Vaccuum Desolderer; Pump replacement overkill.

Heya. starting a small hackerspace with some guys.
I’m the resident electronics dude, so i’ve taken it upon myself to get a semi-decent lab going.
I already got a fairly decent digital soldering station there.
However, at work we have these super sweet Hakko vacuum-desolderers and i’m absolutely addicted.
A sucker would be a blessing when salvaging parts and such.
Enter the old solderstation from way before i was ever employed at my company. donated to me.

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This combi rig seemed decent for its age but the pump was terrible. if the legends around the office are true, it has always been terrible.
My brother, TinkarLjarl suggested i try this pump. a 350w mains driven vaccuum pump!.

Size comparison:
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Never thinking i’d actually use it, i went along and hooked up the hose and he plugged it in while i tried to desolder some components.
A bit loud, but it worked like a charm!

Seeing as these pumps have never been of use to the company, and my boss never explicitly saying no, I got to work after hours at the office.

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The carrier plate for the pumps looked useful for making this beast more manuverable, so i got one pump off..

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..and bolted the station snugly it its place.

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A quick relay board for driving the thing, triggered by the old pumps 24v. fuse for good measure.

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Cut open a slot for the vacuum and pump mains with a hacksaw. ugly but functional.

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Heatshrink muffler.

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Works good. the relay sparks like crazy so i might go SSR when the contacts go bad.(they will!)

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And there you have it! weighing in at 18Kg its not for lugging around.
A bit of a pain to get to the hackerspace.
going from 8w to 350w will put on some weight.

ZIF socket atTiny programmer

Hey. First post here on the page.
This project is fairly simple but i find it useful.
I did this early December after i found an orphaned 20pin ZIF socket at work and figured i wanted to program 2313’s.

Zifsocket programmer
It is just a permanent Arduino ISP programmer with 3 4052 multiplexers to switch between the pinouts for the attiny85,84 and 2313.
The 4052 address pins are pulled down and set with a sp3t switch. I’ve seen shields using 3 sixway dipswitches. this seemed impractical to me.

My nano is mounted on headers and not modified in any way. I might need it for something else one day.
The leds are heartbeat/error/programming indicators

Zifprogrammer underside
Not as pretty underneath, i used this stripboard that is cut every three holes. i find these practical when working with ic’s.

The predecessor was an old shield with ic sockets for 85 and 84.

Nest step adding a six ISP header so i can mess with ISP programming of atmega8s and other avrs by converting the arduino files to hex and programming through AVRdude

sonicriders

SonicRiders

Again I found myself at Medialab-Prado for a workshop, this time an intensive 48 hours of Global Game Jam together with Eduardo Moriana. We decided to join the jam to further our research with the kinect and our remake of Space Invaders.

El Pais had an article about it. 

The Game Jam usually starts with a word that the ideas should revolve around, but this year it was an image of a circular snake biting its own tail. We then had 20 minutes to brainstorm concepts that could be presented and from which the teams would be made. Apart form a very loose idea of using the kinect to control a noisy feedback that should be harmonized into an Ohmmm, I was kind of blank. Luckily several other people had good ideas and I decided to join a project that intended to make a game that would add small loops together to form a musical score. That was the idea.

The team consisted of Enrique Hervás (Head of Game Department), Rob Díaz (3D Art) and myself (Certified Game Tester). We started discussing the essence of what we wanted and investigating its possibilities, it’s related to Guitar Hero, but we are not making a Keyboard Hero.
After looking at examples of similar things (SolarBeat) and discussing the use of a musical score sheet turned into a roller coaster, or MIDI as a note generator and synchronizer (not that easy inside Unity and with only 40 hours until deadline it was a no go), we ate dinner discussing the finer aspects of game development and went back to Medialab to start building the core mechanics.
They where: object A moves along a line, when close to object B the player can press a key so that object B moves and a sound is triggered. The two experienced programmers had this up and running within an hour so we decided to end the day early. Now the game only lacked a theme and some further development.

That night I played around with the game mechanics in my head before falling asleep, trying to visualize the music score roller coaster or even a music box game of some sort. But when I strolled in a bit late around 10 there had been a radical change. The game theme was a race circuit with 8 tracks and the game was taking shape rapidly. From scratch Rob had already built a crude model of the world and was designing the cars. Enrique was in deep concentration with the code.
So, I started searching for sounds with this new theme in mind, but it was difficult as all the visual aspects were not there yet. When evening came and we put it all together for the first time, it became clear that the soundscape I had chosen did not fit our game and a retake of the whole thing was needed. I took the last metro home, while the others stayed to code all night! It makes you think about the amount of coffee that is built into every game.

The next morning I decided to get there early and arrived at 9, though only hours left before the game needed to be uploaded, and found to my surprise the game almost finished. It really had become its own game during the night, Rob even found some new sounds to try out. I sat down and cut, pasted, stretched and looped all the sounds to fit this new game.
The hours passed in a frenzy. Code was being closed as we spoke and some of the ideas had to be discarded. The final changes where not implemented, the game had no quit button, but it was more or less presentable. Then the judges arrived, and we left our game running and finally started walking around to see the other groups. 14 games, more or less finished, in 48 hours. There was a presentation of all the projects and then the winner was announced: SONIC RIDERS!

TO PLAY THE GAME ONLINE, FOLLOW THIS LINK. 

Epilogue. So I started work on Monday tired of working the whole weekend. But, but, my teammates managed to ask if I had been paid for making the game when I showed it to them. That is not the correct attitude.

I have participated in several workshops at Medialab-prado before, but usually with artistic projects, and they fail a lot. I find this acceptance of fail one of the strengths of the place, but with the game geeks it was an whole different level of win.

The Demodrama Platform

Our loosely based affinity group Demodrama has just launched its on-line platform and during the research I found the video above. I predict this will happen again and again in the future: small low/no budget groups reinventing and developing work that was done 10 years earlier by big institutions with a lot of money. As cameras and projectors become cheaper,  computers more powerful and open source is widely used, this type of technology will be for everyone. We still need some more rounds on the code before it’s ready for release though.

What have we done? What do you need? First of all hacking a PS3 Eye camera, they are cheap and fast. Then a tracking software, we use Open CCV 1.3 (formerly tBeta and originally made for multi-touch screens), that will communicate with Processing through TUIO. In order to handle the complex setup with scenes, backgrounds, masks and sounds we use the Eclipse integrated development environment.

Lightharp, a closer look

Well here we are.

A neat gallery of the details of the light harp. Click on a picture for descriptions.

By the way:
Schematics
Source code w/executables (delphi)

All sound including the feedbacker effect is generated with Propellerhead Reason 4. I will upload the reason patch on request.