PS/2 Synth Will Knock You Off Your Broom

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Here’s a hack centered around something a lot of people have sitting around: a PS/2 keyboard. [serdef] turned a Harry Potter-edition PS/2 into a combination synth keyboard and drum machine and has a nice write-up about it on Hackaday.io.

For communication, he tore up a PS/2 to USB cable to get a female mini DIN connector and wired it to the Nano. He’s using a Dreamblaster S1 synth module to generate sounds, and that sits on a synth shield along with the Nano. The synth can be powered from either the USB or a 9-volt.

Keymapping is done with the Teensy PS/2 keyboard library. [serdef] reused a bunch of code from his bicycle drummer project which also employed the Dreamblaster S1. [serdef] is continually adding features to this project, like a pot for resonance control which lets him shape the waveform like an analog synth. He has posted some handy PS/2 integration code, his synth code, and a KiCad schematic. Demo videos are waiting for you across the link.  [Read more...]

Harry Potter location clock spies on your smart phone

harry-potter-clock

The location clock found in the Harry Potter books makes for a really fun hack. Of course there’s no magic involved, just a set of hardware to monitor your phone’s GPS and a clock face to display it.

[Alastair Barber] finished building the clock at the end of last year as a Christmas gift. The display seen above uses an old mantelpiece clock to give it a finished look. He replace the clock face with a print out of the various locations known to the system and added a servo motor to drive the single hand. His hardware choices were based on what he already had on hand and what could be acquired cheaply. The an all-in-one package combines a Raspberry Pi board with a USB broadband modem to ensure that it has a persistent network connection (we’ve seen this done using WiFi in the past). The RPi checks a cellphone’s GPS data, compares it to a list of common places, then pushes commands to the Arduino which controls the clock hand’s servo motor. It’s a roundabout way of doing things but we imagine everything will get reused when the novelty of the gift wears off.

Deathly Hallows mark the passing of time

deathly-hallows-clock

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not we think you’ll enjoy this Deathly Hallows clock. The body is modeled after the triangle, circle, and line that make up the symbol that played a prominent role when concluding the fantasy novel series. A bit of motion and a couple handfuls of LEDs are what allow it to display the time of day.

[Yeenasty] started by building the triangular surround out of wood. In the center he added a circular veneer which was partitioned into twelve chambers. These indicate the hour and are illuminated one at a time from midnight until noon. Once all of the LEDs are switched on (as seen above) they are then extinguish one at a time from noon until midnight. [Yeenasty] mentions that this means the clock isn’t overly bright during the night-time hours.

Minutes are displayed by the wooden slat in the middle of the ring of LEDs. Here it’s showing 30 minutes after the hour because it is vertical and the bottom red LED is lit. The hand is mounted on a 180 degree servo so when it has made half of a rotation the hand backtracks 29 minutes and the LED at the other end is illuminated to continue progress around the face of the clock.

[via Reddit]

Hacking a “magic wand” to remotely control light displays

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Hackaday reader [Kieran] volunteers at an outdoor haunted house attraction called the “Disenchanted Forest”. Attendees are lead through the haunted forest by a volunteer, who helps keep everyone on the predetermined trail. The trail is usually lit by small LED fixtures that the group constructed, but the organizers wanted to make the lights more interactive this time around.

A fellow organizer gave [Kieran] a [Harry Potter] Magic Candle, which allows him to light the toy with the wave of his IR-enabled wand. He was told to “make it do something cool”, so he took a closer look at it to determine how everything worked.

Using an Arduino clone and some borrowed IR code he was able to get the wand to work with the forest’s trail lighting, but there was a lot of lag between waving the wand and triggering the light. Taking a second stab at it, [Kieran] was able to replicate the IR protocol used by the toy, speeding things up and increasing the wand’s range considerably. Now, the tour guides can light and extinguish the trail lighting with a simple flick of the wrist.

Take a look at the video below to see how things worked out for [Kieran], and be sure to swing by his site for more details if you have the urge to modify your Magic Candle.

[Read more...]

Weather clock

[Sean_Carney] build this clock that tells the weather instead of the time. The two hands display the current conditions and the temperature. Forty below zero seems amazingly cold if you’re on the Fahrenheit scale but [Sean's] from Winnipeg so he’s operating on the Celsius side of things.

Two servos move the hands to match the data scraped off of the Internet. An Arduino does the scraping with the help of an Ethernet shield. This reminds us of the Harry Potter clock that tells a persons location.

[via Flickr]

Magic clock knows your location

Straight out of the fiction of Harry Potter is The Magic Clock. Just like in the novel this clock (is it still a clock even thought it doesnt tell time?) shows the current location of family members, from home to the doctor’s office, even to mortal peril (We hear its nice this time of year).

The clock hands are driven by 4 separate servo motors, which are maintained by an Arduino. The location of family members is updated wirelessly via Twitter. We think a script written for each member’s GPS enabled cell phone might be more trustworthy, but it seems to be working fine currently.

[via Make]

Harry Potter Marauders map realized

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After reading about cheap wireless for microcontrollers, [Leigh] left a comment about his Marauders map. Much like the Harry Potter version, whoever holds the ‘map’ is able to see the location of the ‘marauders’ within certain bounds. Unlike the magical version however, each person being tracked needs to hold a PICAXE 08M, GPS, and 433.92MHz transmitter: while the map needs a computer running his Python script and a receiver of the same frequency. It has the potential for locating people, but we feel it might be better off in a swarm robotics setup.

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