Control Smart Home With Magic Wand – Part 1: Wand

One of the features of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios theme park is “Interactive Wands” where you are able to move a special “Interactive Wand” to control various objects around the park. This feature is a lot of fun, and is where the original idea for this project came from. My son requested a Harry Potter themed birthday party for his most recent birthday, which is the event that caused me to actually create this project.

The interactive wand feature at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter seems to work by having IR lights that shine towards you, having that light reflect off your wand tip, and using an IR camera to to track the reflected light / the movement of the wand. This movement data is then processed by something behind the scenes and if that movement data corresponds to the defined spell the action is performed.

My version of this system consists of three parts: The Wand, The IR Light / Camera, and the processing software. I’ll write a post for each part. This one will cover the wand.

Continue reading “Control Smart Home With Magic Wand – Part 1: Wand”

3D Printable Stomp Rocket

For my 3 year old son’s birthday last year he received a “Stomp Rocket Ultra” kit.  The kit was awesome, and we had a great time.  Eventually we wore the rockets out, so I decided to design a model we could use to 3D print more.  It was a big hit, and we have since printed countless rockets.

The rocket was designed in Fusion 360.  It is a fairly simple design.  It consists of the following: Continue reading “3D Printable Stomp Rocket”

Uno Attack Hack

In the above video you can see what I call my “Uno Attack Hack”. My hacked Uno Attack consists of an Uno Attack game that has been modified to allow me to secretly change the outcome of the game to my advantage.  The hacked Uno Attack has four different operating modes that are set over a Bluetooth connection using an Android based program.  The orientation of the Android phone determines which mode the hacked Uno Attack is in.  The four modes are:

1. Normal – In normal operating mode it operates like a non-hacked Uno Attack.  When the button is pressed there is a 1 in 3 random chance of cards getting shot out.  The number of cards being shot out varies randomly between approximately 1 and 6.  The hacked Uno Attack is in this mode when the phone is laying on a flat surface, screen up.

2. Don’t Attack – In this mode the hacked Uno Attack will never shoot out any cards.  This is the mode that I will typically have it in on my turn, so I don’t get any more cards added to my hand.  The hacked Uno Attack is in this mode when the phone is on its left side.

3. Timed Attack – In this mode the hacked Uno Attack is preloaded with an amount of time ( in milliseconds) that cards should shoot out for on the next button press.  The amount of time is loaded into the hacked Uno Attack by standing the phone on end, then laying it flat again.  The amount of time the phone was standing straight up will be the amount of time loaded into the hacked Uno Attack.

4. Attack Now! – In the mode, the hacked Uno Attack will start shooting cards without its button ever being pressed.  This would be used near the end of a game, when you are ready to give away your secret, but want to really confuse the other players first.  The hacked Uno Attack is in this mode when the phone is standing oriented upside down.  Normal operating mode is returned once the phone is put flat again.

The original circuit board of the Uno Attack was completely replaced with a new custom made one using a PIC 16F88 and a RN-42 Bluetooth Module.  If there is enough interest in this, I will post more information on the construction of this including source, schematics, etc.

Android Application – Touch Timer v2.0


v2.0 – 9/13/2010
-New: Updated User Interface!
-Bug Fix: Several Force Close fixes
-New: Touch Timer+ created, same as Touch Timer with no ads or analytics.

v1.6 – 9/1/2010
-Bug Fix: Fixed Force Close issue involving WakeLock.
-New: Text Color Option for the countdown text.
-New: Added Google Analytics to send back anonymous usage data to assist with future development.

v1.5 – 8/27/2010
-Bug Fix: Alarm Finished dialog no longer dissapears on orientation change.
-Bug Fix: Alarm in Silent Mode now works properly on all versions of Android.

v1.4 – 5/16/2010
-New: Icon updated to comply with Android 2.1 standards.

v1.3 – 3/21/2010
-Bug Fix: Notification volume issues fixed.
-Bug Fix: Now starts properly from the quick launcher.

v1.2 – 2/1/2010
-New: Snooze Option

v1.1 – 11/11/2009
–New: Vibrate On/Off Preference
-New: Notification Length Preference

v1.0 – 10/6/2009
– Initial Release

I recently switched from an iPhone to the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) Android phone.  I am a huge fan of the Android operating system and I started writing applications for it.  My first application is “Touch Timer”. I developed this application after not being happy with any of the timer applications on the market.

Touch Timer is a countdown timer application with an intuitive touch interface.  You input your time by scrolling up and down on the appropriate number or by pressing the plus and minus buttons.  The alarm will go off even if the phone is asleep.  You can set the alarm to honor or override the silent/vibrate mode depending on user preference.  Alert sound is user selectable.

You can download Touch Timer for free from the Android market.

Cyrket Link for those not on an Android device.

Android Application – Risk Odds Calculator


v1.0 – 5/16/2010 – Initial Release

My second Android application is Risk Odds Calculator.  This application will calculate the odds of an attacker winning any single attack in the game of Risk and its variants.  The die selector for Attacker and Defender cycles through 3 types: none (black shadow), six-sided die, and an 8-sided die.  There is also a list of modifiers that allow you to do more advanced calculations for some of the more complicated Risk games, such as Risk 2210 or Risk Godstorm.

If there are any modifiers that I missed that you would like to see added, let me know and I will try to add them in.

You can download Risk Odds Calculator for free from the Android Market.

Cyrket Link for those not on an Android device.