Center pivot pen plotter

This center pivot pen plotter is an interesting take on the idea, and manages to somewhat simplify the fabrication when compared to a gantry-style built.

Normally we’d see a gantry that travels on two rails, with a print head that moves along its length. Here the gantry is anchored on just one side, with a chain driven system to rotate it along the plotting surface. The print head uses a fine-point felt-tipped marker. It still travels along the arm as you would expect, and can be tilted away from the paper for repositioning.

What was made easier in hardware ends up adding to software complexity. The benefit of a traditional system is that it uses X and Y coordinates to plot a design. The pivot of this mechanism means that as the print head moves further from the center of the machine, the distance between each pixel is magnified. But the clip after the break proves that this issue has been solved.

[Read more...]

Pushing chest strap heart rate to a stock exerciser display

This hack came out so well that [Levent] wishes he had tried it years ago. When exercising he wears a Polar heart rate monitor which sends data from a chest strap to his wristwatch. But his exercise bike also has a heart rate readout that depends on your hands touching metal contacts on the handlebars. He set out to see if he could patch the chest strap data into the exercise bike LCD display.

The first part of the hack is really simple. As we’ve seen several times before, you can buy a receiver module which grabs data from the chest strap. Now it was a matter of patching the data from this receiver into the Schwinn 213 recumbent exercise bike. [Levent] pulled out the PCB and located the small daughterboard that is responsible for the hand grip heart rate. With careful study he was able to identify the pinout. There are two data lines. One is responsible for the heart rate detected signal, the other pushes the actual heart rate data. On a hunch he hooked a signal generator up to the latter and discovered that all it takes is a square wave.

The rest is pretty straight forward. Check out the proof in his video after the break. [Read more...]

Arduino heart rate monitor

[Wolf] had a Polar brand exercise watch that wirelessly monitored a chest strap that sends it heart rate data. It sounds like there’s some way to transfer data from the watch to a computer, but it’s only meant for use with Polar’s website. He wanted to do a little more with the equipment so he ditched the watch and built an Arduino-based heart rate monitor.

He’s still using the chest strap and was happy to find that SparkFun sells an OEM receiver for it. Just add a 32.768 kHz clock crystal and an optional antenna wire and you’re up and running. Once the receiver finds a transmitting chest strap, it will pulse an output pin with each beat of the heart. [Wolf] used the D2 pin of an Arduino Uno to connect to the receiver because this pin corresponds to one of the ATmega’s external interrupts. A rolling average of five inputs are used to help smooth the display data, which is shown on the 2.8″ LCD screen seen above.

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