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There has been a lot of buzz this week about Flickrfs the virtual filesystem for Flickr. Using Flickrfs you can interact with Flickr tags and photos just like your regular filesystem. A similar service is GmailFS which lets you mount a Gmail account as a large virtual filesystem. Both of these services are built on top of FUSE. FUSE makes it easy to build fully functional filesystems inside of a userspace program. Users can script and manipulate files just like their regular files. FUSE is now part of the main Linux kernel with release 2.6.14. Check out the list of other interesting filesystems built using FUSE. Of particular interest: WikipediaFS, SMB for FUSE is similar to Network Neighborhood, SSHFS, btslave to mount torrent files, and djmount is a UPnP AV client.
We were going to take a break from posting clocks. Really we were. This one came in the tip line today though, and we just couldn’t pass it up. [Alex] has built, what might be the most complicated clock we’ve seen. At least, it would appear that way initially. This Binary clock shows Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Days, and Months. He started with a picaxe, but eventually settled on an Mbed. Yes, he knows it is overkill, but it worked out pretty well.
As for the simplest, that came into our tip line as well. [Toby] sent this in, and agrees with us that it is hardly worthy of being called a hack. However, in light of the complicated one above, we didn’t see any harm in posting its opposite. Check it out after the break.
That’s right, he just printed a new face. Like we said, it doesn’t get much simpler.
[Joel] dug up this hack that he pulled off over ten years ago. It’s inspired by the Nintendo PowerGlove, and uses flex sensors to react to movements of your fingers. The interesting thing is, he built these optical flex sensors himself.
He likes to say that this is a ghetto fiber-optic setup. The inlaid diagram above gives you an idea of how the sensors work. An IR LED and infrared diode are positioned at either end of a piece of clear aquarium tubing. When the tube is flexed, the amount of light that makes it to the diode is diminished, a change that can be measured by a microcontroller. [Joel] found that he could increase the resolution of the sensor by adding something to the center of the tube, blocking the light when not straight. In this case he used pieces of scrap wire. The outside of the sensor was also wrapped in shrink tubing to keep ambient light from interfering with measurements.
He uses a trimpot to tune the sensors but we wonder how hard it would be to add a calibration algorithm to the firmware?
This chandelier is something we’d expect to see on sale in the local gallery store. [Starkec] made it a couple of years back and we just love the look. The materials are pretty common, and you can throw it together in an afternoon.
The diffuser are made from clear glass soda bottles. After removing the labels and giving them a good cleaning, they were each set upside down and sprayed with some glass frosting spray. A four-conductor telephone wire serves both as the support for the bottle and electrical path for the RGB LED inside of each. The original screw cap for the bottles makes it a twist to install them after the soldering is done. There are two common color buses so that alternating colors can be shown at the same time. After seeing the video we think you’ll agree that the wiring scheme makes for some great animated effects.
This year at the CHI conference in Austin, [Munehiko Sato], [Ivan Poupyrev], and [Chris Harrison] out of the Disney research lab in Pittsburgh demonstrated their way to make touch sensors out of anything. Not only to they suggest using the surface of your skin to control cell phones and MP3 players, they’re also able to recognize touch gestures, like poking or grasping an object. That sounds a little heady, so check out the video of the Touché tech in action.
Like the capacitive touch sensors in our phones and tablets, Touché measures the rise and fall of a capacitor’s charge over time. Unlike other touch sensors, Touché scans the capacitor at different rates, allowing for a ‘capacitive profile’ that is used to recognized touch gestures.
The applications for this tech are nearly innumerable; the team demonstrated scolding someone for eating cereal with chopsticks (yeah, we know…), an on-body music player interface, and gestures for an office doorknob that notifies passersby if you’ve stepped out for a minute or are gone for the day.
It’s a very interesting build, and we give it two weeks until someone replicates this build. We’ll be sure to post it then.