Voice Controlled RGB LED Lamp

Voice Controlled Lamp

[Saurabh] wanted a quick project to demonstrate how easy it can be to build devices that are voice controlled. His latest Instructable does just that using an Arduino and Visual Basic .Net.

[Saurabh] decided to build a voice controlled lamp. He knew he wanted it to change colors as well as be energy-efficient. It also had to be easy to control. The obvious choice was to use an RGB LED. The LED on its own wouldn’t be very interesting. He needed something to diffuse the light, like a lampshade. [Saurabh] decided to start with an empty glass jar. He filled the jar with gel wax, which provides a nice surface to diffuse the light.

The RGB LED was mounted underneath the jar’s screw-on cover. [Saurabh] soldered a 220 ohm current limiting resistor to each of the three anodes of the LED. A hole was drilled in the cap so he’d have a place to run the wires. The LED was then hooked up to an Arduino Leonardo.

The Arduino sketch has several built-in functions to set all of the colors, and also fade. [Saurabh] then wrote a control interface using Visual Basic .Net. The interface allows you to directly manipulate the lamp, but it also has built-in voice recognition functionality. This allows [Saurabh] to use his voice to change the color of the lamp, turn it off, or initiate a fading routing. You can watch a video demonstration of the voice controls below. [Read more...]

Build a Bass Master 3000 Carnival Game

Bass Master 3000

We’ve all been there. You are having fun walking around the carnival when you suddenly find yourself walking past the carnival games. The people working the booths are taunting you, trying to get you to play their games. You know the truth, though. Those games are rigged. You don’t know how they do it. You just know that they do… somehow.

Now you can put your worries to rest and build your own carnival game! [John] built his own “Bass Master 3000” style carnival game and posted an Instructable so you can make one too.

The game is pretty straightforward. You have a giant fish-shaped target with a wide open mouth. You take hold of a small fishing reel with a rubber ball on the end. Your goal is to cast the ball out and hit the fish in its big mouth. If you hit the mouth, you get to hear a loud buzzer and see some flashing lights. The system also uses a webcam to take a candid photo of the winner. A computer screen shows all of the winners of the day.

The brain of the system is an Arduino Yún. The Yún is similar to an Uno but it also has some extra features. Some good examples are an Ethernet port, a wireless adapter, and an SD card slot. The mouth sensors are just two piezo elements. Each sensor is hooked up to the Arduino through a small trim pot. This allows you to dial in the sensitivity of each sensor. The lights and the buzzer are controlled via a relay, triggered by a 5V digital pin on the Arduino.

The Yún actually has a small on-board Linux computer that you can communicate with from inside the Arduino environment. This allows [John] to use the Yún to actually take photos directly from a web cam, store them on the local SD card, and display them on a local web server. The web server runs a simple script that displays a slide show of all of the photos stored on the card.

The final piece of the game is the physical target itself. The target is painted using acrylic paint onto a small tarp. The tarp is then attached to a square frame made from PVC pipe. The mouth of the fish is cut out of the tarp. A large piece of felt is then placed behind the hole with the piezo sensors attached. A short length of copper pipe helps to weigh down the bottom of the felt and keep it in place. The important thing is to make sure the felt isn’t touching the tarp. If it touches, it might be overly sensitive and trigger even when a player misses.

Now you know how to build your own Bass Master 3000 carnival game. Whether you rig the game or not is up to you. Also, be sure to check out a video of the system working below. [Read more...]

DIY Pringles Can Speaker

pringles can speaker

Looking for a fun weekend project? How about making your own speaker from scratch using some very basic materials?

[Go Repairs] makes a bunch of how-to videos for Instructables in a style very reminiscent of the classic Art Attack from the 90’s — very clear, concise and he’s even got the accent!

The project requires only what you see in the photo above. The lid forms a simple plastic cone of the speaker, the magnets are the core, and using some paper, tape, and enamelled wire a very basic voice coil is constructed. Don’t expect amazing sound quality out of it, but it certainly looks like a fun project for junior hackers as it requires no fancy tools or equipment!

Stick around after the break to watch the video — does it remind you of Art Attack also?

[Read more...]

Perfect Jump Shots with OpenCV and Processing

jumpshot

[ElectricSlim] likes taking “Jump Shots” – photographs where the subject is captured in midair. He’s created a novel method to catch the perfect moment with OpenCV and Processing. Anyone who has tried jump shot photography can tell you how frustrating it is. Even with an experienced photographer at the shutter, shots are as likely to miss that perfect moment as they are to catch it. This is even harder when you’re trying to take jump shots solo. Wireless shutter releases can work, but unless you have a DSLR, shutter lag can cause you to miss the mark.

[ElectricSlim] decided to put his programming skills to work on the problem. He wrote a Processing sketch using the OpenCV library. The sketch has a relatively simple logic path: “IF a face is detected within a bounding box AND the face is dropping in height THEN snap a picture” The system isn’t perfect, A person must be looking directly at the camera for the photo the face to be detected. However, it’s good enough to take some great shots. The software is also repeatable enough to make animations of various jump shots, as seen in [ElectricSlim’s] video.

We think this would be a great starting point for a trigger system. Use a webcam to determine when to shoot a picture. When the conditions pass, a trigger could be sent to a DSLR, resulting in a much higher quality frame than what most webcams can produce.

[Read more...]

DIY Metal Detector

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Looking for a light project to teach young hackers some very basic electronics? Here’s a quick and easy weekend project, a simple metal detector!

We all know 555 timers are very useful and pop up in a wide range of projects, but did you know a metal detector is one of them? [vonPongrac] stumbled upon this handy guide, a free eBook on 50 555 Circuits, which contains many cool project ideas, including a simple metal detector circuit. It’s a very basic concept that uses a coil of copper wire as a home-made choke — when metal or a magnet comes near the coil, it varies the output frequency, and the 555 timer in turn, varies the output sound, alerting you of the presence of something metal nearby.

After the break there’s a video of it during its testing phases. If you don’t have a 555 on hand (tisk tisk) but still want to have some treasure hunting fun you can also build one based on an Arduino.

[Read more...]

Urine Territory Marking, Now for Humans!

Although Dogs and other animals love to mark their territory with urine, this technique has been generally ignored by human beings. Despair no more, fellow homo sapiens, we have now developed the ability to check-in on foursquare through your information stream. This device is descriptively called “Mark your Territory.”

Although this is not currently available to buy in stores (although apparently $10,000 will get you one built), [Instructables] user [blorgggggg] has furnished directions on building your own. The system is powered by an Arduino and an Android phone. The urine tags have both a pointed end for sticking in grass and the like, and a sticky back to be used in a “more urban settings.”

The video after the break gives quite a bit of background trying to justify such a system in terms of communicating in the physical world, animals, et cetera, but it’s doubtful that this excuse will get you out of a public urination charge.  You’ve been warned.

Wristwatch Turntables

Ever wish you could DJ on the fly while using equipment that your already wearing? Well neither have we but heck now we can, cheaply and easily with the Wristwatch Turntables. While being functional and stylish, this interesting project is fairly easy to construct and if need be, even sports a full function digital watch.

The audio electronics are donated by a pair of talking / musical  greeting cards. Both, “record your own” and “just deal with what we give you” types, though which ones you choose is left up to your taste. The greeting cards are then cut apart for their hidden goodies and then a little circuit bending action is performed to monkey with the amplifier of the sound module.

Potentiometers are added, buttons are relocated, and everything gets housed in a small box, with a wristwatch ran down the middle so you can wear the whole deal and blast your funky beats anywhere you may be. Join us after the break for a quick video.

[Read more...]

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