A fifty-dollar projection screen you can be proud of

[Lou] wrote in to share the fifty-dollar projection screen he built in his home. We’ve seen several of these projects lately. Unlike the one used at a lake cabin, or the other that fills an awkward alcove, this version doesn’t use fabric for the screen. He actually painted it right on the wall.

The key to achieving a great end product is to make sure your wall is flat. [Lou’s] instructional video (embedded after the break) shows how to patch holes in the wall, and repair high spots. Before beginning the process he uses his projector’s grid feature to map out the portion of the wall that will be used as a viewing area (that’s the grid seen on the screen above). Once the area has been marked with masking tape and carefully repaired he paints it with bright white or silver paint. You might also consider a paint additive for better results. We’ve seen sand blasting beads used for this purpose.

A frame is added to the area to make it look like a proper screen. This is nothing more than molding covered in black fabric. [Lou] stretches the fabric around the molding, using duct tape to hold it in place until it can be stapled down.

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Projection screen using latex paint and sand blasting beads

This method of building your own projection screen is new to us. [Sean Michael Ragan] ran across some sand blasting material made up of minuscule glass beads at Harbor Freight and inspiration struck. He purchased a fifty-pound bag and set out to see if it could be used with regular latex paint to create a projection screen. The answer is an absolute yes, but results are dependent on how you apply it.

Now there is paint you can buy which will turn your wall into a projector screen, but it’s expensive. [Sean’s] hack isn’t a direct replacement as he found the results of just mixing the beads with paint and applying them to a vertical surface weren’t up to the standards he’s looking for. But if you build a screen to hang on the wall you can let gravity work for you. He laid the screen flat and applied a heavy coat of paint to the surface. He then sprinkled a heavy coat of the glass bead over the wet paint and let it dry. Finally he cleaned off the material which didn’t stick and hung it on the wall.

Don’t have a projector to use with this hack? No problem, just build your own.

[Thanks Skuhl]

Analog projection clock so simple you should have thought of it

The image you see above is the result of a simple analog projection clock. It shows the time on the ceiling. We have one in our bedroom but it’s a red digital display which we don’t think is nearly as fun as this clever hack. Grab a cheap analog clock, a mirror, and a white LED and you can build your own.

The mirror is going to reflect light from the LED onto a ceiling or other surface. It acts as the clock face. The tick marks for each hour were made by scratching the reflective material (often called the silvering) from the back of the mirror. A hole is drilled at the center of the class and the analog clock is mounted with its hands on the business side. The one problem with this setup is that since the light is being reflected, the clock will appear to run backwards. Not a problem, if you just reverse the polarity of the coil which moves the clockwork the projection will move in the expected clockwise direction.

[via Make]

Mouse runs through VR maze


In an effort to determine the brain of animals during movement, scientists have built this contraption. It is a VR pod for a mouse. While we’re pretty sure/hopeful that none of you need a mouse VR system, we think the rig is interesting enough to stand on its own. It appears to be a convex mirror setup, projected in a dome. The controller is interesting in that it looks like a giant trackball hack. They’re using an optical mouse rigged to a ball floating on a cushion of air. This makes it much easier for the mouse to move. There’s a video of the whole thing in action after the break.

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Autogiro POV nostalgia

blade_screen (Custom)

This bit of nostalgia really caught our attention. A german hacker or “inventor” as we were called back then, came up with this interesting concept. He would project an image on to the moving blades of an Autogiro, relying on the POV effect to make it appear complete. While this is not the same system of utilizing POV that we currently use, it relies on the same principles. It looks like he’s hanging the projector or “magic lantern” from below the Autogiro, using the length of the rope to hang it as a focusing system. Were this to have actually gone into production, it probably would have really freaked people out. If only he had had access to something along the lines of the ceiling fan POV system.

[thanks itay]

[update: Why didn’t we look around for this earlier. It was brought up in the comments, there is in fact a POV system for R/C helis. http://www.nightgraphix.de (translated)]

Mud Tub: a tactile computer interface


[Tom Gerhardt] has made this very interesting mud interface for a computer.  Follow the link to see a video of it in action. It appears as though he’s using a laser grid of some kind to establish elevation. We might be way off on that though, there aren’t any details on the construction. He does mention that it is an open source hardware and software project, so maybe the details are available on request. In the video you can see it running as a projection surface where people are interacting with items directly on the mud. You can also see it being used as an external input device. People play Tetris using it in that example.

UPDATE: [Moon] reports from the ITP show that the tub has a 16×12 grid of generic pressurs sensors on the bottom. These feed into a MacBook Pro which is projecting on the surface. Despite the sparse grid, [Tom] says he gets good resolution by interpolating between sensors; it can detect a resting hand pivoting on the surface.

Build a Wiremap


For those of you who don’t recall, the Wiremap is a 3d volumetric display built from hundreds of tiny strands. An image is projected onto the strands to achieve 3d effects. [phedhex] has posted an in depth instructable on how to build a wiremap. He covers the construction with lots of good tips as well as giving links to the software for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Check out the video after te break to see some fairly impressive 3d patterns.

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