Remote Servo-controlled Lightswitch

remoteServoLightSwitch

We frequently get home automation tips, many of which have simple circuit-based on/off control for lights. [Paulo Borges] has created something quite different, however, with his in-the-wall servo-controlled light switch. This build forgoes the need of any relay to switch mains power, and because it’s physically flipping your switch, provides a distinct advantage over other builds that require a phone or tablet interface: you can use your switches as you normally would.

[Paulo] picked up a rocker-type switch at the local hardware store and carefully pried off the large, flat switch plate to notch out a small hole at its fulcrum. He then carefully shaped a piece of 12 gauge wire to provide a pivot point for the servo. His choice to use wire here seems to be entirely to provide a sturdy yet bendable component that functions mechanically rather than electrically. A small 9G servo fits to the back of the switch’s housing, and the servo’s arm connects up to the previously attached 12 gauge wire. He pieced together the remote control feature with an RF link kit with an inexpensive 433mhz Code duplicator from eBay.

[Paulo] explains that his Instructable is simply an overview rather than a step-by-step guide, so if you’re eager to reproduce this hack you’ll have to work out the code and the remote control portion yourself. He also acknowledges the biggest remaining hurdle: finding space in the wall to shove all the microcontroller guts. Check out a couple of videos of the switch after the break, and remember, there’s always the option of doing away with all light switches.

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Hackaday Links: October 6, 2013

hackaday-links-chain

The iBeacon has been all over the interwebs lately. Here’s a riff on the Arduino Pro MIni that adds a BLE module. It can be used to make an iBeacon clone. You can also hack a VTag keyfinder to operate in much the same way.

Remember that post about pulling a QR Code generator into Google Docs? One could argue that the best use of this functionality is to add labels to your parts storage that lead back to the product page for the component. [Thanks Nicholas]

[Michael] wrote in to share his crowd funding campaign. He is a school teacher and wants to publish a detective story that gets kids excited about STEM.

Our own [James Hobson] made the first cut to be [Adam Savage's] new assistant. He’s the [TheHacksmith] (read our staff page if you don’t believe us) and is the third entry featured in this vignette. Apparently they’ve got something against Canadians because they say he’s ineligible due to his nationality!?

If you’ve ever been confused about the features of different Xbee modules this comparison chart may be of assistance.

A couple of weeks ago we learned about a contest put on by TheControllerProject. [TouchStone936] gets credit for quick, easy, and functional. His solution to making shoulder buttons more accessible includes hot-glue, a golf tee, and a binder clip. Pretty clever!

Wanting a better color of backlight for his eReader, [Vivek Gani] cracked it open and applied Kapton Tape as a gel to soften the hue.

And finally something very silly. If you put a strong enough prop on the front, you can get just about anything to fly. This instance involves a flying pizza box which to us looks particularly un-flight-worthy. [via Gizmodo]

School Bus Keyless Door Lock Conversion

schoolbuslock2

When a school bus has finished its life ferrying children around, it often ends up as someone’s pet project. Most buses in the US, however, have annoying back doors that lock only from the inside, which isn’t very convenient if you’re loading/unloading gear. Drawing inspiration from another project that fit a simple deadbolt upgrade, [Leonard] took the build one step further and hacked together his own keyless entry deadbolt system.

He started by removing the white safety bar that normally covers the long red handle and attached a slide bolt to the door. The slide bolt serves only as an extension for the deadbolt, which would otherwise get whacked by the red handle. [Leonard] made a few modifications to the slide bolt so it can sit flush against the bus’s lock bar, then went to work attaching the keyless deadbolt. At 2.5″, the bus’s door is actually thicker than standard doors, not to mention this build needs the deadbolt to move along the door’s surface to push the slide bolt fitted to the door. [Leonard] decided to throw in a chunk of wood as a kind of “simulated door,” which mounts next to the slide bolt and houses the deadbolt’s guts.

Check out the video after the break to make sense of the door’s operation and swing by [Leonard's] blog to see what else he’s done to the bus. If you’re in the mood for more transportation hacks, make sure you see the Raspberry Pi CarPC.

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LED Costumes and Clothing

3ledCostume

Our tips line recently received an influx of wearable LED projects, both for casual and professional wear. [Elizabeth] and [Luis] have created the Lüme wearable collection, aimed at accessorizing by adding adjustable accent colors to jackets, t-shirts and dresses. The electronics are custom-made, built around an ATMega32u4, and each is Bluetooth enabled to interact with a user’s cell phone. From the phone, you can change colors, sequences, set up events, and even take advantage of an “inkdropper-style” feature that matches the color of the LEDs to any object you point your camera at.

[Michal's] project is an entire suit for a dance and laser show entitled “Tron Dance”, which uses several RGB LED strips placed on key points of the wearer’s costume. It looks like [Michal] has intentionally avoided the joint areas to prevent any problems with breaks or bends, but still manages to place enough to cover the entire body. We aren’t sure what controls everything, but you can watch it go through various sequences and survive an onstage performance after the break.

Finally, in yet another kind of performance, magician [Kiki Tay] has built a jacket that’s overflowing with RGB LEDs. [Kiki] wanted wearable LED control that could be used in various situations without having to re-invent the wheel each time, so he developed his own board – the LED Magician: an Arduino-compatible solution. The board has 12 outputs channels, drives 50+ LEDs per channel and features 12 on-board LEDs that display a preview of the output. To make interactions user-friendly, [Kiki] has provided 32 built-in sequences and adjustable speeds that the user can program via 4 buttons on the board. If that isn’t enough control, there are some options for external control as well. The jacket itself runs off a hobby LiPo battery and is blindingly bright: stick around after the break for a video.

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Humidity Activated Bathroom Fan

bathroom humidifier

[Andrea] recently moved into an apartment with a few of his friends. Unfortunately the bathroom lacks one of the most important things — A fan. Or at least a window!

Using the case of an air freshener, a simple DHT11 Humidity/Temperature sensor, an LCD, a 12V fan, and ATmel328 microcontroller, he created this handy gadget.

When the humidity in the bathroom passes the 50% threshold, an LED flashes to prompt the user to open the door. After a short delay, one of the transistors flips causing the moist air to circulate out of the room.

We’re surprised the little 12V fan is powerful enough to clear the room, but apparently it helps a lot and can clear the room in less than 20 minutes.

To see it in action, stick around after the break.

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SSTV beacon based on a Raspberry Pi

The Budapest hackerspace did some joint work with a local ham radio club and created an SSTV beacon housed inside a CCTV case that takes an image of its environment and transmits it using slow-scan television over ham bands.

As the title says, the build uses a Raspberry Pi to process the image taken from its camera and then transmits it over the air using a Ricofunk UHF transceiver with a main frequency of 433.425MHz. On the software side, PySSTV is used to convert images to frequency/time tuples, UNIXSSTV then creates the actual audio file and finally sox plays it. To avoid screwing up the Raspberry SD card, every part of the filsystem is either mounted in read-only mode (things like /home and /usr) or uses a ramdisk (things like /tmp and logs).

The plans, schematics and source code are available, so they hope that other hackerspaces will join the ranks!

Pepper’s Ghost – Halloween Ghosting

peppers ghost

Peppers Ghost is a classic technique for making ghosts appear in pictures, video, and even in front of live audiences. In this week’s Halloween themed Instructable, learn how to recreate the effect at home.

It’s really quite simple. By positioning a clear piece of lexan at a 45 degree angle to your “ghost” object, and having the audience (or camera) looking at the lexan at the opposite 45 degree angle, you can produce a very simple ghost effect. This is a great trick for producing some scary ghosts in your haunted house.

But wait. Isn’t this a bit too simple? This is Hack a Day isn’t it? How about making a real moving hologram, isn’t that a bit more of our speed?

Well, this is the exact same technique that is used to make real holograms — just replace that object with a projected image or video! We’ve covered it a couple of times before, explaining the Tupac hologram, and showing off a cool leap motion controlled globe hologram.

Our challenge to you is to make a moving hologram Halloween decoration. After all, you can get pico projectors for less than $100 these days, so why not give it a try? There’s a few more ideas and techniques for positioning the lexan in the video after the break.

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