- Build wall mounted from the start, to avoid issues when I finally came to hang it
- Improved frame
- Tensioned strips to keep them straight
- Short, heavy duty power cables
- Improved signal cables
- Connectors, connectors and connectors
- Needed to be weatherproof, there were holes all over the tubing for the strips and the nylon tensioners which would have been likely to leak
- The frame itself was too weak to be rigid when transported or when hung on the wall
- The strips needed to be tensioned to maintain the integrity of the image
- The power cables needed to be thick and short to transfer the 5v from the power supply to the strips
- Construction on the floor meant I didn't think about handing it or the support required
- Thin conduit was what I had, worked well in the prototype, was thin and looked good but was not strong enough or large anough to contain all of the cabling
- Electrical interference appeared to be due to the way it was wired, using twisted pair for signal lines
- It was hugely difficult feeding the wires through the tubes
- I'd soldered the fadecandy cards directly which made it very difficult to change their configuration or position
So I sat down with some friends at Makespace later that week and we designed version 3.
Following an open evening at Makespace last year I've been working with Cambridge University to build a light display to be exhibited in the City in March. The aim is to build a 'low res' video wall using multi colour LEDs which will then be hung outside of Pitt building for the week.
In order to prove the concept I've initially built a small mock up. The full size version will be 2 metres wide by 1 metre high.
This uses WS2812 addressable LEDs which can be individually set to specific intensities of red, blue and green to give a huge range of colours. These are controlled using Fadecandy boards which split the signal to the separate strips and LEDs. The whole thing is then orchestrated using a Raspberry Pi running the Fadecandy server software. This is a great piece of kit and has made the setup really easy.
Currently the prototype is fed video or interactively controlled from a laptop but for the full size version the aim is to allow interactivity from web connected mobile phones and tablets.
I have the waves example running but am looking for further ideas. I'll be exhibiting in the Cambridge Guildhall on Saturday 14th Feb and home to get feedback and ideas from people ready for March.
"See the world in your language" is the strapline on the iTunes store for this app but does it really work?
I downloaded Word Lens over a year ago but at the time it was a little unreliable and the only option was the demo which reversed text. The idea of the app is that it uses augmented reality for language translation. So you point your iPhone camera at some text and what appears on the screen is the translated text in the same setting as the original.
On a recent holiday to France I thought I'd see how well the latest version worked, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Next something a little more complex with multiple rows of text.
More than enough information for me to find a new pair of comfortable slippers for the caravan.
The app itself is free, with the demo translation which reverses text. In app purchase is then £2.99 and the following packs are available at the time of writing:
- English <--> French
- English <--> Spanish
- English <--> Italian
- English <--> German
- English <--> Portugese
It doesn't work with all fonts, the more simple the font the more likely an accurate translation. However for general use while on holiday it was great and I'll be using it on future trips.
Six months ago I joined Makespace in Cambridge, the community's inventing shed. Started by Jonny Austin, Laura James and Simon Ford the aim is to build a community and an environment where we can build pretty much anything. We're based in the old Robotics lab of Cambridge University and membership is open to anyone over 18, more details can be found on the Makespace website.
Before we could use the space we had to clear it, fix the electrics, give it a lick of paint and generally make it habitable. Once we'd got somewhere to sit and some benches to work on we started to add more creature comforts, one of the things we didn't have was somewhere to hang our coats. Rather than buy a coat rack I decided I would go with the spirit of Makespace and make one, here's how it went.
In order to keep the costs down I used a plank of pine that I already had and bought some cheap hooks from Screwfix. Rather than just use the plain board I thought I'd add the Makespace logo, which is a styalised overlapping M and S, fortunately made up from simple circles and a few straight lines. With appropriate guides this could mostly be created using a router.
Step 1: Separate logo from main rack
First I found some scrap boards the same thickness as the pine and screwed some guides at right angles to the board. I then routed a straight channel half the thickness of the board, to form the right hand side of the 'M' and separate the logo from the main body of the rack.
Step 2: First curve
Luckily the radius of the circles corresponded to the radius of the router with a straight bit fitted. Therefore a nail in the centre of the circle to butt edge of router up against provided the ideal guide to cut top curve.
Step 3: Other curves
Adding a second nail I thn cut the remaining curves at 1/4 thickness of the board, to outline the 'S'.
Step 4: Top of 'S'
In order to cut the straight edge for the top of the 'S' I screwed a guide level with the bottom edge of the board.
Step 5: Bottom of 'S'
Moving the guide to the top provided a straight edge to cut the bottom of the 'S'.
Step 6: Drill centres
A hole saw was just right to remove the two centres.
Step 7: Cut 'M'
Vertical cuts for right hand side hole form the right hand side of the 'M' leaving only the curve at the top left to be cut with a jigsaw.
The last steps, which I don't have pictures of, were to sand and varnish the board and add the coat hooks - job done, first project completed and a handy coat rack for all. The completed item can be seen at the top of this post, or on the wall in the corridor at Makespace.