Odd Software for Odd Jobs

Project idea

Project Idea: stereoscopic/3D in-car dashcam?

Are there 3D dash cams yet?

Had a thought - if you position a camera about the driver's position and then another over the front passenger's position then you would have both better visibility than a camera stuck in the middle and you could also combine the videos to generate a 3D recording with depth-of-field.

I wonder how cool that would look … ?

Project Idea: Lost Bushwalker Finder

I had this idea for a project that may be useful (or more likely useless). And it may or may not have already been done.

It requires a Raspberry Pi, a WiFi dongle, and a drone.

The idea assumes that the lost bushwalker has a smartphone with WiFi switched on but are out of mobile coverage (which is why they haven't called for help). I read somewhere that some (all?) smartphones with WiFi switched on are always looking for an Access Point (AP) to connect to.

I wondered if it might be possible to pinpoint, or at least narrow down, the location of the smartphone (and thus lost bushwalker) by flying a drone overhead in a search pattern with a open AP running so that any device can connect. The smartphone may see the AP flying overhead and thus try to connect to it.

The AP, a Raspberry Pi with WiFi, logs the attempt as well as the GPS coordinates and relays this back to the searcher.

It also assumes that, as it's out in the bush, there aren't many smartphones around. It also assumes that the searchers have WiFi on their phones switched off to avoid false-positives.

The WiFi dongle (or whatever) on the Raspberry Pi would need a boosted antenna to help pick up the weak signal from the bushwalker's phone.

Anyway, was just an idea. Might not be practical. But I thought it would be interesting to try out. And I would finally have a good reason to buy a drone!

Unfortunately, my family's been under the threat of forced-emigration for a while now. Makes it hard to concentrate on tinkering and inventing when your Aussie family may be forced to emigrate from Australia.

Project Idea: Replacement Sony MiniDisc remote

A project idea to exercise the brain - replace the RM-MC38EL remote control on my Sony MiniDisc recorder with a larger unit.

2016-02-01 06.47.07

It would use a larger and easier to read 16x2 LCD and buttons controlled by an Arduino. This will make it more like a component unit and make it easier to use in my workshop than the fiddly little controls it has now.

Sony never made a component HiMD.

The hardest bit will be the plug - either cannibalise a remote or somehow simulate it? Two pins are used to send commands to the MD (different resistance for each command) and the other two for sending data to the remote's display (will need to figure that out!). It does appear easy to acquire Sony RM-MZ3R remotes on eBay, giving me access to a source of the plugs. It would be nice to have just the four-pin plug, leaving the headphone socket free.

I did find a similar project that pre-dates Arduino. In this case it was to allow the use of infra-red remote controls.

Might turn out to be another dead-end ... but it is fun to experiment!