[Thomas] promised nearly a year ago he would give the community code and schematics of how he made his LED Multi-touch panel, but we would have to wait for his next version first. Well its finally here, bigger and better then we could ever have imagined. His new version is organized as a 48 by 32 matrix of 1536 LEDs, but he’s gone further by placing it behind a stripped LCD to make a multi-touch display. It doesn’t seem nearly as fast or accurate as the original, but potentially could be more portable than ones we’ve seen before. And yes, this time around he included how his LED matrix is made.
[Vlad-Andre] used some of his free time to build an alti-variometer. He does some para-gliding near restricted air space and wanted a backup altitude warning that would help keep him below the mandated altitude. His solution uses the SparkFun Weather Board in conjunction with their BlueSMiRF dongle to measure altitude and transmit it via Bluetooth. From there, he wrote a program to grab the transmitted data with his cell phone and display the information. His application also has the ability to set altitude warnings and log changes over time.
Using this system he is able to get altitude data with 3.5 inch accuracy. Because the capture application is written in Java it should be easy enough to make this work on other cell phone models. The project is clean and works well but we estimate the cost of the parts to be between $250-300, making it out of reach for those who don’t have a specific need for these types of measurements. This is especially true for paragliders who have much less expensive options available to them.
[Andrew] wrote in to show us how he upgraded a broken Zune to solid state. He had one that was giving the Error code 5 when it booted. This means the hard drive is bad. He was able to find a compatible solid state 32Gb drive that, with a little bit of case modification, he made fit. Everything fit back into the Zune and looked completely stock. This was all done for less than $130. He seems pretty proud of getting a 32GB Zune for $150, and we don’t think that’s too big of a deal. We found a bunch of them on eBay for under $100. He even states that he doesn’t see any performance or battery life improvements. So why do we post this? Well, we like to see stuff split open and we actually like the idea of a no-moving-parts mp3 player. We’re hard on our electronics and the thought of that platter getting jarred over and over and over and over really bothers us. Great job [Andrew].
[Tom] has an office job in China. His office is cooled by a small single room air conditioner. In an effort to make his office a little more comfortable, he built this IR timer unit. It cools his office down before he gets there so he doesn’t have to wait for it in the morning. He started by decoding the IR signal from the remote for the unit. He then built this ATiny13 based remote. He notes that the internal clock of this thing isn’t that accurate. power cycling it every day seems to help. It is also pretty cool that he built the unit to not only send the cooling code, but he can switch it to the heating code for the winter.