Slides make for great old-timey fun, but it’s awesome to have a digital backup of your old photos, too. An automatic digitizer can make quick work of your collection, and this build from [rbwood53] will do just that.
The digitizizer is based on a Kodak carousel slide projector. It’s fitted with LED strips instead of the original light source, which are used to illuminate the slides themselves. An Arduino Nano is used to command a camera to take photos, via a hacked-up shutter release remote. The camera is set up with a zoom lens and relies on auto-focus to get crisp, clear images of the slides. The Arduino is also charged with telling the carousel system to advance to the next slide as required. It keeps count as the slides go by, so it stops when the entire carousel has been imaged.
Overall, it’s a straightforward build that automatically imaged over 40 boxes of slides for [rbwood53] without issue. If you’ve got a smaller collection to digitize, you might find this simple 3D-printed adapter to be useful, too!
If you’ve got old family photos on slides there’s an excellent chance you’ve considered digitizing them at one point or another, but perhaps didn’t know the best way of going about it. In that case, this 3D printed adapter designed by [Rostislav Persion] that lets you photograph slides with a standard DSLR may be exactly what you were waiting for.
The idea is simple enough, you place the slide inside the adapter, get your focus right, and snap a picture. But of course, you’ve also got to provide some illumination. In this case, the camera is mounted on a tripod and pointed at an appropriate light source. Once you’ve experimented a bit and got the image backlit the way you want it, you can lock everything in place and easily power through a stack of vintage family memories in no time.
For such a straightforward concept, we really appreciate the little details in the execution. For example, rather than just sliding a 3D printed cylinder over the DSLR’s lens, [Rostislav] came up with a foam-padded “shim” that’s strong enough to hold the adapter on without marring anything. The two-part slide spacer that features a bit of springiness to hold everything tight is also a very nice touch.
An approach like this should work nicely for the amount of slides most families are likely to have, but if you’re in a position where you need to digitize thousands of images, some automation would certainly help things along.
Certified space-nerd and all-around retro-tech guru [Fran Blanche] has just outdone herself with a comprehensive look at how NASA ran the Mission Control “Big Boards” that provided flight data for controllers for Apollo and for the next 20 years of manned spaceflight.
We’ve got to admit, [Fran] surprised us with this one. We had always assumed that the graphs and plots displayed in front of the rows of mint-green consoles and their skinny-tie wearing engineers were video projections using eidophor projectors. And to be sure, an eidophor, the tech of which [Jenny] profiled a while back, was used on one of the screens to feed video into Mission Control, either live from the Moon or from coverage of the launch and recovery operations. But even a cursory glance at the other screens in front of “The Pit” shows projections of a crispness and clarity that was far beyond what 1960s video could achieve.
Instead, plots and diagrams were projected into the rear of the massive screens using a completely electromechanical system. Glass and metal stencils were used to project the icons, maps, and grids, building up images layer by layer. Colors for each layer were obtained by the use of dichroic filters, and icons were physically moved to achieve animations. Graphs and plots were created Etch-a-Sketch style, with a servo-controlled stylus cutting through slides made opaque with a thin layer of metal. The whole thing is wonderfully complex, completely hacky, and a great example of engineering around the limits of technology.
Hats off to [Fran] for digging into this forgotten bit of Space Race tech. Seeing something like this makes the Mission Control centers of today look downright boring by comparison.
Continue reading “A Look Behind The “Big Boards” At Mission Control In The Golden Age Of NASA”
Black Hat has published the media from Dan Kaminsky’s infamous DNS vulnerability talk. You can get the full video (101MB) or just the audio.
The full archive of slides and white papers from this year has been posted too.