Interview: [Vladimir Demin] the creator of the player guitar

We have been amazed by [Vladimir Demin]’s work twice now. Originally, with his automatic Bayan, and more recently with his amazing automatic guitar. What you didn’t get to see was how pleasant ant fun [Valdimir] was in his email correspondence with us. You will get a chance though, because [Vladimir] agreed to answer some questions for us in an impromptu email interview. Join us after the break to get to know this fascinating gentleman a little bit better.

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Lego for girls? [Limor] has some ideas.

When Lego announced that they were going to do a series of “Lego for girls”, many of us didn’t get it. When we were kids(get off my lawn!), legos were completely asexual. At least, that’s how my mind saw them, being a caucasian male. While the idea itself makes sense in marketing terms, the products they rolled out were stuck firmly in the same old gender roles. Pink abounds and flowers are prevalent. There’s nothing wrong with little girls being into those things, but it is sad when that is the only option ever presented. To attempt a parallel, I’m not into sports, and I can tell you that the availability of scientific role models kept me sane through many tough periods of life.

[Limor], who you may recognize as the brains behind Adafruit has proposed the set you see above which puts another option out there. They’ve entered the set into the Lego Cuusoo site, where it could become a real product if it earns enough votes. Here is another nice idea for female lego sets being proposed, that shows females in realistic roles such as a chemist and archaeologist .  I’m kind of surprised that I don’t see [Amelia Earhart] or [Ada Lovelace] herself anywhere in the list.

Gender roles aside, who is going to build the ultimate [Nikola Tesla] kit for us?

Review and a build: Makey Makey, a banana piano, and Mario

We’ve been getting a lot of emails on the Hackaday tip line about the Makey Makey. This business-card sized circuit board turns everything – bananas, Play-Doh, water, and people – into a touch interface.

There have been a ton of blogs that have written about the Makey Makey Kickstarter and debut at the Bay Area Maker Faire, but Hackaday has been mum on the pending release of the Makey Makey. There’s a reason for that: [Jay] and [Eric], the MIT Media Lab rats who came up with the Makey Makey, offered to send a demo board out to somebody at Hackaday. Well, here’s the review of all the cool stuff you can make with the Makey Makey.

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Making music with radiation

[Jeff Keyser] from got a chance to show off this interesting take on ambient music. He’s using his geiger counter kit to detect beta and gamma radiation. This then sends a pulse down the line to an Arduino to turn it into a musical note. The geiger counters put out a 3v pulse though, so he first has to run this through a 74Ls04, which spits out the 5V the arduino wants. He’s admittedly no musician, but you can hear in the video it sounds fine. Especially considering they are all just C in different octaves. Those of us that are musicians probably would have gone with a B#.

The ambient noise is interesting, but when you realize it is due to radioactive decay, it becomes somehow more attention getting. We often forget about the invisible world around us. He even drops a few Uranium marbles onto the geiger counters to spice things up.

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Classic VW bug stereo gets Bluetooth

If any of you deal with older car fanatics, you’ll know that the original dash stereo is a coveted piece of equipment. If they haven’t been removed and replaced with something more modern over the years, they’re usually non functional. [Hadrien] has gone through some trouble to retain his original stereo in his 69 Volkswagen Beetle. First, he did a common hack we see even in modern cars. He added an auxiliary input.

This satiated his desire for modern audio for a while, but he really found the necessity for a cable attachment annoying. He decided he was going to add bluetooth (google translated from french).  To do this, he took a pair of bluetooth headphones and tore them apart. Using an old cassette tape as the case, he rebuilt them as something that could be wired directly to his dash stereo. He even kept the mic just in case he wanted to use this as a hands free device.

Being build in 1969, his car stereo doesn’t use a cassette, so he just keeps it in the glove box. This isn’t optimal, but as he says, at least he doesn’t have to plug in his phone.