Aug 29, 2008

Message in a balloon

Everybody likes balloons(usually), perhaps everybody just likes helium balloons. Either way, we like balloons. That's what matters. So, much like a message in a bottle, we have created a ‘message in a balloon’.

We wanted to explore how using micropowered devices, we could transmit a message from a satellite to its surrounding environment over long distances. The device which is very small, is loaded with a message and sailed through the air by way of helium balloons (pretty, and functional!). It transmits a message and amateur radio operators, who would be previously informed of the time of the flight, could intercept the message, and enjoy the fun of receiving a message, in a balloon, from far above.

Read more regarding the technology and method used.

Aug 27, 2008

LASER burning

The laser in an DVD player can often deliver more than 150mW of near infrared light. This is strong enough to burn thin black plastic such as a floppy disc or the black foam used for IC's. Just for fun we mounted one of these lasers on a pair of RC-servos and had it write letters on a black piece of foam. See video on

Finding Stuff in the Sky

Playing with RC planes, we quickly determined that it was necessary to track objects which are moving throughout a large area. We needed to keep contact with the object, in our case, the planes since we had a video transmitter within the plane. Thus, had to create an antenna tracker that would scan the sky for a signal and then focus the antenna on our plane. We created this using a microcontroller system hooked up to servos and the antennas and developed a system wherein a spiral path is followed to map out all possible areas. We prototyped it with LEDs and and a phototransistor.


See the video on Blip:

Aug 26, 2008

Self sustaining micropower devices - aka, a sexy new doorsign

GeekPhysical decided it was time for a door sign. Of course, the door sign couldn’t just be a sticker on the door with our names on it, it instead had to be something fantastically geeky, with a challenge of keeping itself powered so we don’t have to replace batteries constantly. The answer: a digital display scrolling our names, powered by tiny solar panels.


Flickr Photos:

GeekPhysical out!