Posts Tagged ‘idea’

Idea: Answering Tricky questions with Amazon Mechanical Turk

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

I know that the Echo gets the bulk of its responses from Alexa, but I think amazon is missing an opportunity with their own mturk service.

Each time Echo responds with “sorry”, the transcript of that command is already flagged for staff review. If enough people ask for anything, the appropriate response will eventually be available for Echo. However, what if Amazon could create new responses to tricky questions in less than a day?

Using Amazon’s own Mechanical Turk service, Amazon can reduce the threshold for human review. Overall decreasing the turnaround for creating better responses from weeks down to hours or even minutes!

For the uninitiated, Mechanical Turk is a service from Amazon where you can complete simple tasks in exchange for a tiny payment. The idea is to use this service for tasks that are easy for humans but hard for computers. Currently, the mturk service looks to be mostly used for transcription and image recognition services.

Functional Pip-Boy

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Getting around to finishing my Pip-Boy project, this is my plans and research so far.

Last fall, I purchased a Pip-Boy cast from Skruffy of theRPF.  The cast I received from him needed very little sanding to get it to fit together and look right.

I was inspired to go beyond this by another member named pudding of theRPF who posted a video of a functional Pip-Boy he made with an android app and an arduino for the serial interface to the phone.

I think I can go beyond this. Smaller, more functions, and more accuracy.  I asked a my buddy to code up a universal pipboy webapp that will function very close to the pipboy in fallout 3, calling it the Pip-Boy emulator. He is very excited to see this prop in action!
I’ve seen a few demos of his progress, looks good so far. He assures me that the sound effects / animations I want won’t be a problem.

Then on my side is the hardware. I figure the interface between the controls and the ipod will be a mini bluetooth keyboard. The app will support keyboard input so keypresses will be used to navigate the Pip-Boy.

The last piece of the puzzle is the controls on the face of the Pip-Boy that will be wired into the bluetooth keyboard.  There are three input sets on the face controls; the Wheel which moves up-down through the menus, the Knob which moves left-right through the menus, and the front Lights which switches menu areas (STATS, INFO, DATA).


The Wheel and Knob will be a incremental rotary encoders. Rotary encoders have 3 pins; the common pin, the A pin, and B pin. Example: For the Wheel, the common and A pin will be connected to the UP keyboard key, the common and B pin will be connected to the DOWN keyboard key. The when you spin the Wheel clockwise, a pulse train will be input into the UP key, resulting in the UP key being pressed over and over as you spin the Wheel in an upward motion.  Conversely, spinning the Wheel counter clockwise will send a pulse train input to the DOWN key, resulting in the DOWN key being pressed over and over as you spin the Wheel in a downward motion.

Here is a demo of a rotary encoder being used as a keyboard up/down.

The Knob will be connected similar, but for LEFT and RIGHT.

Finally, is the three front LEDs. Each of these will be an illuminated yellow LED switch wired into the keyboard’s A, B, C keys.  In order to get each LED to light up when it is selected an Attiny chip will be used.  An Attiny chip has six I/O pins, perfect for this purpose. Three of the pins will be an input, connected in parallel with the keyboard wiring. Then three of the pins will be an output, turning the LEDs on and off.

There are a couple of ways to turn those LEDs on and off but the Attiny is a very small chip, DIP8, and inexpensive, ~$2.  Makes it an ideal solution.

As an extra, I noticed that in the game the radmeter window (upper right corner of the pipboy face) has a clock hand that spins continuously.  I have a few micro motors and can see this being easy to implement. Yellow glowing background, slow spinning clock hand.

DIY Recoil Action

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Goal here to add the sensation of recoil to a prop rifle gun.  I have seen it done with compressed air and motor pistons, but neither are easily synchronized with electronics and capable of rapid firings for full auto fire.  Leaves me with the third option of using a solenoid.  To fire a solenoid with enough furiosity to kick the gun into your shoulder involves some serious power requirements.

I did a dry run yesterday and came up with this circuit.  The solenoid is rated 12-24V and 3 lbs force.  Using the circuit below it was weak at 18V, fully actuated at 27V, and actually had some kick at 36V.  I am not sure I want to take it higher.


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The next step is to design a circuit to use a lower battery voltage. Three C cells should be sufficient. The 4.5V from the battery would be stepped up and charged across the capacitor. The control circuit would be connected to the solenoid circuit through a optoisolator and a mosfet.

Star Trek Communicator

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Got the idea in my head after I finished watching all seven seasons of Star Trek Voyager for the second time that it may be possible to create a functional comm badge. It would function as a bluetooth headset of sorts for a cellphone. Their are plenty of micro sized bluetooth headsets, but they only work when close to your ear.

I see three different ways to implement this idea:

* First, take an existing micro headset pcb and add an amplifier.
* Second, there could be a wire from an ear phone to the comm badge, the mic and controls would be in the comm badge.
* Third, ditch the comm badge all together and go with a TOS communicator and use a bluetooth speaker phone module. *preferred

Updates will be on the forum, link.