Real-time depth smoothing for the Kinect

[Karl] set out to improve the depth image that the Kinect camera is able to feed into a computer. He’s come up with a pre-processing package which smooths the depth data in real-time.

There are a few problems here, one is that the Kinect has a fairly low resolution, it is also depth limited to a range of about 8 meters from the device (an issue we hadn’t considered when looking at Kinect-based mapping solutions). But the drawbacks of those shortcomings can be mitigated by improving the data that it does collect. [Karl’s] approach is twofold: pixel filtering, and averaging of movement.

The pixel filtering works with the depth data to help clarify the outlines of objects. Weighted moving average is used to help reduce the amount of flickering areas rendered from frame to frame. [Karl] included a nice GUI with the code which lets you tweak the filter settings until they’re just right. See a demo of that interface in the clip after the break and let us know what you might use this for by leaving a comment.

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Quiet Dust Extractor from Scavenged Materials

As with many of the projects covered on hackaday, [bongodrummer]’s Dust Sniper came about because of a lack of effective commercial solutions, in this case to the problem of quiet dust extraction.

Workshops are generally full of dust and noise, both of which take their toll on the human body. This is why safety regulations exist for noisy and dusty workplaces and–as [bongodrummer] rightly points out–we have to take precautions in our own home and community workshops. Hearing protectors, dust masks and safety goggles are integral, but reducing the amount of dust and noise in the fist place is paramount.

Using mostly scavenged materials [bongodrummer] did a quality job building the Dust Sniper–and all for a bill of materials totaling £20. It has an integrated work surface, automatic switches on 2 vacuum lines to sync up with power tools, a cyclonic air filter that prevents clogging the HEPA filter and reducing suction power, inlet and outlet soundproofing, and a plain old power outlet for good measure.

Whether or not you’re interested in building an integrated workbench/extractor system like this one, we recommend you check out the details of the cyclone filter and the sound reducing components. Not only are they an interesting read, but they could be useful to apply in other projects, for example a soldering station with fume hood.

We think it would be really neat to include more cyclones in our projects. Stick around after the break to see [bongodrummer]’s prototype cyclone filter in action.

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Serial port controlled CPU fan

[Christian] was running a Linux box as a home server but needed a way to quiet the noisy machine. Like many Linux servers, he’s using some pretty old hardware which doesn’t have an on-board header for the CPU fan which generates much of the unwanted sound. Those headers are nice because software can monitor the CPU and board temperature and adjust the fan accordingly.

[Christian’s] solution was to use the serial port for the task. He built a small circuit in which serial pin 3 drives the base of a transistor, pin 5 provides ground, and a floppy drive power cable supplies 5 volts. From there he wrote a RUBY program to monitor the CPU temperature and generate a PWM signal on the serial port, throttling the fan speed as needed.

[CC Photo Credit: Garrette via Flickr]

Electronic vuvuzela

Want to annoy fellow fans but  don’t have the lung power to do the job? [Hunter’s] electronic vuvuzela is just the thing you need. The plastic noisemakers were so prevalent at the world cup this year that some folks came up with audio filters to remove the sound. The electronic rendition is much smaller, using a 555 timer to mimic the instrument on a small speaker. [Hunter’s] build has buttons for five different notes which can be altered with some potentiometer. There’s no schematic but then again for something that’s annoying you don’t want to make it too easy to replicate.

Update: Hunter added the schematic to his site which spell doom for those who enjoy peace and quiet.


[denha] has assembled a noise box he calls the XR-NOISE using an XR-2206 multi-waveform function generator. The output has an impressive number of controllable settings, and uses a set of LEDs to indicate sound level and rate. The XR-NOISE uses 1/4″ jacks for both in and out, and can also be controlled by the tap-sensitive mic located on the front of the box. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any further documentation or schematics to provide context, but it seems that this function generator chip has also been used for other audio hack projects as well, including a scratch-synth using resistive pressure sensors.

[via MatrixSynth]

Nandhopper 1-Bit noise synth


Sometimes, a little bit of noise can be fun. This little noise synth called the Nandhopper, is a quick simple project to get started. The parts list is pretty short, mainly material for the sensors and a 4093 Quad, 2-input Schmitt trigger and NAND gate. You end up with an easy to use, fairly small 1-Bit synth. If you don’t know what a 1-Bit synth sounds like, watch the demo video. Sure, it just sounds like noise to us, but that’s music to some people.