Several months after creating the Ultrasonic Pi Piano prototype, I have now designed an enclosure for it. The design is very simple but it means that this project is now packaged up and complete.
The Other Andy Grove
So this is what happens when your fun hobby project gets featured on Hackaday. I guess I've had my 5 minutes of fame and now I have gone back to obscurity. It's interesting to note that this traffic spike to my YouTube videos only netted me a couple of bucks in revenue so I'm still several years away from receiving my first $100 payout. I'd better not quit the day job just yet!
I have been working on a fun project to make an exhibit for my local makerspace to take to events. I had a ton of spare ultrasonic sensors lying around so I decided to experiment with turning them into a musical instrument using a Raspberry Pi running a software synth.
Here are the slides from my talk earlier this week at the Denver/Boulder Rust Meetup. I had a ton of fun putting this project together over a four week period and I would encourage others to try their hands at embedded projects with the Raspberry Pi and the Rust programming language. The source code is open source and available here.
We were unable to compete at Sparkfun AVC at all this year due to issues with our compass. Things were working pretty well during practice the day before although the compass was off by about 10 degrees on the run to the first corner. Here's a video from practice which demonstrates obstacle avoidance kicking in when the vehicle was drifting too close to the hay bales.
After two pretty intense weekends of learning more about Rust, I now have the new autonomous vehicle basically working. We took it for the very first test run last night and here's the video as captured and instrumented by the Rust code:
I very recently started using the Rust programming language professionally and although I am still working my way through the learning curve, I feel that I am proficient enough to "get it done" even if it isn't using the most idiomatic Rust code. I'm enjoying the language immensely and have been spending evenings and weekends challenging myself to solve various problems in Rust.
In the weeks leading up to the Denver Maker Faire, I decided to design a case to hold an Arduino and the voice changer shield that I had designed. I wanted to make it easy for people to have a go at talking like a Dalek. It turned out to be a huge success!
I was contacted about five weeks ago to see if I would be interested in taking my Dalek along to the Denver Mini Maker Faire with my local maker space, The Gizmo Dojo. I hadn't taken the Dalek to an event since 2014 and it was in a bit of a state of disrepair so I decided this would be a good opportunity to make some repairs and improvements. It was also good timing, since I have now learned enough about 3D design and printing to be able to make some custom parts that I was unable to manufacture before.
Here are the before and after photos showing the improvements made over the past five weeks. Hopefully it is obvious which is which.
With six months to go until Sparkfun AVC 2016, I've started work on my entry again (a fairly simple entry based around an Arduino Mega). I've learned a lot from last year's failure and I'm on a mission to make improvements that make it easier for me to debug issues and get my entry performing consistently. In my day job I spent plenty of time debugging code, but debugging an autonomous vehicle is much harder and physical crashes are harder to recover from than software crashes.
The first step was to buy a Go Pro HERO camera (just the basic version, costing a little over $100). This weekend we took G-Force for a test run with the camera attached and got some good footage.