Fiberoptic mouse prevents stray magnetic fields

[Ben] needed an input device that would operate where electrical signals and magnetic fields wouldn’t be tolerated, so he ended up running fiberoptics instead of electricity to a mouse.

[Ben] ran some glass fiber from the mouse to quadrature encoders to get the x and y velocity. Mouse clicks are read by modifying the existing buttons with a small shutter to block light from shining through the button frame. This isn’t the first time [Ben] adapted fiberoptics to an input device. Last year, he also built a fiberoptic joystick using the same principles.

We covered [Ben]’s DIY Electron Microscope last month, and we’re wondering if these two projects are related. His project log said he was getting distorted images from the electric field coming from his cooling fan and heater. Maybe he solved that problem and is now just tracking down every last unwanted electromagnetic emission.

Video of the mouse after the break.

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Building a 555 timer from discrete components

The 555 Design Contest shook a whole bunch of really creative circuits out of the trees, hence the 555-heavy content lately. While not technically part of the contest, [esalazar] wanted to know what made the 555 tick, literally! He started working on the project in a circuit simulator, then ultimately ended up building the three main logic blocks inside the familiar timer on pieces of copper-clad board. He’d built a 555 using discrete components.

While this isn’t 100% compatible with the classic 555 IC, it covers the basics pretty well, and [esalazar] gets extra-credit points for embracing the hacker spirit of seeing for himself how stuff works while documenting it well and citing his references.

Let paper dolls teach you science

Remember how fun it was studying chemistry and physics in high school? Well we guess your recollection depends on the person who taught the class. Why not have another go at it by learning the A-to-Z of electronics from one of our favorite teachers, [Jeri Ellsworth].

You know, the person who whips up chemistry experiments and makes her own semiconductors? The first link in this post will send you to her video playlist. So far she’s posted A is for Ampere and B is for Battery, both of which you’ll find embedded after the break. Her combination of no-nonsense technical explanation, and all-nonsense paper-doll history reenactment make for a fun viewing whether you retain any of the information or not.

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Beginner Concepts: Electronics basics from the Giz

Gizmodo University is open for business. This free educational series aims to educate about the basics of electronic theory. No prerequisite knowledge needed and they’re starting from the ground level. First lesson? Resistors! From there they’ve posted about voltage dividers, series/parallel circuits, Ohm’s law, and how to calculate a resistor value for an LED.

This is a great way to get the base knowledge that you need to start hacking like an EE. These are concepts that we assume you have already mastered if you’re following along with our AVR Programming series. We’re hard at work on part three but that’s still a little ways off. You’ve got time to do a review a GizU and reread our favorite book on electronic theory.

Snega2usb preorder now available

We’ve been watching the development of the snega2usb since it’s debut on Hackaday. Now it’s grown up and is ready to be manufactured. In the low quality video above [Matthias] shows some of the latest high quality additions to the board. It now has a case, shiny new firmware,  production made PCB, and game pad ports.  The snega2usb is shipping this December for those who preorder now.

BBox MIDI drum sequencer


We’ve covered sequencers before, but reader [Johan] sent in his latest project that is much more minimalistic approach. Dubbed the BBox, he based his drum generator on an Arduino and an LCD display. Rather than synthesizing sound, the Arduino just outputs MIDI which is then interpreted by his Roland Juno-D. In building the device he used a favorite trick of ours to keep the interface clean. He then found an awesome banana box to use as a case. Although, the project may not be as functional as some of the others out there, it certainly has flair. Video of it in action after the break.

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snega2usb update: usb snes and sega cartridge reader

When we first posted [Matthias_H]’s USB reader for SNES game carts, it was met with enthusiasm. The snega2usb allows you to play SNES and Sega games on your pc right off the cartridge. The latest revision is even more amazing than the first.  [Matthias] has added the ability to read Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges as well as the ability to save games directly to the cartridge. The board has also been updated from the rats nest it used to be to a smart looking dual sided PCB. So far [Matthias] hasn’t had any trouble reading cartridges, even ones with the SuperFX chips. [Matthias] also launched a site for the project where the lastest information on its development can be found.  [Matthias] is getting close to a production version which will feature better firmware, console quality connectors and a shiny case.