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Generic 60's Console Ideas [Nov. 7th, 2011|12:11 am]
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[mood |geekygeeky]

So... been slowly buying things for the control console I want to build for the kid's room. So far I have a battery operated fibre optic lamp, and I just picked up a bunch of Christmas lights. Both use LEDs, so no real heat and both can be run from a single AA battery. So far purchases have run to a grand total of $15.

I've already pulled apart the Chrissy lights and they'll be dead simple to work with - well apart from the points where I have to drill holes in the console for them. You can also give them an interesting look by inserting some into things like ping pong balls, which diffuse the light and look a bit different.

But things are getting interesting. While researching LEDs and how to work with them (since I starting at a point where literally know nothing about electronics) I have found some quite nifty and cheap projects.

A really, really simple one is three RGB (Reg Green Blue) LEDs hooked up to a battery, popped behind a bit of semi-transparent plastic. Without anything controlling them, they change colour at different rates, creating different patterns and looks. That would cost less than a dollar.

The total cost of parts for couple of photo transistors and other parts that would light up some LEDs briefly when you waved your hand over them is a dollar or two.

Those are just two examples. Of course the learning curve here is going to be huge, but the more I look into it, the more surprisingly easy it would be to do. It helps that I don't have a time limit, and if I find the more interesting stuff is beyond me, I'd be quite happy to just have the Chrissy lights on their own. TLex and GodZoe won't care. If it has a bunch of buttons and switches to play with, and some flashing lights, that'll be plenty for them to have an absolute ball.

Oh, and I suddenly realised/remembered tonight that people hack the sound chips that you get in some greetings cards. If I can learn to do that, I can create cheap audio interactivity.

I like the fun I'm having just discovering this stuff, and learning new skills is always good. If I get this finished before GodZoe goes to school, I'll be happy. Worst case, it'll be the weirdest 21st birthday present she's likely to get.

[User Picture]From: ariaflame
2011-11-06 01:57 pm (UTC)
That is so cool!
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[User Picture]From: drew_bowie
2011-11-06 09:14 pm (UTC)
Awesome, any chance of sharing links? :)
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[User Picture]From: cheshirenoir
2011-11-06 10:58 pm (UTC)
Hey Danny,
As someone planning on building the kids a "Spacecraft" cubbyhouse for NEXT Christmas, I can understand where you are going here.

If you haven't already looked at them, Arduinos are a useful resource for these kind of projects. They are fully programmable "kit" computers starting for as low as $20, and being able to interact with up to 15 input / outputs.
The learning curve is really gentle and there is an amazing amount of tutorials out there for these.

Finally I have fallen in with my local "hackerspace" who are proving to be an amazing resource of tools and expertise. I'd assume there is one in Canberra. Might also be worth a look?

(I keep looking at one of the MEGADuinos. 15 Analog inputs, 55 Digital I/O ports including 13 "PWM" motor controller / light dimmer ports. Bwahahaha!)
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[User Picture]From: cheshirenoir
2011-11-06 11:33 pm (UTC)
OOH! THIS could help you with soundFX:
How many samples do you really need? :-)
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[User Picture]From: murasaki_1966
2011-11-07 02:32 am (UTC)
Sadly, the only thing my dad built were boats. They were fun when we got tehm on the water.
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[User Picture]From: tikiwanderer
2011-11-08 02:36 am (UTC)
This is just awesome. Build the mechanical bits like it's going to be for Christopher Eccleston :-)
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[User Picture]From: mireille21
2011-11-08 09:39 am (UTC)
Should you ever be down this way, I have a perspex hexagonal display cabinet which would be just perfect for the centrepiece...
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