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Messages - James

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DACs / LaserBoy piDAC
« on: April 13, 2024, 04:42:43 pm »
Let me tell you about a project I've been working on since about September of 23.
The LaserBoy piDAC.
I put together a set of criteria for creating a device that is intended to be placed inside of a laser projector.
It is a single board computer running a common distro of Linux.
It is a full workstation computer with USB keyboard, mouse and HDMI 4K video.
It has a full GUI desktop environment.
It has a modified multichannel audio device, aka LaserBoy DAC.
It can run the LaserBoy application!
It can play LaserBoy wav files from its own local storage.
It has both a gigabit wired Ethernet port and a wifi.
The gigabit port is set to a unique static IP and can be joined to a private wired peer to peer network that requires no router (and no wifi).
The wifi can be enabled or disabled to allow the device to connect to the Internet (or not).
The device has a vnc server that allows remote desktop connections either to the native console (its own keyboard, mouse, monitor view) or completely headless (the device with nothing but a network connection).
The device can offer its LaserBoy DAC as a network UDP listener and accept low latency network streams to send directly out its DAC (real-time network addressable laser control device).
The protocols for this network connection are platform independent, meaning  there is no significant difference between using Windows, Linux, MacOS  or many others as the control workstation capable of streaming to any  number of these individually addressed piDACs independently and  simultaneously.
The protocol is free, open  source, widely used and specifically designed for low latency data  streaming of all kinds. The protocol is setup to only transmit exactly  the data that ends up going right out of the piDAC's sound device and  nothing more. It can be setup for any number of channels up to 6 or 8,  with an obvious default of 5 {X, Y, r, g, b}.
The protocol is supported in every OS with a free open source API written in C, but so far I have not had to write any custom code to make it work!
The protocol can present itself as a  stream sink device that can be placed on the canvas of Pure Data, MaxMSP  and other such programming environments -- in other words, any number  of individually addressable nodes that are live lasers!
Each  piDAC runs a samba share of its own /LaserBoy directory that can be  found and mounted as a network share. So the control workstation can  easily copy files to and from itself and any of the piDACs.
I have chosen a specific set of devices to make a bunch of these, but the  idea is not at all hardware dependent. Any single board computer running any version of Linux with any multichannel sound device could be made to work.
It took me a long time to  figure out how to make all of this work. In this time, I also suffered  the loss of my husband of nearly 31 years in mid January, 24, so it has  at times been impossible for me to work on it.
It is also a fair bit of hand work to make each physical example that I have. I would like to be known as the guy who figured this all out, but I would also like to be able to make some money for once. I've been working on LaserBoy for more than 20 years!
Being that this is all based on generic off the shelf hardware and free open source code, protocols and standards, it would not be too difficult to copy. I'm hoping that people would want to support where it came from and see the value of getting one (or more) hand made by me personally sent to them.
I would also like to attract other developers to add to the capabilities of this platform to make it the open source standard for network laser control.
Here's a bunch of pictures!

DACs / Re: Genuine Extra Stimulus LaserBoy Correction Amp Boards!
« on: April 13, 2024, 02:17:19 pm »
Since you are using a typical USB multichannel sound device, the whole thing is single ended. That is it is not differential. When driving a device that has differential inputs with a single-ended source, it is necessary to ground the unused inverting input.

LaserBoy !!! / Re: color shift
« on: August 28, 2023, 10:01:51 pm »
I'm not sure what you are asking.

Sorry I didn't see this sooner.

LaserBoy !!! / Re: Help compiling LaserBoy on Linux
« on: December 09, 2022, 12:54:07 pm »
Can you tell me what steps you took to install Boost?

I use Ubuntu so I installed it like this:

# sudo apt install libboost-all-dev

You should be able to find the boost lib headers in the include path.

# whereis boost

boost: /usr/include/boost

This might be helpful:

LaserBoy !!! / Re: Help compiling LaserBoy on Linux
« on: December 08, 2022, 11:01:34 pm »
Ok. I will look into this and get back to you.

Welcome to the LaserBoy Forum!

DACs / Re: Genuine Extra Stimulus LaserBoy Correction Amp Boards!
« on: May 03, 2022, 01:40:31 pm »
I forgot to answer your question about the image size control. That is just a 100K stacked stereo potentiometer. It goes between the output of the correction amp X and Y channels and the DB25 socket holes 1 and 2. It is just an attenuator, like any other audio volume control.

DACs / Re: Genuine Extra Stimulus LaserBoy Correction Amp Boards!
« on: May 02, 2022, 11:40:40 am »
Hi Banglabastler!

The I channel corresponds to the 6th channel of the sound device. So the order is:

1 X
2 Y
3 r
4 g
5 b
6 i

If you have a laser projector that only has one color, you can make wave files in LaserBoy that have a mix of the rgb signals in the 6th channel. Then you drive your laser modulation input with the i signal. If you hooked it up to one of the other color channels, then it would only come on when that color is in the art. There are a few different signals you can put in the i channel and there are settings in LaserBoy to choose. It's also possible to put Z in the i channel if you have 3D  vector data. This might be useful if you have some kind of analog signal processing that can deal with 3D input signals.

A capacitor blocks DC in an audio-like signal. This is fine for audio because DC could actually damage a speaker. But for vector position signals, this is no good. Putting a signal through a capacitor is the math equivalent of the first derivative of a function. So instead of the absolute voltage over time, you get the change in voltage over time. Let's say you want to display a single dot above and to the right of the center of the screen (in the all positive area with respect to the origin 0,0). If you want to hold that dot there for a few seconds you will have X and Y signals that start at zero and jump to some positive voltage and stay at that constant voltage for however long you want to display the dot. A constant voltage has no change over time! So a DC blocking capacitor would start to discharge as soon as the dot appeared and the dot would drift back to the center of the screen. This is also required for color signals because they are nothing but positive voltages.

LaserBoy !!! / Re: Installing LaserBoy on macOS Big Sur 11.6.5
« on: April 29, 2022, 06:30:30 pm »
Excellent! You have the most current version!

LaserBoy !!! / Re: Installing LaserBoy on macOS Big Sur 11.6.5
« on: April 29, 2022, 03:45:10 pm »

Welcome to the world of LaserBoy!

What is the version (date) on the main menu?

Looking forward to seeing you on FB.


LaserBoy !!! / Re: Installing LaserBoy on macOS Big Sur 11.6.5
« on: April 29, 2022, 12:12:03 pm »
Derek Holzer organized Vector Hack Festival and started Vector Synthesis. I was a presenter in VHF 2020. Great bunch of people.

Try setting the permissions for rwx all to on as root.

chmod 777 LaserBoy

Then run it as root.

Also, make sure the executable is in the .../LaserBoy folder and when you run it your shell is in that folder too.

LaserBoy !!! / Re: Installing LaserBoy on macOS Big Sur 11.6.5
« on: April 28, 2022, 05:21:06 pm »
If you are on Facebook, you should join a group called Vector Synthesis. There are quite a few people there who use LaserBoy on a Mac and they do a lot of other neat stuff too!

One of the members there compiled the code for you!

Let me know when you get it and if it works. This is just the executable. I don't want to leave this out there for very long. I want to delete it. Also let me know what version this is.


LaserBoy !!! / Re: Installing LaserBoy on macOS Big Sur 11.6.5
« on: April 27, 2022, 10:54:58 am »
I will ask a group of Mac LaserBoy users about homebrew run as root.

The command

make -f Makefile.osx clean

will delete all of the object files and the executable if there is one. If your build fails, you should clean before you try it again.

LaserBoy !!! / Re: Installing LaserBoy on macOS Big Sur 11.6.5
« on: April 26, 2022, 08:47:57 pm »
Hi Lewis!

DL the current version

It has up to date instructions for Mac OSX using homebrew.

Let me know if this works for you or if you have any other questions.

Good luck!


Construction / Re: Teensy Laser Control
« on: January 23, 2022, 01:13:53 am »
You don't understand what you think of as (your own) common sense is actually extremely specific, self-taught and rare.

I am very good at the things I have pursued for decades.

Don't assume I know everything around the edges. I really don't. As a matter of fact, my narrow focus on what I know sometimes makes it just that much more difficult to grasp outside concepts.

But I must say that I have learned so much by engaging with other people who are interested in what I am doing and want to use it to do what they envision as their next thing.

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