The Evil Genius Simulator: Kinect Controlled Tesla Coils

The London Hackspace crew was having a tough time getting their Kinect demos running at Makefair 2011. While at the pub they had the idea of combining forces with Brightarcs Tesla coils and produced The Evil Genius Simulator!

After getting the go ahead from Brightarcs and the input specs of the coils they came up with an application in Openframeworks which uses skeletal tracking data to determine hand position. The hand position is scaled between two manually set calibration bars (seen in the video, below). The scaled positions then speeds or slows down a 50Hz WAV file to produce the 50-200Hz sin wave required by each coil. It only took an hour but the results are brilliant, video after the jump.

There are all these previously featured stories on the Kinect and  we’ve seen Tesla coils that respond to music, coils that  make music, and even MIDI controlled coils, nice to see it all combined.

Thanks to [Matt Lloyd] for the tip!

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Unwrapping 360 degree video

[Golan Levin] found a way to unwrap the 360 degree images he created with his camera. He’s using a Sony Bloggie HD camera which comes with a 360 degree attachment for the lens. This produces a donut shaped image (seen in the upper left) that was not all that palatable to [Golan]. He used Processing and openFrameworks to create a program that lets him unwrap the donut into a flat image, or create a ring of video where the viewer is at the center and can scroll left or right to see the rest of the filmed environment. He released the source so you can adapt the program if you’re using a different 360 video setup.

[Thanks Kyle]

RFID reader for iPhone

[Benjamin Blundell] built an RFID reader for the iPhone. A jailbroken iPhone connects to this project box by patching into a standard iPhone USB cable. Like in past iPhone serial projects, [Benjamin] is using openFrameworks for the software interface. Right now this reader only detects low-frequency tags but he’s working on the code to read MIFARE tags as well. See the magic of a tag ID displayed on the screen in the video after the break.

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Developing for iPhone serial communications

[Hcgilje] threw together a tutorial on using serial communications in iPhone applications. It builds upon the DevDot tutorial which was posted back in 2007. A lot has changed since then; the firmware has come a long way and there are several development tools that now make things a bit easier for you. His examples use Interface Builder and openFrameworks to demonstrate GUI control of an LED and a servo motor. Now go out and design your own peripherals for this popular handset.

Fake snow from an Arduino

The team at [Sosolimited] was contracted to create an interesting holiday window dispay for the HBO retail store in NYC. The Times Square display encorporates a board of LEDs and a machine for blowing the artificial snow particles around the enclosure.

The code for controlling the LED array was written on top of the open source C++ toolkit, openFrameworks and the entire setup is interfaced through an Arduino Duelmilanove. Multiple Sharp IR sensors were hooked up to the Arduino in order to detect the movement of observers, which in turn triggers fans to blow the ‘snow’ around. A National Control Devices relay board connects the heavy duty fans to the Arduino. This video demo shows just how attractive the project is in motion.

Scanner sensor multi touch

[Kyle McDonald] had a Visioneer XP 100 portable scanner laying around, so he started trying to come up with alternative uses for it. In the video above, we can see a multitouch setup rigged together using Openframeworks in Ubuntu. As you can see in the video, there’s some considerable lag. That is due to the 250-500 ms of buffering built into the scanner. It does have nice resolution; 10k pixels wide at 60 fps, so it has to be useful for something (aside from scanning). Anyone got any ideas? He says if the field of view was wider, he’d use it on a river bed to watch fish.

Twittering keylogger


[Kyle McDonald] sent in his latest project, a software keylogger that twitters what you type. He wrote it using C++ and OpenFrameworks. It logs each keystroke, then it posts to twitter 140 characters at a time. To protect himself, he set up a whitelist of private strings like passwords and credit card numbers that would be stripped before posting. If the twypewriter followed him, his keystrokes could be recreated.

[thanks Kyle]