Few mechanical clocks are silent, and many find the sounds they make pleasant. But the stately ticking of an old grandfather clock or the soothing sound of a wind-up alarm clock on the nightstand are nothing compared to the clattering cacophony that awaits [ProtoG] when he finishes the clock that this electromechanical decimal to binary to hex converter and display will be part of.
Undertaken as proof of concept before committing to a full six digit clock build, we’d say [ProtoG] is hitting the mark. Yes, it’s loud, but the sound is glorious. The video below shows the display being put through its paces, and when the clock rate ramps up, the rhythmic pulsations of the relays driving the seven-segment flip displays is hypnotizing. The relays, one per segment of the Alfa Zeta flip displays, have DPDT contacts wired to flip a segment by reversing polarity. As a work in progress, [ProtoG] hasn’t shared many more details yet, but he promises to keep us up to date on the converter aspect of the circuit. Right now it just seems like a simple but noisy driver. We’ll be following this one with interest.
Earlier this year, we mentioned in a Hackaday Links article that [Spencer Hamblin] was in the process of building a seven-segment flip clock. Well, it’s finally finished, and it looks great!
Vintage seven segment digits make up the display. These digits work the same way that flip-dot displays work – current through each segment’s coil creates a magnetic field which causes the segment to flip over. Current in the other direction creates the opposite magnetic field and flips the segment the other way. On these digits, there are three connections on the coils. The middle one is power and the other two are used to enable and disable the segment – ie., flip it one way or the other. To save on pins on the microcontroller, [Spencer] connected all the middle coil pins together on a digit. Each coil can be powered using a single pin on the microcontroller. Similarly, the segments for each digit are connected together as well, so one pin on the micro controls the same segment on each of the digits. The microcontroller in question is the AVR ATMega48.
There are two parts of the clock face left to do: AM/PM and whether the alarm is set or not. [Spencer] used a fifth digit, slightly offset, for those – the top and middle segments are used.
For the housing of the clock, [Spencer] used layers of offsetting colored wood. The wood (sapele and ash) were CNC cut and aligned. The back plate, also made from wood, holds buttons for setting the time and alarm, as well as some LEDs for what [Spencer] calls the “daylight alarm.” A capacitive sensor on the top of the unit (inside the wooden case) is used to turn the alarm off.
[Petar and Sylvain] are teaching this robot to flip pancakes. It starts with some kinesthetic learning; a human operator moves the robot arm to flip a pancake while the robot records the motion. Next, motion tracking is used so that the robot can improve during its learning process. It eventually gets the hang of it, as you can see after the break, but we wonder how this will work with real batter. This is a simulated pancake so the weight and amount at of force necessary to unstick it from the pan is always the same. Still, we loved the robotic pizza maker and if they get this to work it’ll earn a special place in our hearts.
[Yen] tipped us off about this cardboard record player. It’s a marketing tool that you receive in the mail. Inside the cardboard packaging is a record and the packaging itself can be folded into a player.
Love reading ebooks but miss flipping through the pages? [Marcin Szewczyk] developed this interface that lets you flip a couple of sheets of plastic to turn and fan through pages on the screen.
Augmented reality tat
Not interested in supporting an ink artist or just can’t decide on the design? Perhaps you should get an augmented reality marker tattooed on your arm and have the art digitally added for those who have already made the switch away from using their analog-only eyes. [Thanks DETN8R via Asylum]
Here’s another home console made into a portable. [Techknott] built this shiny GameCube handheld. You may remember him from his work on a portable Dreamcast and the wireless Xbox 360 interface. This time around he’s mirrored the finish; a good idea in concept but even his demo images are already plagued by smudges. But if you can keep your digits on the plastic buttons this makes for an eye-catching design. One part that we love is the flip-top screen that hides the optical drive. This is a much better solution than the exposed lens we saw on [Hailrazer’s] GC portable. As always, video after the break.
Flip cameras are fun and easy to use, but not particularly versatile. If you’ve had poor results at macrophotography with a Flip, you might be interested in these DIY lenses. One is macroscopic lens for taking photos and video of small things, and the other is a microscope for even smaller things.
To construct the macro lens, you’ll need a pair of binoculars, some rubber bands and paper clips. Simply remove the lenses from the front of the binoculars, complete with the plastic casings that hold them. Thread a rubber band folded in half to the plastic casing and hold it in place with small segments from the paper clip. Now place the lens in front of the Flip’s lens and secure the rubber band around the flip.
The microscope’s eyepiece uses no such attachment method, simply hold it in front of the Flip. The same process can’t be used here because getting the proper focus requires it to be held at varying distances from the camera, not flush against it like the macro lens. In any case, it’s any easy mod that should have you taking pictures of bugs and other tiny things in no time. Look after the break for video of the lenses in action.