Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tech Shop

Today was Open House Day for the Tech Shop. Located in Menlo Park, Ca.

The Tech Shop is an open source shop where you can go to build things. For $100 a month you get access to mills, lathes, welders, benders, and a super cool laser cutter. You get basic training for using machines for a small fee. Got a robot you want to build for battlebots? or want to do some sand casting for Burning Man? You have no garage or your neighbors don't like all that grinder noise? Then this is the place to be. The greatest thing for the geek without a garage.

See some photos I took: My Picasa Album

Friday, June 29, 2007

Time Lapse at Robogames 2007

Here is a time lapse of the activities at Robogames 2007 (June 14-17). A photo was taken every 10 seconds. Even at night when the public went home, some of the combat team members were working hard.

2 AM Saturday and someone is still working on their Bot. Team dedication! Hey, where's the rest of the team? Click Here for the Time Lapse Movie

Plastic Wind Organs

It's pretty common to see and hear wind chimes outside of peoples homes. But how about something different.

Those two liter plastic soda bottles make great Wind Organs.

Here is the website where I got the idea.

They really sound great when the wind really gets going.
I plan to set up a whole row of these things and let the wind blow.

Aeolian Laboratory for other sounds.

A Electronic Didgeridoo

Project Start: June 29,2007

The start of a new project

I want to build an instrument that will sound like a Didgeridoo.

The instrument will be a free standing constructed unit that will not use a computer. Sound generation will be digital and constructed using discreet components and PIC microcontrollers.

The instrument will be played using hand controls similar to playing a Theremin. Hand position will be sensed with IR distance measuring sensors. One hand controls the pitch and the other hand controls the volume.

For an instrument to sound like that of a real Didgeridoo, I will be using Wav files of the real thing. These Wav files are binary representations of sound that can be pushed through a DAC, then through an amplifier. Wav files can be stored on a eprom and then counted through in real time to make the sound. Pitch can be controlled by changing the clock rate. Volume can be controlled by changing the attenuation before reaching the amplifier.

Timelapse video of experimental breadboarding.


This website by Harry Lythall shows how wav files can be converted directly to sound using a DAC.

So what does a Didgeridoo sound like? This link has some wav files and explains how a Didgeridoo works.