Old Fax Machine Shows Signs of Life

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[Dmitry] is a Moscow based artist. He’s also a an avid circuit bender and hardware hacker. His latest project is entitled “signes de vie” or signs of life. [Dmitry] started with an Arduino and an old thermal fax machine. He removed the thermal print head and replaced it with a row of 10 LEDs. These old fax machines would use rolls of paper, cutting each sheet of as it was printed. [Dmitry] kept the roll system, but treated his paper with fluorescent dye. As the paper passes under the LEDs, it pauses for a moment and the LEDs are flashed. This causes a ghostly glow to remain on the paper for several minutes as the next rows are printed.

While [Dmitry] could have made this the world’s biggest tweet printer, he chose to go a more mathematical route. Each printed row of dots represents a generation of one-dimensional cellular automata. Cellular automation is a mathematical model of generations of cells. All cells exist on a grid, and can be alive or dead. The number of neighboring live cells determines if any given cell will live on to the next generation. One common implementation of cellular automation is Conway’s Game of Life. In [Dmitry's] implementation, a bank of switches select which of the 256 common cellular automata rules controls the colony. A second bank selects how long each generation lasts – from 1 to 18 seconds.

We really like how the paper becomes a printed, yet temporary history of the colony. [Dmitry] doesn’t say if he’s using a single long strip of paper, or if he created a loop. We’re hoping for the latter. Finally a useful implementation of the old black fax loop prank.

[Read more...]

Hacked AC and ash filter

Moscow is in a bit of a hot spot right now, dealing with a heat wave and enormous wildfires. The combination of smoke, ash, and heat was driving Andrew up a wall so he built a contraption to provide some relief. It has two chambers, the bottom houses ice water, the top is an air baffle. A small DC fan pumps air into the upper chamber where it encounters the water being sprayed in from the lower reservoir. What results is a heat exchange similar to other diy AC setups we’ve seen. But Andrew also notes that after running the device for a while the smell of smoke and ash is gone. Can this setup be seen as an effective way to trap airborne smoke particles?

Russian billboard includes a “happy ending”

It seems someone hacked into one of LED billboards and added porn video clips to the rotation of advertisements. We caught a glimpse before YouTube yanked it. We’ve pixelated the shot above which already had some blackbox censorship from the OP but we assure you, it was hardcore porn.

The 9-by-6 meter billboard is in downtown Moscow. The AP is reporting that this caused something of a traffic jam and shocked passersby. We’ve seen porn before, but have to admit that even knowing what to expect in the video it was a bit shocking for us to see cars driving by a giant sex scene. This is certainly much more of a distraction than leaving clever messages on the side of the road.

Does anyone know what technology is used to update these billboards? We’re curious as to whether physical access to the unit is necessary for this kind of attack. Leave your insights in the comments.

[Thanks Sean]

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