Moe’s Phone

Eric Betts was inspired to help decorate a Simpson’s inspired drink station at his office so he created Moe’s Phone – a modified 90’s (or maybe 80’s) era phone that plays Bart Simpson’s prank calls each time the receiver is lifted.

Picking up the receiver plays a dial tone, followed by the dialing of the phone number for Moe’s (it sounds like someone hit the ‘redial’ button). Finally, a random clip starts playing. You can hang up at any time to stop the clip, and the line goes dead when the clip finishes. Small touches like that added a lot to the experience.

You can find the code for the project on GitHub.

SeaGrass Art Installation

Mauricio Bustos was part of a team that built seaGrass, an interactive LED sculpture.

This beautiful, interactive sculpture has 30 30′ illuminated towers.  Each platform structure has a Teensy that is used to read capacitive touch elements that were used as inputs to change the light patterns.  There are 50 addressable LEDs in each tower structure surrounded by a diffusion shroud to make the lights appear as a continuous light band


This video shows seaGrass at BurningMan.

The electronics that create the magic of seaGrass.

You can follow the project on the LumenEssence Facebook page.

Ultrasonic Anemometer

Antiath built his own ultrasonic anemometer.

This DIY project is based based on a Teensy 3.6. The teensy generates 40 kHz packets  and uses it’s own ADC ( after a two stage amplification) to measure the received packets and their time of flight between two ultrasonic transducers. The wind speed is directly deduced from the measured speed of sound.

Falling Up Robot

Forum user EVL has built a 6-foot tall self balancing inverted pendulum bot as part of an effort to practice feedback control systems.

A PID control system achieves tilt stability. Tilt angle is calculated from sensor fusion of LSM6DS3 accel/gyro readings passed through an Extended Kalman Filter. Propulsion is done with 3A stepper motors with CUI AMT10 encoders for wheel position and velocity. Steppers were used for their high torque at low RPM and zero backlash, so near flawless stand-still response is achieved. The Kalman filter, LSM6DS3 anti-alias filters, and in-code butterworth filters mitigate the mechanical vibration effects of the steppers.

This test video demonstrates near perfect stand-still response.

The second test video demonstrates motion control while maintaining balance.

In addition to the the PJRC Forum, information on the project can also be found on Hackster.IO and this robotics forum.


Digital Setting Circles for Dobsonian Telescope

Aaron Turner built his own digital setting circles (DSCs) to add to his 12″ Dobsonian telescope after finding the commercial options were pricey and lacking in a good user interface.

DCSs show you where to point your telescope to locate your astronomical target.  They are particularly useful in areas of high light pollution.  You can read more about them here.

Powered by a Teensy 3.1, Aaron’s digital setting circles allow connecting
your computer, iPad or Android device to your telescope via WiFi to
more easily find any object in the night sky.

More information on the project can be found on the Teensy-DSC Wiki.  The code for the project can be at TeensyDSC on GitHub.

DIY USB Security Token

Drew Fustini tweeted about a presentation he saw at LinuxCon 2014

A Teensy 3.1 was used for a DIY security token.  The functions inlude Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for Integrity Measurement Architecture (IMA) attestation, signing files, and ssh remote login.  Some of the features include private keys generated on the token and a physical presence required to reprogram.

The token was simply constructed using the housing from a USB thumb drive and some epoxy to keep it all together.


MIDI Joystick

Forum user whannah built a nifty MIDI joystick so that he could control a synthesizer from his organ.

This joystick solved a couple of problems for whannah.  He wanted to control a synthesizer from his organ, but  wanted a physical control for pitch bend and modulation, which the organ doesn’t have. Also, he couldn’t plug the organ into the synthesizer because the MIDI control change (CC) messages are sent to the synth when he didn’t want them to be. He couldn’t disable the sending or receiving of MIDI on either instrument. Normally he would need to bring a second keyboard to control the synth, which is a pain. So he built this little joystick box to give him a physical control and also filter the MIDI messages.

You wouldn’t know by looking at it, but whannah said that the hardest part about the project was drilling the holes in the right place.


Sound-reactive Kinect tracking LED wall

Sammy Kamkar created an amazing sound reactive LED wall

This 4×4 wall has 1,728 addressable LEDs and tracks anyone in front of it via Kinect. Samy does smart background subtraction by creating a “depth window” in 3d space as the Kinect can provide me full depth data. The software is a combination of code he’s developed in OpenFrameworks, Syphon and Quartz Composer for sound reactivity. The panels are driven by a $19 micro-Teensy board using Direct Memory Access.

Symphony Hack Lab Light Cubes

Andrew Pelling and the pHacktory recently made beautiful light cubes as part of Hack the Symphony with the National Arts Centre Orchastra.

This video posted on Twitter shows the testing of the cubes prior to the performance.

Andrew used a MSGEQ7chip to turn incoming audio and break it down into seven frequency bands.  The data is sent to a Teensy 3.6 to control and assign colors to the LEDs lighting up the cubes.  The result was an art installation that translated orchestra sounds into colors – blues purples for bass frequencies with higher frequencies in red.  Each cube will also get brighter or dimmer depending on the volume level of the music.

This article gives a great overview of the project as well as instructions for building your own.  Addtionally, all the code is available on GitHub.

You can read more about the project and Andrew over on artsfile.