A Clever Hacker

In January I noticed in my server logs that others are increasingly linking to my pages. The nicest reference I got so far is as an example for a university program. Professor Andrew Famiglietty of University of Texas uses my blog as one of his examples for his EMAC 6V81 Special Topics in Emergent Communication class. He introduces my blog with a very kind review:

This remarkable series of projects shows how a clever hacker can use very simple parts (just an Arduino and some LEDs) and ingenuity to achieve remarkable results. Notice how the author starts by exploring the internals of the Ardunio itself, then goes on to create artistic effects, squeeze unlikely uses out of the parts available, and finally probe the larger built environment in a hands on way.

He has a line-up of other impressive projects on his page. I a very proud to get referenced that way. In order to underline his assessment here comes a new “clever hack”.

In January I wondered where the heating pipes for my radiators are located in the floor. Obviously I needed some excuse to get hold of some thermal imaging device 😉 Unfortunately real thermal imaging cameras are still very expensive. Others have succeeded by implementing scanning imaging devices with some servos and IR sensors. But I wanted something that will deliver results faster and is cheaper and less time consuming to implement.

I knew that diodes where used used before as temperature sensors. The idea is to measure the forward voltage as it varies with the junction temperature. Because my Blinkenlight Kit already has 20 conveniently spaces pads for 20 diodes I figured that it would make a good starting point for this experiment. The result is a rudimentary 20 pixel thermal imaging sensor.

Thermal Imaging Hack Front

To summarize the bill of materials:

Blinkenlight Kit from Rugged Circuits USD 9.95
100 Vishay 1N4148WS-V SOD323 from RS USD 5.75
Some pieces of wire and prototyping PCB from junkbox USD 0.00
Hacking my Blinkenlight kit into a thermal imaging device priceless

Actually only 20 diodes are needed but RS only sells them in bags of 100 pieces

Navigate to the Thermal Imaging Experiment to find out the details on how I implemented it and to see it in action.

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