Ideas - inspirations experiments & notes

Another eye tracking idea: powertool safety

Just been using some power tools in the sunshine and it was very easy to let the attention stray as people passed by or cars beeped behind me. Power tools often have some form of dead man's switch which cut the power if you let go, but surely by then you may literally be a dead man. It got me thinking (after I'd turned off the power tools) that some form of attention monitoring could improve the safety of power tools.

So perhaps a simple gaze tracking system, that can tell if I'm looking at the cutting area, which can immediately cut power if my attention strays, before the tool has a chance to stray anywhere near me. This could improve accuracy and prevent accidents.

DIY project: Recreating the Eames Musical Tower

Diy Homemade Eames Musical Tower

Some information about my ongoing project to recreate a piece of classic 1950s modern design from Charles and Ray Eames - the gravity-powered "Musical Tower" glockenspiel.

Quick retrofit responsive CSS

Google has been hassling site owners for months now about making their sites responsive and mobile-friendly. The two things aren't the same but the big G doesn't care, so I finally caved in to their nagging and jumped on the site to change the CSS.

This site always had a very simple stylesheet and a really basic structure, which lends itself to responsive design. Since the default width of the content is set to 680 pixels, and the widths are only defined in a few places, it was a snap to jump into the CSS and add a media query so that anything with a display resolution of more than 680 pixels wide gets the original versions of the rules, and the rest get a new version with a reduced width, in this case 340 pixels.

Throw in a few extra rules to reduce padding and margins for the smaller display, and another two to handle a couple of fixed width objects. All done in ten minutes and Google can stop calling me.

Homebrew Time Capsule Project

Homebrew Nas Timecapsule Icon

Just a walkthrough of my homemade Time Capsule based on some old hard drives and low-cost hardware. Spent a bit of time last week hacking a Seagate GoFlex Net into an old rackmount server case which I cut down and converted to use SATA drives. Result is a nice super low-power network accessible storage array in a small space-saving casing.

SU700 solderfest - fixing my jumpy encoders

View of the Yamaha Su700 Sampler linking to a guide on replacing the encoders

How to replace misbehaving or jumpy rotary encoders on the Yamaha SU700 digital sampler, with links to the components I tested. Fire up your soldering iron!

Instant illustration of an SX70 camera

Polaroid SX70 Illustration - lineart outline of SX70 folding camera in a Polaroid frame

A quick frame showing some illustration work I've been doing recreating some technical drawings of an old Polaroid camera, the folding SX70 Land camera.

The SX70, initially released in 1972, is still a technical marvel - a brushed steel* and leather box that expands with an intricate folding mechanism to reveal a manual-focus SLR camera capable of producing prints at the touch of a button.

I recently found myself reading the repair manual for this camera and poring over illustrations and exploded views. The original document may have been useful but the current electronic version left much to be desired, with most diagrams corrupted by successive low res scanning/copying. Therefore I've begun work on recreating them as modern vector lineart - just a few to start with but as time goes on I shall try to add more

*In reality, the body is constructed of metalised plastic - plastic coated in a thin metal film and treated to resemble brushed steel.

2012 Olympic torch up close

London 2012 Olympic Torch

A close-up of the 2012 Olympic torch as displayed at the Design Museum