Party photo printer built around a Raspberry Pi

We think [Brian Delacruz] latched on to a good idea with this photo printer project. Instead of building a big photo booth for his party he developed a Raspberry Pi based WiFi photo printer. Right now it’s a prototype that lacks the kind of polish necessary to make a true user-friendly device. But the idea is solid and just waiting for you to improve upon it.

In addition to the RPi he’s using a quality photo printer and a small wireless router. The router simply provides WiFi capabilities for the RPi which is running a web server, mySQL, and FTP. This provides a wide range of upload options which he can work with. Watch the video after the break to see him print a smart phone photo wirelessly.

This can be simplified by using a package like hostapd to use a USB WiFi dongle as an access point. Or if the venue already has Internet access a server could be set up with a QR code to guide people to it. The party starts off with an empty bulletin board and guests would be invited to print and hang their own photos which will go into the host’s guest book/scrap book to remember the event.

Your mug on an Etch a Sketch — automatically

[Jim's] pretty serious about his Etch a Sketch. He’s gone to the trouble of building a rig that will automatically render a photograph as Etch a Sketch art. Do you recognize the US political figure being plotted in this image? He actually cracks these open and removes all of the internals to preserve the artwork when the reassembled body is ready to be hung on a wall. But we like it for the hacker-friendly interface techniques he used.

He moves the knobs using a pair of stepper motors. They attach thanks to a pair of 3D printed gears he modeled which go over the stock knobs and secure with four set screws. He says he can be up and printing in five minutes using these along with the MDF jig that holds the body and the motors.

He converts photos to 1-bit images, then runs them through ImageMagick to convert them into a text file. A Python script parses that text, sending appropriate commands to an Arduino which drives the motors. The image is drawn much like a scanning CRT monitor. The stylus tracks one horizontal line at a time, drawing a squiggle if the pixel should be black, or skipping it if it should be white.

We wish there was a video of the printing process. Since we didn’t find one, there’s a bonus project unrelated to this one after the break. It’s an Etch a Sketch clock.

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Commercial webcam multi-touch coming soon

It looks like Toshiba has a webcam-based multi-touch display on the way. The video shows an iPod-esque photos album interface where the user stands in front of the display and manipulates it with both hands. The difference between this and some of the other multi-touch displays we’ve seen is that there is no touching necessary (goodbye fingerprints!). The user’s image is superimposed on the screen in a way that reminds us of the original Playstation Eye. Obviously this is much more refined, making us wonder if it’s the better camera, better processing, or both.

[Thanks Risingsun]

Daily photo aging project on steroids

We’ve seen those videos where people take a picture of themselves every day. [Dan Hanna] took it to a much further level.  He built a camera rig and took pictures of himself for 17 years.  That is not a typo, 17 years. The rig consists of a ring that holds two cameras opposing each other.  He centers his head facing a target that he increments around the ring every day before taking a picture.  The ring can be split into 4 sections for portability.  Check out the low resolution video after the break.

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Laser insect photography rig

[Marc] sent in this awesome insect photography rig. The camera is manually pre-focused and set for a 30 second exposure at ISO100. The aluminum cylinder in front of the lens is an external shutter mounted with a custom turned lens adapter. It’s used because the built in shutter is too slow for insect capture. The camera/shutter is triggered by a pair of lasers with photo detectors. When both beams are broken, the insect should be in front of the lens. A Garmin GPS provides position information that’s tagged on the image by the Nikon D200. A large photo of the rig is here, while a more detailed writeup on building it is here.

Update: It looks like we covered a previous version of this rig, but the old links are down and we didn’t have a shot of the setup. Oh, and I forgot to mention [Marc] new control box for running this rig.

Camera lightning capture

The people at [Hobby Robotics] decided to build a trigger circuit for lightning photography. There are more complex ways to do this, but they just used a photo transistor and an Arduino. The Arduino watches the photo transistor’s value and compares it to the previously captured one. If the difference is above a certain threshold, it means a rapid change in the amount of light has occurred, which triggers the shutter. An earlier post covered how to directly control the Canon 30d using an Arduino. All of this works because the shutter lag and code execution together are less than lighting’s 100ms duration.

Happy Halloween Extra

Happy Halloween! I’m in the mood for an extra, and I’ve got some stuff that’s been turning to zombies from the tipline.
Pictured above is a nice simple LED pumpkin sent in by [John]- perfect for the hacker with less than stellar art skills.
Let’s not forget [mastershake]s Hack-A-Day pumpkin from last year. Where’s the THAD pumpkin you promised? [Wolfgang] sent in these mini pumpkin bots – they look like toys, but they’re made from XBox parts and radio control cars.
Last year Max sent in his talking Halloween basket. (I always wanted to strap that voice module to a co-workers chair…)
[Brandon] built a budget (~$150) guitar hero controller out of a Gibson Epoch guitar from target.
This scanner cam has been around for a while, but I admire how he keeps fine tuning and tweaking the design. Thanks to [Loopymind] for passing it along.
I keep getting emails telling me that Google Earth has a flight simulator. Yes. We all know about it.