Old Phone to Live Motion! View From Space!

Intro: Old Phone to Live Motion! View From Space!

I'm upgrading phones and thought there must be a fun use for the old phone...a bizarre combination of Earth Day, a rainy day, an Instructables contest on Space and a recent article about the ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment caused me to put together this Instructable. Please enjoy!

The ISS HD earth Viewing Experiment (HDEV) is a project by engineers at Johnson Space Center and High School students (who participated in the design through the program High Schools United with NASA).

I can't stress enough how cool it is that this is a live full HD view!...the calming effect of passing over the big blue marble earth and the times when the sun appears to rise over the edge, fascinating. Kind of like a high tech fish tank. You can see this live stream for yourself at http://ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload. Note, since this is a live image, there are times where the image is dark (as the ISS passes over the dark side of the earth). Also note, the experiment rotates through 4 different cameras, and the image goes to a short "please wait" screen when cameras are being switched.

Step 1: Repurpose (and Resize) a Picture Frame - Tools Required

I found a picture frame for $1.49 that I thought would be perfect for this project...this is a 4x6 desktop picture frame...as you can see from the picture it was just slightly too narrow and not quite deep enough. I realized that the phone would occasionally need to be accessed (to turn it on/off, change the URL etc), so it's better not to lock it in the frame anyway. My new plan was to use the glass from the frame and some molding to create a cover for the old frame (which I would expand slightly with a Dremel saw blade).

The new plan meant the following tools and supplies were required:

  • Supplies
    • 4x6 Picture Frame - $1.49
    • Polystyrene Cherry Corner Molding - $4.98
    • foam packing material
    • tape - black duct tape
    • cardboard (or ideally photo matte paper)
    • E6000 multipurpose glue

  • Tools
    • Dremel with cutting and sanding wheel
    • Saw ideally with Mitre box
    • Scissors
    • X-Acto type utility knife

Step 2: Fit the Frame to the Phone

This part was fun and pretty easy since the frame is made of pressed board...it also makes for a lot of dust...you'll want a vacuum cleaner handy!

Besides expanding the inner frame to fit the phone, you'll also want to make room for the cord so the phone can stay plugged in. Notice how I used scrap foam packing material to keep the phone in place. Remember to change the phone settings so the screensaver doesn't kick in.

Step 3: Mold the Molding to Your Wishes

The molding is made of a plastic material, I think you could actually cut it with a sharp utility knife, but I had a mitre saw that worked great for it. A word of warning, the mitre saw actually melted this material, so be careful touching the edge right after cutting, it's HOT!

I used black duct tape at first to piece things together and then later some E6000 multipurpose glue.

I used cardboard and black tape to create the matte for the frame...I will probably redo this step with some black posterboard or an actual matte board when I next trek to the store.

Step 4: That's It! But Wait There's More!

Besides the live view of the space stations, there are other slight variations on this project you could choose. Some of these would not require WiFi access to work.

How about:

  • Other Live View streams: Monterey Bay Jelly Cam, Minnesota Eagle Cam, Santa Monica Beach Cam
  • Digital Photo Frame: use free software such as Digital Photo Frame Slideshow by Jeroen Wyseur
  • Aquarium app: such as Tropical fishes aquarium
  • Desktop Fidget Toy: Leave the glass off and have fun with an app like Magic Fluids or Kaleider (shown).

That's it!, thanks for checking out my Instructable and please post your variations!

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    3 Discussions

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    Gadisha

    4 months ago

    Nice project, thank you for the link to the live stream!

    2 replies