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I previously worked on Virtual Reality and other hardware at Valve.  I currently work at Google[x].

Prior to starting at Valve, I built computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and joysticks that were designed to be used inside MRI machines.  My company, Mag Design and Engineering, sold these devices directly to researchers at academic institutions who used them to publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.

After work, I spend time on many different types of projects that usually involve circuit design, machining, material selection, and general fabrication/hacking.  My favorite place to be is my home workshop.

ben dot krasnow at gmail

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Universal motor speed control by a microcontroller

I am showing a method of using a CdS photoresistor to control a standard triac dimmer circuit that is wired to an electric drill motor (a universal motor). The CdS photoresistor is driven by an LED that is controlled by a PWM pin an an arduino microcontroller. This system provides a very easy way to control 120V AC devices with a single PWM pin, and not use any timing code or worry about zero-crossing of the AC power since this is done intrinsically in the circuit. It also offers true electrical isolation between the AC line voltage and microcontroller.