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This is a question DIY Techno-hacks

Old hard drive platters make wonderfully good drinks coasters - they look dead smart and expensive and you've stopped people reading your old data into the bargain.

Have you taped all your remotes together, peep-show-style? Have you wired your doorbell to the toilet? What enterprising DIY have you done with technology?

Extra points for using sellotape rather than solder.

(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 12:30)
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Oh God...
...sory, but I have so many of these I thought it best to break them up a bit rather than one enormous post!

A reply to another post reminded me of my current 'project'.

This is still unfinished - a bit like the other projects, but this really is in it's infancy.

I have a really, really shite memory and for that reason am always losing my keys, USB sticks, mobile phone etc... you get the idea, we all do and it's the most infuriating thing ever! I've often thought of a solution to this but it seems somewhat crap. I thought, "I need radioactive cellotape and a gieger counter to narrow down my lost objects.

Of course, the levels of radioactivity needed to get that sort of performance would see my entire family - and quite probably everyone in my village - die of leukemia within about a week, so I had to think of another way. Some might say that the frustration of not being able to find keys etc... would make it worth it, but that would be disrespectful to genuine sufferers, but you get just how much this annoys me!

...and so, one day whilst browsing ebay for more random crap after a fair few down the local, I stumbled across what I hope is the answer.


I bought a kit with 10 RFID 'stickers' and a reader. You can probably guess the rest. The same machine I have powering the touchscreen also has the reader plugged into it. If one of my objects is lost, the moment it gets within range of the reader (about 2 metres) it updates the database with the location of the item.

Presently, all that tells me is that my bloody phone is not within 2 metres of my touchscreen.

However, with a reader on every machine (there are 5 that run 24/7) I should soon, at least be able to tell which floor and room any tagged object is, and hopefully which 'quadrent', by simply asking aloud.

I was thinking of tying this into the voice recognition so all I need do is simply ask aloud where my keys are and I'll hear a very odd, Stephen Hawkin type voice tell me where they are.

At least, that's the plan, and the initial 'test' seem to be going quite well so far.

I've also started on a Direct3D view of the house that will be (hopefully, I've never used DirectX/3D before) able to be dragged with a finger on the touchscreen and show up which quadrant the search for object is in in a different colour. Very Star-Tek I know - but who wouldn't love that!?
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:12, 15 replies)
this is probably the best idea yet
*clicks hard*
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:18, closed)
over diy techno projects never seemed remotely plausible

until now that is

(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:26, closed)
and the original post both got a click!
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 20:39, closed)
... seem to actually make all the things I would like to make, but somehow never actually get around to making.
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:49, closed)
I don't have a lot of time for much else, and when I start something I have a habit of not stopping 'till it's done otherwise I lose interest too quickly and it never gets finished (like my MAME cabinet mentioned in a much earlier post).

This sadly was started before I went on holiday, and now I have to find the motivation to pick it up again whilst all my mates are down the pub, or it will never get finished.
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:51, closed)
... Ah... I made a MAME cabinet... powered by an XBox... its rather fun but has spent the last few years resigned to the garage as its too big to get in the house.
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:56, closed)
I made
mine IN the garage and it was too big to get out. A proper Frank Spencer job that one was!

I was thinking of dedicating my old xbox to a 'cocktail cabinet' style one, one that might be a little more 'wife-friendly', but true to form, I've pretty much destroyed it by drilling the back out to add USB ports (for a keyboard) and nicking the HDD for another box (I have no idea what has happened to my original 8gb one, so I can't put it back).
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:59, closed)
Having read
all your posts so far this week, I am in some considerable awe but would like to know what is going to happen when you sell your house...?
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 17:06, closed)
have tried to make it as portable as possible - I too had that in mind as I was throwing it all together.
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 18:20, closed)
Oh my fucking God
I need this in my life! If it works, will you do one for me?
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 20:06, closed)
certainly be welcome to have the software and code.

You'd have to get the RFID kit (I've just looked and I can't bloody find the one I have on ebay any more - I was rather hoping to use the same readers and tags for the whole house).

Short of having 4 PCs in each room I am struggling to think of a way to narrow the search down - I'm sure I'll think of something though ;-)
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 20:25, closed)
Got it.
Arduino units with the parallax RFID reader sheild and the wireless network sheild (when it becomes available) telling a central TCPIP listener to update the database when any RFID tags get within range.

...or maybe some sort of pic.

Much cheaper than 4 PCs in every room, and much cheaper on electric too.
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 22:16, closed)
i'm by no means technologically minded
but would a portable reader work? [dunno if they can be portable...]
That way you could just wander through the rooms quickly and it'll scream at you when you're close.
Still WAY quicker than having to LOOK through every room.

[also, if you get this working, I fucking WANT one *clicks*]
(, Fri 21 Aug 2009, 1:30, closed)
You could have one in a laptop I suppose, but it's just not geeky enough ;-)
(, Fri 21 Aug 2009, 8:46, closed)
you attach two readers to one PC and triangulate the location of the tags based on the strength of the signal? That would give you a much better location for the keys. Bear in mind I have no idea how rfid readers work.
(, Mon 24 Aug 2009, 15:08, closed)

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