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Cosmic Hodoscope

A matrix of cosmic ray detectors which produces 81-pixel live images as cosmic rays pass through and creating music.

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Called a Hodoscope (from the Greek “hodos” for way or path, and “skopos:” an observer) it is a type of detector commonly used in particle physics that make use of an array of detectors to determine the trajectory of a particle. This project has been updated here: http://cosmicray.com.au/building-a-cosmic-ray-detector/cosmic-ray-hodoscope

When a muon flies through the detector, it will trigger two tubes simultaneously. By graphing which of the two tubes are triggered on an array of 81 LEDs, it gives an indication that a muon was detected as well as where it struck.

The detector minimises background radiation using some shielding (brass plates) between the layers of tubes and also a method called coincidence detection. Muons travel through matter very easily passing through the brass plates and both axes of the detector without effort, whereas the terrestrial radiation will not. Consequently anything detected in both axes of the detector simultaneously is more likely to be a muon than local background radiation in, around and near the detector.

Matrix of GM Tubes

When a muon flies through the detector, it will trigger two tubes simultaneously. By graphing which of the two tubes are triggered on an array of 81 LEDs, it gives an indication that a muon was detected as well as where it struck. 

The raw audio output from the detector was a little hard on the ears so in an attempt to make this more pleasant, I modified the 9 x 9 matrix output by dividing into a 3 x 3 output using triple input NAND gates (74LS10) then monitoring coincidence between the resulting 3 x 3 matrix using AND gates (74LS08) to convert it to 9 channels, in order to drive a hacked MIDI Korg Nanokey 2 MIDI controller.

Midi Convertor Circuit

electronics inside midiconvertor

Midiconvertor

Korg NanoKey2 USB Midi Keyboardhttp://www.korg.com/us/products/controllers/nanokey2/

Inside Midiconvertor

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Robert Hart wrote 08/19/2014 at 10:14 point
I made a new overview video here - http://youtu.be/C0J5FETxyk0

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Jeffwizard wrote 08/06/2014 at 16:39 point
way ahead of what I have ever even dreamed of

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Robert Hart wrote 08/06/2014 at 21:26 point
Thanks :) but it has been allot of trial and error, started with 2 tubes, then 3, then 18 with this one http://www.hardhack.org.au/cosmic_ray_telescope to see if I could see a muon zip through a bunch of tubes, that worked, so I thought "I wounder if a matrix would work?" that worked too after a bit of trail and error. So then I wanted some sound, after a lot of trial and error and then a Maker Fair deadline I hacked a midi keyboard and here we are :)

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Adam Fabio wrote 07/14/2014 at 03:16 point
Wow - this is a wild project Robert! Thank you for entering The Hackaday Prize! I hope you enjoyed the feature on the Hacklet! Your video is great - if you have time, I'd love to see a bit of video of the assembled project with the lights on too!

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Robert Hart wrote 07/14/2014 at 04:12 point
Hi Adam, yes I did enjoy the Hackle feature, South Australia is a small town in Australia and things like this are great to get out to others with common interests. As it is not the kind of project many are familiar. Similarly this is the motivation in entering the prize, although I would love to go into space don't feel I'd win, but the process does sparks off some great conversations with others who are interested in obscure projects. I added this overview video in the details http://youtu.be/5pnRB7DdqrE

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