Little Drummer Boy Performed by Robot Snare Drum and HP Scanner

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in the world of geeks.

[quote]This project was really difficult, it was 70% timing and 30% execution. There are a lot of YouTube videos with floppies and stepper motors playing songs. These motors have a quick response time because they are not under a heavy load. The problem with a flatbed scanner is moving the large carriage head. It was not designed to move quickly and when it is playing music you will notice the head changes directions. This is to prevent the carriage from smashing into the chassis. As the notes are playing the carriage head has to periodically change direction and this can add many seconds to a 3 or 4 minute song. This takes extra programming to compensate for these delays. As for the drums, they are just a couple of solenoids connected to a pulley system in order to amplify the movement. The solenoids are used and have very slow response time, you may notice a few beats are missed during the drum rolls. Believe me when I say I have a new respect for drummers. [/quote]

Next-Generation Spinning Top Game Uses Table-Top Display and Tactile Feedback

Utilizing a tabletop display and controller, a team from the University of Electro-Communications have enhanced the fun of ordinary spinning top games through the addition of visual, audio and tactile feedback.

The system allows users to manipulate the speed of the tops by placing the controller above them and when two tops collide, the strength of the impact is delivered through the controller to the user via a mild vibration, much like modern day console gaming joysticks.

Here are some quotes from the company responsible for the interactive spinning top game that tell you a bit more about its development and the inspiration behind some of the features:

  • “The tops contain permanent magnets, and the handheld device contains an electromagnet. The principle is the same as that of a motor, but the poles of the coil are switched very fast, without coming into contact with the top. In this way, the magnetic force makes the top spin and move at the same time.”
  • “To track several objects that are moving or spinning very fast, simultaneously in real time, conventional systems use markers and QR codes. But this system doesn’t use things like that, so the image processing load is much lighter. This enables the system to track faster objects. We think this technology could have a variety of applications.”
  • “When you spin an actual top, if you touch it, it stops. But you can feel physical phenomena like gyro effects if you place a top on your hand or if you touch it. We think that’s really interesting. So we’ve created this system to sustain that experience, letting you feel the forces in a top without touching it, and experience the interplay of forces.”

Sources: Digital Content Expo 2011 & DigInfo.TV

Windows 8 Through the Eyes of Consumers

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[quote]Microsoft recently held their Build Windows conference in Anaheim, CA from September 13th to 16th. Here they gave an in-depth look at their much anticipated new operating system, Windows 8. We wanted to know what consumers are talking about in regards to Windows 8, particularly their overall impressions, how they feel the operating system will work on different hardware, how it stacks up against competitors, and what features they are most anticipating. We listened to 65,968 opinions to come to some interesting conclusions.[/quote]

Image credit: MashWork