Archive for July, 2010

SMS remote control

I’ve been expirimenting with cheap GSM cell phones as remote control devices. I wanted to be able to control stuff at my house just by sending a text from my phone. I also wanted to use an AVR since the options are pretty limitless as to what you can control. I started off simple with relay outputs for stuff like the garage door, outside lights, etc. It could also be useful for the AVR to send texts based on events, but I haven’t messed with this yet.

Cell phone and AVR

I planned on just having the AVR recognize a particular text string, like “open garage” if I wanted to let someone in my house when I’m not there without giving them a key for example. It’s not overly secure, but you could add a number sequence as a prefix to the command that would be like a password. Then you could periodically change your password if you wanted. › Continue reading

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Friday, July 16th, 2010 Electronics 8 Comments

Flatbed scanner panoramic camera

I’ve always loved panoramic pictures, especially when they’re printed up big. I’m not new to panoramics, as I’ve done quite a few stitched sequences, as well as true panoramic film photography. A while back I was wondering if I could repurpose the scanning head part of a scanner into a rotating head panoramic camera. After an initial trial with mediocre results, I did some digging and found out that people have made these before. There’s quite a few issues though: fitting a new lens, an IR filter, the proper speed rotating part, etc. An added difficulty with flatbed scanners is the scanning head scans over a white strip before every scan to calibrate the sensor, so if you don’t have something white for the scan head to look at right at the beginning of the scan, you get some really goofy color stripes. Sheet feed scanners aren’t supposed to do this, so I tried one of those but quickly tired of fooling all of the little switches. It always thinks there’s a paper jam.

Line scanner

The scan head sensor is actually pretty cool, and by definition it’s a line scan camera. It would still be cool to set it up as a line scan camera to play with.

After seeing this rig at HAD, I’m convinced I’m wasting my time. Moving forward I will be designing a stepper-driven tripod mount for my camera and use stitching software instead. If anybody has any suggestions on good software to try let me know. I’ve been using Panorama Maker or whatever the Nikon bundled program was called. It just doesn’t always do a very good job, even with the special mount I made that’s supposed to eliminate parallax. I get a lot of blurring at the upper and lower edge stitches. I would also like to experiment with multi-row so I can use longer lenses.

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Friday, July 16th, 2010 Cameras, Electronics No Comments

DIY Router table

I made my own router table because, as usual, what is affordable and available in stores is lame and insufficient for my needs. I don’t really want to spend something like $500 just for a good router table so I made one. I also made my own adapter instead of buying one by re-purposing the fixed base I already had.

Router Table › Continue reading

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Friday, July 16th, 2010 Uncategorized 6 Comments