Archive for March, 2011

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.
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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.

 

 

motion activated spy camera

 

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.

Read more about this and other DIY electronics projects:  Lucid Science Electronics from the Fringe: Motion Activated Camera

sound activated spy camera

This simple project will add sound activated control to any digital camera by ending a time controlled pulse into a relay board that is connected to the dual stage camera shutter switch. The sound is picked up by a sensitive microphone and then fed into an operational amplifier set up as an adjustable comparator so that the sensitivity can be controlled. The level of sound activation can be adjusted to respond to very faint sounds such as voices or footsteps and also adjusted to only respond to loud sounds such as music or hand claps. As a security device, this project will allow a high resolution image to be captured in response to some type of nearby sound.

Read more about this and other DIY electronics projects:  Lucid Science Electronics from the Fringe: Sound Activated Camera – DIY electronics project

An adjustable timer that will continually focus and shoot images on a digital camera.
Figure 0 - This system will focus and shoot a photo at some repeating interval
This system will focus and shoot a photo at some repeating interval

This project will extend the “Hacked Camera Trigger” project, allowing a timer to control both the focus and shutter release functions on a digital camera at an adjustable rate. This method of repeating time delayed image taking is also referred to as a “time lapse photography”, and can be used to speed up time by piecing together hundreds of photos taken over the span of hours or even days. By first focusing the camera before the shot, the camera will be able to acquire moving targets with far fewer missed or blurry exposures. In this project, a timer feeds a 10 stage counter, allowing up to 10 individual control points, although only two are needed in order to control the camera relay interface.

By using the other eight digital output pins on the decade counter, several more cameras can be controlled, or more relays can be added to allow the controlling of various other electrical devices such as solenoids, alarms, lights, or even AC operated appliances. The rate of photo taking can be controlled by a variable resistor, and by altering the value of the timer capacitor, rates of several photos per second all the way down to single photos every hour can be set. This project assumes that you have previously built the “Hacked Camera Trigger” project, although you could certainly interface it to some other hardware as well.

Figure 1 - This is the relay interface that controls the camera shutter switch
Figure 1 – This is the relay interface that controls the camera shutter switch

The small board shown in Figure 1 is a previous project called “Camera Trigger Hack”, and it allows any electronic device to issue a focus and shoot command to the camera. I call this a hack because it requires removal of the original switch from the camera in order to hack into the two functions that control the focus and shoot signals on the cameras circuit board. You “may” be able to build this project without the previous project as long as your camera board will accept the 5 volt digital signals from the 4017 decade counter into the cameras board, but to be safe, this previous project adds a level of safety to ensure your camera will not be damaged by any external device or voltages.

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