Robot bar tender records wedding guests getting drunk

Having an open bar usually means hiring at least one bar tender. But this hack does away with those labor costs (and someone to make sure your teenage cousins aren’t drinking) by putting a robot in charge of things. But the fun doesn’t stop there. One of the features of this bartender is that it records a 30 second video every time it dispenses a beverage. We’d image these get a bit funny as the night wears on before taking a dramatic turn into sadness.

The link above shares a ton of details on the device so make sure that you click-through the different pages in the navigation bar. The mechanical page shows off all of the effort that went into designing the machine in Solidworks. The ingredients start on the top layer in inverted bottles. Each feeds to a valve which has its own nozzle. Like a round version of the Inebriator, a glass is placed in a trolley at the bottom that pivots around the center of the machine. Once it gets back to the opening in the acrylic case you can grab your drink, give it a quick stir, and off you go.

Check out the video after the break to get a look at the user interface which includes that recorded video greeting for the happy couple.

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Mixing video for old school effects

For all the high production values Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier have released upon the world, there’s still a cinematographic aesthetic only possible with analog video, linear editing, and video feedback. [gijs] just sent in a video mixer he’s been working on to allow crossfading between two video signals and introducing some very cool analog video distortion effects.

[gijs]’ mixer uses the LM1881 video sync separator also found in the Arduino video experimenter shield. Because two different video feeds are unlikely to send their sync signal at exactly the same time, the selected video will stay still on the screen while the second video feed will slowly scroll horizontally across the screen.

This isn’t the first analog video hack [gijs] has come up with; last year he released an Arduino video sampler capable of recording about a second of video and playing it back forward, reverse, looped, or inverted.

We’re sure combing both the video mixer and sampler would produce an aesthetic similar to the experimentation seen on 80s-era public access or our time in AV club. Either way, a very cool build that just can’t be done digitally.

Video of the mixer after the break.

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Making images and videos using a diy fluoroscopic x-ray

[Jozef] has been playing around with X-rays. Specifically, he’s been using his own setup to make fluoroscopic images, a type of x-ray photography that allows for video images to be made. If you’ve ever seen those x-ray movies of someone swallowing, that’s fluoroscopy (we’re fans of the other oddities like this video of a skeleton playing the trumpet).

The image above is [Jozef’s] own hand. He exposed it for about one second, filming the event from the opposite side of a Curix Ortho Regular Screen. The screen fluoresces when hit by the particles from an x-ray tube he picked up on eBay. This particular event dosed his hand with about 10 rads. We have no clue as to what levels are safe (and a quick search didn’t enlighten us) so talk amongst yourselves in the comments section.

Of course [Jozef] didn’t stop with still images, he put a turntable between the tube and the screen and took a bunch of x-ray videos of revolving electronics. You’ll find the video embedded after the break.

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Playing video on an 8-bit microcontroller

The LCD displays for Nokia phones have seen a ton of use as easily interfaced displays for Arduino or other microcontroller projects. Usually, these LCDs are only used for displaying a few lines of text, or if someone is feeling really fancy, a small graph. Shame, then that we don’t see more complicated and computationally difficult tasks like playing video very often. [Vinod] sent us his way of playing video on these small color screens, surprisingly using only an ATMega32 microprocessor.

The build started off by saving uncompressed image data on an SD card using code from a previous project. [Vinod] was able to write a slideshow program to go through the SD card one file at a time and displaying each image. From there, it was simply a matter of using a Python script to convert frames of an .AVI video file to an uncompressed image and display them at 15 frames/second.

Turning these videos into talkies was a bit of a problem, but after taking an uncompressed .WAV file and sending that to a PWM pin on the ATMega, [Vinod] managed to play sound alongside his video.

The result is the ability to play a video with sound at 15 frames a second and a 132 x 65 resolution. You can check out the demo video after the break.

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Pimp my scooter

[Glen] built this shiny party machine out of a pretty sad-looking scooter. We’d bet you’re wondering why we think it’s a party machine when it looks so common? The only real giveaway in this photo is the custom exhaust, but hidden in the body of the beast is 720 Watts of party power plus a whole bunch of extras.

When he gets where he’s going, [Glen] parks his ride and lifts up the seat to unfold the entertainment. Attached to the underside of the saddle is a 720 Watt audio amplifier. It drives one big speaker under the seat, as well as two tweeters and two mid-range speakers that were fitted into the front console. But these days a party isn’t a party without some video, and that’s why you’ll also find a 7-inch LCD screen suspended from the upright seat. Tunes and videos are supplied by an iPod touch up front, or the PC he built into the ride. All it’s missing is a gaming console!

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Creating a multimedia elevator ride

[Ben Peoples] works in theatrical electronics. Sounds like fun, and here’s an example of the kind of stuff he does. We’re not sure what event this installation was used for, but if the elevator ride needed something flashy just think of what the party room must have looked like. These HDTV screens on the ceiling of the elevator play different clips when the elevator is moving up or down. The challenge for [Ben] was to find a way to make it work without tapping into the elevator electronics or requiring any button presses.

The first attempt at sensing the elevator’s travel was done with an accelerometer. The problem with this approach is that an accelerometer only senses change in acceleration and this method proved to be fairly error prone. [Ben] switched over to a reflective sensor which performed quite well. Since most of these sensors will only work within about an eighth of an inch he ended up building his own with a LDR and a couple of amber LEDs.

[via Reddit]

Projector calibration on uneven surfaces made easy

projector-calibrator

If you are thinking of building your own flight/racing sim setup at home, you might want to check this out. [Alex] from the Garoa Hackerspace in Säo Paulo, Brazil put together a slick setup that makes projector image calibration a breeze.

When building a wraparound screen for such a simulator, you are likely to run into problems with both overlapping images and distortion from the curved projection. There are projectors that can easily adjust themselves to work in this sort of setup, but they are often very expensive, so [Alex] thought he would build a solution himself.

After studying a paper written by [Johnny Chung Lee] in 2004, he built a prototype display calibrator last year that used similar, though slightly tweaked methods to get the job done. This time around, [Alex] has improved his calibrator, making the process more precise and a bit quicker.

Light sensors and an Arduino are attached to the back of the projection medium, and a large broad scan of the screen is performed by the projector. His code then triggers an additional sweep of each corner to better estimate the exact edges of his projection surface. Since the video is tweaked in software rather than relying on the projector hardware to handle the task, the result is cheap and very accurate.

Don’t take our word for it though, check out [Alex’s] video demonstration below to see his calibrator in action.

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