__ __         __            ___           
  / // /__ _____/ /__  ___ _  / _ \___ ___ __
 / _  / _ `/ __/  '_/ / _ `/ / // / _ `/ // /
/_//_/\_,_/\__/_/\_\  \_,_/ /____/\_,_/\_, / 
retro edition                         /___/ 
Now optimized for embedded devices!
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Yet Another Cat Door

posted Jan 24th 2011 1:00pm by
filed under: arduino hacks

Cat Flap Fever

RFID cat flaps are one of those projects we see all of the time. They are generally pretty simple to rig up, not too expensive, and have a good “wow” factor for any non-technical friends or family, not to mention tremendously useful. Why did we decide to share this one? Well, for one, it is simple. It doesn’t tweet, email, or text message, it just gets the job done. Two, it is excellently documented, including a detailed parts list and a step by step schematic just about anyone could use to build their own. [landmanr] does mention that he recommends some sort of project enclosure to protect the electronics from damage, which would be bad for the poor cat stuck outside.

Share a light-up LED heart with your valentine

posted Feb 14th 2012 7:01am by
filed under: led hacks

It’s not roses or jewelry, but we hope [Erik]‘s light-up USB heart will be appreciated by his significant other. When the two heart pieces come in contact with each other, each side lights up.

[Erik] started his build by cutting two half-heart shaped pieces out of polycarbonate. After drilling a few holes for LEDs and wires, magnets and reed switches were installed along the ‘broken’ side of the heart. Whenever the hearts come in contact with each other, the magnets trip the reed switches and light up both sides of the heart.

There is USB flash drive embedded in each heart half is loaded with a portable Dropbox. When the USB drive is plugged into a computer, the dropbox steps into action and synchronizes the photo album stored in each heart half. No matter how far apart they are, [Erik] and his SO can share pictures through their glowing LED hearts. Not to come off as a hopeless romantic, but this sounds like something we’d like for Valentine’s day. We’re hoping [Erik]‘s SO thinks that as well.

DIY ring light takes its cues from fiber optic toys

posted Mar 3rd 2011 8:01am by
filed under: digital cameras hacks


DIY ring light setups for DSLR cameras are nothing new around here. While most of them rely on an array of LEDs or a mirror-based light tube, [Wolf] had a different idea. He figured that since optical fibers are made specifically for transmitting light from one place to another, they would make a perfect medium for constructing a ring light.

Since he was using the camera’s built-in flash to power the ring light, he was able to provide a function that few other DIY ring lights do: proper flash compensation. Typically, a self-made ring light flashes at one set brightness, regardless of how much light is actually required to compose the image.

The construction was relatively simple, albeit time consuming. He procured a set of fiber optic cables that had been melted together into 150 small bundles, which he then glued to an acrylic ring that he fabricated. The end result isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing ring light we’ve ever seen, but it’s the pictures that matter at the end of the day. As you can see on his site, they speak for themselves.

Looking to build your own ring light? Check out a couple of other projects we have featured in the past.

LED projector

posted Dec 6th 2008 9:20am by
filed under: classic hacks, led hacks, peripherals hacks


[PuffMag1cDrag0n] shows us how to make a fairly simple projected LED display. The projector is made from a 13×7 LED matrix and a couple fresnel lenses. The layout and construction is similar to the Lumenlab projector setup, only replacing all the lighting and LCD with an LED array. It communicates via serial port and is powered by a pic micro 16f648. We would love to see an RGB version of this. The directions are a bit rushed, but you should be able to get the gist. Just remember that you need some pretty powerful LEDs to throw a big image.

Music synthesized from the Game of Life

posted Mar 27th 2011 10:00am by
filed under: digital audio hacks


[vtol] has built a very elaborate system of electronic sound machines, which can be patched together in various ways in order to create all sorts of sounds and sound effects. The modules range from simple noise synthesizers to pitch shifters, sequencers, and effects processors. The most recent addition to his synthesizer system is a matrix sequencer named 2112, which focuses on generating random sounds from a very familiar mechanism.

The sequencer simulates Conway’s Game of Life, representing the colony movements in beeps and buzzes, creating a nearly infinite array of random sound effects. Using firmware from the Game of Life board by Ladyada, the sequencer generates different sound patterns based upon the number of colonies on the board. The output varies according to the shapes and proximity of the organisms to one another. Since it is part of his already modular system, the 2112 board can be combined with any number of his other sound generators and effects machines to make all sorts of circuit bent music.

Keep reading to check out the trio of videos below demonstrating the Game of Life board in action.

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