Humanity thus far has supplied most of its electricity needs by burning stuff, mostly very old stuff that burns great but is hard to replace. That stuff is getting increasingly expensive, and the pollution is a bother too, so renewable sources of energy are becoming more popular.
While wind or solar power are commonly used at the grid level, one Glasgow nightclub has taken a different tack. It’s capturing energy from its patrons to help keep the lights on.
Continue reading “Dancers Now Help Power Glasgow Nightclub”
Ferrofluids, as the name implies, are liquids that respond to magnetic fields. They were originally developed for use by NASA as rocket fuel but are available to the general public now for anyone who wants to enjoy their unique properties. For [Dakd Jung], that meant building a special chamber into a Bluetooth speaker that causes the ferrofluid inside to dance along with the rhythm of the music.
This project isn’t quite as simple as pushing the ferrofluid container against a speaker, though. A special electromagnetic device similar to a speaker was used specifically to manipulate the fluid, using a MSGEQ7 equalizer to provide the device with only a specific range of frequencies best tailored for the fluid’s movement. The project includes two speakers for playing the actual music that point upward, and everything is housed inside of a 3D-printed case. There were some additional hurdles to overcome as well, like learning that the glass needed a special treatment to keep the ferrofluid from sticking to it.
All in all it’s a unique project that not only brings sound to a room but a pleasing physical visualization as well. Being able to listen to music or podcasts on a portable speaker, rather than the tinny internal speakers of a phone or laptop, is the sort of thing you think you can live without until you get used to having higher quality sound easily and in every place you go. And, if there’s a way to improve on that small but crucial foundation with something like a dancing ferrofluid that moves with the music the speaker is playing, then we’re going to embrace that as well.
Although it might be more accurate to say that this chair dances because no one is watching, the result is still a clever project that [Igor], a maker-in-residence at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Norway, created recently. Blurring the lines between art, hack, and the ghosts from Super Mario, this chair uses an impressive array of features to “dance”, but only if no one is looking at it.
In order to get the chair to appear to dance, [Igor] added servo motors in all four legs to allow them to bend. A small non-moving dowel was placed on the inside of the leg to keep the chair from falling over during all of the action. It’s small enough that it’s not immediately noticeable from a distance, which helps maintain the illusion of a dancing chair.
From there, a Raspberry Pi 3 serves as the control center for the chair. It’s programmed in Python and runs OpenCV for face detection and uses pigpio for controlling the leg servos. There’s also a web interface for watching the camera’s output and viewing its facial recognition abilities. The web interface also allows a user to debug the program. [Igor]’s chair can process up to 3 frames per second at 800×600 pixels.
Be sure to check out the video after the break to see the chair in action. It’s an interesting piece of art, and if those dowels can support the weight of a person it would be a great addition to any home as well. If it’s not enough chair for you, though, there are some other more dangerous options out there.
Continue reading “Chair Dances Like No One Is Watching”
Sometimes, you see a lamp shade and you’re just intoxicated enough to put it on your head like a hat and dance around on the table. Other times, you see the same lamp shade, and decide to wire it up with Neopixels, an accelerometer, and an Arduino and make a flowery, motion-activated light show when you wear it as a dress. Or at least that’s what we’ve heard.
[Cheng] gets full marks for the neo-IKEA name for the project and bonus points for clean execution and some nice animations to boot. The build is straightforward: build up the lamp so that it fits around your waist, zip-tie in the RGB LED strip, and connect up accelerometer and microcontroller. A tiny bit of coding later, and you’re off to the disco. It looks like a ridiculous amount of fun, and a sweet weekend build.
Continue reading “Knappa Tutu: Some Dancing Required”
Raspberry Pi’s answer to the iMac
If you always wanted a sweet looking all-in-one computer like an iMac, but without OSX this one’s for you. [Michael Davis] glued everything you need for a Raspberry Pi computer to the back of an LCD monitor.
Dancing Japanese robot shows high creepiness factor
You’ve just got to see this one to believe it. Someone choreographed some seriously lifelike dance moves for this robot. [Thanks – via Dr. GIY’s blog]
Helper script to install MSPGCC
The repositories available to Ubuntu are nice, but if you want to get the newest version of the GCC toolchain for MSP430 microcontrollers you’re going to need to do the compilation yourself. [Jose] is trying to make the process a bit easier with this helper script which download and installs MSPGCC Uniarch.
Easy reset for WRT-54G routers
The whole point of the router reset button being hard to press is so you don’t hit it by accident. But the difficulty of getting to it drove [Noah] crazy so he added his own easy to reach replacement.
Camera stabilization tips
This is a public service to amateur videographers. You don’t need expensive equipment to make a video without nausea inducing shakes. Try out these simple camera stabilization tips. You can use a tripod as a counterweight, or a piece of 2×4 to give the point-and-shoot a dual grip.
[Kevin Harrington] throws a curve ball with this skeleton in a coffin. Instead of going for the cheap scare, he conjures memories of old cartoons when the bony figure puts on a song and dance. When activated it leans forward to hang out of the coffin donning a tattered tuxedo and top hat. You can hear the servos working as they give jerky yet realistic motion to the tune “Hello! Ma Baby” in the true Michigan J. Frog style. Classic!
He figures it took about $36 in parts to put the skeleton together plus the DyIO module to control it from a PC. Four servos are used in total, connected to the skeleton with some steel cable. Connecting it via a computer makes it a bit easier to synchronize music with motion than just using a microcontroller capable of playing back audio would have been. Code is available from the site linked at the top, and a demo video is embedded after the break.
This would also have been possible by using an Arduino as a DMX controller.
Continue reading “Skeleton Does A Looney Tunes Style Song And Dance”
[Ruyck] sent us this video of his mini Keepon robot. For those who haven’t been initiated, Keepon is a very emotive, and extremely expensive, dancing robot. He is deceptively simple looking, but as you can see in [Ruyck]’s version, it is fairly complex. [Ruyck] has used a mini RC collective pitch helicopter assembly for the motion, which makes controlling it fairly intuitive. At first, we were not too impressed with [Ruyck]’s final implementation, which you can see along with a comparison video of Keepon after the break. Then we realized, all he as to do is find a way to attach the bottom of the foam body to the base to achieve much more of the squash and stretch motion of keepon. A little creative programming and this little fellow could be made autonomous and synchronized to music.
Continue reading “Keepon, Eat Your Heart Out”