Adding Remote Touch Control To The Kaoss Pad


[Munki] enjoys using his Kaoss Pad MIDI controller to add a new dimension to his music while playing guitar. The only thing that bothers him about the Kaoss Pad interface is that it can be difficult to trigger or alter effects in the middle of a bitchin’ guitar solo. He started looking around to see if there was a way to control the Kaoss Pad wirelessly via a touchscreen and found that with a little tweaking, his iPhone was a perfect candidate for the job.

He grabbed a copy of TouchOSC from the AppStore and configured it to communicate with his computer. After building an interface for his iPhone, he taped it to his guitar and gave it a try. Everything seemed to work pretty well, but he didn’t stop there – he also wanted to control Ableton Live and Max MSP from his iPhone. It took a bit of research and some tinkering with the Live API, but he eventually got everything working together nicely as you can see in the video below.

If you are interested in trying this out yourself, he has several useful links throughout his article, and he has made his TouchOSC/Max MSP patch available for download as well.

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Quick Hack Disables IPod Dock Auto-standby


[Aaron] wrote in to share with us a quick hack that has made his life a little easier. He bought a Rocketfish RF-HV3 portable iPod dock to listen to his music, but he wanted to utilize it as an alarm clock as well. He also found that the speakers worked quite well when he hooked up his Yaesu handheld transmitter to the dock.

The only problem he had with it was that the dock would automatically power down when there was no input for 5 minutes. That’s fine when the dock is running on batteries, but if [Aaron] was going to use it as an alarm clock or to listen to his HAM radio, that simply wouldn’t do.

He pulled the dock apart and started poking around with his DSO Nano scope. He found that if pin 16 stays low for 5 minutes, it turns off the dock even if there is a signal coming through. His fix for the problem was actually quite simple – all he did was solder the VDD pin to the pin in question, and the 5-minute timeout was disabled.

We’re glad that [Aaron] was able to solve his problem in such an easy manner – it just goes to show what you can do with a scope and a few minutes’ time.

Thrift Store Hard Drive Enclosure

[Ken] visited our site looking for case modding stuff a little while back, but more importantly he came back to show off his latest project. Using a jewelry box found at our favorite place, the thrift store, he converted it into a 2.5 inch USB drive enclosure.

Almost instantly he found that this particular jewelry box is a perfect fit for a 2.5 inch SATA laptop drive. Taking that as a sign he whipped up some acrylic mounts and cut some holes for power and USB . The electronics are provided by another enclosure with a dead drive, again acrylic is used to insulate the drive from the decorative metal box and some rubber washers were used to help cancel out vibrations and noise.

The end result is a classy looking 150gig usb drive that looks nice on the desk, and a little reminder that if your not hitting up your local thrift / second hand stores, you could be missing out on some real gems.

Scout, The Autonomous Transatlantic Boat


Sailing a small boat across the Atlantic ocean is quite the daunting task. As many have discovered, it is a journey often fraught with perils, typically ending in failure. A team of four college students decided the best way to get a small boat across the ocean would be to remove the human element from the process, so they set off to build an autonomous craft to take on the task.

Like most projects, this one started as a handful of wild ideas exchanged between friends [Dylan Rodriguez and Max Kramers]. As they thought about it more, they decided that turning [Max’s] sailboat into an autonomous ocean-going craft would be pretty awesome, so they got to work. Recruiting help from their friends [Brendan Prior and Ricky Lyman], the project started to quickly take shape, and Scout was born.

Scout is 8 feet long and consists of foam core covered in carbon fiber. It is filled with various electronic components such as a SPOT tracker, a battery bank that will power the boat for up to 25 hours, and the various servos and motors which will be used to pilot the craft.

It’s a rather ambitious project, though the boat is nearly complete – just in time for their launch, slated for May 29th. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this project as the launch date approaches – good luck guys!

Head on over to their Kickstarter page to see a promo video introducing Scout.

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3D Printed Strandbeests Made To Order


If you love Strandbeests but don’t have the patience to build your own, Dutch artist [Theo Jansen] has you covered. You might remember him from a story we ran last year, detailing his awesome beach-going strandbeest creations.

His beach walkers are typically built out of PVC conduit and plastic tubing, towering over their creator. For the time being however, he is focusing his work on a much smaller scale. [Theo] has recently teamed up with a 3D printing shop in order to offer miniature working replicas of his creations to the public. The current models can be had for $105, which seems like a pretty steep price to us. Then again, these models come fully assembled and are composed of 76 individual pieces, which is nothing to sneeze at.

That said, considering how easily a Strandbeest can be created with a stack of thick paper and some free time, we imagine that an enterprising individual could build one using readily available plastics at a fraction of the cost. Anyone out there up for giving it a shot?

Continue reading to see a video of the Strandbeest creation process.

[via Gizmodo]

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Isolation Transformer 101

[Todd Harrison] has released a ~50 minute video covering everything you want to know about Isolation Transformers for protecting yourself and your costly equipment. Admittedly I have not given the subject much thought, but if you need to measure high voltages you should probably watch this video.

[Todd] Explains the differences between different types of transformers, including cost, why you would want one, safety and plenty of theory. Whiteboard in hand, all the details are clearly explained. If that’s not enough to convince you, there are some fun “don’t try this at home” experiments that hit the point home.

He has a pretty beefy 8 amp 40 lb monster that cost a fairly large amount, though its worth it to be safe. Unless you think you’re going to need that type of amperage, you wold probably be fine with a smaller model. The product shown in the video is a hospital grade, and requires a mod to make it safe for your bench. [Todd] explains that mod as well. Even if your not planning to do this, its still cool to see a transformer bigger than your hand. Plus it makes a pretty cool sound.

Join us after the break for the video.

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Flinging Birds And Slaying Pigs With Your Thoughts


[Rafael Mizrahi and Anat Sambol] decided that Angry Birds was missing one crucial element – mind control. They grabbed a copy of the game for their netbook and [Rafael] strapped on an Emotiv EPOC headset to see if he could play it without using a mouse or keyboard. While he was able to move the cursor around with his thoughts, he found that Emotiv’s EmoKey software lacked any sort of mouse button support. Undaunted, they turned to the Internet for help and found that he could map the Emotiv’s output to his mouse via another application, GlovePie.

As you can see in the video below their efforts were successful, though we doubt [Rafael] will be completely giving up his mouse just yet. With some more refinement, we imagine [Rafael] will be blasting pigs to kingdom come in no time.

If you are interested in trying this yourself, be aware that only the SDK version of the EPOC headset can be paired with 3rd party applications, the standard consumer version is locked into using solely authorized software.

Continue reading if you would like to see a video of their Angry Birds neural interface in action.

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