Tuesday, 19 August 2014

DIY Google Cardboard VR viewer

Like a hand-crafted Oculus Rift, but WAY crapper, here's a first attempt at creating Google Cardboard with, well, cardboard (and quite a lot of masking tape).

Bizarrely, it just works. Here's the slick casing.

And here is the original. Not too disimilar.

It started with an enjoyable dismantling of some knackered binoculars...

Some nice Bakelite, but mainly some useful lenses...

Like this baby. Lush...

To get started, the lenses were removed. Of course, they have a convenient fine screw thread and come in pairs. This makes them easy to mount on a small mount of cardboard. Cue scalpel...

They screw right in and also are thus adjustable...

Corrugated cardboard - it is a subtle structure and a beautiful invention. Now with added lenses.

To stop brain cross-talk in the brain because of signals from each eye seeing more than they should, a partition board was added (blinkers, basically)...

The target for the viewer is a normal (Android) phone with the Google Cardboard app running.

This was place in a box thus...

The viewer was added like this. Masking tape - you know it makes sense...

Eventually with a lot of sticking together haphazardly, it ended up looking like this:

With a slick insertion point for the phone:

The open sides are to compensate for a lack of controls. The real Google Cardboard has a very neat magnet and washer "system" to control the menus. In this version, touch screen is used, hence the hand-holes.

And that, more or less, is that. Easy peasy.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Shed roof extension - part 3

Lovely bright windy day today. Lots of frame making done. We have rafters...

These are cut from 3/4" ply wood boards, bolted together on the ground, then heaved up onto the roof and fixed in placed on the rails of the basic support frame.

Here is what the frame looked like beforehand. It is supported on six columns that have been dropped down through the roof to ground level and bolted onto the existing shed columns, whilst the exisitng roof is till in situ. The roof has a temporary vertical strut-support internally, to allow me to lumber about on the top without falling through it.

The rafters start off as rectangular boards. These are marked in a 180 degree symmetrical pattern to create two halves of the inverted V-shaped frame...

This is cut with a circular saw...

Until there are two halves

One is reversed, then they are bolted together...

They are pretty strong. Four of them were bolted on, then a ridge beam was added to help stabilise them, to give something to butt the roof boards up against later and to allow things to be suspended from the roof in eventual use...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Shed roof extension - part 2

Things are moving along in my plans to get more space in the shed. A week ago it looked like this, with the four corner posts in place, but no rails or beams

It has progressed. I have now got all 6 uprights in place , needed to support the replacement roof.

To do this meant cutting a hole in the roof and through several shelves and a bit of counter.
Here's a view down through a pillar-hole

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Shed roof extension

Having noted a leak in the roof of my shed and a distinct lack of space, I recently concluded that what is needed is a new vertically extended shed roof...

The leaky bit is on the right. The wood pile is made from timber baulks that have been squirrelled under it, and that might come in handy...

Here's what I am thinking...

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Quick hack of phone case to add bigger battery

Here's a few pics of an enjoyable hack up of a case for a bigger battery I bought for my phone. This one has twice the capacity of the standard battery, but is thicker. What a great excuse to hack together a case for it.

This beauty is half cheapy bought case and half sliced up old ice-cream container...

Here's the battery getting measured out. This was to get a hole cut to allow the extra thickness to protrude

mmm... diamond encrusted cutting wheels... I love my Dremel.

35,000 rpm - cutting out the panel in the shop bought case

Next - cutting out a slightly bigger piece of plastic from a black ice cream container

The edges of this were shaped by gentle heating to soften the plastic then forming over a hard edge held in a vice. To heat, a standard cigarette lighter was used

Once completed, this was glued on with the trusty glue gun...

et voila!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Arduino range sensors

This beauty is the very wonderful HC-SR04 proximity sensor: an ultrasonic raneg finder...

It bouces high frequency sound waves off objects in its line of site...

I have tow connected: left and right. This is the output of the serial monitir
The sketch that controls this is trivial

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tweetenstein's face stitched together - animated Javascript Lip-synch TTS from Google Translate API

After a lot of fiddling over the last few days, I've managed to make a crude html page animate to the text-to-speech output from the Google Translate API

This is a still of the face, showing the two eyes and one mouth.

The mouths are taken from a lip-reading example, then a plastic effect filter effect in Photoshop

On the left, before. On the right, after

And this is the slightly unsettling look you get. These eyes are done in the same way, but are actually my own eyes put through the same filter...

Ande here are examples of mouths


The javascript that is doing this is in here:

This needs a local server running as it loads an external (JSON) data file...

It is inside an html page thus

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Tweetenstein - full-sized data-connected automaton

This beauty is destined to become the next data-fed automaton, Tweetenstein!
Tweetenstein is the successor to Twitr Janus and the Psychic Hive Mind Fortune Reader, both of which used simple web services to control or manipulate responses.

The basic concept is that Tweetenstein starts life as a corpse (wel mannequin) and is given life by plugging it into social data from the web, mainly from conversations on Twitter. It is yet to be decided what form this reanimation will take, but starting with a slightly disturbing 6 foot blank humanoid shape has to be a good thing, right?

The pug gets the vibe. Great startled expression

Here touching a fake hand is being used as a novel form of input device. A simple Michaelangelo-esque touch of fingers causes the web app to randomly select and read Twitter screen names out as speech,

The words on screen are a visualisation of this data. The app is converting it to speech using a Google Translate API call, triggered by an onClick method in JavaScript. This is being physically triggered by the Makey Makey board.

Makey Makey is a pimped arduino that converts touch into keyboard input for any running app :)

It works by shorting out two terminals - an earth terminal and one of several a signal terminals. Here we are using the space bar.

Hidden underneath in this crud prototype, is a wire that is connecting the finger tip to the Makey Makey signal terminal