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The DIY US$600 Laser Harp

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March 5, 2008

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March 6, 2008 Stephen Hobley saw Jean Michael Jarre play his highly theatrical Laser Harp live 22 years ago and vowed he’d build one just like it. He’s just ironed out the bugs and you can see him play it here. Whatsmore, he has detailed the entire construction process on the Internet. He reckons anyone can build one for under US$600 after purchasing his US$19 Laser Harp Plans and Source Code.

We came across the Frameless Laser Harp when it scored second place in Trossen Robotics Community’s latest contest in a very hot field that included a seeing-eye-robot for the visually impaired and a "self-balancing motorboard" which is very similar to the iSlide which drew so much reader interest in a recent Gizmag article. The Leviskate site has lots of video and at 1Kw, the little beastie ensures test-pilot and designer Rodger Cleye always has a smile on his face.

The grand prize for the robotics contest was won by Phoenix, a six legged walking robot. Phoenix's real beauty lies in her graceful motion, which is some of the most convincing and eerily lifelike that we've seen in a robot that uses standard hobby servos and a common off-the-shelf servo controller. The kinematics are computed by an intricately programmed spreadsheet, which we highly recommend you check out if you're a fan of trigonometry.

Is the Frameless Laser Harp really eligible for a robotics contest? Well, yes, because the Laser Harp doesn’t actually make the sounds – it just triggers the notes which are produced on a MIDI.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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