Bluetooth control for your DSLR or just about any other IR operated device

Just the other day we were reading a Reddit thread asking about how to control a television with a smartphone. The conversation started by talking about adding an IR LED to the phone.  Then it was suggested that there should be standalone Bluetooth devices that convert commands to IR, and came around to the ideas that TV’s should ship with native Bluetooth hardware. We couldn’t agree more but we’re also not about to replace our TV just for this option. That’s why we were delighted to find this project waiting on our tip line. It’s a method of controlling a camera shutter from a smartphone using Bluetooth. But the technique will work for any device which uses an infrared remote control.

The video after the break shows two different devices controlling the camera shutter. As you can see in the diagram above, the iPhone is the master controller, connecting to a Bluetooth headset mounted on the camera. That headset was altered to feed the speaker connections into an IR LED pointed at the camera’s receiver. The iPhone plays an encoded audio track matching the IR remote command, resulting in the properly formatted message flashing on the LED. The watch doesn’t have the ability to playback audio, but it can send a message to the phone, which then plays the proper audio track through the headset.

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Home automation hack controls lights based on head count

This home automation hardware turns on and off the lights based on room occupancy. The hack is an extension of an earlier version that was only a proof of concept. [RPisces] took the idea and made it into reality by mounting the sensor hardware in a doorway.

He prototyped the device using the MSP430 launchpad. It monitors a pair of IR distance sensors which record a change when something passes between them and the opposite side of the hallway. This is a good sensor choice as it only requires hardware on one side of the passageway. Because two of them are used, it’s quite simple to figure out if a person is entering or leaving the room based on which is tripped first.

In this case [RPisces] drives a relay to switch a lamp on and off. But it could be used for just about anything. We’d enjoy seeing it trigger an audio system like the one [Quinn's] installing in every room.

Rickrolling remote control prank

This device is a prank or gag that [Eric Heisler] came up with. It will intercept IR remote control codes and play them back after a bit of a delay. The example he shows in the video (embedded after the break) catches the television power signal from a remote, then sends it again after about thirty seconds. This shuts off the TV and would be extremely annoying if you were unable to find the device. Fortunately (for the victim), [Eric] included a piezo buzzer that Rickrolls after sending each code. Just follow that tune to find the offending hardware.

He chose to use an ATtiny10 microcontroller. It looks like it’s realizing its full potential as the six-pin package use all available I/O to control the IR receiver module, an IR led, and the buzzer. It runs from a coin cell without regulation and the circuit was free-formed on a tiny surface mount breakout board which hosts the microprocessor.

Arduino Tachometer tutorial

This tutorial will guide you through the process of building a tachometer around an Arduino. Tachometers are used to measure rotation rate in Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). You don’t need much in the way of hardware, this version uses an Infrared beam to measure fan speed. As with last year’s PIC-based tutorial, [Chris] is using a character LCD to output the reading. Wiring and driving the LCD ends up being the hardest part.

An IR transmitter/receiver pair are positioned on either side of the fan. When the blade passes in between then, the receiver shuts off a transistor connected to one of the Arduino’s external interrupt pins. He shows how to use this interrupt to measure the amount of time between the passing of each fan blade. If you divide for the number of blades, and average the reading for greater accuracy, you can easily calculate RPM.

Another alternative would have been to use a reflectance sensor which allows to for the transmitter and receiver to both be on the same side of the fan.

Reverse engineering a Syma 107 toy helicopter IR protocol

Half the fun of buying toys for your kids is getting your hands on them when they no longer play with them. [Kerry Wong] seems to be in this boat. He bought a Syma S107G helicopter for his son. The flying toy is IR controlled and he reverse engineered the protocol it uses. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of thing with the toy. In fact, we already know the protocol has been sniffed and there is even a jammer project floating around out there. But we took a good look at this because of what you can learn from [Kerry's] process.

He starts by connecting an IR photo diode to his oscilloscope. This gave him the timing between commands and allowed him to verify that the signals are encoded in a 38 kHz carrier signal. He then switched over to an IR module designed to demodulate this frequency. From there he captures and graphs all of the possible control configuration, establishing a timing and command set for the device. He finishes it off by building a replacement controller based on an Arduino. You can see a video of that hardware after the break.

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Hacking laser tag and building custom guns

As [Brad] over at the LVL1 hackerspace watched his friend build a Laser tag/tazer mashup for Makerfaire Detroit 2012, he noticed these new laser tag guns were really cool. These Light Strike guns have an impressive array of electronics for a $30 toy, but there was still much to be desired. [Brad] decided to reverse engineer these guns and work on a drop-in replacement for the game’s electronics so people like his friend can hurt themselves more easily.

The Wowwee Light Strike guns operate with IR LEDs, so the obvious solution for decoding the laser tag protocol would be the Arduino IR remote library. [Brad] had a bit of trouble getting his Teensy to read the IR data correctly, but after connecting everything up to a logic analyzer he had the data format figured out.

Now [Brad] has the Light Strike data format figured out and is theoretically able to make his own guns that are compatible with the off-the-shelf laser tag system. It’s also possible for [Brad] to extend the capabilities of this laser tag system by using the ‘health’ function to create a medi gun, or build a gun with a larger magazine for a laser tag mini gun.

If you’d like to build your own version of laser tag compatible with the Wowwee Light Strike, you can grab all the code on [Brad]‘s git.

Motorized camera rig makes panoramic shooting simple


Where some people might see a pile of junk, Hackaday reader and budget-conscious photo nut [FantomFotographer] sees inspiration. He was in search of a rig that would help him take better panoramic photos and found all that he needed to build one right around him.

He had an old tripod kicking around, which serves as the base for rig. At the top sits a pair of servos [FantomFotographer] attached to the tripod with some scrap wood, screws, and glue. The servos are driven by an Arduino Nano, which sits comfortably in a plastic enclosure he scavenged from trash heap. He uses an IR receiver to control the whole thing, which allows him to not only change shooting angles, but camera settings as well.

While it might sound like all is well with his upcycled camera rig, [FantomFotographer] says that like every project, there is some room for improvement. He’s keeping the source code under wraps at the moment, but once he gets everything working to his liking, he says that he’ll release it.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the cool panoramas he has put together.