Thursday, October 30, 2008

Learning Flash and Actionscript

So I started learning flash and Actionscript 3 (AS3) this week. I first started with the basic multitouch app posted on the nuigroup wiki page, and eventually was able to get it to create red circles on the screen whenever I touched:

The circles dont go away after you touch them so that's why you see a lot of them.
I then started to make my first basic cursor app. Following some tutorials online I made the below app (click the white box and move your mouse around it):

It is written in Flash 6 and AS2, which is far lower than any of the multitouch apps require, and am in the process of porting it over to the newer stay tuned for word on that working.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

PS3 Webcam Dissection

Went out to get a PS3 eye camera today because the 20 or so frames per second that I was getting with my previous camera just isnt that good.

Took the pieces apart per the instructions on this post.
Though it was much tougher to get the main housing apart than he described it.

Took the lenses off, and cut the IR filter out of the plastic.

Put it all back together

I was able to easily get it to run on the computer (which it wasnt originally meant to do) using the software found on this page.
I was able to get around 128fps in 320x240 resoultion which is awesome. Now I just need the drivers to be updated to work with tbeta and Ill be golden...stay tuned.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beginning of finishing touches

I started with today on attaching the slimmed down Side DI setup on top of my LCD. I had a piece of acrylic that I had bought at Home Depot previously that was the exact size of the LCD.

I took my new slimmer light rails and taped them to the base acrylic that the LCD was also taped to.

I used electrical tape to block the light coming up from below, and taped the LED rails around the 3 sides too.

I put the original wood bezel on top and cut some wood to fill the gaps around the edges.

I then set out to make my side panel.
I had gone to Frys and gotten some parts to make the female-ended plugs that would have the 3 cables plug into: Power, USB, and VGA.
I drilled holes in the side of my box to accommedate the plugs, made a metal faceplate, screwed it all in:

And caulked around it with clear silicon, and plugged the cables in:

I really like it. It looks smooth and adds a professional look to it.

With the side panel installed, I was able to mount the surge protector inside the case, and tidy the wires up a bit.

Unfortunately until I get a laptop power supply to run my LEDs Im going to have to have the clunky modded power supply inside my case:

Notice also that I installed some magnetic latches, like in kitchen cabinets so that the door snaps shut.
And here is what it all looks like put together, with a video test showing the blobs:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Received order of cheap webcams

So I got the three cheap $5 Logitech webcams that I had ordered a week or so ago and attempted to dissect one of them. After not finding a screw hole, I attacked it with some pliers and bent the plastic all off (I later found a screw hole hiding behind a piece of white rubber that allowed it all to easily come apart).

When I got the circuit board off and took the lenses off, I tried to find the IR sensor. It wasn't easily recognizable like the other webcam I had taken apart. I made the mistake of taking off the piece of glass covering the sensor and after doing this to 2 of the cameras, realized that the IR sensor was instead in the lenses housing.

I pried off the lower lenses, and found the IR sensor, a tiny blue square sandwiched between the two lenses. I haven't torn apart the last remaining camera yet. Will leave that to another day. Thank goodness I bought a couple of the cameras and that they were cheap.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Top Design and Flash Tests (New Videos!!!)

During my trip to Home Depot today I picked up some base board rail things which had paper covering a 90 degree thin piece of metal. I ripped the paper off and got a rail that was only 1cm or so tall/wide:

Like before I measured out the spacing to drill the holes for the LEDs:

I only made two rails, and pushed the LEDs in, twisted the wires, taped up the metal rails with electrical tape, and wired it up to the power supply:

I got really good blobs, though since it's a side DI, if your unused fingers or rest of your hand dips into the light plain it shows up as blobs, which isn't cool. Oh well. It works really good so I am super happy.
I finally figured out how to get the flash apps working with the touch inputs (run FLOSC Nolan! duh...), and so I got some really cool interactions as seen in the following pics and videos (my roommate Jeff was a good model...haha):

(Photo App)

(Physics App)

(Seth's Piano App)


Woohoo, yeah multitouch!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Attaching the LCD Boards and More Prototyping

Drilled recessed holes in the side of my box and attached the LCD board to the front inside wall. Made my own wooden washers with my dremel since it's cheaper than buying some :)

It looks really clean now and I'm glad it's secured so that I don't damage the LCD cables.

Decided to prototype the new design that I had thought of for the LED arrangement with the top bezel being half the height of the current one. Took some thin wood paneling, made two 3 x 46 cm pieces, and taped them together. Took the piece of cardboard cereal box that I had prototyped the previous LED rails on, stuck in 8 LEDs spaced again 2 cm apart, and taped it to the bottom of the panels:

Then flipped it over and butted it up to the edge of the LCD. Used screws to hold the top flap up so that the IR light could be spread out over the screen:

It worked pretty well, though since the LEDs are so directional I got only a small plane to work with, but it has convinced me that this method can work. Going to go to Home Depot tomorrow to buy some materials to make it afterwards.

On another note, my cheapo web cameras arrived. They are Logitech Express ones, cost $5 each but $30 total with shipping. Going to dissect them and hope that the IR filter is easy to remove. Have a couple projects that are similar to using IR but a little different, so stay tuned.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More work - more burning of LEDs

So i got brave enough to turn on everything tonight..I say brave enough because I have been crossing my fingers every time I turn the LED array on and hoping I don't see little fires inside the LEDs or smell any of them burning up (the smell is kinda like burning skin). Anyways, turned it all on, with the side door open, as I couldn't push my backlight all the way in since my LCD boards aren't mounted on the side wall. I went to Home Depot on the way home from work and picked up some bolts and such to mount the LCD boards, but didnt get to it tonight. Also picked up some hardware to mount the camera.
Here is a pick of it on with the top off:

(Woohoo!!! Look at those awesome blobs...Im loving it!)

While I was testing the touch response the wires going to the LEDs all of a sudden starting smoking, so I turned off the power quickly. Thought something may have grounded out on my metal LED rails, so checked each rail to the wires on each LED string and found that one of the sides had indeed grounded itself to the metal rail:

So fixed it up and tested it again. And over the hour or so, hooked the rail up and watched as some of the LEDs worked and others didnt. Some lit on fire and some simply didnt turn on. When I found one that didnt work I marked it with the whiteboard marker on the acrylic, took it out, and resoldered a new one on:

I am beginning to think that my current setup on how the LEDs are arranged isnt the best. I have determined that I dont like the thick lip from the height of the LED rails and have thought of ways to reduce such lip:

I ordered 100 more 850nm IR LEDs from ebay (Hong Kong) again today so that I can have enough to work with, as I burned up probably about 50 or so already.

Also after getting the touch response to work really well earlier in the night, I attempeted to get the flash programs to work, but couldnt. Found info on how to hopefully get it working on the nuigroup forum here. So will try this once I can stop melting my LEDs

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day Two of Building My MT Box

So woke up earlier to get a ton done on my table today.
I started with making the top frame, using a dremel to cut the pieces as I dont have a fine tooth saw :)

Put the LCD on top of the acrylic to get a visualization:

Used a white board marker to draw lines since I can just wipe them off when I'm done:

Cut the metal LED rails with the dremel and placed them on the acrylic and drew lines to visualize:

Began to make the LED rails. Figured out the measurements for the LED spacing:

(The shorter sides are spaced 3cm apart and the larger sides are spaced 3.8cm apart)
Drilled holes in the rails and covered them in electrical tape. Pushed each LED through the holes that I drilled, which now had two layers of electrical tape on them to hold the LED away from not only itself but also the metal rails. Twisted the leads together and hooked it up to test it:

(Notice the red/pink color that they glow. IR LEDs, but 850nm so close to red visible light)

(Comparing the prototype to the final rail)

(All four rails)

(Soldered and trimmed leads)

(Rails getting taped to the acrylic)

(Bottom view: All rails taped to acrylic)

(Frame getting put on that will hold up the lip which will cover the LED rails)

(By far the hardest thing so far. Making the LED rail layer frame, and making it a square enough to not only go around the rails but also work evenly with the top lip)

(Top lip on top....It's looking closer to being done!)

(Cut a hole in the acrylic for the wires to go through)

(Soldering and taping down the wires)

(Hehe...I idiot proofed my wires by putting plus and minus signs on it so that as the night got later I wasn't hooking stuff up wrong)

(Top lip off, Top lip on)

(Bare LCD and it's circuit board. White piece of paper is the diffuser out of one of the dead LCD's backlights. I was going to use vellum, but it was late at night and didnt want to wait til tomorrow to go buy some)

(Circuit boards of thd LCD still in metal frame)

(Elongating the power wires of the backlight)

(Laying out the LCD and figuring out how to secure it)

(My roommate suggested taping the flimsy ribbon to give it more strength, so I grabbed some packaging tape and went to work. It greatly reinforced the ribbons.)

(The similar evil side tabs that I punctured on my nice Samsung the other night. Taping the ones on my DELL to give them strength)

(Taping the Diffuser onto the acrylic)

(Putting the taped LCD onto the box)

(A shot of the pieces roughly placed into the box)

(The monitor's power switch taped to the metal frame. I dremeled out a chunk of the metal so that the monitor cable could reach the monitor. Notice the nice wires that go to the monitor circuit board instead of the stupid flat cables from my first LCD)

And below is what the box will look like when done.
(Without any nice cosmetic stuff done to it of course)

So I'm pretty happy with it so far. Need to go to Home Depot to pick up some bolts to mount the LCD power/logic assembly to the inside side of the box, and get some more wooden rods.

Still to do:
  • Measure and mount the web camera
  • Attach the LCD boards
  • Secure the top down
  • Wire everything up
  • Go to Frys and buy a vga and power plug so that I can just plug two cables into the side of the case to make it work
  • Cosmetically make it beautiful