PVC Magnetometer to measure magnetic storms

In the hopes of getting a heads up on when the aurora borealis will be visible from his back yard, [Alex] built a magnetometer to measure disruptions in Earth’s magnetic field. The build is extremely simple, too. It’s amazing what you can build with a few components and a trip to the dollar store.

The design or [Alex]‘s project is called a torsion magnetometers. In this setup, two mirrors are affixed to a permanent magnet connected to a string. A laser is shone onto the mirror and is reflected back to an array of sensors. In [Alex]‘s case he used a simple laser pointer and a pair of photoresistors encased in a PVC tube.

[Alex] has been running his magnetometer in his back yard for over a month now and has the data to prove it. Luckily for [Alex], those graphs he has been generating may get a little more interesting. A coronal mass ejection is coming our way and is expected to hit today around 22:30 UTC. We’ll go outside to look for an aurora, but we’re sure [Alex] will be glued to his laptop tonight.

Check out the CGI visualization of [Alex]‘s magnetometer 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. [Read more...]

Aurora mixer no longer available

A few days ago we wrote about the aurora open source mixer being available and that orders for the DIY or completed kit needed to be in by September 1, 2008. Well that day has since past and if you were on the fence about it and didn’t get your order in don’t worry about it. Turns out no one will be getting a mixer.

Aurora informs us that they needed to secure a minimum of 50 orders to cover cost, but in reality they were only able to secure less than 20 orders. Because of this, they will not be able to meet the initial production numbers and have postponed the sale of the mixer indefinitely.

All is not lost as they will keep the site up, along with the instructions on how to build your own mixer from scratch.

Aurora mixer now available


It’s been a long time coming but that highly sought after open source mixer, the aurora224 is now available for purchase on the company’s website. The aurora mixer is a fully programmable USB mixer complete with 24 back lit knobs, 2 faders, and a single crossfader.

While the instructions on how to assemble your own mixer from scratch have been available for sometime now, many wanted a kit complete with everything needed to avoid having to source the parts themselves.

The aurora mixer is available in 2 versions, a fully assembled turn key deck and a DIY kit that requires the use of a soldering iron and the ability to follow directions.

So, if you’ve wanted to build your own aurora mixer but never knew where to start, this may be your lucky day. Don’t wait too long as you have until September 1st to get your order in.

Aurora open source hardware mixer


We’ve seen some fairly impressive mixer projects this year, and the Aurora mixer is no exception. It is a dual channel USB-powered mixer with two linear faders, one crossfader, eight backlit buttons and 24 potentiometers, all built around a PIC 18LF4525 microcontroller. That’s all pretty typical for a mixer, but this one is very visually attractive, featuring a clean and stylish form factor and controllable lighting both under the board and in the LEDs backlighting the buttons and knobs.

Whether you want to buy one now or build one yourself, the Aurora team has made both possible. You can contact them for pricing if you are ready to buy. If you prefer to build, this is an open source project with full assembly instructions, schematics, drivers, patches and all other source code and information you should need available here. See more photos of the Aurora mixer here, or see it in action after the break.

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