Displaying graphics on an oscilloscope

[Andrew Rossignol] was curious one day and decided that he wanted to display graphics on an oscilloscope after playing around with the X and Y inputs.

[Andrew] started out with a resistor ladder on the DAC of his AVR Butterfly. He was able to to draw a line on the oscilloscope’s screen but bandwidth limitations forced him to reconsider his approach. A friend wrote a Python script to generate C code so the ports of the Butterfly can be toggled. After getting the Butterfly to generate a voltage for every non-white pixel, [Andrew] was impressed with the results so the code was modified determine the brightness of each pixel. The setup managed 10 shades of gray and careful selection of what graphics to post on the build log assured the project a little bit of blog cred.

There are a few ways to display a picture on an oscilloscope, like plugging the Hsync and Vsync into the inputs of a scope. Except for a few music visualizations, we haven’t seen a scope display generated from a microcontroller. Great work [Andrew], but we’d like to mention there’s a grayscale Hack a Day logo from way back when.

Check out a video of [Andrew]‘s oscilloscope after the break.

[Read more...]

Spy Video TRAKR: software and first hack

Our initial view of the Spy Video TRAKR “App BUILDR” site had us believing this would be an internet-based code editor and compiler, similar to the mbed microcontroller development tools. Delving deeper into the available resources, we’re not entirely sure that’s an accurate assessment — TRAKR may well permit or even require offline development after all. Regardless of the final plan, in the interim we have sniffed out the early documentation, libraries and standalone C compiler and have beaten it into submission for your entertainment, in order to produce our first TRAKR hack!

[Read more...]

Behind the scenes of a 1K graphics demo

Programmer/designer [Steven Wittens] has posted a fantastic write-up on the black art of producing compact demo code, dissecting his own entry in the 1K JavaScript Demo Contest. The goal is to produce the best JavaScript demo that can be expressed in 1024 characters or less and works reliably across all standards-compliant web browsers.

[Wittens] details several techniques for creating a lot of visual flash in very few bytes, including the use of procedural graphics rather than fixed datasets, exploiting prime numbers to avoid obvious repetitions in movement, and strategically fudging formulas to save space while adding visual interest. These methods are just as applicable to other memory-constrained situations, not just JavaScript — some of the contest entries bear a resemblance to the compact microcontroller demos we’ve previously showcased, except running in your browser window.

The contest runs through September 10th, allowing ample time to come up with something even more clever. Whether he wins or not, we think [Steven] deserves special merit on account of having one of the most stylish blogs in recent memory!

Art From Code: Generative Graphics

[Keith Peters]‘ blog Art From Code is devoted to his beautiful graphics from computer source code, also known as generative art. Although [Peters] is reluctant to reveal his source code, algorithmic graphics can be created with the help of tools like ActionScript, Flash, and Flex. There are some great tutorials that can start you on the path to making your own evocative art.

[via Neatorama]

LCD projector repair

[Kieth] picked up an Infocus projector only to find that it needed some repair. The polarizer on the blue light path was toast. When he parted out an Optoma projector he scored a polarizer that was just about right for the repair. It’s a good read even if you don’t have a projector in pieces at the moment. He ended up bending the mounting bracket a bit to hold the filter and got his projector fully up and running again.


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