Marvelous Magnetic Machines

[HP Friedrichs] wrote in to tell us about an upcoming book titled Marvelous Magnetic Machines. Ordinarily, we skip over promotional hype. After watching his promo video though, we couldn’t help but share. We want a copy of this book. In this book you’ll find details on how to build a number of different motors from scrap. You can see several variations in the promo video. He also notes that the music was created by himself and some friends a few years ago. If [H.P. Friedrichs] sounds familiar, it is because he’s been sending us fantastic projects since at least 2006.

Flip-book style digitization

This method of book digitization allows you to scan an entire book by fanning through the pages. It uses a high-speed camera that captures 500 frames per second to get a good look at each page. Processing software isolates each pages, analyzes any curve in the paper due to the flipping, and smooths out the image for better optical character recognition results. The greatly reduces the time it takes to digitize a book, even compared to setups that automatically flip pages.

[Thanks Erico]

LEGO book scanner

Here’s a good one from a few years back. [Muranushi] built a scanner to automatically scan an entire book. LEGO is used as the primary building material. A book is placed on a LEGO balance (inset photo) with a counterweight that eases the work of raising and lower the book. The book is lowered, a LEGO carriage moves across the book to turn the page, the book is raised to the glass of an upside-down scanner and scanned into a laptop.

It seems LEGO and imaging devices are a great match. Most of the parts used here are from LEGO Technical set 8485, a set that comes with motors and a motor controller seen above, on the floor behind the computer. We’ve embedded some video after the break of a book in the midst of the scanning process. Continue reading “LEGO book scanner”

MIT rethinking popup books

We know the folks at MIT are the cutting edge scientists of tomorrow right? We’re always impressed by the stuff coming out of their labs. Well, almost always.  This rethinking of pop-up books does not let us down. We’ve seen some pretty complicated pop-up books. Some that made us really wonder how they pulled it off. But all of those were simply paper and card stock. At MIT, they’re wondering how we can improve the interactive experience now that the electronic components are so cheap and easily available. Even if you don’t have kids, or have no interest in pop-up books, consider this some inspiration for things like packaging and art. This looks fantastic and we know we would enjoy it. Then again, a few flashing LEDs always pique our interest.

[via Gizmodo]

How to download books from Google

If you want books, but don’t want to pay for them, there is a better way than walking into your local book store and pocketing them. Try grabbing them online, from Google!

Everyone must be aware of the Google Books Library project by now. If you’re not, it’s basically a way for Google to ensure all of the world’s book content is accessible and searchable. Through the Book Project, Google works with libraries to scan and archive their older and out of print materials. Up until recently, viewers of books in the Google Library Project web space were limited to viewing books within the browser. Not any more. Google Book Downloader is a utility that rips books from Google and saves them as PDFs so you can view them with any device or desktop that can view this file format. Using Microsoft’s .NET framework, the Google Book Downloader application allows users to enter a book’s ISBN number or Google link to pull up the desired book and begin a download, fishing off with exporting the file to a PDF. Full setup instructions and download are available on Codeplex.

Kindle 2 teardown

kindle2

The people at iFixit have shown that they’re still on top of their game by tearing down the new Kindle 2 eBook reader. The main processor is a 532MHz ARM-11 from Freescale. Interestly, there isn’t any significant circuitry behind the large keyboard; it seems its existence is just to hide the battery.

Related: previous teardowns on Hack a Day

[via Make]

Arduino Duemilanove

The latest generation of Arduino hardware has been released. The Arduino Duemilanove (2009 in Italian) has the same form factor as previous generations. The specs are essentially identical to the Diecimila, but there have been a few changes to the hardware. The power source is no longer chosen using a jumper. A MOSFET and dual OPAMP have been added to the board to automatically selected between USB power and the external plug. Automatic hardware resets are optional now. Next to the USB port are two solder pads labeled RESET-EN. Cut the trace between them to kill the reset. If you ever want it back, just bridge the pads. The hardware was updated to correspond with the release of Arduino cofounder [Massimo Banzi]’s new book.