Hidden Shaft And Gears Make This Hollow Clock Go

[shiura]’s Hollow Clock 3 is a fantastic 3D printed take on a clock movement that uses a hidden mechanism to pull off its unusual operation. The Hollow Clock has no face, just an open space with an hour and minute hand that move as expected. Only the longer minute hand has any apparent connection to the rest of the clock body, with the rest appearing to hang in the air.

Hidden shaft and gearing.

This is how it works: the longer minute hand is connected to the white ring, and it is in fact this ring that rotates, taking the attached minute hand with it. But how does the hour hand remain stationary while the rest turns? A concealed shaft and gear assembly takes care of that. For every full rotation of the minute hand (actually the white ring), the hour hand is only permitted a relative advancement of 1/12th of a rotation. It’s a clever system, and you can see the insides in the photo here.

Unlike clock projects that showcase their inner workings, the Hollow Clock works hard to conceal them. If you decide to make your own, [shiura] warns to expect to do a bit of tweaking to fine-tune the amount of friction between moving parts so that operation is smooth, and provides useful guidelines for doing so. Take a few minutes to watch the clock in action in the video, embedded below.

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a money shot of the hidden arcade

Arcade Machine Pack And Play

There’s something about the large imposing wooden box of an arcade machine that lends a confident presence to a room. The problem with a tall and heavy box is that it takes up quite a bit of space and readily draws the eye. So [Alexandre Chappel] set out to avoid that and build an arcade machine that could hide in plain sight.

Extra points awarded for neat wiring on the inside.

The idea is a wooden box hung on the wall that folds up when not in use. [Alex] starts with Baltic birch plywood cut into the panels. Next, he applies edge banding (a thin veneer with some glue on the backside) so that all the exposed edges look like natural wood. Next, a screen hole is routed into the face frame, allowing an LCD monitor to sit snuggly in. A combination of pocket holes and biscuits allows [Alex] to assemble everything with no visible screws or fasteners.

With the help of a 3D printer, he quickly fabricated a locking mechanism to keep the front panel attached when it folds up. The hinge is also 3D printed. The typical Raspberry Pi 4 powers this particular machine. Two french cleats hold the box onto the wall, and once the system is on the wall, we have to say it looks incredible.

If you’re looking for a smaller but more traditional arcade cabinet, why not take a look at this arcade cabinet for toddlers? Or, if you loved the solid wood look of the hidden arcade, this full-sized solid oak cabinet would be something you would enjoy. Video after the break.

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Take Pictures Around A Corner

One of the core lessons any physics student will come to realize is that the more you know about physics, the less intuitive it seems. Take the nature of light, for example. Is it a wave? A particle? Both? Neither? Whatever the answer to the question, scientists are at least able to exploit some of its characteristics, like its ability to bend and bounce off of obstacles. This camera, for example, is able to image a room without a direct light-of-sight as a result.

The process works by pointing a camera through an opening in the room and then strobing a laser at the exposed wall. The laser light bounces off of the wall, into the room, off of the objects on the hidden side of the room, and then back to the camera. This concept isn’t new, but the interesting thing that this group has done is lift the curtain on the image processing underpinnings. Before, the process required a research team and often the backing of the university, but this project shows off the technique using just a few lines of code.

This project’s page documents everything extensively, including all of the algorithms used for reconstructing an image of the room. And by the way, it’s not a simple 2D image, but a 3D model that the camera can capture. So there should be some good information for anyone working in the 3D modeling world as well.

Thanks to [Chris] for the tip!

Literary Camouflage For Your Router

What is suspicious about the books in the image above? Is it that there is no bookend? How about the radio waves pouring out of them? [Clay Weiland] does not like the way a bare router looks in the living room, but he appreciates the coverage gained by putting it in the middle of his house. He added a layer of home decorating camouflage in the form of some second-hand book covers to hide the unsightly bit of tech.

There isn’t a blog post or video about this particular build anywhere. The photos were submitted to our tip line as-is with the note that a table-saw is involved. We can safely infer that book covers are stripped of their pages and filled with wooden blanks painted white and stuck together to look like a cluster of literature. The takeaway from this example is that our tech does not have to be hidden away like a secret, or disrupt the decor, it can be placed as functionally as possible without sacrificing Feng Shui.

If hiding behind books piques your interest, try a full-fledged version, or this smooth operator.

Thank you, [George Graves], for encouraging people to use our tip line.

Distorted Text Says A Lot

Getting bounced to a website by scanning a QR code is no longer an exciting feat of technology, but what if you scanned the ingredient list on your granola bar and it went to the company’s page for that specific flavor, sans the matrix code?

Bright minds at the Columbia University in the City of New York have “perturbed” ordinary font characters so the average human eye won’t pick up the changes. Even ordinary OCR won’t miss a beat when it looks at a passage with a hidden message. After all, these “perturbed” glyphs are like a perfectly legible character viewed through a drop of water. When a camera is looking for these secret messages, those minor tweaks speak volumes.

The system is diabolically simple. Each character can be distorted according to an algorithm and a second variable. Changing that second variable is like twisting a distorted lens, or a water drop but the afterimage can be decoded and the variable extracted. This kind of encoding can survive a trip to the printer, unlike a purely digital hidden message.

Hidden messages like these are not limited to passing notes, metadata can be attached to any text and extracted when necessary. Literature could include notes without taking up page space so teachers could include helpful notes and a cell phone could be like an x-ray machine to see what the teacher wants to show. For example, you could define what “crypto” actually means.

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Q Has Nothing On Naomi Wu

We’re not so much fans of James Bond as we are of Q, the hacker who supplies him with such wonderful things. There is a challenger to Q’s crown, [Naomi Wu] — code name [SexyCyborg] — built an epic gadget called the Pi Palette which hides a Linux laptop inside of a cosmetics case.

You can see the covert mode of the Pi Palette below. It resembles a clamshell cosmetics case with the makeup and applicator in the base and a mirror on the underside of the flip-up lid. The mirror hides an LCD screen in the portrait orientation, as well as a Raspberry Pi 3 running Kali Linux.

The base of the case includes a portable battery beneath the wireless keyboard/touchpad — both of which are revealed when the cosmetics tray is removed. An inductive charger is connected to the battery and [Naomi] built a base station which the Pi Palette sits in for wireless charging.

She envisions this as a covert penetration testing. For that, the Pi Palette needs the ability to put the WiFi dongle into promiscuous mode. She wired in a dual dip-switch package and really went the extra mile to design it into the case. The fit and finish of that switch is just one tiny detail the illustrates the care taken with the entire project. With such a beautiful final project it’s no wonder she took to the streets to show it off. Check that out, as well as the build process, in the video after the break.

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The Nest: Album Release Hidden In A Rock

First there were vinyl records, then came cassettes, CDs, those failed audio-on-DVD formats, and then downloads. To quote the band, [Bateleur], “you can’t pay someone to take a CD these days.” So how do you release your new album? By hiding a Raspberry Pi in a semi-transparent fake rock on a mountainous cliff, and requiring a secret whistle to enable it, naturally.

Once activated, you’ll be able to plug into the USB port and download the album, or sit there on a remote hillside cliff overlooking the ocean and enjoy the new tunes. Because there’s a headphone jack in the rock, naturally. Besides being a cool hack, we think that putting people in the right physical and mental space for a serious listening is brilliant. Watch the video embedded below for an idea of the making of and a view from the site.

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