Curiously Delightful Things Done with Lasers and Projectors

Seb Lee-Delisle has built a career around large installations that use powerful lasers and high-end projects to make people happy. It’s a dream job that came to fruition through his multi-discipline skill set, his charismatic energy, and a mindset that drives him to see how he can push the boundaries of what is possible through live interaction.

His talk at the Hackaday | Belgrade conference is about his Laser Light Synth project, but we’re glad he also takes a detour into some of the other installations he’s built. The synth itself involves some very interesting iterative design to end up with a capacitive touch audio keyboard that is lit with addressable LEDs. It controls a laser that projects shapes and images to go along with the music, which sounds great no matter who is at the keyboard thanks to some very creative coding. As the talk unfolds we also hear about his PixelPyros which is essentially a crowd-controlled laser fireworks show.

See his talk below and join us after the break for a few extra details.

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Handheld Belt Sander Converted To Bench Top Unit

Having a basement or garage shop sure comes in useful for the home handyman. One downside to having a self-funded show is that you may not have every tool that you need. [unknownuser2007] had a hand-held belt sander and regularly used it to round off sharp corners on small parts instead of using it for its intended purpose; smoothing out long flat boards. It was typical for [unknownuser2007] to hold the sander in one hand and his work in the other while sanding his wooden parts.

This method of sanding was not very precise (or safe) so he decided it was time to do something about it and build a stand for the sander. The frame is built from 1/2 inch plywood, with pieces jig-sawn to fit the contour of the belt sander housing. After the frame was assembled, a dust collection system was made using an old vacuum attachment and some plastic sheet. The finished rig mounts solidly to the work bench and now allows [unknownuser2007] to use both hands to shape his creations.

As much as we love these types useful tool mods, on revision 2 we’d like to see an easily accessible on/off switch and a work support square to the belt. If you’re interested in more DIY sander solutions, check out this 20 inch disk sander.

Insects turned into orchestra; not harmed but terribly inconvenienced

[Jochem] has always been fascinated by chaos in nature, whether it’s a swarm of ants or evolution in action in a petri dish. His insect orchestra takes the chaos in the natural world and changes it into something completely artificial. In this case, MIDI.

For the build, a light sensor was placed at the bottom of a test tube. A cricket (or grasshopper, or locust) is then put into the test tube. The test tube is then closed up with a cap that houses a LED. An Arduino reads the light sensors and then transmits the data over MIDI. The MIDI commands are picked up in Abelton Live which converts everything to audio.

[Jochem] rigged up Abelton to have the insects perform in four different modes – instrument, synthesis, samples, and drums. Definitely an improvement over the humble Mexican Jumping bean.

You can check out the insect orchestra in action after the break.

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DaScratch multitouch DJ interface

Stanton has released a new controller peripheral for laptop DJ’s. DaScratch is a USB connected MIDI device designed to emulate record interactions. It features a large touch area where the user can make scratching, sliding, and button pressing motions. The compact device has presets for software like Traktor, Serato, and Ableton Live, but can work with anything that supports MIDI. Multiple units can be paired together using magnets.

As the video below shows, there are quite a few different interactions possible. We really want to see a teardown of this device though. We get the distinct feeling that it’s designed to look more impressive than the underlying hardware actually is. Continue reading “DaScratch multitouch DJ interface”