How we built a Super Nintendo out of a wireless keyboard

I wrote a guest article for Adafruit about the story behind the new Sifteo cubes: In today’s world, video game consoles have become increasingly complex virtual worlds unto themselves. Shiny, high polygon count, immersive, but ultimately indirect. A video game controller is your gateway to the game’s world—but the gateway itself can be a constant reminder that you’re outside that world, looking in. Likewise, the technology... Read More

Hacking My Vagina

Making a Vibrator That Listens to Your Body This project has been an astonishing little journey. Many of my previous projects were characterized by an amazing outpouring of effort to build something highly intricate and ultimately invisible. This is the opposite kind of project. A little bit of work and a little custom design to create something new and exciting that I can immediately use in my everyday life. It also happens to be a sex toy. In other... Read More

X-10 SmartRemote

I’m not even sure why I built this at all. I guess I did always have a childhood fascination with making things that seemed professional in some way. A simulacrum of some expensive piece of A/V equipment, or simple computer games that came in a shoe box with construction-paper cover art. This is another ancient project I dug up during my recent move to San Francisco: A rather gigantic “smart” remote control for X-10 home automation... Read More

S/PDIF Digital Audio on a Microcontroller

A few years ago, I implemented an S/PDIF encoder object for the Parallax Propeller. When I first wrote this object, I wrote only a very terse blog post on the subject. I rather like the simplicity and effectiveness of this project, so I thought I’d write a more detailed explanation for anyone who’s curious about the gritty details. This is a recent video by Nick at Gadget Gangster where he takes the S/PDIF object for a test drive. [via... Read More

Cube64 GameCube to N64 Adaptor

Enjoy retro N64 games, but can’t stand the controller? That’s the situation I found myself in about 7 years ago, back in 2004. So I built an adaptor, to use Game Cube controllers on the N64. (tl;dr… Cube64-DX on Google Code) The adaptor hardware is very simple- all you need is a PIC microcontroller. I originally designed the project to work with the very popular at the time PIC16F84A, or some smaller 8-pin chips. It bit-bangs... Read More

Turbulence

For anyone who hasn’t already seen it, Linus Akesson (of Craft fame) just released his first demo for the Parallax Propeller: Turbulence. You can watch the high resolution video on capped.tv, with an introduction by Linus himself. Or, if you have a Propeller board, he’s provided binaries and source code. The demo is quite impressive, and he uses some extremely clever tricks to fit it all on a microcontroller with 32kB of EEPROM and no... Read More

Open source extra-sensitive high resolution TED receiver

Previously on the bloggy blog, I posted a few of my projects related to home data acquisition and to The Energy Detective (TED), a whole-house power measurement device. I made a set of homebrew wireless temperature sensors that display graphs on a digital picture frame, I reverse engineered the TED protocol, built a small self-contained open source TED receiver, and used that design to make a nifty clock. So, I wanted to take the next step and set... Read More

Lego Sky

Over the weekend, I had a chance to finish up a project that I started (and immediately became distracted from) several weeks ago. In our house, Paul and I have a game room. This is where the video games live, as well as other assorted geekery. We have Magic cards, D&D books, some manga.. it’s super nerdy Best of all, Paul has a Lego city on display. We had been looking for an interesting way to add light to the city, so when I saw some... Read More

Self-contained TED receiver

My previous entry introduced a homebrew receiver for the powerline-based data protocol used by The Energy Detective. I just designed a second revision of that receiver. This one is self-contained: It gets power and modulated data from a 9V AC wall-wart transformer, and decoded data leaves via an RS-232 serial port at 9600 baud. Best of all the circuit is very simple: Just an 8-pin microcontroller and a single op-amp. Major changes in this version: DC... Read More

Interfacing with The Energy Detective

I recently bought The Energy Detective (TED), a pretty inexpensive and friendly way to keep tabs on your whole house’s electricity usage. It’s a lot like having a more featureful version of your utility company’s power meter, sitting on your kitchen counter. It can estimate your utility bill, and tell you how much electricity and money you’re using in real-time. The resolution is pretty good- 10 watts, 1 second. As a product,... Read More

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