Lions head view

2015

I created a photography device which regularly captures timelapses on a pre-defined scheduled and automatically uploads them to YouTube and related social media. The system was implemented on a Raspberry Pi, using a camera-based kit from Adafruit. The software on the Raspberry Pi was written using Python, bash, Raspberry Pi API, lame encoder and the YouTube API. The social media component was implemented using If This Then That.

Tags: youtube raspberrypi linux python ifttt lame recording encoding

Vim clutch pedal

2013

I created a very simple switch attached to an Arduino. To this switch, I attached a typical musical keyboard sustain pedal. I then wrote a piece of software which ran on the PC and interfaced with the Arduino. I used a Linux utility to simulate keypresses, such that the pedal would simulate the appropriate keystrokes, to operate the Vim text editor; specifically, to cause it to enter ‘Insert’ mode when pressed, and to exit ‘Insert’ mode when depressed.

Tags: arduino vim electronics linux C++

Howzit Instant Messenger (howzit.im)

I created a web-based client for the MXit instant messaging platform. It made use of the proprietary MXit API, which was a text API with an embedded binary API. It enabled users to create new accounts, or log in with their existing accounts, then proceed to chat or interact with their contacts via a web user-interface.

howzit.im supported Google Talk, Facebook Messenger, MSN messenger and a wide variety of other messaging integrations, by virtue of MXit’s support for these integrations. Therefore it functioned as ‘super’ instant messenger, supporting all the users’ messenger accounts across various platforms.

howzit.im had more than 2000 active users. It was implemented in PHP, Node.js, JavaScript, jQuery and jQuery UI.

Tags: im mxit jquery javascript php

Eighty20 fact-of-the-day Facebook app

March 2010

Eighty20 is a South African consumer-knowledge database company. They released a daily consumer fact via their website. I designed and implemented a Facebook app that displayed the fact-of-the-day on Facebook. The app was written in PHP and used the Facebook API. My business partner and I proposed this project to Eighty20. This was a paid project. Facebook no longer offers support for such apps.

Tags: facebook php javascript api

South African Sign Language Tutor

November 2009

South African Sign Language Tutor was a computer-aided education application for teaching South African Sign Language with the aid of a webcam. It was developed using C++ and Qt4, and was cross-platform (Windows and Linux). It supported pluggable lessons, video playback of lessons, recording of the user’s gestures and simultaneous playback with the original gesture, different quiz modes and gesture recognition in order to navigate through the lesson structure. Subversion and Google code were used for source control. I led a team of 3 second-year computer science students studying C++ at the University of Cape Town to develop their chosen annual project “Sign Language Tutor” into a real-world application. These 3 students had created the top two projects during the year. I was their C++ tutor. The goal was to merge the best conceptual ideas from both into a real-world application that could be used. The project had to be completed in three weeks. The project was for the Sign Language Education and Development organisation of South Africa (SLED). The project was ultimately completed and presented to stakeholders at the organisation. This was a paid project. The project was available as open source.

Tags: c++ qt webcam gesturerecognition lead crossplatform opensource computeraidededucation recording playback

MIDI audio device

July 2009 – November 2009

I created a simple music synthesiser using UCT’s GT16 kit. The device connected to a MIDI port of a PC to receive musical note information, which it used to generate the corresponding sounds. The device played one note at a time and was capable of ‘sliding’ from note to note at various speeds (portamento). It had four different tones, corresponding to four different wavelength functions which were encoded as look-up tables on the device. This program was written in Assembly on a Freescale micro-controller. This was a third-year university project.

Tags: midi music hardware assembly freescale microcontroller

LastCritic: iGoogle music review app

June 2009

I designed and implemented an app on Google’s “iGoogle” platform. This was a national contest hosted by Google. The app that I created was a mash-up of Metacritic and Last.fm: the latest releases on Metacritic would be displayed, along with cover art and ratings, and listener numbers from Last.fm. This provided a unique view onto the new releases, making it easy to see, for example, critically-acclaimed releases with relatively few listeners; similarly, it was easy to see widely popular releases that did not receive critical acclaim. As winner of the South African Google gadget competition, I was invited to work alongside the iGoogle team at the Google offices in Zürich, Switzerland, for four days. The gadget locates and plays relevant YouTube music videos, and has a ratings system which is built with open social and Google AppEngine. It was created using JavaScript, the iGoogle APIs, the YouTube and OpenSocial APIs, and with Python running on Google App Engine, for the server-side component that managed user reviews. iGoogle is now defunct.

Tags: javascript google music opensocial igoogle youtube metacritic lastfm competition api

Cloudscape

July 2008 – November 2008

A partner and I developed a 3D ‘cloud painting’ program with a peer. It allows the user to artistically create sky textures, for use, for example, in 3D video games. The program presents a 3D environment in which the user can generate sky-like textures and use a variety of manipulation tools to draw or erase cloud-like patterns. It also enables the placing and positioning of 2D sprites, for example, to represent the moon or sun, or objects in the sky. It presents a number of options, themes and colour schemes for the generation of the sky texture. It then allows the finished texture to be exported as a 2D image file for import into the video game as a texture. Developed with C++ and OpenGL for Linux. Also features a simple user interface, which was created with GLUI, a simple user-interface framework for OpenGL applications. Perlin noise is used to generate natural-looking ‘plasma’ which is tweaked to look like clouds and merged into a sky texture. That image is projected onto a ‘sky dome’ hemisphere in 3D. The camera sits near the middle of the hemisphere. This was our annual project for second-year computer science (C++).

Tags: 3d opengl ui perlinnoise c++ texture games linux

Facebook chat client

Two friends and I spent one week programming a chat client for Facebook. It was based on Jabber/XMPP. The idea was to have a chat client that enabled easy instant messaging to one’s Facebook friends. This was prior to the release of Facebook Messenger. The chat client was programmed in Java and was compatible with the official open-source XMPP server.

Tags: xmpp java facebook

UpPhoto

July 2007 – June 2008

I created software for uploading images and photo’s for display on custom websites. The project had two major components: a Java- and Swing-based client-side user interface which was used to manage and upload the images, and the server-side component which was written in PHP and JavaScript which rendered the images on the custom website, presenting them as a photo album with navigation. MySQL was used as the database. This project was used by two customers and so was paid.

Tags: java php javascript mysql

Knitting machines user interface

2002

I created the user interface for programming flatbed industrial knitting machines, as used in the textiles industry. These machines were previously programmed using punch cards. Now, they are programming using an entirely digital, computerised system. The user interface was created with Visual Basic 6 and used a custom, proprietary communications protocol that we developed. It communicated via RS-232 to a custom, proprietary hardware interface. It included the ability save and export designs. A major improvement over the previous system is that the ‘translation’ step of transforming from the desired instructions into an intermediate language which is the transcribed onto punch cards was no longer needed, because it was automatically done by the user interface software. This project was contracted by Inpulse Electronic Controls CC the Silvaknit textiles factory, and so was a paid project. The system is still in use at the Silvaknit.

Tags: hardware rs232 visualbasic ui automation

Flying model simulator radio handset interface

2002

I manufactured electronic adapter interfaces for connecting most model aeroplane radio controller sets to a PC via the serial port. This was in order to use a free model aeroplane flight simulator called Flying Model Simulator (FMS). This was frequently used for training and practice by model aeroplane enthusiasts. The kits were produced according to a provided circuit diagram and proprietary circuit board layout. It would typically take me about 30 minutes to an hour to assemble one (soldering). These devices were sold at the Cape Radio Flyers club, and so this was a paid project. Each device also included an installation disk with instructions and a copy of the free flight simulator.

Tags: hardware assemble freesoftware