Project work

Short attention span and substandard genetics

I don’t have a short- OOH! A KITTY!

So, my face is not perfectly symmetrical.  Seriously, what kind of crap is that?  I have 2 eyes, 1 (somewhat excessive) nose, 1 (smack-talking) mouth, and a pair of (dumbo-esque) ears all arranged approximately symmetrically, but APPROXIMATELY is insufficient!  My ears are not the same height, so anything held up as a pair of glasses is not level.  My eyes are not quite evenly spaced or even level with my ears.  All these things make precisely alignment of the screens for FancyName a right pain in the keester.  Also, small cuts on the inside of your eyelids really freaking hurt.

I will not rage, rage is the project killer

Like all things, the solution is not Science, but can be found BY science!  It’s a method not a religion, and that is all the diatribe I have time for today.  To resolve this issue I am building a fully adjustable frame for the optics.  Sure, it looks like I have scaffolding on my face (or it will once it goes from CAD theory to plastic product) but once it is aligned and eyestrain largely resolved I can acetone weld the plastics, cut off the ugly bits and jam it inot a somewhat more presentable frame.

With a camera on the bridge of my nose and a song in my heart (stupid shrapnel-throwing CD player!  I’ll SHOW YOU!)

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Inspiration from Perspiration

In the words of Inigo Montoya: Let me explain, no there is too much, let me sum up. The Princess is marrying Humperdink in a leetle less than haf an Hhour…  No wait, that’s not it.

I don’t like hot.

Still, I was outside in a lovely 25 degrees Celsius today which in Fahrenheit is… too freaking hot for a Canadian boy.  This immediately got me thinking: Weather control!  Which immediately led me to maniacal cackling and general super-villain direction, but with Joss’s Magnum Opus (I call it that because I want him to STOP MAKING FREAKING MOVIES AND GO LIVE IN A BOX UNDER THE STAIRS) currently showing the world that Super-heroes are cool I thought I might encounter some plucky youth with delusions of adequacy trying to make a name for himself and that sounds a lot like work.

Long story short, if modifying global weather patterns for my convenience and comfort is off the table, I need to locally change the temperature, because it’s still too freaking hot.  Naturally this leaves me with only one option that doesn’t involve a large swan-shaped ice sculpture head piece: a personal air conditioner!

Since cooling the air around me is pretty pointless if that air insists on moving (Discourteous element!  Back in your box!) That means affixing a refrigeration unit to my head.  While I have no qualms about looking ridiculous in the name of SCIENCE! (I was born looking ridiculous, might as well have a direction for it) I’m not interested in large heavy head gear snapping my neck.

And thus was born: (DumdumDUM!) Operation BrainFreeze!  No damnit, not a round of slurpees.  The plan is simple in its’ simplicity, elegant in its’ elegance and clever (it’s a rick, get an axe!) in its’ cleverness.

For those of you internet folk watching from home, I just used four apostrophes correctly in the same sentence. LEARN!

So, the beautiful woman way out of my league that consented to marry me and  give my children a chance by blending her awesome DNA with my recycled kitty-litter nucleotides has consented (in theory) to making a hood.  Not just any hood, oh no, this will be a hood so magnificent as to hold my attention for entire MINUTES.  To this hood I will tether loops/coils of silicon aquarium tubing carrying a refrigerant to be named later ( I voted for “Frank” but the gnomes insisted on something more traditional).  This refrigerant will be pumped via peristaltic  goodness around the exterior of my heat-vexed noggin, removing that most hideous of thought-destroying excess thermal energy through a heat exchange on the base of a Peltier module salvaged from a USB drink cooler!   The peristaltic pumps require motors, so: To PRINCESS AUTO!  Thar be gear motors in them thar bins!

With the brain sufficiently resistant to the abomination that is summer heat I will retain the illusion of my intelligence and continue on my glorious path of enlightenment, all the way up to Average!

By the Power of MySkull!  (I suspect it is white rather than grey, but will not likely ever know what with my brain and eyes living in it and all)

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HeeHeeHeeHeeHeeHeeHeeHeeHee Wipeout

Not my greatest day.  2 hrs of sleep (oh, pneumonia, how I hate thee), a torqued back (stupid insufficient vertebrae!) and an exception I don’t understand kicking up suddenly in my SURF routine. Sometimes all you can do is sit back,  and cough as you swear in every language you speak as fast as your little face will let you.


I think I may need to try The Wizard Tim (ok, well, technically the Enchanter, but his Frenestradigitation and Sourcery are well beyond me)


I’m cutting my first stencil tomorrow for the carrier.  Hope it all fits!

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Project FancyName – Thank you Mr. FancyPants

carrier sizing


Here we have the most basic of basic ideas for how to layout the main hardware.

I have a builtNY netbook pack that seems like a decent possibility for carrying this rig around, and it seems quite portable.  Looks to be about a kilo of stuff assuming I can still do basic math (been out of school a while, wasn’t good at it then either…).  Totally possible.

This has brought up an interesting question.  How stealthed do I want this to be?  I already figured I’d be installing a secondary camera on the rig, not just the one on the headset, so I’m left to decide how obvious do I want it to be?

Ethically it should be obvious to people in it’s field of view, we deal with too much surveillance as it is.  From an anthropological standpoint people act really different if they think they’re being filmed.  The caveat here is that I have no intention of recording the video, just processing it.  Is a visual scanner more invasive than a sonar scanner if the data is not recorded?  I don’t know.

I never seem to get away from over-analysing ethics.  Does that make me a moral person?  Don’t know.

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Project FancyName Returns!

So, let’s have our first update on Project FancyName.

The state of the union is fragmented.  I used my handy-less-than-dandy 3D printer to pit out a modified copy of a pair of glasses frame.  It looked neat, and was almost right.  I did some horror-show CAD butchery on this once-beautiful design and voila! part of a frame for the myvu. Of course, since I can never let myself have nice things the frame is not quite right and I need something to hold the HMD bits into it anyway.  Quick Robin to the- hey wait, you’re not Robin!


Robin, take this down; “Note to self, hire some security!”

With that out of the way I dug out some handy-dandy cardboard from a random package for.. Looks like boot insoles, and my trusty JBWeld.  Well, sadly due to illness, the part of JBWeld will be played by his cousin JBKwik.  It’s like JBWeld in every way, just not as awesome and sets up in about four seconds or whenever you blink, whichever comes first.

Pictures will follow when/if it becomes less hideous.  (or once I’ve tested that the HMDs are infact right side up, there’s only so many mistakes I’m prepared to chronicle).

<Spooky voice> Beyond the frame </Spooky voice>  I’ve been goofing around with Emgu CV.  Sadly I don’t know anyone who plays with computer vision, so even the Wizard Tim was unable to help me this time.  Since neither a hammer nor a Holy Hand Grenade are likely to help me find things, it was time to learn new skills!  Huzzah! my (least) favourite part!  As it turns out Emgu is essentially pure distilled awesome, so not even I can screw it up horribly.

Since I am hoping to use the artigo’s Teeeny tiiiiny brainpower to run this show, there are limits to what I can make it do.  I know, I know, Raspberry Pi was designed for this sort of thing, I’m doing it wrong, blah blah blah.  Did I listen to you when you told me not to touch that flyback transformer?  No!  My heart started beating again (after a while, well it felt like a while).  They call it a flyback bacause if you brush your bare arm against it even slightly, you… fly back.

Meanwhile, back on the topic at hand, I decided to Mess around with SURF.  Why?  Boardshorts are all the rage dude.  And it lets me catalogue images of things to match up in my field of vision later.  It also lets me do the same for people’s faces!  While that isn’t a problem yet, I have 3 kids who think it’s funny when I bump my head.  A few more bumps and I might shake something loose.

And that is how it was, what it is, and why purple-speckled gumballs from Indonesia can’t be trusted.  More later if it works!

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Project FancyName

I’ve been tooling around with this one for a while.  If you’ve ever met me you know I can lose anything simply by putting it own on an uncluttered surface directly in front of myself.  For other people this is hilarious, for me it is one of the most frustrating things in my life.  And I have 3 children under 5 years old.  I know from frustrating.

So, what am I going to do about it?  I’ve played around with Emgu CV, which is a c# implementation.wrapper of OpenCV.  If I can’t find what’s in front of me, then damnit my computer will.  Since I’m also a packrat when it comes to all things electronic I have just the thing.  Well just the things I can bodge into the thing anyway.

Battery : ArtiGo : Myvu Crystal (connected via random VGA to RCA connector box): random webcam and a Wii nunchuck via Arduino (for blog cred) to control it.

There are a few caveats, naturally, due to the state of my junkyard.

1) the myvu crystal is broken, fortunately just the casing around the eyepiece, but it bears mention.

2) the ArtiGo wasn’t designed to run windows 7, and I’m not entirely sure it’s up to the task of image processing.  Screw it!  What have I ever left running it’s designed function (not counting hardware that belongs to the wife)??

3) the battery comes from a lovely Chinese manufacturer whose name I don’t know, and who’s instructions are entirely in… Cantonese I’m guessing because it doesn’t look like what I think Mandarin does.  But I’m a culturally illiterate white guy, what the hell do I know from Chinese?  Also, I suspect that the mAh rating is pure fiction, or at least mathematically unlikely.

4) when fully assembled the headgear will look ridiculous.  I both understand and accept this.  I’m a tech and a hack, not a designer.  there are people I pay for that sort of thing.

5) I lied.  There is a whole other set of hardware for a wrist-gadget, but that part is for Later.

6) I like cheese.  Not sure if it’s relevant, just throwing it out there.

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