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Old Projects & Research

This site has seen many faces and had many names in the past. This is not only a history of the site itself, but a little bit of my own history. This section is for anyone that has a mind curious enough to venture into a labyrinth of ideas, concepts and research. Feel free to use this as a reference for your own works, but please do not steal and give credit where credit is due.

-M. Thorns

Video Conversion Days: 2002 through 2006

We started out as a small video and cinema company that converted VHS and 8mm to DVD and we also carried a variety of public domain films for direct download. We also did a lot of Anaglyph 3D conversion making old movies 3D. We have dabbled into many technologies including hardware modification and cloud computing with Boinc & 3ds max. Below is a small render farm we used back in 2007 for rendering scary screens. The farm has since been scrapped and donated.

The Mega Audio CD & Compression Research: 2002 through 2003

The mega CD was an audio CD I designed that could hold up to 320 minutes or four albums on one CD. The CD was double sided which accounts for 2 albums. With stereo technology we would put one album on the right speaker and another on the left speaker. Then using a small adapter that connected to the headphone jack could produce the right speaker on the right and left head phones plugs and a toggle switch would switch it to the left speaker that would produce the left speaker sound on the right and left ear plug. Due to the ever growing popularity of the MP3 around 2004 and 2005 this project was dropped.

Here is the original document. There is also a method for video and text compression.
Mega CD Document

Here is a sample MP3 of how Mega CD would work. I used the song 'Not Going to get us'. The right speaker is in Russian and the left speaker is in English. This song is considered a remix and I claim no rights to it.
Sample MP3 for Mega CD

Liquid Cooling Research: 2002 through 2004

After seeing a television submerged in a liquid called ACF 50 at oshkosh air show we thought we could do it with computers. The liquid was an anti-corrosive, a lubricant and anti-static. After testing with the liquid we realized it was too good of an anti-corrosive. Over time it ate away at solder and components such as capacitors started to fall off after about 6 months. We did, however, have a lot of success with mineral oil as pictured below. This is a mineral oil cooled cable modem.

Computer Recycling & E-waste Reduction: 2002 through 2011

Over the past 5 years we have donated well over 1,000 recycled computers to A.T.E.N. (Assistive Technology Education Network). We usually recycled about 50 to 100 pounds of e-waste a week for 5 years. This means, we at bare minimum, recycled well over 13,000 pounds of computer components and circuitry. We didn't even ask for a tax deduction. We have also recycled and refurbished parts ourselves for our servers research and Ebay store. Since our supply of recycled machines is now gone we closed this project.

Computer Book: 2004 through 2005

Unfinished, but still released online.

25 ways to speed up your computer
Boost your phones antenna
Boost your video card performance
How to save energy
Mod chips and Emulators explained
Getting the most out of your batteries
Intro to cracking

Incomplete or Dropped Flash Projects

SWF files located below. These are all done in Action Script 2.

Dead Will Rise prototype
Easter Rabbit shooter
Ghost Busters Master System Clone
Ghost Shooter
Crossword
Lethal Enforcers Sega Clone
Basic Pong Game
Sky City 2d Side Scroller
PSP and Wii Compatible Star Wars Game
Pig prototype Flash board game
Invader Zim Intro
Invader Zim Level 1 prototype
Invader Zim Level 2 prototype
Invader Zim Level 3 prototype

Morkdigible: A Gargoyle Adventure 2009

This was my 1st attempt at a 3D game using the Torque game engine.

Full Game Document
Torque Engine
Torque Game Files

Animatronics & Robotics

I have always been fascinated by robotics and artificial intelligence. For a short time we offered several vacuum type robots that we sold on commission. We also sold several toys and animatronics via commission through Tiger Direct. We have made several tutorials on homemade robots and also homemade animatronics. These tutorials use consumer products to create interesting robot builds.

Make Your Very Own Animatronic for Halloween

Boys Life Gizmo Robot

VHS Data Backup

This was a process in which a capture card was used to backup all picture and audio files on a computer while recording on a standard VHS player. It was going to be an inexpensive way to backup large amounts of data with literally no cost. This project was dropped considering hard drives where getting cheaper and the VHS phase out. Another setback was the pictures were all saved in 640 by 480 resolution and all audio was mono.

Thermal Stickers

These were small aluminum stickers you could attach to chipsets for optimal performance. The adhesive was 25% glue, 75% thermal compound. This project was dropped due to lack of 'funding/interest' and also due to the standardization of heat sinks on many stock products. It is still a great way to boost your RAM performance for little cost.

Virtual Reality Research: 2007-2009

Seeing impaired

This was a process in which the VR helmet was adjusted so that people with astigmatism could see more easily. Mounted with a camera this was a very effective. We had one test and it worked very well. As the technology grew more available this did become cheaper. We stopped once the project was over, but this is what the prototype would have looked like. This is the camera and head set we used. Technology was a great success, but due to advances in retinal prosthetics we deemed it useless.

Outer Body Experiences

Interesting sense of awareness. This was just something we heard about and had to try for ourselves.

Virtual Reality Torture

Virtual reality torture or V.R.T. was an idea we came up with once water boarding became an issue. We thought by using sight and sound that you could use a non physical method of attaining information. Instead what we got was something that gave us a headache and caused a sense of delirium. Included is the video we used to display in the headset and headphones. We looped this on ourselves for an hour. It includes subliminal messages within legal bounds, flashing lights that might cause epilepsy, white noise, brown noise, and high frequency pitches. It was designed to make the viewer feel differently with each loop of the video. The viewers agreed to have their hands strapped to a chair and have a Virtual display and headphones adjusted to their head in a manner that they could not remove them.

This is was transpired:
5 Minutes: A feeling of disbelief that this is seriously supposed to do anything.
15 Minutes: Being annoyed and wondering how many more times we are going to show the same clip.
20 Minutes: Agitated that you are still playing the same clip and won't answer them.
32 Minutes: Anger and rage that you will not answer them and will not stop playing the clip
41 Minutes: Begging you to stop playing the clip and let them out. After looking at the data two things are clear. The viewer had a sense of no escape and after awhile began to memorize the entire movie sequence which was the brains way of attempting to stimulate itself. We also learned that it does not appear to matter what was being looped. If you looped a 60 clip of anything after awhile the same effects will occur. The flashing lights and certain sounds just speed up the process.

We challenge you to watch this in the dark with headphone on high volume. It does not have the same effects as with a virtual display and also knowing you can stop it at anytime but the effects are similar. Post your reaction. We would very much like to continue this study and hopefully attain some new data.

I stopped all Virtual reality research, because I needed the money for school and sold all of the equipment.

Holograms & Illusions 2006-2008

Four hours a night for about six months it took to start and complete this project. Although I started researching the idea in 2006 It was not until 2007 that I sat down and took it seriously. Scary Screens has had some mild success and is still up for sale in our Halloween section. We have had about 300 people download the plexi glass illusion and about 20 buy the DVD. This was both a great 3Ds Max exercise for me and one of the few projects I actually had time to complete. Below is the prototypes next to the completed models.

Braille Screen

Possible concept for Braille computer screen. This would convert simple images into something physical the user could touch and feel. The original concept was to convert text into braille rather than the computer speech function.

Console Throwback

Before you can truly appreciate how video games are made you have to understand there history and what the programmers of the past had to work with and the languages they had to use. This was a strange journey that started with me time traveling to the Atari days and stopping around the NES era.

My Pong Build

You can buy the kit here:

Pong Kit at Amazon

Atari 2600 Experiment:

First time trying to create my own Atari 2600 Game. I wanted the character to be able to shoot at the turret but couldn't get it to work right. So the little guy just follows wherever you go on the screen. Here is the bin file Atari Rom. You will need an Atari 2600 Emulator to run it.

Portal Atari Attempt Atari Rom:

Atari Rom File

NES Programming:

After my experience with the Atari 2600 attempt I decided to try my hand on the NES. I was able to make a NES ROM that displays text on the screen. Since Portal was my Atari theme I decided to role with it.

Working Rom:

Thorns.nes Rom File

Tutorial I used:

http://bobrost.com/nes

NES Music Files I created:

Halloween Theme Song
A little 8-bit song I wrote

Also in the picture is my modified NES complete with Flash Cartridge a push button cooling fan and a green light. I recently did repairs on it and went all out replacing the teeth and also putting new thermal grease on the tiny heat-sinks. This is the same NES I have had since I was 5 years old.

DVD Game Development: 2006-2007

When a Canadian game company started converting laser disc games into DVD games such as Dragon's Lair and Mad Dog I set out to do a little research on how these games were made. Using Adobe Encores advanced DVD menu system was able to create several prototypes such as a maze game and a basic shooter. Below are some of the files we used in the project. Unfortunately due to a hard drive crash I do not have the working ISO file and a certain person I will not mention threw away the only DVD copy I had.

Concept Files and Prototype

Composer 2004

Artificial intelligence software that used the ASC cracking method and applied it to sheet music. Here is the original document.

A.I. Composer

Trick Or Treat Online or TOTO V1.0 2002

Online trick or treating was a business proposal I did and a trial run for promoting new products in and around Halloween. I actually constructed a virtual tour of my driveway and front door. Then the user filled out a small form. In a week they got there candy in the mail and this letter. With the 1st trial on Halloween we got a dozen online Trick-Or-Treaters

TOTO Letter

Game Scripts

While messing with scripts and bot creation. I had 2 different scripts running for 2 different games. These were the scores. Not bad for just patterns.

Asteroids Flash

Script:
Rotate while shooting
Go straight while shooting

Score:
2325 level 1 test 1
2825 level 2 test 2
1625 level 2 test 3

Galaga NES

Script:
Go right while shooting
pause
go left while shooting
Pause

Score:
8440 stage 2 :test 1
17060 stage 4 :test 2
8300 stage 2 :test 3

Home Brew Simulator

Home brew Game Simulator from scratch.

Games we played:
Doom 2
HL2 Lost coast
Portal Slice
Moon Base Alpha

Software Used:
iz3d and nvidia
viacam
joytokey
steam
Nostomo software

Computer Specs:
AMD overclocked single core 2.0 clocked at 2.6
2 gb ram
nvidia 210 w/ 512mb

Other Items:
Desk fan
Projector
DDR PSX dance pad
Nostomo n50
carpel brace
Anaglyph 3d glasses
Baseball cap with orange ping pong ball glued on it
Logitech webcam
Camera tripod
PSX to USB Adapter

Software Links:
Link controller to keyboard strokes
Turn any game into red/blue 3D- XP only!
Games
Free Web Cam Motion track software that works with all games
Video card beta Drivers

Emergency Heating & Cooking

A Basic concept for apartment or condo disaster survival prototype.

Electronic Collision Propulsion E.C.P.

Theoretical electric space pivot motor.

For research consideration:
For you science nerds out there I thought up a concept for an electric space motor and need some perspective on it. I created a small CG animation to try and help explain it. My only defense is that gravity can be simulated with force in zero gravity so why wouldn't this work. If it would not work please offer some mathematical reason or physics concepts. I am not a physicist so please keep it in lay mans terms.

Servers

It was a very hard decisions to decommission our game servers and our Boinc research computers. From 2006 to 2013 we ran several Boinc servers in various locations. The Boinc servers did everything from cancer research to analyzing frequencies from space. Artificial intelligence and schizophrenia research were also on the list of projects. We then ran into a situation where we had a lot of extra hardware so we decided to create a Team Fortress server and a MineCraft server in early 2011. Unfortunately due to bandwidth issues the ever rising cost of electricity, hardware failure, storage & lack of funding we pulled the plug on our five servers 4-29-2013.

Hard Drive Speaker project