A DIY MIDI Wind Controller

wind MIDI is more than just keyboards and a matrix of buttons that plays samples; there are MIDI controllers for virtually every instrument that has ever existed, from guitars to harps and even woodwinds. [J.M.] didn’t like the features found in existing wind MIDI controllers, so he’s building his own with features that put it far beyond any commercial offering.

Woodwind MIDI controllers are relatively simple; put a pressure sensor in the mouthpiece and turn that data into note on and note off commands. A few buttons, or in [J.M.]‘s case, resistive touch sensors, are easily mapped to different fingerings and notes for the instrument. An Arduino Nano takes care of all this hardware, and a 2.4 GHz radio module to communicate wirelessly to a base station.

Once at the base station, the MIDI data can be output to any number of synths and computers, but [J.M.] added a MIDI codec chip right in the device to play with only a set of headphones. It doesn’t sound great – about the same as an old Sound Blaster card – but with the mod and expression control a wind controller offers, it’s more than passable as a real woodwind.

Videos below.

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THP Hacker Bio: IamTeknik

iamteknik

[IamTeknik]‘s reason for entering his home automation assistant into The Hackaday Prize is simple; we have smart phones, TVs, and even smart cars. Why not a smart house?

Like its namesake from Iron Man, Project Jarvis is an intelligent assistant with a bit of home automation thrown into the mix. The hardware includes the usual relays and door locks, but that’s just the start of it. There’s also a personal digital assistant, living somewhere in the space between the hardware modules and [IamTeknik]‘s smartphone. Here, voice recognition, speech synthesis, and a Siri-like functionality is the name of the game. Jarvis is capable of answering questions, compiling reports, reading social network messages, and automating everything connected to the main base station over the Internet.

[IamTeknic] has been busy studying computer systems engineering and of course working on his project for The Hackaday Prize lately, but he was able to sit down and answer a few questions for our THP hacker bio. You can check that out below, along with a few demos of what his personal Jarvis can do.

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Using a Theremin for Medical Applications

theremin

[Eswar] is not an ordinary 16 years old boy. He figured out a noninvasive way to measure breathing in hospitals for less than $50. He is using a theremin to measure the rise and fall of a patient’s chest. For our curious readers, this touch-less instrument was invented back in 1929 by the Russian inventor [Leon Theremin]. It uses the heterodyne principle and two oscillators to generate an audio signal. One electronic oscillator creates an inaudible high pitch tone while another variable oscillator is changed by adding capacitance to an antenna.

As you can guess the space between the patient’s chest and the antennas placed around the bed forms a tiny capacitor which varies when exhaling. With three simple TTL chips and a little guessing [Eswar] had a working prototype ready to be implemented in the real world. If you’re interested in theremin, we invite you to see one of our previous articles on how to make one in a few minutes with a soda can.

A Proof of Concept Project for the ESP8266

weather

It’s hardly been a month since we first heard of the impossibly cheap WiFi adapter for micros, the ESP8266. Since then orders have slowly been flowing out of ports in China and onto the workbenches of tinkerers around the world. Finally, we have a working project using this module. It might only be a display to show the current weather conditions, but it’s a start, and only a hint of what this module can do.

Since the ESP8266 found its way into the storefronts of the usual distributors, a lot of effort has gone into translating the datasheets both on hackaday.io and the nurdspace wiki. The module does respond to simple AT commands, and with the right bit of code it’s possible to pull a few bits of data off of the Internet.

The code requests data from openweathermap.org and displays the current temperature, pressure, and humidity on a small TFT display. The entire thing is powered by just an Arduino, so for anyone wanting a cheap way to put an Arduino project on the Internet, there ‘ya go.

The First Annual Omaha Mini Maker Faire Was Definitely Something to Write Home About

tiny commemorative bookIf you ask me, Omaha’s first annual Mini Maker Faire was a rousing success. I think that the Faire’s coordinator, [Eric] of Omaha Maker Group would readily agree.The event was held at the Omaha Children’s Museum, an energetic and colorful backdrop for the 30 makers who were on hand to present their creations.

KITTThe representatives of the [Omaha Maker Group] had a total of three booths. One of them displayed the various fantastic things that have come out of their ‘space, which we will cover in an upcoming post. They brought the PiPhone that I told you about in my Kansas City Maker Faire post, and [Foamyguy] found a melodic easter egg hidden in the menu. [OMG] also brought their solar-powered EL wire logo sign, a quadcopter, a giant brushbot, a hexapod, a cigar box guitar, a really fun marble run, a steampunk Barbie, and KITT, their award-winning Power Racing Series car. And yeah, you bet it has a Larson scanner.

At their second booth, Fairegoers were constructing their own regular-size brushbots using 3D-printed chassis. These were specially designed to accommodate the toothbrush heads, pager motors, and CR2032s they brought to share. [Sarah] of [OMG] had her own popular booth and was showing off her costumes, clay creations, and jewelry.

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Hackaday’s 10th: The Celebration is Imminent

HAD 10 YR 02We’re celebrating 10 Years of Hackaday with a day-long event in Pasadena. It’s not too late to get in on the action. If you’re in the LA area on October 4th, 2014, you can attend the mini-conference in the afternoon and the party that evening.

It’s free, but you must secure a ticket for yourself.

A small group of hand-picked hackers will begin the day building alternative gaming controllers for use at the party that evening. The morning will be occupied by a trio of workshops focusing on robot building, lock picking, and LiPo cell charging.

Things start to really pick up steam in the afternoon with a mini-conference. There are a few dozen tickets left so get yours now! As we mentioned in our last post, [Steve Collins] will talk about how early hacking led him to a career with NASA, [Quinn Dunki] will discuss Veronica the 6502 Computer, and [Jon McPhalen] will present the benefits of mult-core embedded development.

To the list of speakers we can now add [ThunderSqueak]. You may remember her CO2 laser build that used a lot of hardware store parts. We’ve asked her to talk about her work on a non-binary computer. We covered the project back in June but this type of through-the-looking-glass subject fares better as a live talk with Q&A.

We hope to announce one more speaker soon, and already have a few lightning talks (one on a Demoscene board and another on hardware dev that ended with a successful Kickstarter). We’ll keep you posted!

Call for Art

We have space for a few pieces of art for the event. We would prefer things that are interactive and ‘glowy’ or self lit as the space will be fairly dark. There are two areas that we would like to fill right now, one is a small room approximately 9′ square with an 8′ ceiling. The other is a much larger space about 24′ square with a very high ceiling. We also have a couple of walls on which we could hang things or do projections. If you have something interactive and fun that you can get to the LA area on the week leading up to October 4th please let us know.

UPDATE: Poster

[Jim K.] asked for the printable version of the posts. Here’s a link to the .ai file. This is the work of our illustrator [Joe Kim]. He really gets us and has a bunch more artwork to be found around here. Some of our favorite is the “story” art he did in the description of the two classic t-shirts, and the original designs for the premium tees.

Rotor DR1 and Collaborative Development

rotordr1

In a post apocalyptic world ravaged by the effects of a virus, a young man searches for his father. He forms a friendship with a young woman and a delivery drone that seems oddly sentient. Together they have to fight through abandoned buildings, and past gangs of thugs, to find…

That’s the hook for Rotor DR1, a web series currently in production. Rotor DR1 isn’t a big budget movie, but an independent series created by [Chad Kapper]. [Chad] isn’t new to film or drones, his previous project was Flite Test, which has become one of the top YouTube channels for drones and radio controlled aircraft in general. With the recent sale of Flite Test to Lauren International, [Chad] has found himself with the time to move forward on a project he’s been talking about for years.

Click past the break for more information, and to check out the Rotor DR1 trailer.

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