Oscilloscope And Microscope Augmented With Ghosts

Augmented reality saw a huge boom a few years ago, where an image of the real world has some virtual element layer displayed on top of it. To get this effect to work, however, you don’t need a suite of software and smart devices. [elad] was able to augment a microscope with the output from an oscilloscope, allowing him to see waveforms while working on small printed circuit boards with the microscope.

The build relies on a simplified version of the Pepper’s Ghost illusion. This works by separating two images with a semi-transparent material such as glass, placed at an angle. When looking through the material, the two images appear to blend together. [elad] was able to build a box that attaches to the microscope with a projection of the oscilloscope image augmented on the view of the microscope.

This looks like it would be incredibly useful for PCBs, especially when dealing with small SMD components. The project is split across two entries, the second of which is here. In one demonstration the oscilloscope image is replaced with a visual of a computer monitor, so it could be used for a lot more applications than just the oscilloscope, too. There aren’t a lot of details on the project page though, but with an understanding of Pepper’s Ghost this should be easily repeatable. If you need more examples, there are plenty of other builds that use this technique.

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Making Aerogel, It’s Not For The Faint-Hearted

Aerogel — that mixture of air and silica — is one of those materials that seems like a miracle. It is almost not there since the material is 99% air. [NileRed] wanted to make his own and he documented his work in a recent video you can see below.

If you decide to replicate his result, be careful with the tetramethyl orthosilicate. Here’s what he says about it:

And the best part is, that when it’s in your eyes, it gets under the surface, and the particles are way too small to remove. For this reason, you could go permanently blind.

It can also mess up your lungs, so you probably need a vent hood to really work with this. It isn’t cheap, either. The other things you need are easier to handle: methanol, distilled water, and ammonia.

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A Touchless Handwashing Timer Comes In Handy

In 2020, it’s no longer enough to simply wash your hands. You’ve got to do it right. Proper process involves rubbing soap and water over every surface of your hands, and taking a full 20 seconds to do the job. While many recommend singing various popular songs to keep time, that can be more than a little embarassing in shared spaces. [Alex Glow] instead created this simple timer to help out.

The timer is built on the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, a devboard that features 10 RGB LEDs already onboard, making the project a cinch. It also comes with a MEMS microphone and a light sensor all ready to go. Thus, with a bit of code, [Alex] was able to create a timer activated by a loud noise, such as clapping. Once detected, the timer starts, flashing its LEDs to indicate time remaining. There’s also a nightlight feature, which activates when light levels decrease, making it easier to navigate the bathroom in the dark.

It’s a useful little project for these troubled times, and one that makes great use of everything onboard the Circuit Playground Express. Having everything included certainly does make projects come together quickly. You can even program it from your phone! Video after the break.

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LED Heart Beats With The Beholder

Many a maker likes to use their craft to create gifts for loved ones. [Jiří Praus] was celebrating having been married for 5 years, and crafted this beautiful LED heart sculpture to commemorate the occasion.

The outer shell was created by first starting with a 3D printed heart shape. This was used as a form upon which the brass wire could be soldered together to form an attractive heart-shaped cage. Inside, an Arduino Nano is hooked up to a series of WS2812b LEDs. The LEDs are flashed in time with the heartbeat of the person holding the heart, thanks to a MAX30102 heartbeat sensor. There’s also a TP4056 charge module and a small lithium battery to provide power for the device.

Adding the heartbeat sensor really makes this project shine, forming a connection between the holder and the device itself. The tasteful craftsmanship of the brass design makes this an excellent gift, one we’re sure anyone would like to receive. We’ve seen [Jiří Praus] make the most of this artform before too, with projects like this stunning tulip or dead-bug Arduino. Video after the break.  Continue reading “LED Heart Beats With The Beholder”

Charging Pad Flips For Solar Power

Charging pads are now a common, popular way to charge small devices. They have the benefit of reducing wear on connectors and being easier to use. [bcschmi6] decided to build a solar powered charging pad, which should come in handy when out and about.

The build uses a 3 W square solar panel, hooked up to an Adafruit solar charging board. This charges a pair of 18650 lithium batteries. The batteries only put out a maximum of 4.2 V, so they’re hooked up to a boost converter to get the output a little higher, up to 5.2 V. The output of the boost converter is then hooked up to a charging pad harvested from an Anker charger, and it’s all wrapped up in a tidy 3D printed frame.

We imagine the device would be great for camping. It could be left charging in the sun during the day, before being flipped over and used as a charging pad at night. It would be easy to build a bigger version for charging several phones at once, too. If you want to build your own charging coils, that’s a thing, too. And if you’ve got your own solar project cooking up as we head into summer, be sure to let us know!

Cellular Tracking Used During COVID-19 Pandemic

As most in the technology community know, nation states have a suite of powerful tools that can be used to trace and monitor mobile phones. By and large, this comes up in discussions of privacy and legislation now and then, before fading out of the public eye once more. In the face of a global pandemic, however, governments are now using these tools in the way many have long feared – for social control. Here’s what’s happening on the ground.

The Current Situation

With COVID-19 sweeping the globe, its high level of contagiousness and rate of hospitalizations has left authorities scrambling to contain the spread. Unprecedented lockdowns have been put in place in an attempt to flatten the curve of new cases to give medical systems the capacity to respond. A key part of this effort is making sure that confirmed cases respect quarantine rules, and isolate themselves to avoid spreading the disease. Rules have also been put in place in several countries where all overseas arrivals must quarantine, regardless of symptoms or status. Continue reading “Cellular Tracking Used During COVID-19 Pandemic”

Hackaday Podcast 061: Runaway Soldering Irons, Open Source Ventilators, 3D Printed Solder Stencils, And Radar Motion

Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams sort through the hardware hacking gems of the week. There was a kerfuffle about whether a ventilator data dump from Medtronics was open source or not, and cool hacks from machine-learning soldering iron controllers to 3D-printing your own solder paste stencils. A motion light teardown shows it’s not being done with passive-infrared, we ask what’s the deal with Tim Berners-Lee’s decentralized internet, and we geek out about keyboards that aren’t QWERTY.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (74.1 MB)

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