Timepieces for the Blind

Generally, there are two main timepieces made for the blind. There are Braille watches which usually have a flip-up cover over a regular analog watch face. By feeling the position of the hands on the watch one may determine the time. The second is the talking watch. A button is pressed whereupon the watch announces the time.

It occurred to me that one could easily make a third type which would instead vibrate a series of pulses that provide the time, perhaps in a more discreet manner than the prior two methods. I knew that I wouldn't be the first to think of it, so I did a search and found only one product which uses this method.

Driving static LCD displays

Most projects need to output information to people. Many projects use text LCD displays, which are very flexible and can provide a lot of readable information.

But many projects need to display only a little information. Maybe they need to be even cheaper. Perhaps there's only a small battery available and it needs to run for a long time. In these cases a statically driven LCD display or panel may be all that's needed.

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Magellan eXplorist 400 Review

I recently purchased my first GPS receiver and found my first Geocache, something I've been wanting to do since 2000 when geocaching came to be.

I purchased the Magellan eXplorist 400 with Topo 3D as a bundle from Sam's Club. Read my impressions of this GPS on my first Google Page Creator page - something I also wanted to try out, and will likely review another time.

Wireless Intercom PCB Assembly

I entered the schematic and layed out a quick PCB for the wireless intercom project. I want others to be able to build it, and I know many people don't like to work with SMT so I designed it to support both SMT and through hole components.

PCBs assembled and mounted to transceivers

It makes a fairly compact package - about 2" x 1.7" x 1" not including the batteries. As you can see, the SMT version is thinner. The weight difference between the two is insignificant.

SMT version:

Wireless intercom V3 Prototype done

I completed assembly of the basic prototypes for version 3 of the wireless intercom:

Front view of small plastic boxes containing the wireless intercom with headset jacks and antennas showing.

Full duplex wireless intercom

I had a succesful first test of one-way communication for the RF900DV modules from Laipac. This is the beginning of version 3 of my bicycle intercom. Since I've never posted about this before, a little introduction is in order:

About 3 years ago my sister and I became very active in road cycling, specifically Ultra-Cycling events such as 24 hour races, 500 mile races, and the penultimate Race Across America - a 9 day, 3000 mile race across the USA from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean.

Light Dimming

This information can be dangerous and lethal if not used properly. It is assumed that the reader is competant with high voltages, and has the knowledge necessary to implement a safe working and use environment when dealing with electricity, and its associated hazards. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY. This is provided for informational purposes and does not imply any warranty or responsibility on the author's part.

Please support this site: If you find this information useful, interesting, or entertaining, please help me by voting for my entry on the MyPIC32 contest, and learn more about Microchip's new line of 32 bit microcontrollers. By viewing a few of the contest entries each week you will be eligible for community prizes, such as an iPod Touch. Thanks!

Rotary Encoders

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Please support this site: If you find this information useful, interesting, or entertaining, please help me by voting for my entry on the MyPIC32 contest, and learn more about Microchip's new line of 32 bit microcontrollers. By viewing a few of the contest entries each week you will be eligible for community prizes, such as an iPod Touch. Thanks!

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[Output] [Timing] [What's Inside]

Build a Homemade Media Center PC

Build a Homemade Media Center PC - DigitalDame2 writes "PC Magazine's Loyd Case explains how to build a Media Center PC of your own, how to choose the parts for a custom project, and tips for the Motherboard." I imagine you guys might have some other opinions on what parts and tools to use for the task... [Slashdot]

We started our PVR home entertainment system with a Hauppage WinTV PVR-250, and then upgraded to an ATI HDTV Wonder in 2004 to watch the summer Olympics in 1080i. Needless to say I can't watch our old TV anymore - everything about it is poor compared to using the HDTV Wonder.

Programming the PIC16F84 Microcontroller

[Also available in an offline version including supporting files]

PIC MICROCONTROLLERS:

When studying the PIC series of microcontrollers, the first thing to realize is that the architecture is completely different from anything you are probably used to. This makes understanding the PIC quite confusing at first. You are probably familiar with the spinal cord type of computer with memory, cpu and perpherial chips hooked in parallel to the same data and address bus. The PIC chips have two separate 'data' busses, one for instructions and one for everything else. Instructions are essentially in ROM and dedicate the microcontroller to doing one task. There is very little RAM, a few dozen bytes, and this is reserved for variables operated on by the program. There is also very little 'data' storage, again a few dozen bytes, and this is in EEPROM which is slow and clumsy to change.