Morse Code Waterfall is Cooler Than Your Fifth Grade Science Fair Project

For her science fair project, [David]’s daughter had thoughts about dipping eggs in coffee, or showing how dangerous soda is to the unsuspecting tooth. Boring. Instead she employed her father to help her build a Morse Code waterfall.

A more civilized wea-- tool from a more elegant age. Young Jed--engineer.
A more civilized wea– tool from a more elegant age. Young Jed–Engineer.

[David] worked with his daughter to give her the lego bricks of knowledge needed, but she did the coding, building, and, apparently, wire-wrapping herself. Impressive!

She did the trick with two Arduinos. One controls a relay that dumps a stream of water. The other watches with an optical interrupt made from an infrared emitter and detector pair to get the message.

To send a message, type it in the keyboard. The waterfall will drop spurts of water, and then show the message on the decoder display. Pretty cool. We also liked the pulse length dial. The solution behind the LEDs is pretty clever. Video after the break.

36 thoughts on “Morse Code Waterfall is Cooler Than Your Fifth Grade Science Fair Project

  1. I wish my text would do all of that stupid stuff so I can get buzzed while I type. Addiction to Distraction causing stuff for sure.
    Stream not drip. Short and long just like International Morse, drips imply the old click spaced American Morse.

        1. Ah yes, clearly suggesting inferior mental development. There is no possibility it developed in complex social cliques to self identify and dissociate from others (Geezers) while quickly gaining popularity and integration into a wider vernacular, no never.

          //Shove off with your ‘unintelligence’.

        2. Geez, I didn’t expect to have to explain this… I wasn’t really criticizing at kids’ speech (language evolves), but rather at Queeg’s comment where he misspelled “hello” while poking fun at kids for shortening the word–my joke being that perhaps there was a good reason for doing so.

    1. Hello world examples are stupid. HEY GUYS, I JUST MADE MY COMPUTER TALK AS IF IT WAS ALIVE! I don’t know why this trend is alive when a simple ‘test’ or ‘asdf’ is all that is needed. oh, BUT IT’S NOT TRENDY!!!

      1. My little silicon minions’ first words are always “Kill all humans”.

        Also the water morse was a cool project! Morse encoded matter transmitted messaging, picked up by observing the mediums interaction with invisible light. Cool indeed!

    1. I like your thinking. Time to hack public water displays with laminar flow jets to do morse code.
      “Help me, I’m trapped in this pipe” or “What kind of person decodes water displays?” etc.
      Like an easter egg for real life.

  2. Very nicely done! This girl is going to turn out just fine.

    One change that would really make this more interesting would be to put some distance between the sender & receiver and shoot the water in tight streams like you see in water displays. That would really draw in the crowd and better show that the two are only connected by water.

  3. If the “drips” are all the same volume (well short volume and long volume) you could probably decode messages by just weighing the water as you catch it at the bottom, well assuming you have some kind of debounce in the scale.

  4. Great learning exercise, if you have the budget for such elaborate useless machines. I guess you can call it art and get some collector to buy it, or tear it down for the next exploration of ideas. Then again it is about the journey and not the destination, right?

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