Thursday, June 16, 2016

Train set (Environmental education pacakge) demo video

A quick demo of the system in action

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Train set

Something I've been working on @Work(tm). It started with the exercise bike generator and then we went a bit crazy with the extras for it.

Environment education package, train set with various themes

It is part of a environment education package with various themes, including energy, mobility, waste management and biodiversity. It is part of the City of Turku Ekotuki action.

I've done the technical side of it using an Arduino as a main controller. The track has 3 (2 are combined to 1) IR sensors to track where the train is. And a motor controller is used to run the train itself using basic PWM for speed control.

The system, a bit of a mess yes :)
As the whole system is covered with a plexi cover to keep fingers away, the whole system and train needs to be fully automatic. The train controller is configured to run the train around the track a random amount of times (with lower and upper limits), then stop and the station and change direction.

To help debug the system a character LCD is connected trough i2c, it displays the current state, input voltage, speed, wait counters and various other data.

Debug character LCD

The run & stop times can be adjusted with two potentiometers so code changes are not required for basic adjustments. These are read at startup with analog inputs.

Configuration potentiometers

We are considering adding a automatic/manual model toggle with some kind of a remote controller (IR might work).

All buildings have LED lights and are also controlled by the Arduino, currently some are combined because a lack of hardware (need to add a PWM LED controller) but all lights can be controlled separately.

Building lights
Recycling point with street light

There is also a tiny i2c connected B&W LCD screen (the red thing by the blue car, supposed to be a charge point for electric cars) that is used to display logos of the sponsors (Föli, Turku Energia, Lounais-suomen jätehuolto and Turun seudun puhdistamo Oy) and train timetables (fixed for now). This will be upgraded to a color LCD sometime in future.

Electric car charge point with advertisment screen

The system can be powered by the exercise bike to demonstrate electricity generation and usage. It is also possible to power the system with a AC-adaptor in cases where using the bike is not possible.
The Arduino source code is open and available on github. It is of course very specific to this particular setup but still, it is there.

The small house at the top has also a working solar panel.
Solar panel with LED light in the window

The package is still evolving and one of the features in the pipeline is to add environmental and train sounds, upgrade the sponsor LCD to a color version and fully separate light control. Also a way to run the set in manual mode is

Monday, April 25, 2016

Native ScummVM for PlayBook, progress

I was sick and tried to do something usefull at the time. So, a bit of hacking on the BlackBerry fork of SDL to add support for native gestures (Swipe down and and Back swipe "down-left to upper-right").

Swipe down is obviously used for the game menu access (F5 key) and back swipe for Escape to skip cut-scenes (ESC key).

It is pretty much ready for submission!

See below for a quick video on how the swipes are working in Sam & Max Hit the Road and Flight of the Amazon Queen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ScummVM for PlayBook and BB10

Started to scratch an itch as nobody seemed to have done a proper native port of ScummVM for the PlayBook or BlackBerry 10 devices.

It runs and the games seems to work. Now what is needed is some way to handle left/right clicks, F5 and other keyboard shortcuts.

Native ScummVM on BlackBerry PlayBook

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

SID Player for BlackBerry 10

Looks like I've been neglecting my blog again... well, let us do something about that.

I've been planning on doing a SID player for a long long time already for BB10 devices but been a bit scary of doing the low-level audio stuff. No need for such under Linux devices thanks to gstreamer but BB10 does not come with a easy to extend media framework, you need to do everything yourself pretty much.

Got inspired to do something about it a couple of days ago and started with a simple test application using libsidplayfp and QAudioOutput. Works. So next was to use QSA instead as QAudioOutput is not supported on BB10. Turned out to be quite easy (thanks to my effort to get espeak-ng speaking).

A quick demo of my work in progress SID Player for BlackBerry 10

Friday, August 28, 2015

Electric generator excercise bike project

It was first just a test and as it worked as intended we decided at work to continue with it and make it more interesting. The intended target groups are  mainly schools (in City of Turku) and also various sustainability events.

It has gone forward nicely, all basic functionality has been now implemented. The device has 3 main functions:
  1. 12V, 5W incandescent light bulb
  2.  12V, 1.5W LED light bar
  3. Generic 12V plug for anything else you can think of
For option 3 we provide a 5V USB charger and a 12V travel kettle for boiling water. The kettle is 100W, it should take 20 minutes to get it to boil, I'm a fat-ass so almost died after pedalling for a couple of minutes... :)

That was the basics, there are some parts that are still work in progress. Installed are already a current sensor and an LCD screen but they are currently unused. The bike itself also provides a RPM sensor (aka "a switch") that we can also use.

The idea is to show the load in Amps, the Voltage and from there the Watts produced and of course RPM. One ideas was to also add a temperature sensor that could be put in the kettle to see if the water gets any warmer.

It currently still needs manual activation to magnetize the alternator, but that could be made automatic.

Check out the video below for a quick look: