Monthly Archives: August 2011

Invention: Here’s my new wireless camera custom tripod (beta ver)

Just put the finishing touches on my new wireless camera platform. It’s still a bit rough and I know there’s a revision on the way, but it came out surprisingly well for a first draft.

The head is a .3 MP CCD camera attached to a 1.2 ghz wireless transmitter. The antenna for the transmitter makes up the right arm and I threw in an LED lamp for a left arm for balance. Loose cables and a monster 6,800 maH LiOn battery fill the backpack.

Range is a bit of a problem. I think it will reliably transmit about 10 meters with Line of sight, maybe further, but indoors through walls that’s about the limit. I need to work on an improved antenna for the receiver to improve that range.

It’s basically just a webcam on a tripod (an old Gorillapod I had lying around) but I wanted to do something fun with it. It’s pretty fun to put it on a table somewhere and have people say “hi”. I guess future versions can add things like a pivot head and facial recognition, as well as a mobile base to turn it into a full robot, but overall not a bad project with some random parts I had lying around and about $10 in pieces for the body.

What do you think? What does the next draft need?

Takin a break: 2k540 AKI OKA

Takin a break: 2k540 AKI OKA by Steve Nagata

On a walk this afternoon through the Akihabara area I found a neat little space. About three blocks north of Akiba station, hidden under the tracks is this gem. Last time I saw this area, it was a dark and kinda scary storage space. Actually I thought about using it as a backdrop for some photography projects. Now, it’s been cleaned up, painted and converted into a mini artspace.

There is a large open gallery, lots of small boutique shops typical hipster goods. Even a cafe with free wifi, power plugs and free to use iPads! With comiket in town, Akiba is even more packed than normal, but just a few hundred meters off the main drag this space is quiet and cool.

Not sure how long this will last, but if you need a quiet break near Akihabara, might be fun to check it out.


New workdesk, or is it playdesk?


New Desktop

Oooo So many toys!

Made some updates to my desk so I thought I would throw down a quick post.

First of all, I found this great flexible arm for iPads at the Rare Mono shop in Akihabara.  I’m not entirely sold on the positioning right now.  it’s a bit high and I don’t have quite the range of motion I would like, but it does work pretty well.  It’s particularly nice when using it to stream media (like old Firefly episodes) while I am typing away.  As an added bonus I can slave the screen and use it for a second monitor.  It’s also a pretty good setup for using the iPad with facetime and Skype for videoconferencing.  Would be perfect for Google+ hangouts, but no support on iOS yet.

Also added a lamp, mainly to help or videoconferencing.  Unfortunately monitor light alone makes me look even more zombielike than usual so the added light should help keep The Walking Dead references to a minimum.

The desk is getting pretty crowded with all the gear loaded up on it.  I’m sure I get more than my recommended daily allowance of EM radiation from all of this.  But what would I do without my toys?

Anyone care to try to identify the rest of the gear in the shot?

Mobile Office: Power Up Version

Ever hunting for the ultimate mobile setup, I’ve just put the finishing touches on my latest revision of my mobile workstation. This time around, I’m aided with a new MacBook Air 11 inch laptop for a “Pro” configuration.

With the new Sandybridge 1.8ghz i7 chip, this tiny netbook size computer packs some big-boy scale power, enough to let me tether the iPad 2 as a second monitor using the Avatron Air Display app. This way I can run the system as either a dual monitor computer or as two separate machines. I can also add a Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless trackpad to the mix to get that full desktop experience.

Throw in the iPhone for video chatting and etc, and I have three powerful computers that can work together and have enough power to run a small TV station or two Japanese nuclear power plants.

The scary part about this is that including the stands and a wireless cellular router for Internet anywhere, the entire setup weighs just over five pounds, or less than a 15 inch MacBook Pro laptop and it all fits inside the smallest laptop bag I own. Of course I expect a few stares if I set the whole thing up in a cafe and start coordinating an orbital launch while munching a scone.

Progress has allowed us to make computers lighter, smaller, more powerful, and even cheaper at a frightening pace. I expect in just a couple of years I’ll look at this setup and scoff at it’s pitiful specs. But I figure this should last a few months or so.

Would you go out in public with a rig like this? Post a comment below and let me know.