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Earthquake alert system


[Roteno's] submission for the 555 timer design contest is an Internet connected earthquake alert system. It monitors the USGS website for earthquake data and plays a tune when an earthquake occurs. The data is available as a feed in the form of a TXT file which is pretty easy to parse using cURL. He chose an LPCXpresso board (which is an ARM development platform that can run a Linux kernel) along with an XPORT module to handle the Ethernet traffic.

So where does the 555 timer see some action? It is responsible for playing the tone when an earthquake is detected. But playing just one pitch isn’t much fun. Instead, [Roteno] built the circuit above which creates a resistor network switched by a series of transistors. This way he can use GPIO from the microcontroller to choose different pitches. Check out the video after the break to hear the results. At power-up all eight pitches are played as a test, and the alert sound varies in pitch and tempo based on the magnitude of the earthquake.

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RS232 and RS485 networking – no code required

Here’s a serial to Ethernet module that you won’t have to write firmware to build. It uses a Lantronix XPORT module which takes care of all the work for you, including an embedded webserver. Both RS232 and RS485 data buses are connected to the XPORT serial input via a level converter to step the signal down to 3.3V. This solution comes at a price because of the ethernet module, but it would make a nice prototyping tool for testing projects that work on the two serial protocols.

Internet enabled Furby


[edwindertien] sent us his project to connect a Furby to the internet. The original Furby controller was replaced with an Arduino which in turn was given ethernet connectivity via a LANTRONIX XPort serial ethernet module. This assigns the Furby an IP address which can then be accessed through a script or via a web interface. Now we want to see someone combine this idea with the arduino that sings “Daisy Bell” to make the ultimate in creepy new email notifiers.


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