One idea that came up after the Bletchley Park trip was to do with transporting the UK101s to future shows and faires. I'm thinking about something to protect the UK101s, and also to make them easier to stack in the back of a car or van. And something to keep dust off when in storage and during off-hours at shows. To that end, I acquired a Jones electric sewing machine from FreeCycle. I have now also acquired sewing machine oil, bobbins, needles and thread. My search for a copy of the Reader's Digest Guide To Sewing has so far been fruitless. But with a bit of cleaning up and lubrication the sewing machine has now been threaded up and achieved FIRST STITCH.
At the Dorkbot hack day, we had a very nice demo of a 128-pixel line-scan optical sensor connected to an Arduino. Now, the Arduino only has 2k of RAM, so a 128-byte pixel array is large but manageable. The chip maker's applications information suggest the use of a prism or diffraction grating to make a simple spectrometer, which sounds interesting. Another idea is to make a bar-code reader, or to add a small laser and set up a laser harp -- or at least the hand position sensor part of such an instrument.
I've opened an account with RS Components, and purchased two linear image sensor chips: an MLX90255 and a TSL1401. All done via the new-fangled interwebs -- gone are the days when RS would only open an account with a business! I've also bought a replacement UDA1380TT stereo audio chip to replace the one that I blew up in the MP3 player (some time ago).