Fog Horn Built From Plumbing Supplies


Instructables user [rog8811] was looking to build a fog horn that resembled hand-pumped units found on small ships in the early to mid 1900s. His budget was a bit limited, so he set off to build the cheapest replica possible.

While the original horns were likely constructed from steel, copper and wood, he opted to use cheap plumbing components he found at his local hardware store. He used a simple double-acting air pump to drive the horn, combining it with a slightly modified bottle trap. The trap was shortened, and a diaphragm cut from a dish washing glove was added to generate sound.

He added a few more pieces of PVC piping to enhance the output, giving him the results you see in the video below. He says that the best thing about his design is the ability to easily tweak the pitch and volume of the horn by simply adding different drain components to the pump.

Watch out vuvuzela, there’s a new cheap and annoying horn on the block!

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Alarm Clock Forces You To Play Tetris To Prove You Are Awake


Oversleeping sucks, but we’ve all been there. Whether its a matter of hitting the snooze button a dozen times too many, or turning off the alarm and drifting back to sleep – sooner or later, you are going to wake up late.

Instructables user [nolte919] has overslept a time or two in his life, and he set out to design a clock that would make it nearly impossible to wake up late. His clock is Arduino-based and shares many features with off the shelf models including multiple alarms, a backup battery, and snooze features. His alarm however goes one step further and ensures you are fully awake each morning.

If you hit the user-defined snooze limit, the alarm sounds and will not turn off until you have cleared 4 lines in Tetris. That’s right, you have to prove to the clock that you are awake and coherent before it will shut off. Technically you can silence the alarm for a 30 second period so you can focus on Tetris, but that’s all the break you get.

It really is a novel way of ensuring you are awake in the morning, and heck, how bad can the day be when you start off by playing video games for a few minutes?

Stick around to see a quick video of his Tetris alarm clock in action.

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CEE Is A Swiss Army Knife For Analog Electronics

The team at nonolith labs announced their CEE, a device for billed as, “an analog buspirate” that is meant to control, experiment, and explore the world of analog electronics. Nonolith labs started a kickstarter campaign for the CEE.

The CEE is capable of sub-millivolt and milliamp sampling at 44.1k samples/second, and sourcing 2 channels of 5V @ 2A with a little bit of soldering. This allows for precise control of motors and sensors with the web-based UI. We’re thinking this would be a great way to teach high schoolers the art of electronics, and would be great combined with a few lectures from Paul Horowitz.

The CEE ties into nonolith labs Pixelpulse, a pretty handy tool for visualizing analog and digital signals. You can check out a demo of Pixelpulse simulating a charging capacitor here.

We’re hoping this focus on education on analog electronics catches on – you can learn a lot more by building a 555-based mini Segway than you can slapping a microcontroller in every project. This would go under the same theory as, “any idiot can count to one.”

Check out the video of the CEE on the kickstarter campaign page.