Passive Agressive Direct Reader

Passive Agressive Direct Card Reader

The P.A. Direct Reader simply reads all three tracks of data on a standard mag stripe card, and displays that data.

Originally, the setup was not going to use a computer, but run from an arduino. However some last minut problems with reading multiple tracks, and some hardware problems led to the use of a PC. Processing was used to both read the data from the card reader, as well as display/erase the data on screen.

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Passive Agressive Audio Interpreter

The purpose of the Audio Interpreter is to read card data, and map the data from the card to different tones and hold times. When swiped, each card will play a different 'song'.


LED Marquee Sign - Custom Control Board


Every 2 years my local school system had an auction. This time, I picked up a large LED sign for $22.50.

The sign had a power cable, a couple of ports, and a label that read "Data Design Corp." I bought the unit assuming that I wouldn't be able to get any datasheets or manuals for it, but I did some searchign anyway. I ended up talking to a former VP of the company, who told me the company had been sold and dismanteld years ago.

At this point I had 2 options. The first was to try to figure out the connections on the controller board, and reverse engineer some kind of interface.The second option was to ditch the controller board all together and build one from scratch.

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Aerial Photography Hardware Hardware

Balloon Camera in Flight

My first Balloon Camera is pretty simplistic, but surprisingly effective. I took apart an old digital camera, and created a trigger circuit out of a 555 timer, a relay, and some other components. Every couple of seconds the circuit fires, and the camera takes a picture.

I tried a handfull of different carriages, but a simple plastic box ended up working the best. Fishing line connected the balloons together, as well as served as a tether to control and retrieve the rig.

There's a lot of room for expansion in this project. In the short term I'm interested in using Eye-Fi Cards to get images live while the camera is aloft. Some sort of live video stream would be excellent as well. In the long term, I'd love to send something up even higher. I've seen a lot of really successful projects that have gotten some incredible pictures.

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