AquaTop: a gaming touch display that looks like demon possessed water

AquaTop_touch_displayAre you ready to make a utility sink sized pool of water the location of your next living room game console? This demonstration is appealing, but maybe not ready for widespread adoption. AquaTop is an interactive display that combines water, a projector, and a depth camera.

The water has bath salts added to it which turn it a milky white. This does double duty, making it a reasonably reflective surface for the projector, and hiding your hands when below the surface. The video below shows several different games being played. But the most compelling demonstration involves individual finger tracking when your digits break the surface of the water (show on the right above).

There is also a novel feedback system. The researchers hacked some speakers so they could be submerged in the tank, adding a large speaker with LEDs on it in the same manner. When fed a 50 Hz signal they make the surface of the pool dance.

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R2D2 cake plays Leia’s distress message

R2

As all 6-year-olds should, [Marc]’s son is a huge fan of Star Wars. For his birthday party, he wanted a Star Wars themed cake, and making one in the shape of R2D2 seemed to be right up [Marc]’s alley. Of course any clone of everyone’s favorite R2 unit should also display Leia’s distress message to Ben Kenobi, and [Marc] figured out a way to do just that.

Because of R2’s strange and decidedly non-cake shape, [Marc] first constructed a stand out of wood, cardboard, and a PVC pipe to hold the cake into place. The cylindrical droid body is of course made of cake and frosting, with R2’s dome made out of fondant.

The PVC pipe running up the center of the droid provided [Marc] with the ability to run a power and video connector up R2’s spine. These are connected to a small projector receiving video from a netbook placed out of the way.

You can check out a video of the R2 cake playing Leia’s holographic distress message below. At the end of the video, there’s a 6-year-old birthday party guest saying, “what is that?” It might be time to dig out the VHS player and the non-remastered trilogy, [Marc].

3W handheld laser raises hope for a real Lightsaber someday

3W-handheld-laser

That banner image may seem a little bit theatric, but it’s a good representation of what this 3W handheld laser can really do. Turn the thing on in a slightly smoky room and it looks exactly like a thin beam Lightsaber.

What kind of tricks would you expect this thing to perform? Perhaps it’ll pop some black balloons? Prepare to be shocked because it’s orders of magnitude more powerful than that. The video below shows it burning and igniting a collection of items almost instantly. [Styropyro] tested his creation by igniting paper, cardboard, flash paper, flash powder, burning through a stick of wood, and igniting an undisclosed substance at the end of the video. But one of our favorites is when he drives a solar powered toy car with the intense beam.

He pulled the diode from a DLP projector, and drives it with a pair of 18650 Lithium Ion batteries which are commonly found in laptops. He made the enclosure himself. It looks great but we can’t help but wonder if the components would fit in a painstakingly made replica.

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Microsoft IllumiRoom breaks your video game out of its television prison

microsoft-illumiroom

We see a lot of video game tech coming out of the three console giants (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo). With one look we can usually predict what is going to be a flop. Case and point is the Wii U whose sales have been less than extraordinary and Sony Move which is motion control directed as hardcore games who we believe are perfectly happy with the current evolution of their dual shock controllers. But this time around we think Microsoft has it nailed. They’re showing off technology they call IllumiRoom which uses a projector to bring your entire gaming room into the experience.

The image above is not doctored. This is a picture of IllumiRoom in action. A projector on the coffee table automatically calibrates to the room (using Kinect 3D data for mapping) in order to show realistic graphic rendering on the non-flat projection surfaces. In our mind, this comes straight out of Kinect hacking projects like the Hadouken projector. With this in place, the game designers are given free rein to come up with all kinds of different ways to use the feature. Stick with us after the break to see what they’ve developed.

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Epson projector LED mod

Projector bulbs can be incredibly expensive to replace. Sometimes it’s more cost efficient to just buy a whole new projector instead of a new bulb. [Shawn] recently found a nice deal on an ‘as is’ Epson EMP-S4 on eBay and decided to take a chance. He assumed it probably worked with the exception of the missing lamp the seller mentioned. His suspicions were correct, and one custom LED mod later, his projector was up and rolling.

Without a stock lamp installed, the projector would give an error message and shut itself off. So, the first step was to wire up a little bypass. Once that was taken care of, [Shawn] installed a 30W 2000 lumen LED and custom fit an old Pentium CPU heatsink to keep the LEDs temperature down. He also wired up the heatsink fan in parallel with the stock exhaust fan for good measure.  Optical lenses help focus the light, and some custom wiring makes the LED turn on and off just like the stock lamp would.

In the end, his first experiment was a success, but [Shawn] wants to try an 8000 lumen 100W LED to make it about as bright as the stock lamp was. Check out a little video walkthrough after the break.

[Thanks Shawn]

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Hackaday Links: March 20th, 2013

Giant fresnel lens is dangerous fun

giant-fresnel-lens-is-dangerous-fun

Here’s an interesting, and rather dangerous, use for those old big screen TVs that are frequently listed for FREE on Craigslist. With the lens from the old TV built into an adjustable wooden frame, [Grant] was able to melt a stack of pennies, instantly burn wood, melt spots in concrete, and serve his family a cooked egg… Cool.

Projection mapping app helps create hologram like performance stage

projection-mapping-app-creates-live-desktop-stage

[Aimino] used an iPad, a mobile projector, and a mosquito screen to create a trippy hologram like stage. It might not seem like much at first, but it’s actually a pretty interesting effect. Watching the video makes me wonder what other applications this could have in the near future.

The world’s strongest magnet

worlds-strongest-magnet

At a cost of over $14 million dollars and weighing in at 35 tons, the 45 Tesla Hybrid is the strongest DC magnet on Earth. It’s powerful enough that the film crew couldn’t even safely get in to take footage of it.  Over half of their camera tapes were wiped clean just while being in the same facility that houses it!

Virtual Body chair uses 4 of our 5 senses

virtual-body-chair

Created in the hopes of providing a VR experience for seniors with mobility problems who can no longer travel the world, Tokyo Metropolitan University’s Ikei Laboratory presents the ‘Virtual Body’ exhibition. Included are a 3D monitor, a pair of headphones, a fan to create breezes and spread scents, a chair that moves and vibrates, and moving foot pedals.

Iron Man laser gauntlet pops balloons with ease

functional-iron-man-laser-gauntlet

If you’re an Iron Man fan with disposable income, you might want to check out this functional full metal laser gauntlet. Built from scratch using no blueprints or guides, [AnselmoFanZero] sells them for around $3K USD.

Everything you need to build a light-cured resin 3D printer

dlp-projector-resin-printer

[Rachel Levine] was one of the mechanical engineers on the team at the Rochester Institute of Technology who built this resin-based 3D printer. She wrote in to show off the fantastic work they’ve been doing. Their project website is daunting to take in at first, which shouldn’t be all that surprising since the concepts used here are fairly advanced. But give yourself a few minutes of blind clicking and you’ll begin to grasp the scope of this fantastic piece of engineering. The bad news is you’re not going to whip the thing together in a weekend. The good news is that if you’re determined to build one this should give you the lion’s share of the background you’ll need to make it happen.

The rig pulls a printed object up from the ooze on the build platform. They’re using resin that is cured with visible light. That’s why you see the level in the foreground; the bath needs to be a uniformed thickness so that it solidifies correctly when the light hits it from the underside. The build table is made of glass sandwiched between gaskets where it comes in contact with the frame, keeping the liquid in place while letting the DLP projector shine through. Check out the fast-motion build video after the break to see how each layer is exposed to light, then pulled upward to make room for the next. We estimate the build was around two hours of real-time and you can see that a technician replaces the extracted resin at regular intervals during the process.

DLP Projector based printers have been gaining in popularity. Check out this roundup of several offerings from last year.

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