Kyub MIDI Keyboard Puts a Piano in Your Pocket

[Keith Baxter] loves making electronic instruments. His latest vision has come to life as Kyub, an open-source MIDI keyboard. [Keith] has previously graced our site and cracked Popular Science with his servoelectric guitar.

[Keith] wanted to make a completely open source instrument that’s elegant, useful, and a bit more accessible than the servoelectric guitar, so he teamed up with a hacker/electronic music expert and an industrial designer. He built the early prototypes around an Arduino Uno. The current iteration uses a Teensy 2.0 and is available in various forms through Kickstarter. [Keith] opened the Kyub up to crowd funding in an effort to obtain volume pricing on some of the parts as well as an Eagle license to make the PCB files available commercially.

The Kyub has eleven pressure-sensitive capacitive keypads on five sides of the cube. The accelerometer can be used to vary note volume, bend the pitch, or whatever else you program it to do. Of course, you’ll need a computer with a synthesizer program, but [Keith] says it is compatible with most software synth programs, some of which are free.

There’s a demo video of an early prototype after the break. Videos of the Kyub in its current form are available on the Kickstarter page.

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Zenotron: the Looks of a Kaypro II with the Soul of a Nebulophone

This beautiful instrument of musical delight is called the Zenotron, and it was built by [Mike Walters] for his friend [Zeno] in exchange for some keyboards. The Zenotron is the latest musical hack in a long line of awesome from the same guy who built the Melloman, its successor, the Mellowman II, and Drumssette, a programmable sequencer.

The sweet sounds of those babies all come from tape loops, but the Zenotron is voiced with a modified [Bleep Labs] Nebulophone synthesizer. Instead of the Nebulophone’s pots controlling the waveform and arpeggio, he’s wired up a 2-axis joystick. He left the LFO pot wired as-is. When it’s turned all the way down, he’s noticed that the joystick takes over control of the filter. [Mike] fed the audio through a 4017 decade counter and each of the steps lights up an array of four to five of the randomly-wired 88 LEDs.

[Mike] made the case from the top half of a small filmstrip viewer and an old modem, which is way better than the Cool Whip container housing we made for our Nebulophone. He re-purposed a toy keyboard and made a contact board for it with small tactile switches. This results in nice clicky feedback like you get from mouse buttons.

Of course there’s a demo video. You know the drill.

 

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Arduino-Controlled Marquee Arrow Points the Way to Whatever You Like

Reader [pscmpf] really digs the scrolling light look of old marquee signs and as soon as he saw some Christmas lights with G40 bulbs, he was on his way to creating his own vintage-look marquee arrow.

We must agree that those bulbs really do look like old marquee lights or small vanity globes. [pscmpf] started by building, varnishing, and distressing the wooden box to display the lights and house the electronics. He controls the lights with an Arduino Pro and an SSR controller board. The 24 lights are divided into ten sections; each of these has its own solid-state relay circuit built around an MC3042 as the opto-coupler, with a power supply he made from a scrap transformer.

[pscmpf] shares some but not all of his code as it is pretty long. There are five patterns that each play at three different speeds in addition to a continuous ‘on’ state. In his demonstration video after the jump, he runs through all the patterns using a momentary switch. This hack proves that Arduino-controlled Christmas lights are awesome year-round.

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Peltier Mini-Fridge Preserves Chip Quik, Marriage

[Charles] uses Chip Quik to solder his SMD parts, and that stuff can keep for more than six months if it’s kept cool. His wife banned all non-food items from their refrigerator, so he had to think fast and came up with this Peltier effect Chip Quik cooler.

He first looked into that man cave essential, the mini-fridge, but they’re too expensive and use too much power. [Charles] got a nice wooden box from a hobby store and some reflective insulation from Lowe’s. He first tried using a couple of heat sinks but they weren’t going to cool things down enough. Once he got a Peltier cooling kit, he was in business. The temperature in his workshop averages 80°F, and he says the box gets down to 58°F. This is cold enough to keep his paste fresh.

[Charles] plans to use a PC power supply in the future rather than his bench supply. He estimates that his Peltier cooler uses 25-50% of the power that a mini-fridge would, and now his wife won’t overheat. Many great things can be accomplished with the Peltier effect from air conditioning to sous-vide cooking to LED rings. What have you used it for?

Happiness Is Just A Flaming Oxy-Fuel Torch Away

The Egg-Bot is pretty awesome, we must say. But if you have one, you end up with lot of delicate, round things rolling around your abode and getting underfoot. Warmer weather is just around the corner, so segue from spring gaiety to hot fun in the summertime with the MarshMallowMatic kit from [Evil Mad Scientist].

The MarshMallowMatic is a CNC oxy-fuel precision marshmallow toaster based on the Ostrich Egg-Bot design. Constructed from flame-retardant plywood, it is sure to add an element of delicious danger to children’s birthday parties and weekend wingdings alike. You don’t have to get too specific with those BYOM invitations because this bad boy will torch standard and jumbo marshmallows like a boss.

The kit includes a 5000°F oxy-fuel torch and a 20 ft³ oxygen tank, but the tank comes empty and you’ll have to supply your own propane, acetylene,  or hydrogen. It comes with adapters to fit disposable propane and MAPP cylinders, which are also not included. However, you will receive a fine selection of sample marshmallows to get you started. Watch the MarshMallowMatic fire up some happiness after the break. You could toast a special message and load it into this face-tracking confectionery cannon to show how much you care.

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Dr. Frankenstein’s Wireless Xbox One Steering Wheel

Buy an Xbox One controller and hack it immediately? That’s exactly what [tEEonE] did so he could merge it with a Simraceway SRW-S1 steering wheel. He loves racing games and was psyched to play Forza 5. He already had the steering wheel, but it’s strictly a PC peripheral. [tEEonE] wanted the wheel to control the steering, gas, and brakes and found both the XB1 controller and the SRW-S1 well-suited to the hack.

For steering, [tEEonE] substituted the SRW-S1′s accelerometer for the XB1′s left joystick pot. He connected the X and Y to analog pins on an Arduino Pro. Then he mapped the rotation angles to voltage levels using a DAC and wired that to the XB1 joystick output. The XB1 controller uses Hall effect sensors and magnets on the triggers to control the gas and brake. He removed these and wired the SRW-S1 paddles to their outputs and the XB1 controller is none the wiser.

He also rigged up a 3-point control system to control the sensitivity and calibrate the angles: a button to toggle through menu items and two touch modules to increment and decrement the value. These he wired up to a feedback interface made by reusing a 15-LED strip from the SRW-S1. Finally, he had space left inside the housing for the XB1′s big rumble motors and was able to attach the small motors to the gas and brake paddles with the help of some 3-D printed attachments. Check out this awesome hack in action after the break.

 

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LEGO® My Single-Phase Induction Motor

[Diato556] made a really cool single-phase induction motor with parts mounted on Duplo blocks. He has posted an Instructable where he uses these modular parts to  demonstrate the motor and the principles of induction as described after the jump.

 

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