A couple of things I made

I've been wondering what to do with something I made a year or so ago. Should I patent it or try to get it manufactured ? In the end, I've just decided to publish it here as "prior art" so that nobody else can steal the idea. Apple be warned ;) !

I've been referring to it as the Electra-Sketch. Basically, it's an Etch-a-Sketch with all the mechanics replaced with the dismembered internals of an old-style ball mouse.

Of the two buttons on the left, the lower one triggers a "left click", whilst the upper one locks down to provide a "pen down" function in drawing programs to replicate standard Etch-a-Sketch functionality. The right button is a simple right click. In the centre is the scroll wheel and middle mouse button.

Anyone who is familiar with the construction of ball mice will know that the cursor is controlled by the ball turning rollers which turns wheels (one each for the x and y axis), the movement of which is detected by a photo-diode circuit. The wheels and photo-diodes were re-located under the dials so that they now control the movement of a computer cursor via a USB interface.

In the background is the Scalextric Lap Timer I also made, hacked together from an old USB keyboard and some infra-red photo-diodes. The laptop is running some HTML5 software I wrote to provide nice pretty graphs of high precision (10,000th of second) lap times. (Software is available at http://laptimer.holisticsystems.co.uk)

 

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