If you are anything like [Antoine], you would love to be able to control your PC with a simple hand-held remote control from anywhere in your house. [Antoine] wrote in to tell us about his wireless computer remote that emulates a USB keyboard, making it suitable for any device that uses a USB keyboard.
His blog post is very well written and contains a ton of design information and background on the project. He initially wanting to easily control his PC’s music from anywhere in his house without needing to be within line of sight of his computer. The end result is a very handy remote that can be used to change music, video, and even launch applications on his computer. The system consists of a base station for his remote that connects to the computer and acts as a USB keyboard, and the remote itself. The base station uses V-USB on an Arduino to interface with the computer, and VirtualWire to handle the wireless protocol for the remote. For those of you who don’t know about VirtualWire (now superseded by RadioHead), it is a very cool Arduino library that lets you easily use raw wireless interfaces (also called vanilla wireless interfaces).
Without going into too much detail here (be sure to see the actual post for more information), the remote itself was redesigned after the initial proof of concept to maximize battery life. The final power consumption is very impressive, resulting in a battery life of more than two years! This remote system is very well put together and contains many aspects that can easily be reused for other projects.
Radiohead has released their music video for “House Of Cards.” We’ve already covered some of the tech involved. If making an entire video without cameras wasn’t edgy enough, they’ve released all the point data for people to play with and remix. The band is encouraging people to post their creations to their YouTube group.
Inspired by [James Houston]’s remix of Radiohead’s Nude on obsolete hardware, [bd594] put together this mix of Lipps Inc.’s Funkytown. No sampling was used, but he had to loop the footage of the Avaya dot matrix printer’s drum part because it shook the table too much. The guitar and bass line are performed by a Commodore 64. An Intel 14.4 external modem uses DTMF tones for the first part of of the lead and a TI-99/4A beeps out the rest. The TI is also used as a speech synthesizer and a Maxtor harddrive plays the the vocal track.
Radiohead held a contest for fans to remix the single Nude from their album In Rainbows. Frontman Thom Yorke mentioned on NPR that the contest was essentially a joke, since the Nude track is recorded at 6/8 timing and 63bpm, much slower than traditionally mixed music. The above video from [James Houston] is one of the most creative entries. Using old computer hardware he has recreated the track in a very unique way. He uses a Sinclair ZX Spectrum for the guitar track, a dot matrix printer for the drums, a scanner for bass, and a hard drive array for vocals.
Want to make your own band with obsolete technology? Click through for a few pointers to get you started.