[Leor] wanted to take some video of the wildlife in his yard, like this chipmunk or some hummingbirds, but every time he tried to get close it scared them away. His solution was to rig up a cheap video recorder to be radio controlled (PDF). The donor camera was a cheap SD card based eBay purchase that takes 720×480 video. [Leor] removed the SMD switches from the recorder’s PCB and wired up a 4066 quad bi-lateral switch IC in its place. An RC toy car donated the receiver transmitter pair. The receiver signals are monitored by an AVR microcontroller which translates the commands in a proper set of button presses for the video. What you get is a controller that and turn the camera on and set to the proper mode, and the ability to start and stop the recording.
We’ve got some pics of the hardware after the break, and [Leor] posted a bit of the chipmunk video for your enjoyment.
Continue reading “RC controlled camera takes intimate video of rodents”
That is a blurry image of a Barnes & Noble Nook eReader stuck in an infinite reboot loop. This is the result of trying to downgrade the firmware to 1.0 in preparation to soft-root the device. So after a few failures the device will recover itself, right? It doesn’t look that way. No problem, don’t you just pop it open and re-write the OS to the SD card inside to do a hardware root? Nope, it looks like the newest hardware revision has replaced that convenient SD card with a memory chip.
For now it’s a brick, but we’re sure there will soon be a way to fix this. A bit of solder, some wires, and a reflash should work much in the same way an EEPROM recovery does. That is, if you have an original image to work with.
So for now, be careful not to attempt to root your nook if the serial number starts with 1003.
[Ytai] let us know about his POV globe, all four parts of its current progress. While he says he was inspired to write up the project from a YouTube clip, we know the real reason. Regardless, the plan is to have a 2 foot diameter globe with 256 LEDs spinning at 50 revolutions per second streaming images from an SD card using SPI. While the project isn’t completed yet, we know [Ytai] will pull through like he has in the past, and you can be sure we’ll keep you up to date on his progress.
[Retromaster’s] Ultimate Floppy Emulator is a wicked display of hardware mastery. It is the culmination of several design stages aimed at replacing an Amiga floppy drive with a modern storage solution. You may be thinking that using an SD card in place of a floppy isn’t all that interesting but this hack does much more. The board, controlled by a PIC32, patches into the Amiga keyboard and monitor. This allows you to bring up an overlay menu for controlling the emulator in order to configure which virtual floppy disk is currently ‘in the drive’. He’s even gone so far as to add a piezo speaker to mimic the sounds the original drive head would make while reading a disk.
It’s got a NIC, a remote, a character display, and can record and play back streaming audio. Thumper is [Harrison Pham’s] contest-winning Internet radio player.His finished board is roughly the same size as the 16×2 character display and piggy-backs the device for a small form-factor. It can be controlled via an infrared remote control, or through a remote web interface. Source files are available from the link at the top, but the really juicy details are included in the shockingly comprehensive PDF writeup.
The photo above is a bit misleading. The board has a micro SD slot on the back even though a USB card reader is shown. This project would need USB host control for Propeller chips in order to use that reader. Don’t forget to check out some of the other submissions to the the contest once you’ve had your fill of this one.
[Brandon Meyer] spared no expense in modding the Catch Phrase game to use custom word lists. The altered version of the game, normal sold for around $25, now comes in at a whopping $230! That’s because the internals were gutted and replaced with an Arduino, 20×2 LCD display, and some other interesting bits. The device now features an SD slot for storing your own lists and a USB port for programming.
At first glance we were hoping some simple EEPROM hacking had unlocked the secrets of the device but that wasn’t he case. We’d love to see some more economical versions of [Brandon’s] prototype. Perhaps reusing the original LCD, replacing the Arduino with the ATmega168 that makes up its core, and using a diy SD cradle for a card reader.
So yes, this version is a bit of overkill but still very nicely done!
[Mahto] bought a digital picture frame but the image quality turned out to be terrible. He decided to turn it into a clock in a unique way. He loaded up 720 images, one for each minute in a twelve hour period. He then used an Arduino to simulate a button once a minute, cycling to the next image.
This is a simple solution and it works. Visions of hardcore hacks danced through our head when we first looked at this. We’re wondering if there is a way to inject image data into the frame’s memory? How about rewriting the SD card location where the image file that’s currently being displayed is stored, then having the frame reload the picture? Those are projects for a snowy weekend, but we’re sure that [Mahto] finished this hack long before we would have because he kept it simple.
Sooner or later we’re going to need a category for all of these clock hacks.