Texel: Art Tracks You, Tracks Time

French robot-artist [Lyes Hammadouche]  tipped us off to one of his latest works: a collaboration with [Ianis Lallemand] called Texel. A “texel” is apparently a time-pixel, and the piece consists of eight servo-controlled hourglasses that can tip themselves over in response to viewers walking in front of them. Besides making graceful wavelike patterns when people walk by, they also roughly record the amount of time that people have spent looking at the piece — the hourglasses sit straight up when nobody’s around, resulting in a discrete spatial representation of people’s attentions to the piece: texels.

We get jealous when we see artists playing around with toys like these. Texel uses LIDAR scanners, Kalman-filtered naturally, to track the viewers. openFrameworks, OpenCV, and ROS. In short, everything you’d need to build a complex, human-interactive piece like this using completely open-source tools from beginning to end. Respect!

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Retro TV Breathes New Life with a Raspberry Pi

There’s just something so satisfying about industrial design from the years past. [Kenneth] found an old “portable” tube TV and decided to give it a little upgrade so he could keep it around the house.

It was a black and white Singer TV, with a whopping 6″ tube display. Using his trusty screwdriver set he took the whole thing apart, keeping only the frame and outer casing. Inside he jammed a 5″ LCD display, a Raspberry Pi and a power supply — with some room to spare. He also replaced the speakers with some upgraded baby woofers and an audio amp for the Pi.

The end result is a pretty snazzy little device capable of playing movies, games, or hypothetically, even as an all-in-one computer — but who actually uses a Raspberry Pi as their daily driver? Especially one with only a 5″ display…

But it’s a cutie, and sits nicely on the coffee table. For a larger retro TV rework, we’re quite partial to this conversion of a Philco TV (a sub-brand of Phillips) with a flat panel LCD.

[via r/Raspberry_Pi]

Aircraft Hackchat This Thursday

This Thursday, December 10th at 5pm PST we will be hosting a live HackChat about aircraft. If it’s man-made and it files, it’s on topic! Full scale and model planes, helicopters, multicopters, gyros, blimps and gliders will be on the agenda. Our host this week will be Hackaday Community Editor [Adam Fabio] who is also the author of this well-written blog entry. In addition to being an electrical engineer, [Adam] brings 30 years of experience as a Radio Control model enthusiast. Over the years he’s worked as a professional R/C Blimp Pilot for the New York Islanders Hockey team and as an aerial photographer. On the full-scale aircraft side, he’s designed radar and air traffic control software used to keep the skies safe over land and sea.

Aircraft HackChat starts Thursday at 5pm PST (here’s a timezone cheat sheet if you need it). Participating in this live chat is very simple. Those who are already part of the Hacker Channel can simply click on theTeam Messaging button. If you’re not part of the channel, just go to the hacker Channel page, scroll to the bottom of the “TEAM” list in the left sidebar and click “Request to join this project”.

HackChat takes place in the Hacker Channel every few weeks and is a friendly place to talk about engineering and the projects you’re working on.

Impressive NFC Controlled Infinity Mirror Table Cuts No Corners

If you’re looking to add a bit of the future to your living room, you might want to look at this tutorial to build a very professional infinity mirror table.

It’s an IKEA RAMVIK coffee table, modified to include RGB LEDs and a one-way mirror for that ever-so-awesome infinity effect. And technically, you only have to cut one hole in the table.

By placing a large mirror underneath the glass, wrapping the inner edge with a strip of RGB LEDs and coating the original glass top with a reflective car tint, it’s a pretty simple hack that results in a very polished product — not something that can be said for most of our projects!  But to make it even better, [Pierre] added an NFC chip under the table, allowing you to control the color with just a tap.

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Noah Feehan and the Mind of the Maker

Too often we find ourselves featuring projects on these pages without giving much thought behind the people who made them. Nevertheless, behind the LED panels, github pages, and PCBs that make the hardware magic happen, there’s a person. And not just one person but an entire culture of people who let their conscious hours bleed late into the night over software bugs and bad solder joints. Noah Feehan is one of these veterans, and at this year’s Hackaday SuperConference, he reached out to this culture. Noah comes armed not with projects but with design tips and an infectious enthusiasm that will make you rethink how you use your time and space in the land of DIY. Armed with ten years of experience in art and engineering design, Noah delivers his best tips for fellow hackers. Spare yourself hours of confusion during future builds; kick back, and treat yourself to a few tips from a pro on keeping things together.

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Raspberry Pi $2 WiFi Through Epic SDIO Hack

These are the times that we live in: the Raspberry Pi Zero comes out — a full freaking Linux computer on a chip for $5 — and people complain that it doesn’t have this or that. Top place on the list of desiderata is probably a tie between audio out and WiFi connectivity. USB is a solution for both of these, but with one USB port it’s going to be a scarce commodity, so any help is welcome.

Hackaday.io hacker [ajlitt] is looking for a way out of the WiFi bind. His solution? The Raspberry Pi series of chips has a special function on a bunch of the GPIO pins that make it easier to talk to SDIO devices. SDIO is an extension of the SPI-like protocol that’s used with SD memory cards. The idea with SDIO was that you could plug a GPS or something into your PDA’s SD card slot. We don’t have PDAs anymore, but the SDIO spec remains.

[ajlitt] dug up an SDIO driver for the ESP8089 chip, and found that you can liberate the ESP8266’s SPI bus by removing a flash memory chip that’s taking up the SPI lines. Connect the SPI lines on the ESP8266 to the SDIO lines on the Raspberry Pi, and the rest is taken care of by the drivers. “The rest”, by the way, includes bringing the ESP’s processor up, dumping new firmware into it over the SPI/SDIO lines to convince it to act as an SDIO WiFi adapter, and all the rest of the hardware communication stuff that drivers do.

The result is WiFi connectivity without USB, requiring only some reasonably fine-pitch soldering, and unlike this hack you don’t have to worry about USB bus contention. So now you can add a $2 WiFi board to you $5 computer and you’ve still got the USB free. It’s not as fast as a dedicated WiFi dongle, but it gets the job done. Take that, Hackaday’s own [Rud Merriam]!

Thanks [J0z0r] for the tip!

Embed with Elliot: Debounce your Noisy Buttons, Part I

“Psst…hey buddy! Wanna see the sweetest little debouncing routine this side of Spokane? C’mon over here. Step right over those bit-shift operators, they don’t bite. Now look at this beauty right here: I call her The Ultimate Debouncer(tm)!”

Everybody who works with microcontrollers eventually runs into the issue of switch bounce or “chatter”, and nearly everyone has their own favorite solution. Some fix it in hardware, others fix it in software. Some hackers understand chatter, and others just cut-and-paste the classic routines. Some folks even try to ignore it, and they might even get lucky, but everyone’s luck runs out sometimes.

In the next two “Embed with Elliot” installments, I’ll look a little bit at bouncing, look into doing hardware debouncing both the simple way and the right way, and build up a basic software routine that demonstrates some of the principles and which works just fine, though it’s not optimized. We’ll be laying the groundwork.

In the next installment, I’ll let you in on my personal favorite debounce routine. It’s a minor tweak on a standard, but with some special sauce that’s worth spreading around. I’ll call it the Ultimate Debouncer(tm), but will it stand up to the scrutiny of the Hackaday commenteers? (How’s that for a cliffhanger?!?)

For now, though, let’s look into switch bounce and the standard ways to fix it in hardware and software.

Continue reading “Embed with Elliot: Debounce your Noisy Buttons, Part I”