Joystick operated security cam will overlook the moat

What good is a moat if nobody is guarding it? We suppose that depends on what beasties lurk beneath the surface of the water, but that’s neither here nor there. The members of LVL1 continue their quest to outdo each other in augmenting the building’s automated features. The latest offering is this security camera which is operated with an analog thumb stick.

These are the people who are building a moat (which the city things is a reflecting pool) in front of their main entrance. Now they will be able to see and sense if anyone is trying to get across the watery hazard. The hack marries an ultrasonic rangefinder and camera module with a pair of servo motors. The brackets for the motors allow a full range of motion, and the signal is translated by an Arduino and Video Experimenter shield to put out a composite video signal. That’s not going to make streaming all that easy, but we’re sure that is just one more hack away.

Automatic airplane tracking; what radar-systems engineers do for kicks

[G. Eric Rogers] is a radar-systems engineer who just happens to live within sight of the aircraft approach path for the local airport. We wonder if that was one of the criteria when looking for a home? Naturally, he wanted his own home-based system for tracking the airplanes. He ended up repurposing a motorized telescope for this purpose.

The system does not actually use Radar for tracking. Instead, the camera strapped to the telescope is feeding a video experimenter shield. A tracking algorithm analyzes the video and extrapolates vector data. From there, the base unit can be controlled by the Arduino via an RS232 interface.

There are some bugs in the system right now. The Arduino has something of an ADHD problem, losing interesting and going to sleep in the middle of the tracking process. [Eric's] workaround uses the RS232 board to periodically reset the Arduino, but he hopes to squash this bug soon.

Censoring all the ‘F’ words on TV

[Milton] sent in a build that censors every ‘F’ word on TV, and not just the one that rhymes with ‘duck,’ either. His setup sounds the alarm every time someone inside the moving picture box says a word that contains the letter F.

The build is based around Nootropic Design’s Video Experimenter Shield. This neat little shield has been used as a video sampler and has analyzed what the talking heads are actually saying. The Video Experimenter Shield has support for closed captions, meaning a transcript from a TV show can be read in real-time. All [Milton] had to do so the ‘F word’ alarm could be sounded was strchr().

The F-Chip, as [Milton] calls his build, includes three outputs – a solenoid sounds a bicycle horn, sends some air through a whistle, and lights up an ‘F-word’ alarm. From the video of the F-Chip in action (available after the break), we can tell that this build is awesome, thoughtful, and annoying. The only way it could be made more annoying is by making an ‘E-word’ alarm, but there are ways around that.

[Read more...]

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