Thursday, April 28, 2011

LucidScience News for April 28

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lucidscience diy electronics 

Greetings. Gather and decode data for your covert spy operations.

New projects include: 
  • Phone number decoder 
  • GPS tracking device
  • GPS data receiver  
Hope to see you in the builders forum. 

Cheers, friends.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spammer Jammer DIY Electronics Project

A loud and annoying alarm that will make telemarketers think twice about calling back! 

Figure 0 - This little box will give those pesky telemarketers an earful of fun!
This little box will give those pesky telemarketers an earful of fun!

Why it is still legal for telemarketers to invade a person's privacy baffles my mind! Here I am either trying to relax during dinner or busy with a soldering iron on a 144 pin FPGA and then right at the worst moment possible...rrrrrring! So, I drop whatever I was doing to go get the call and to my absolute disgust, it's another spammer trying to sell me some useless product, or worse - an automated message telling me to "Hold on for an important message." Can you imagine the nerve??! They so blatantly destroy MY peace and quiet to put ME on hold as if MY time is not nearly as important as the cheesy redirect they are about to spew into my already angry ears! Oh, did I mention that of all things in this life that I find annoying, phone spammers top my list?

This simple project will give those tele-spammers exactly what they are trying to give you - an earful of useless and highly annoying noise. "You're mean, they are just doing their jobs." Well, let me tell ya buddy, they can do some other job that doesn't involve ticking me off otherwise they will become victims to whatever I decide to feed into my own phone line back at them! If you are like me and have no mercy for those who choose to invade your privacy, then this little box will be right up your alley as it sends a very loud warbling alarm sound back into your phone lines, giving the spammer an earful they won't forget.

You can even adjust the tone quality from a steady police like siren to a belching screech that sounds like a robotic cat fight. Even though the spammers will probably continue to call you back regardless of being on those useless "Do Not Call" lists, you will at least have some enjoyment at their expense with this device.

Figure 1 - This standard phone cord has an RJ11 connector at one end
Figure 1 - This standard phone cord has an RJ11 connector at one end

This device can be made in two versions: one that jacks right into your home phone line for maximum volume level, and a portable unit that just feeds sound into the mouthpiece of any portable phone. The wired version is certainly the most effective version as it can deliver the sound to the spammer at a level you could not achieve by screaming into your phone. Because the Spammer Jammer feeds the audio signal directly into the phone line, it bypasses all audio conditioning circuitry in your phone handset and spews out the sound at the maximum volume possible. Having a direct phone line connection also means that it works on every phone in the house connected to that line.

If you are not afraid of the "Phone Police", then you can hack into your phone line by simply cutting the end of any standard phone cable that includes an RJ11 connector at one end. This four conductor connector will be used to connect the Spammer Jammer into the phone line, so you need the RJ11 male jack at one end and bare wires at the other end.

Telephone voice changer - DIY project

Change your voice over the phone in real time using a computer or digital processor. 
Figure 0 - This black box allows routing effects through your phone system
This black box allows routing effects through your phone system
This project converts an old desktop telephone into a versatile audio mixing station that lets you route your telephone calls through an effects processor in order to create a state of the art voice changer. By using a real time computer voice filter or a professional quality effect box, you can change your voice in ways that will make you sound like a completely different person. You can make a man sound like a woman, or a girl sound like a man, or a man sound like an elderly lady, or any possible combination imaginable with results that will fool anyone.

Unlike those "spy toy" voice changers that make you sound like a funny cartoon, a real vocal effects unit or computer vocal filter will alter a voice in a perfectly convincing manner, allowing fine control over both the formant (gender) and the pitch of your voice. Sure, you can have a lot of fun with evil and chipmunk voices as well, but if you really want to mask your voice identity in a convincing manner then this useful device will allow you to connect any microphone compatible audio processing unit into your phone so you can alter your voice in real time. 

There are many extremely powerful audio processing programs available for a computer that allow a person to alter his or her voice by talking into a microphone. Many of them are inexpensive or even free. Music stores also offer digital effect boxes that are designed for vocal processing, and these have the same functionality as the computer programs, but do their processing in a dedicated DSP (digital signal processor). I will be using both the computer software voice changer as well as the "effect box" version of the vocal processor to show how each one can be connected to the phone system using this project.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Motion Activated Camera

A motion activation system that will control the digital camera shutter release button.

This rig will take a photo anytime it senses motion or heat changes

This project uses a heat sensing motion detector to trigger the shutter release button on a hacked digital camera so that high resolution images can be captured anytime a person or animal crosses in front of the motion sensing zone. By hacking into an old motion activated floodlight, the cost is kept to a minimal and based on a pre-existing system that is known to work well. This project converts the motion sensor for DC battery operation, allowing it to become portable and safe from high voltages.

This project also makes use of a circuit from a previous project called "Camera Trigger Hack", which is a pair of relays and drivers fed into the shutter release switch on a digital camera in order to mimic the original functionality of the switch. You could probably feed the output from this circuit directly into the camera shutter switch, but to be safe, the relay adds a level of isolation from the camera circuit board. Some cameras also have an external remote control jack. This could also be used.

Figure 1 - Any common outdoor motion sensor light can be used for this project
Figure 1 - Any common outdoor motion sensor light can be used for this project

Motion sensing lights like the one shown in Figure 1 use a special heat sensor to detect movement of warm bodied creatures. This sensor detects the body heat of the subject as it passes across a pair of small sensing elements inside the heat sensor. This heat sensor is also known as a PIR (Passive InfraRed) sensor and is the magic behind every one of those inexpensive outdoor security lights as well as most indoor motion sensing units. 
Because these devices are mass manufactured, they are easy to find as surplus or even new for very low cost. Many security lights are tossed out when the plastic degrades or when the relay that controls the AC lights fail, so you can probably salvage the needed parts even from one that is deemed to be non functional.