Artemis Synthesizer Kit

The Artemis Synthesizer was created as a kit for Boston University’s Artemis Project. This project aims to teach female rising high school freshmen about computer science with hands-on activities. [Chris] based the kit on a ATMEGA328P microcontroller and a MCP4921 digital to analog converter. It can be used in a keyboard mode, where the buttons toggle various notes of the scale, or in a sequencer mode, where the buttons are used to toggle pre-programmed sequences.

[Chris] wanted the kit to be usable by the students after the workshop, so he used an optical link dubbed the “Optoloader” to program new sequences and waveforms into the device. A web based application allows for waveforms and sequences to be built in the browser, then programmed by holding a phototransistor up to a blinking square. The square flashes black and white corresponding to a Biphase Mark Code encoded message. This is decoded by the microcontroller on the synthesizer and stored in memory. As a result, no special hardware is needed to play new waveforms and sequences.

[Chris] has a thorough write up for the project, including feedback surveys from the students. He plans to add more specific information about the Optoloader in the future.

Check out a video of the kit in action after the break.

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Hacking the Peggy

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories received an email from someone who wanted to hack their Peggy kit. This LED matrix kit has been featured on Hack a Day in the past, and provides hardware to set up a 625 LED matrix.

This user built an external array of LEDs that they wanted to drive with the Peggy hardware. There are a few options for making this happen. The first one is to run wires from each of the 625 LED footprints on the board. Each has an anode and cathode, so that makes for a total of 1250 wires to run. It turns out that people have actually done this with the Peggy in the past, using very fine wire.

EMSL suggests wiring the rows and columns instead. This way, only one wire is needed for each row and column, allowing a 25×25 LED grid to use 50 wires instead of 1250. They also explain how to expand the grid to a 30×20 LED matrix. It’s a good explanation of how the kit works, and how it can be expanded.

Photo [oskay]

Sell your projects with Club Jameco

Everyone’s favorite electronic component distributor, Jameco, rolled out a new way for you to make a few bucks off of your projects. It’s called Club Jameco and looks like a great place to design, sell, and learn about new projects from around the Internet.

The premise behind Club Jameco is simple. You send Jameco a short description of one of your projects. If the folks at Jameco think your project will sell, they’ll post it on Club Jameco for some feedback while you write up the instructions and the BOM. Once your project is done, Jameco will build it, sell it, and send you a nice royalty check in the mail.

Already there are some pretty neat projects up on Club Jameco like a build your own transformer kit and a photodiode geiger counter. We’re sure Hackaday readers have a few interesting projects up their sleeves, so we’ll wait patiently until we see them on Club Jameco.

Tip ‘o the hat to [War_Spigot] and [PUNiSH3R] for sending this one in.

DIY cellphone

Here’s an interesting concept. Lets make a kit to build your own super simple cell phone. Thats basically what a group at the MIT media lab is proposing with this prototype. Consisting of an SM5100b GSM module and a 1.8″ 160×128 pixel LCD screen on a very basic board holding some buttons, this thing is pretty bare bones. Barely any features aside from sending/receiving calls. It does have caller ID though. At$150, it isn’t really that competitive compared to the phones you’d get from your provider, but it is just a prototype.

We particularly like the laser cut flex areas for the buttons on the front.

[Thanks Paul]

Kits to fund Hackerspaces

[Overflo] recently tipped us about HackerspaceShop; his plan to help fund the Viennese and European hackerspaces by creating a marketplace for electronic kits. The idea is to not only sell kits, but to also create an easy way for others to sell their own kits through the platform, which is pretty awesome if you ask us.

Their kit they sent us to play with is a sun tracking flower developed by [daniel schatzmayr] in the metalab hackerspace. All and all, it’s a pretty awesome kit that’d be perfect for any geeky girlfriend, and of course, it’s arduino controlled. Whether or not that is a good or a bad thing is up to the hackaday trolls to decide, but it does have an FTDI header; something we’d personally like to see on a lot more of these electronic kits.

Currently there’s not to big a catalog on their site but hey, wickedlasers started out as a guy selling modified laser pointers and Hewett Packard started out as two guys selling a better function generator. It’s always awesome when a hacker uses their skills to become an entrepreneur, especially for a good cause.

Good luck [overflo]!

Building a simple FM transmitter bug

simple_fim_transmitter_hack_a_week

[Dino] got his hands on an FM transmitter “bug” kit via a friend, and thought it would make for an easy and fun Hack a Week project. The kit is simple two transistor half-wave FM transmitter, which the manufacturer suggests could be used to bug a room, hence the name. After poking a bit of fun at the instructions, [Dino] gets to work building the transmitter, wrapping things up in a little less than an hour.

Once he finished soldering everything together, he takes a few moments to test out the bug and to explain how various parts of the board work together in order to transmit the FM signal. He mentions that adding a dipole antenna would make it easy to extend the range of the transmitter, and briefly teases next week’s episode, where he plans on constructing a similar dual-stage transmitter.

This sort of FM circuit is one of the first few simple projects you would see in a beginner’s electronics class, so if you know anyone that is just starting to get their feet wet, be sure to pass this Hack a Week episode along.

Continue reading to see [Dino] explain the ins and outs of his FM bug transmitter.

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BAMF2011: Bloxes, a building kit with a nifty pedigree

Not every cool hack needs to involve microcontrollers, LEDs or other bling. We were initially drawn to the Bloxes display simply because we love a good multipurpose construction set, whether it be Lego, 80/20 aluminum, or in this case, a system of interlocking cubes formed from six identical pieces of corrugated cardboard, cut and scored in such a manner as to form a surprisingly sturdy little building block. They can become simple furniture, groovy Logan’s Run-style room decor, or the all-important kids’ forts…then later dismantled and made into something else.

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