18/12

In case you missed them the first time around, here are our most popular posts from the previous week:

Our most read post is one about [Ben's] project where he created an electric motorcycle that has a range of 20 miles. This is a pretty comprehensive tutorial that goes into some good detail about what you will need to do to convert a motorcycle over to electric.

Coming in at second place is [dmw's] project where they created their own keyboard from scratch. We’re not too sure about the choice to stick the space bar(s) up in the corners but otherwise it looks like a really nice build.

Are you one of *those* people who likes to make the presents that they give as difficult as possible to open? Our #3 post of the week is one project that you should definitely check out. In this post, [Neowinian^2] shows how he and some friends encased some wedding cash inside of a giant cube of sugar!

Have you always wanted to say that you took some classes at MIT but were caught by the little technicality that you didn’t live in Boston? Fret no more my friend, MIT has just announced an online class program. You won’t be able to get a MIT degree remotely quite yet but this is a step in that direction.

Finally, we get to another keyboard project. This keyboard is a programmable keyboard that almost looks like the keypad on the end of an accordion (plus some other goodies). This keyboard was built by [Tim Tyler] and is designed to allow you to take full advantage of your thumbs instead of banishing them to the space bar.

Control a playlist with your mind

Because switching apps to change a song is such a taxing ordeal, [Oscar Celma] and [Ching-Wei Chen] decided to use their collective brainpower to change Last.FM playlists with their minds. They call their project Buddhafy, and it works by taking off-the-shelf EEG hardware and tying it into music streaming APIs.

For the build, the guys used a NeuroSky MindWave to read alpha waves inside [Oscar]‘s head. The data from the MindWave was passed into a Python script that sends requests to the Last.FM and Spotify APIs. High alpha waves in brain wave patterns correspond with concentration or a deep meditative state. If [Oscar] concentrates very hard, he’ll be rewarded with calm and relaxing tunes. If [Oscar] loses focus, the music changes to the best song ever written.

The guys put up the slides from the presentation they gave at MusicHackDay in San Fransisco this last week. There’s also a video of their build in action; you can check that out after the break.

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Edge-lit Nixie tube is sheer brilliance

It’s not often that we see something so brilliantly simple we’re left reaching for our checkbooks while wondering exactly how we never though of that before. [Jürgen]‘s edge-lit Nixie display is one of those builds.

[Jürgen]‘s modern take on a Nixie display uses ten laser-engraved pieces of acrylic to emulate a Nixie numerical display. In the base of the display are 10 LEDs, each shining onto the side of a piece of acrylic. When an LED lights up, you can clearly see the corresponding number. Edge-lit displays are old hat, but talking about the possibility of an RGB Nixie-style display is really neat.

The build was inspired by an antique edge-lit display that performed the same function as the ever-popular Nixie tube with 10 miniature light bulbs and light pipes. The ancient edge-lit displays came in a rectangular enclosure that worked very well for panel-mount uses, but [Jürgen] stuck to a more traditional cylindrical orientation. All we want to know is when a manufacturer in China is going to start building these. Check out the demo of the edge-lit Nixie after the break.

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