It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, No… It’s High Voltage EPROM Man!

At Hackaday, we cover some pretty high-tech builds. Sometimes, though, you see something simple, but it still makes you feel happy to see it. That’s pretty much the case with [ProtoG’s] High Voltage EPROM Man.

The parts probably came out of a junk box, but the good news is that they don’t have to work, and you can freely substitute anything you have. According to [ProtoG], the “robot” head is a bulb socket with a crystal for the visor. The arms are fuses with fuse clips for the hands. The knees are adjustable caps, and the feet are TO-220 transistors.

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A Digital Canvas That’s Hard to Spot

While sorely lacking in pictures of the innards of this digital canvas, we were extremely impressed with the work that went into making such a convincing object. [Clay Bavor] wanted a digital picture frame, but couldn’t find one on the market that did what he wanted. They all had similar problems, the LCDs were the lowest quality, they were in cheap bezels, they had weird features, they had no viewing angle, and they either glowed like the sun or were invisible in dark environments.

[Clay] started with the LCD quality, he looked at LCD specs for the absolute best display, and then, presumably, realized he lived in a world where money is no object and bought a 27″ iMac. The iMac has a very high pixel density, no viewing angle, and Apple goes through the trouble of color balancing every display. Next he got a real frame for the iMac, cut a hole in the wall to accommodate it, and also had a mat installed to crop the display to a more convincing aspect ratio for art. One of the most interesting part of the build is the addition of a Phidgets light sensor. Using this, he has some software running that constantly adjusts the Mac to run at a brightness that’s nearly imperceptible in the room’s lighting.

Once he had it built he started to play around with the software he wrote for the frame. Since he wanted the frame to look like a real art print he couldn’t have the image change while people were looking, so he used the camera on the Mac and face detection to make sure the image only changed when no one was looking for a few minutes. He also has a mode that trolls the user by changing the image as soon as they look away.

We admit that a hackier version of this would be tearing the panel out of a broken iMac and using a lighter weight computer to run all the display stuff. [Clay] reached the same conclusion and plans to do something similar for his version 2.0.

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Making a Wooden Multi-Mirror Display Device

Do you have 835 servo motors sitting around? Why not build your own binary wood-pixel-display-device?

Using the same basic concept as a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) — the heart of all DLP projection technology — an artist created this wooden mirror. It features 835 wood “pixels” which are controlled by servo motors. Each pixel or wood chip can flip 30 degrees down, and 30 degrees up. A series of spot lights shining on the mirror provides lighting so shadows form when the pixels are “off”. The result is quite fascinating.

A small camera mounted in the middle of the display takes a black and white image of whoever (or whatever) is standing in front of the mirror. A bit of image processing later, and the mirror displays what it sees.

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Hackaday Links: December 27th, 2015

PCBs can be art – we’ve known this for a while, but we’re still constantly impressed with what people can do with layers of copper, fiberglass, soldermask, and silkscreen. [Sandy Noble] is taking this idea one step further. He took C64, Spectrum, and Sinclair PCBs and turned them into art. The results are incredible. These PCBs were reverse engineered, traced, and eventually turned into massive screen prints. They look awesome, and they’re available on Etsy.

$100k to bring down drones. That’s the tagline of the MITRE Challenge, although it’s really being sold as, “safe interdiction of small UAS that pose a safety or security threat in urban areas”. You can buy a slingshot for $20…

[styropyro] mas made a name for himself on Youtube for playing with very dangerous lasers and not burning his parent’s house down. Star Wars is out, and that means it’s time to build a handheld 7W laser. It’s powered by two 18650 cells, and is responsible for more than a few scorch marks on the walls of [styropyro]’s garage.

Everybody is trying to figure out how to put Ethernet and a USB hub on the Pi Zero. This means a lot of people will be launching crowdfunding campaigns for Pi Zero add-on boards that add Ethernet and USB. The first one we’ve seen is the Cube Infinity. Here’s the thing, though: they’re using through-hole parts for their board, which means this won’t connect directly to the D+ and D- USB signals on the Pi Zero. They do have a power/battery board that may be a little more useful, but I can’t figure out how they’re doing the USB.

[Keith O] found a fascinating video on YouTube and sent it into the tips line. It’s a machine that uses a water jet on pastries. These cakes start out frozen, and come out with puzzle piece and hexagon-shaped slices. Even the solution for moving cakes around is ingenious; it uses a circular platform that rotates and translates by two toothed belts. Who would have thought the latest advancements in cutting cakes and pies would be so fascinating?

It’s time to start a tradition. In the last links post of last year, we took a look at the number of views from North Korea in 2014. Fifty-four views, and we deeply appreciate all our readers in Best Korea. This year? For 2015, we’ve logged a total of thirty-six views from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. That’s a precipitous drop that deserves an investigation. Pyongyang meetup anyone?

God on the CB Radio

Sometimes art pushes boundaries. We’ve covered a lot of tech art that blurs the lines between the craft of engineering and high-concept art theory. Praydio, by [Niklas Roy] and [Kati Hyyppä] leans easy on the tech, but pushes against viewers’ religious sensibilities.

Playing with the idea of talking directly to God, and with the use of altars as a focal point to do so, [Niklas] and [Kati] took the extremely literal route: embedding a CB radio into a dollar-store shrine. The result? If you’re lucky, someone will answer your prayers, although we’re not too hopeful that the intervention will be divine.

The art critic in us would say that this is a radical democratization of religious authority in that anyone who is tuned in can play the role of Jesus. Or maybe we’d say something about the perception of religious significance in the seemingly random events of our everyday life — maybe it’s not just chance that someone is tuning in at the time you’re asking for help?

Honestly, though, we think they’re just having a bit of fun. The video (below the break) shows someone asking Jesus for a coffee, and the artist on the other end laughs and fetches him one. It’s not high-tech, and it’s not even amateur radio the way we usually think of it, but something about the piece made us laugh, and then to think for a bit. Even if this art isn’t your style, check out [Niklas’] website — he’s got tons of fun projects written up, a few of which we’ve covered here before.

Hackaday’s Omnibus Vol. 2, Now In Stock

Last month, we announced a preorder for volume two of the Hackaday Omnibus, a collection of content written over the course of this year that is the best we have to offer. Now, there is a warehouse full of deceptively heavy boxes, and the Hackaday Omnibus Vol. 2 is now in stock.

bus9Inside the second edition of the Hackaday Omnibus is 128 pages of actual, real content. There are zero ads, no sponsored content, and absolutely nothing that tells you to go out and buy something. Opening it is an experience unlike anything. Where can you read something for minutes at a time with no interruptions, no email, no Twitter, no Facebook, no text messages, and no ads? You won’t find something like this anywhere else.

The electronics, trade, and tech magazines have a long and storied history. In the 1930s, there were magazines that would teach you how to build a radio. In the 1950s, there were print articles saying fusion power was just fifty years away. The Hackaday Omnibus continues this tradition with relevant content for today: everything from car hacking and open source insulin, to retrospectives on oft-forgotten parts of our digital heritage are included. This is the best we have to offer, and we’re doing it without selling out.

Volume Two of the Hackaday Omnibus isn’t the end for our print endeavours – we’re just getting started. We’re committed to producing the best content in an interruption-free format. Print is dead, after all, and that’s why we put a skull on it.

You can purchase the Hackaday Omnibus Volume Two on the Hackaday Store.

3D-Printing the Most Ornate Room

It’s no secret that we like 3D printing, but Artist and architect [Michael Hansmeyer] really likes 3D printing. So much so that he’s based his entire career around exploring the artistic possibilities of what he calls “computational architecture”.

live9We first fell in love with [Michael]’s work “Columns” because it was both daring and relatively low-budget at the same time. He made a series of architectural-sized columns out of cross-sections of laser-cut cardboard. Why cardboard? Because his goal was to make the columns as complex as possible and the current range of 3D printers couldn’t give him the resolution he wanted.

 

installation3Fast-forward to “Digital Grotesque”. Now [Michael] has access to a large-scale sand printer, and the license to go entirely nuts. He makes a space reminiscent of a Rococo grotto, but full of so much detail that you can’t really take it all in: it’s nearly fractal. Some stats: 11 tons of printed sandstone, 260 million surfaces, 30 billion voxels. We’re stoked that we don’t have to dust it!

 

arabesque_wall11His latest piece, “Arabesque Wall” is partly organic and elegant, and part Aliens. If we can play art critic, we think it’s beautiful. Go click through the portfolio. (And although they never got printed, we really like some of the “Voxels” series of cellular-automata pieces.)

From new paint materials opening up new color possibilities to new instruments enabling entirely different types of music, art, and technology mutually inform each other much more than we often appreciate. In ten years time, we’ll be looking back on this work and saying “this piece looks good” and “that piece looks bad” instead of “wow, amazing tech!”. But for now, we’re also content to wallow in the “wow”.