Update: Realtime 3D For You Too!

[Kyle McDonald] has kept himself busy working on 3D scanning in realtime. He’s posted a writeup that takes us through the concepts, tools, and assembly of a DIY 3d scanning camera. You should remember a preview of this method posted earlier this month, but now it’s time to build your own. You’ll need a camera, a projector, and some open source software to process the image data. Using these simple tools, [Kyle] turned out much better video than before. Take a look after the break to see his results from scanning at 60 fps using a PS3 Eye. The trick to this setup is getting the correct synchronization between the projector and the camera, something that could be improved with a bit of extra hacking.

Does [Kyle’s] name sound familiar? It should, he’s got a long history of quality hacks that we’ve featured over the years. If you’re looking to use a scanner as a multitouch, add some music to tea time, or play with your skittles his work will give you a shove in the right direction.

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RFID Meets Open Sound Control

Have you been working on a MIDI controller that uses RFID to identify and control different instruments? No? Neither have we but now we’re going to have to look into it. That’s because [Martin.K] has done a lot of the work for us. His nfOSC package links an RFID reader to the Open Sound Control library.

In the video after the break we see [Martin] placing RFID tags onto a Touchatag reader. With each addition, his software triggers a tag add event that OSC picks up and translates to a midi event; in this case it adds a new instrument to the mix. Can this be used to relieve musicians from staring at computer screens during performances? What if there was a small shelf in front of you? As you happily play your electric Didgeridoo, small items with RFID tags on them can be added or removed from that shelf to change the samples that are triggered when toiling away on that sonic weapon. This should be fun!

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TF2 Kill Counter, Binary Style


After getting some fun new toys for Christmas, [IceColdFreezie] set up this kill counter for Team Fortress 2. At first glance, we weren’t that impressed. It’s an Arduino and a few LEDs. Then we saw that it was counting the kills in binary. We’re not sure if it gets much geekier than that. You can download the source code and try it out yourself. Just don’t make more than 31 kills.

[via littlebirdceo]

Simplest Most Useless Machine


[Brett] posted about his most useless machine build. His project gives us a chance to massacre the language in the title because it uses the lowest parts count we’ve see with these machines. The logic is controlled by our friend, the 555 timer. Add to that just one servo motor, two switches, three resistors, two caps, a diode, and a battery pack and you’re in business. The hardest part to find locally is the servo but check at a hobby/RC store. If you don’t have to put in a parts order this can be your next impulse project.

UAV Reigns Down Vengeance Upon Thee

An unemployed electrical engineer can be a very dangerous thing. [Cybrown] has turned his skills toward darker, more awesome applications by building an armed unmanned aerial vehicle. This is a remote control airplane that has a movable camera mounted in the cockpit. Video and GPS data are sent back to the pilot who views the picture via a wearable display. We’re betting this doesn’t have the range that the 100km UAV did, but that’s good because this one brings doom from the skies. Check the wings in the picture above, this RC is fireworks-enable. We’ve embedded flight footage and attack video after the break.

Update: Here is a forum post covering this nugget of awesome. There are just a few details but the entire thread is interesting. Someone pointed this out in the comments but they don’t get credit because they didn’t leave a link.

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GSM Cracked

[Karsten Nohl], with a group of security researchers has broken the A5/1 Stream Cipher behind GSM. Their project web site discusses their work and provides slides(pdf) presented at 26C3. A5/1 has had known vulnerabilities for some time now and is scheduled to be phased out for the newer KASUMI or A5/3 block cipher. This should be an interesting time in the cell phone business.

Thanks to [Tyco] and [MashupMark] for pointing us to this story.

Location Tracking Using IR Throwies

[Joe] and his team hacked together some location tracking using IR throwies for their final project. The challenge they undertook was to find a way to track the orientation of a sculpture in the form of a rotating metal cube. The end result dips its toe into the augmented reality pool but the methods are what interest us.

They wanted this to work day or night so contrast would be a major issue if working completely with image manipulation. Having a simple way to pick out the corners of the monotone block would make this process a breeze. They ended up using magnetic throwies that have an infrared LED which can easily be picked up by a webcam no matter what the ambient light issues happen to be.

After the break you can see these guys out in the wild testing the system. We’d like to note the diffusers used in the project. We’re used to seeing ping-pong balls as diffusers but this is the first time we’ve noticed Styrofoam balls being used.

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