Here are a collection of hardware and software things that I have made over the years and I feel like sharing them with the rest of the world.

As you'll no doubt notice the hardware stuff is all ancient as I haven't tackled a soldering iron since I joined Philips, but things like the twinkley Christmas lights and the Ah-Yeah! box just have to be put out there for public consumption :)

Granted Patents
Over my years of experience in research, advanced product design and application development, I have been fortunate enough to come up with a few ideas that were worth patenting. So here they are.

These are just the ones that are granted, there are a bunch of other pending applications too.

Automatic Frog Feeder
This project was designed to automatically feed my sons pet frogs while we was out of town for two weeks.

The project required software on an Arduino, some simple electronics/soldering and a little mechanical construction, to mount the motor, sensors and electronics, etc.

Great practice project for getting familiar with the Arduino!
Arduino Communication Library - "hardtop"
This library provides a simple protocol to connect an Arduino to a Linux-based device, using minimal additional components.

It's great for those Linux devices that are not USB hosts (such as phones, tables, etc.). The initial version connects the HP TouchPad to the Arduino. The two communicate via the TouchPad's 3.5mm headset jack.

The protocol ia a great alternative to more expensive approaches, such as using a USB shield on the Arduino, or Ethershield to link the two via IP.
Photocasting for a Palm TX or Palm LifeDrive
Late in 2005 I was trying to find some kind of WiFi enabled digital photo frame. I couldn't find anything - not at a reasonable pricepoint at least.

Then it was pointed out to me, I could just write an application to run on a Palm TX that does what I need; connect to a server once a day and retrieve some pictures to display as a slideshow. Took me a few evenings, but this is what I came up with!

There's one running at my mums house right now, showing her pages from my slideshows, changing albums on a daily basis.
The Ah-Yeah! Box
Those old enough to remember the early 90's will remember all house/dance/disco songs had to have a sample of a black-guy shouting 'ah-yeah'.

I decided I needed a box that could go 'ah-yeah', allowing me to punctuate conversation at will with the saying. Also it comes in handy when you want to prentend to be a DJ in your bedroom.
Altoid Tin Knick Knack Stack

Everyone knows, you're not a real "maker" until you've made something out of old Altoid tins.

For my rite of passage I've made myself a set of draws to store small knick-knacks. It's a stack of Altoid tins, so I call it a "Knick Knack Stack".

For bonus points, I also involved a 3D printer.
Lowcost automatic surveillance camera
Use any old low cost piece of crap film camera to make a low cost surveillence camera.

Might even be adaptable for these new fangled digital cameras ... provided you can find a way to push the shutter release button.
Twinkley Christmas Tree Lights - Low Power
Christmas tree lights that simply flash on and off always bugged me. I wanted something more soooooothing. A gentle fade in and out. This was my first attempt at such a circuit. It uses a string of LEDs driven off a power op-amp providing a sawtooth waveform ... incase you were interested!

Twinkley Christmas Tree Lights - Mains Powered!
This Christmassy project gives you twinkling christmas tree lights. Rather than using fiddly LEDs I went the whole hog and used triacs to control strings of standard, cheap fairy lights.
Control your home over the phone
In this project I create a unit that can be coupled to the home phone line (accoustically in my case).

The design allows DTMF (aka 'touch-tone') signals to be sent to the home and the interpreted into commands to control devices in the home, e.g., start a VCR recording through an IR bridge, turn on some light via X10 or control a PC.

The circuit design incorporates security, namely, the first four digits entered are an access code, to prevent unauthorized control of the home.
Generate nice chimes using transistors
Almost as much as I hated flashing (on-off) christmas tree lights, I don't like things that go BEEP with a harsh square wave.

This cunning little design uses a number of transistors to generate a 'ping' tone with a more appealing envelope.

© 1992-2012 Rik Sagar