Amazing – A Laser Show with Speakers for Galvos

I was reaing Instructables this weekend, and I came across a project that someone had done that used audio speakers like galvanometers (galvos) to actually move a laser beam around!  The project has full X-Y control of the laser beam, and with a wee little Arduino microcontroller, you have yourself a fully programmable laser show for about 50 bucks.  Pretty awesome.

Have you never seen a laser device that spells words and makes pictures and such?  Inside of those devices are several little things called galvanometers – in the laser world, we call them galvos, or a galvo, singular.  These things are basically moving coil electric current detectors, pure and simple.  When a voltage is applied, they react.  When a voltage is applied and changed several times a second, you see all kinds of little erratic movements in the galvo.  With laser shows and devices that utilize galvos to spell words and draw pictures with lasers, what is happening is that the voltage is being changed rapidly and constantly in order to make the laser appear to be spelling out these words and pictures.

Pretty simple and awesome, yeah?

You have to check out this amazing Instructables method for building this awesome little DIY galvo laser show.  It’s well worth a few Monday morning minutes!  Here’s a video of the system in action:

Melting, Burning, and Generally Obliterating Stuff with the Power of the Sun

I always find that I discover cool stuff when I am teaching about it – right now, for example, I’m lecturing to my introductory Stage Lighting classes about reflection, refraction, the Index of Refraction, reflectance, normal angles, and all of that kind of stuff.  I love it, I’m a nerd to the Nth degree.  I’m also lucky that my research karma is good!

Something I find quite sexy is capturing solar rays for the purpose of just destroying stuff in a non-military way.  Yes, I’m one of those campers who loves campfires for the sheer awesome power of them.  I came across a few videos of people harnessing the awesome power of our Sun into a small few centimeter-square area for the purposes of, well, burning stuff.  I have two examples – one is an expensive solar capture device that focuses a few square meters of sun into an area of an inch, and the other is a homemade solar reflector made from a satellite dish.  Even though the cheaper one is cheaply made (I mean comparatively, not offensively), it harnesses some amazing solar power!

Check out this first video – a lab environment, a huge mirror, and thousands of degrees of sunlight:

Here’s the second video, a homemade SOLAR DEATH RAY!


Thanks Hack-N-Mod!

Hand-Made Triodes!

I was kicking around my RSS feed this morning, and I came across a post from the blog Anvilx – check out this great video of triodes being manufactured by hand! The maker is Claude Paillardcheck out his website (translated into Englaise for all of you non-French reading mophos)!

Very cool!

(oh – a triode is a device that amplifies electronic signal, typically used in high end audio stuffs.  It’s way too cool not to post here though!)

It’s Friday. Get Coffee, Then Check Out These Fixtures!

Happy Friday, everybody!

It’s been a crizizzaay week, has it not?  A lot has happened this week – all good stuff, no doubt, except for the fact that I have an ulcer, but I’m sucking it up and getting over that pronto.  When I pass, I’m half-tempted to donate my body to science so that they can all wear their hazmat suits as they dig through hundreds of productions and years of abuse living in and loving my industry.  Love it.

A good friend of mine – my favorite Mexico City resident, actually – Orquidea Vara sent me a link to these excellent lighting fixture images – all printed in 3D.  VERY cool.  I hope this gives you some inspiration on this very busy Friday!

Check out the whole set of drawings at the photostream of i.materialise.  Enjoy!

Armillary Sphere

Armillary Sphere

Brain Games

The Creation lamp

Exploding cappuccino lamp

Clone lamp

Parametric design

Medical meets Design!

Muchas gracias, Orqui!

Kip Kay’s Light Bulb Trick

I loves me some Kip Kay – Kip is a Maker and general awesome dude who does a lot (I mean a LOT) of DIY and hacking.  Our pal Alex Rugowski sent me this video of Kip’s “magic light bulb” prank.  Check it out, and know that I am making one of these to fool anyone I can think of!  Check out more Kip Kay nerd videos here – I highly recommend it!

Thanks, Alex!

15,000 Fireworks, at the Same Time. Awesome.

So, the question that has been posed here is:

What happens when you ignite 15,000 fireworks at the same time?

Jeri Ellsworth and EL Wire – The Currency of Burning Man

One of my favorite nerds, Jeri Ellsworth, posted a video on making her own EL wire.  Okay, now how cool is that?!  It’s a simple process really, and EL wire is a pretty simple concept.  Check out Jeri talking about it below.  Oh, also – check out some of Jeri’s other videos on YouTube.  She is one brilliant soul!

Thanks, Make!

Colin Rich is My Weather Balloon Photographer Hero

I just ran across this amazing video by a guy named Colin Rich – Colin has a great, cheap little weather balloon camera rig that he has launched twice now.  Colin’s rig, the Pacific Star, is a small box made of light material using two Canon point and shoots – one for stills and another for video.  The work is quite amazing – Colin was able to capture light from 125,000 feet above the surface of the Earth.

Beautiful.  Check out these two videos of the Pacific Star’s two launches – last one first:

Pacific Star II from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

Pacific Star I from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

12X Blu-Ray Star Trek Phaser That Actually – Um, Phases

Okay, for super nerd-dom I have to hand this one to Jay Rob from the Laser Pointer Forums.  Jay took a 12X Blu-Ray laser (from that great supplier AixiZ) and stuffed it into one of those old Star Trek phaser toys.  So now, instead of being on stun, it’s set on “I’ll Burn You, Mofo.”

That’s right.  Check out this video – Jay opens up a can of ButtKick on some balloons from across the room:

That is freaking awesome.  Jay posted the entire how-to on the Laser Pointer Forums – definitely check it out!  He’s even added a safety to his modification!

If you’re gonna be playing around with lasers, especially this kind of laser project, you need to cough up some bread and get a pair of laser filter glasses so you don’t burn your eyes out.  Here’s a pair from OEM LAser Systems, Inc that will do the job fine, and here is a bunch from Amazon. Don’t mess around with this, you need them.  Playing with lasers isn’t worth your sight.  Oh, and also – you’re not gonna blame it on me if you screw up.  Play smart.

Jakub’s Almost Light Theremin (If Theremin Could Do Video)

A guy named Jakub Koźniewski created something quite awesome – using photocells, Arduino, a real-time audio synthesizer called Supercollider, and the Processing environment, Jakub created a pretty excellent audio and video controller.

I wrote about the Processing environment a while ago, in relation to a project called MSAFluid.  It’s worth checking out the Processing and Supercontroller websites if you’re a geek like me.

This thing is awesome, Jakub.  Great work.  Check out Jakub’s Vimeo channel – cool stuff.

Here’s the original video of Jakub’s work, this set not quite as detailed as the one above:

Thanks a lot, Make Mag.  This is why I love your blog so much.  Original post on the Arduino Forums.