Easy DIY stroboscope


Looking for something to do in his downtime, [Mista Sparkle] decided that building a simple stroboscope was in order. He already had a set of six LEDs connected to his Arduino from a previous project, so he added a potentiometer to control the rate at which the LEDs flashed, and dug into the IDE.

During his build he discovered that using the Arduino millis() function at high speeds provides terrible resolution, while using the micros() function exclusively limits his low end measuring capabilities. He desired a better range of measurement, so his program was broken into main functions: One which measures the LED flashing frequency in milliseconds and another that measures the LED flashing frequency in microseconds. This allowed him to gauge rotational frequencies from 577 to 30,000 RPM.

[Mista Sparkle] admits that he is not yet well-versed in driving displays with the Arduino, so he views his readings over a serial connection on his PC. Hopefully we’ll see an updated version with those features in the near future.


A hot topic in the gadget world right now is the Sony Ericsson XperiaPlay phone, and while that is not our usual cup of tea, when we see the newest toy stripped down to its bits n pieces it piques our interest.

This 8 page teardown of the XperiaPlay (google translated to english) takes you though all the steps needed to dismantle your new joy. Every screw, clip, header and connector, each in order so you can get it back together again.

As the carnage progresses time is taken to point out some of the parts of the phone. From the mundane like I/O jacks, to the more interesting like the Synaptics touch pad driver that are handling the “analog” sticks, the Cypress multi-touch controller for the screen, and of course, the brains.

(thanks Frogz)

Mystery Box out of Lego

[Todd] recently completed completed his biggest LEGO project, and its pretty wild. The Mystery Box is an 8 compartment LEGO brick puzzle box, covered in a psychedelic pattern of interconnecting question marks.

The question mark pattern was inspired by a few things, the book called “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” contained an illustration that looked sort of like a M.C. Escher painting, which with some looking around brought up tessellation. With the look in mind [Todd] sat down with a paint program, drew out a grid, and started flood filling blocks until the pattern was perfect.

In puzzle box tradition, to gain access to the contents you must remove each compartment in the specific mystery order, and to accomplish this was no easy task. Lego Digital Designer was used to prototype everything on the box and then once happy, [Todd] broke the model down for a parts count.

Nearly 8,000 parts, 35 brick orders, and some long waits, the box was finally completed and its definetly worth a look. If you’re not that extreme, they also make cool electronics enclosures.

MIDI controller fit for an arcade


MIDI controllers can be relatively expensive depending on feature sets and requirements, so Instructables user [fraganator] went about building one on his own for just under $100. He originally wanted to replicate a commercially available MIDI controller, which used arcade buttons in lieu of the more common rubberized buttons, since they are large and have a better feel when pressed. Once he drew up plans for his MIDI clone, he realized he wanted more features in his controller than were available in the commercial version, so he started revising.

His final plan included three rows of four arcade buttons as well as four rotary and two sliding potentiometers. All of the components were mounted in a small keyboard enclosure, then wired to an Arduino clone, which manages all of the controller’s functions. The controller is connected to a PC via USB and can perform any number of operations once the buttons are mapped in MIDI-compatible software.

There are no videos of the controller in action just yet, though [fraganator] says one is forthcoming.