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Ambitious ATtiny85 Board Tests a Beginner’s Skills

Hackaday - 1 ชั่วโมง 1 นาทีก่อน

[Chris O’Riley] has been playing around with Arduinos for around a year, and decided he wanted a breadboardable ATtiny85 in order to prototype using the actual controller that would be used in the final project. He wants to use it to interface with a Bosch BMP280 pressure sensor, but for now it stands alone.

It’s a simple board with the Tiny85, 3.3 V and 5 V regulators, a power LED, as well as the usual resistor sand caps. The double-sided PCB [Chris] milled himself — he’s an illustrator and photographer by day, so it’s no surprise the board turned out gorgeous. He designed the board in Illustrator after taking a stab at Eagle, then ran it through his CNC to mill the circuits using a .017 inch end mill as well as drilling the vias. He add solder paste using the tip of a knife, but after messing around with an iron, he ended up investing in a hot air rework station.

We love our Tiny85s here on Hackaday. Check out the ATtiny85 gaming console, the NTSC-generating ATTiny85, and making DIY I2C devices with the chip.


Filed under: ATtiny Hacks

Essential Phone hits the FCC, should begin shipping soon

Liliputing - 3 hours 37 minก่อน

The Essential Phone is an unusual-looking Android device with premium specs, support for modular accessories, and a pretty strong pedigree: Essential was founded by Andy Rubin, one of the co-founders of Android. First unveiled in May, the Essential Phone is expected to begin shipping soon. So it’s not surprising to see that the phone passed […]

Essential Phone hits the FCC, should begin shipping soon is a post from: Liliputing

Oscilloscope Mod for the Blues

Hackaday - 4 hours 1 นาทีก่อน

Roughly 8% of males and 0.6% of females are red-green color blind, and yet many common oscilloscopes use yellow and green for the traces for their two-channel readouts. Since [Roberto Barrios] is afflicted by deuteranopia, a specific form of red-green colorblindness that makes differentiating between yellow and green hard, if not impossible, he got to work hacking his Agilent oscilloscope to make it more colorblind friendly.

Starting with a tip from [Mike] from the EEVblog forums, [Roberto Barrios] set out to rewire the LCD interface and swap the red and green signals. That way yellow will turn bluish (red component replaced by blue) and it could be seen as “very different now” from the green trace on the readouts. Sounds simple right? Well, slight issue: the 0.5 mm pitch of the connector. He did not want to design a PCB and wait a few weeks to receive it, so he decided on using 0.1 mm wires held together with Kapton tape to route each signal individually from one connector to the other. After an hour under the microscope, it was done. And boy, his work is impressive, go check it out.

Voila! It worked splendidly. Now [Roberto Barrios] can use his scope. And, the stock UI is mostly grey or white, so swapping the red and blue channels did not change much the appearance of the interface. Moreover, the switch had a small unintentional bonus, the loading screen is much cooler now with an edgy red sky. Further, [Roberto Barrios] “would not be [himself] if [he] could resist changing the CH1 button backlight LED to blue, to match the new trace color. So, no [he] couldn’t.”

This was a well done and very functional oscilloscope mod, but if you need more frivolity in your life, fear not: we’ve got your back with real-time Quake played on an oscilloscope.


Filed under: misc hacks

Deals of the Day (6-26-2017)

Liliputing - 5 hours 2 minก่อน

Looking to save some money on an Amazon Echo? You could buy a refurbished model for $135. Or you could buy a brand new model for $5 less. Amazon is running a 1-day sale on its Echo smart speaker, and several other stores are matching the $130 price, including Best Buy, Staples, and Bed Bath […]

Deals of the Day (6-26-2017) is a post from: Liliputing

Hackaday Prize Entry: Messing Around With New Vacuum Tubes

Hackaday - 5 hours 31 minก่อน

Vacuum tubes have been around for ages, and for better or worse, they have their advocates for use in amplifiers and preamps. However, tubes are simply inconvenient devices. Even a 12AX7 preamp tube is huge relative to a handful of transistors, tubes require weird voltages, and each and every one of them is a through-hole device that doesn’t lend itself to machine assembly.

This changed recently with the introduction a strange new tube from Japan. Noritake and Korg recently introduced a triode that uses the same packaging as VFD displays. The Korg Nutube is a vacuum tube that operates at lower voltages, is smaller than the usual preamp tubes, and still has the vacuum tube sound.

For his Hackaday Prize entry, [Kodera] is building a headphone amp with this new tube. Is a tube-based headphone amp particularly novel? No. But this is the first we’ve seen anyone playing around with this new, interesting piece of technology.

The requirements for this Nutube are simple enough, and the minimum anode voltage of this tube is just 8 V. [Kodera]’s circuit is running the tube at 12 V, and the only other circuitry in this preamp are a few coupling caps and an op-amp just before the power stage.

[Kodera] has crammed this circuit into a proper amplifier using a 2 x 15 W class-D chip from TI. It’s really a phenomenally simple circuit that’s also remarkably tiny. These kits are actually available on Tindie. Time will tell if the Nutube is picked up by some big-time manufacturers, but we’re happy to see someone is playing around with the latest advances in tube amp technology.

The HackadayPrize2017 is Sponsored by:
Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

Smach Z handheld gaming PC hits another (big) snag

Liliputing - 5 hours 50 minก่อน

Want a handheld computer that can run PC games? Then you should probably look at the GPD Win… because it’s looking more and more likely that the Smach Z is never going to ship. First unveiled as a concept called the SteamBoy in 2014, the Smach Z is supposed to be a handheld device with […]

Smach Z handheld gaming PC hits another (big) snag is a post from: Liliputing

SNES Classic mini-console coming Sept 29th for $80 (with 21 games)

Liliputing - 6 hours 47 minก่อน

Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition was a surprise hit when it launched last year. The tiny replica of a classic Nintendo Entertainment System came with 30 classic games pre-loaded and quickly sold out at just about every store where it was available. Now Nintendo is launching a follow-up: the Super NES Classic Edition is coming September […]

SNES Classic mini-console coming Sept 29th for $80 (with 21 games) is a post from: Liliputing

MEMS: The Biggest Word in Small

Hackaday - 7 hours 57 secก่อน

What’s tiny and on track to be worth $22 billion dollars by 2018? MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems). That’s a catch-all phrase for microscopic devices that have moving parts. Usually, the component sizes range from 0.1 mm to 0.001 mm, which is tiny, indeed. There are some researchers working with even smaller components, sometimes referenced as NEMS (Nano Electrical Mechanical Systems).

Resonant Cantilever by [Pcflet01], CC BY-SA 3.0MEMS have a wide range of applications including ink jet printers, accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones, pressure sensors, displays, and more. Many of the sensors in a typical cell phone would not be possible without MEMS. There are many ways that MEMS devices are built, but just to get a flavor, consider the cantilever (see right), one of the most common MEMS constructions.

Cantilever

In mechanical engineering, a cantilever is a rigid structure, often a beam or a plate, anchored at one end to a support. Any load applied to the cantilever transmits to the support. This is often used when building bridges, for example.

Cantilever Cross Section by [Vcaeken], CC BY-SA 3.0MEMS devices widely use cantilevers at the microscopic level. These can act as transducers for atomic force microscopes, or as resonant elements in filters and resonators. Cantilevers can also act as accelerometers. On the left, you can see a microscopic cantilever vibrating in resonance.

It is relatively straightforward to detect acceleration using a cantilever. First, you attach a microscopic proof mass to the end. Acceleration will cause that mass to move, thus stressing the cantilever. By measuring the stress on the support, you can determine the amount of acceleration force on the cantilever. By positioning cantilevers on different axes, you can read acceleration in each direction.

History

While the term itself dates back to 1986, the idea is much older. In 1959, for example, Richard Feynman lectured about the possibility of such devices. However, practical construction using semiconductor manufacturing techniques made the devices theoretical for a long time.

Even so, Feynman’s lecture anticipated a few key points to MEMS and even created two challenges. One was to construct a tiny motor and was completed using conventional tools in 1960. The other challenge had to wait until 1985 when a graduate student reduced a passage of text to be 25,000 times smaller.

Unfortunately, Feynman was ahead of his time, and building a tiny motor conventionally didn’t really advance the state of the art. One of Feynman’s key points that you could make a set of remote manipulators at, say, quarter-scale. Then you could use those manipulators to build another set at 1/16th scale and keep repeating the process. Feynman knew that you’d eventually have to change how the manipulators work because materials behave differently at scale and forces that act on things get funny as the scale goes down, too.

Future

Of course, the cantilever is just one possible device. There are MEMS temperature sensors, magnetic field sensors, radiation sensors, and more. There are microscopic motors that use electrostatic force instead of electromagnetic, micro gas valves, and optical switches.

Because the MEMS devices use semiconductor fabrication techniques, it is inviting to integrate them with conventional circuits. We are already starting to see microcontrollers with MEMS devices onboard and we expect to see that trend continue.

By the way, we covered a video done by [Engineer Guy] on this topic awhile back. You can watch it, below.

Banner image via Stanford’s QCN quake-detecting network.

 


Filed under: Engineering, Featured

Opus 1.2 audio codec brings better sound at low bit rates (free and open source)

Liliputing - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 23:15

Now that the patents for the popular MP3 audio codec have expired, it’s unlikely that the format is going anywhere, despite many reports that misinterpreted what the end of the format’s licensing program would mean. MP3 was the de facto standard for folks who wanted to rip music from CDs in the late 90s and […]

Opus 1.2 audio codec brings better sound at low bit rates (free and open source) is a post from: Liliputing

OpenSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise hit the Windows Store

Liliputing - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 22:31

Windows 10 includes an optional feature that lets you install Linux-based operating systems so that you can run Linux utilities alongside Windows applications without rebooting or switching computers. Initially Ubuntu Linux was the only officially supported option. But earlier this year Microsoft promised that additional operating systems were on the way. Now OpenSUSE Linux Enterprise […]

OpenSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise hit the Windows Store is a post from: Liliputing

A Switched Game Boy Advance SP

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 22:30

After Nintendo’s wild success with the Wii U, Nintendo released it’s Nintendo Switch. The switch functions primarily as a home console, stagnantly connected to a display. However, Nintendo switched things up a bit: the Switch can be removed from its dock for standalone tablet-like use. But there’s a slight problem: when the Switch is in portable mode, it leaves behind a bleak and black box. What’s one to do? Worry not: [Alexander Blake] is here to save the day with a Game Boy Advance SP and an X-Acto knife.

After casually noting that the main control board of the Switch was roughly Game Boy Advance SP sized, [Alexander Blake], aka [cptnalex], knew it was meant to be. After retrieving his broken Game Boy Advance SP from his closet, [cptnalex] set to work turning his Game Boy into a Nintendo Switch dock. When he was done, the results were stunning, especially considering the fact that this is his first console mod. Moreover, the very fact that he did it all with an X-Acto knife rather than a Dremel is astounding.

With the screen providing support to the Switch, [cptnalex’s] design leaves some to be desired for long term use. But we know for sure that [cptnalex’s] design does, in fact, work. Due to naysayers of the internetTM, [cptnalex] filmed a video of his dock in uses (embedded after the break). But, what the design lacks in structural stability, it more than makes up for in aesthetics. On the device itself, [cptnalex’s] history with controller painting shines through.

If you want to see more of [cptnalex’s] work, you can follow him on Instagram. For more console mods that will take your breath away, look no farther than [Bungle’s] vacuum formed portable N64.

Big thanks to [Itay] for sending this in.


Filed under: handhelds hacks, nintendo gameboy hacks, nintendo hacks

Nokia 6 coming to the US in July for $229

Liliputing - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 21:37

It’s been half a year since HMD Global unveiled the Chinese version of the Nokia 6 smartphone. Now the company is getting ready to sell its first Nokia-branded device in the United States. The Nokia 6 will be available from Amazon.com in July for $229. Honestly, the most impressive thing about the phone is the […]

Nokia 6 coming to the US in July for $229 is a post from: Liliputing

Hacking an Inspection Microscope

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 21:01

Sometimes I need to be able to take photographs of very small things, and the so-called macro mode on my point-and-shoot camera just won’t cut it. And it never hurts to have an inspection scope on hand for tiny soldering jobs, either, though I prefer a simple jeweler’s loupe in one eye for most tasks. So I sent just over $40 off to my close friend Alibaba, and a few weeks later was the proud owner of a halfway usable inspection scope that records stills or video to an SD card.

Unfortunately, it’s only halfway useable because of chintzy interface design and a wobbly mount. So I spent an afternoon, took the microscope apart, and got it under microcontroller control, complete with WiFi and a scripting language. Much better! Now I can make microscope time-lapses, but much more importantly I can take blur-free photos without touching the wiggly rig. It was a fun hack, so I thought I’d share. Read on!

Out of the Box Nice image, but don’t touch!

The scope, as it arrives, is really fun. The image is just fine and most everything works as advertised. Looking at bugs and flowers was good for a few hours at least. However, all of the small details that make for a pleasant user experience are botched.

For instance, the clearance on the SD card is so tight that you can’t insert or remove it without something thin to press it in, or having very long fingernails. Some of the buttons are hard to reach behind the big focus knob. The menu system, to turn on or off the LED ring light for instance, is horrendous. These are minor quibbles, and for the price I’m totally willing to overlook them.

But the killer, for my purposes, is that the stand is so wobbly that the act of pressing the “OK” button to take a picture blurs whatever image was there. The video mode has a “motion detection” method — it’s always on because the camera wobbles so much that it always thinks the object has just moved. The culprit is the cheesy frame that ends in a thick silicone suction cup that wiggles around like a bowl of jelly. This is not how you design tripods.

There are two possible fixes for the vibration issue. The first is to build a better frame, and that’s something I’ll probably end up doing eventually, because the inspection scope is a useful piece of gear. The other solution is simply to trigger the exposure (and other) buttons without touching the wiggly little beast. Welcome to the Internet of Microscopes!

Hack, Hack, Hack

Opening up the case, the first thing I found was a row of five test points on the key panel, so I soldered some header wires to them to see what’s up. (That was easy!) They’re labelled GND, VCC, KEY, PWR, and VBAT, which doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Four out of the five are labelled correctly.

I’m an analog hacker at heart, and I usually start off with an oscilloscope when poking around unknown signals, but I decided to start off with a logic probe this time, because surely the single KEY line was encoding the five front-panel buttons in some sort of digital code. Imagine my surprise when each button press looked identical on the logic sniffer. Burned again. Back to the trusty oscilloscope.

Five buttons, five voltages

It turns out that the five buttons are tied to five different resistors that serve as the lower half of a voltage divider, and an ADC reads this voltage out to figure out which key was pressed. That explains the five voltage levels on the yellow scope trace.

This is a classic dirty trick and I’ve been waiting for the day when I absolutely had to minimize the number of wires connected to a panel. Who knew that I’d see something hackish like this in an actual product?

The power button is separate and pulls the PWR line (in green on the scope trace, on a 5 V vertical scale) to the VBAT line. A quick test with a 3.3 V power supply convinced me that I could turn the device on and off with a microcontroller’s GPIO. I was also pretty sure that I could connect up five GPIO pins to different resistors and “press” the corresponding button. So I pulled off the panel to measure the individual resistors.

In case you want to replicate this at home, the resistors are 0 Ω, 15 kΩ, 30 kΩ, 46.6 kΩ, and 70 kΩ respectively, and doing a little math on the measured voltages, the pullup resistor on the top of the voltage divider is probably nominally 100 kΩ. Alternatively, if you have a DAC you could just send voltages of 0 V, 400 mV, 750 mV, 975 mV, or 1325 mV to the KEY pin. I soldered up the closest resistors I had in my box, verified that they all worked and called the hardware done.

But what’s up with the VCC line? Something didn’t make sense, because the buttons pulled the voltage down despite being connected to VCC, and the KEY line was pulled high by default. Testing it out, of course VCC was a dead-short to GND and the pull-up resistor was on the KEY line. There was an unpopulated resistor on the keypad panel PCB as well, suggesting that in a previous revision the buttons pulled up, but the manufacturer optimized away a single resistor by using the microcontroller’s internal pullup. It’s either laziness or deliberate sabotage that they didn’t change the test-point silkscreen to match. (Imagine how much fun it would be to connect your test equipment up to “VCC” and GND!)

The Usual Suspects

The rest of the work was just me using my favorite tools for a quick job like this. You might want to use an Arduino or a single ESP8266, but I’ve been playing around with Mecrisp-Stellaris Forth on cheap STM32F103 boards lately, so that’s where I went. I was originally thinking of making a custom remote key panel, so the many GPIO pins would have meant that I wouldn’t have to resort to the ADC-and-resistors trick.

I was already using UART serial for programming and debugging, and decided that a separate key panel was a project in its own, so I cheesed out and put the microscope on the WiFi network. I flashed an ESP8266 with the esp-link WiFi-serial bridge firmware. Voila, remote control. Powering the microcontrollers off of the microscope’s VBAT line (through a switch) makes the whole thing entirely self-contained when I have to move it around the desk.

There were many details that required trial-and-error testing to get right. Different delays are required for button presses in camera mode and in the menu system, for instance. I didn’t optimize these, but made the delay long enough that it always works. The power on and off button only works if held down for longer than 1.5 seconds. It’s quirky. This was all pretty quick to get working with an interactive debugging system like the Forth environment, although I don’t think it would be all that much worse in a compile-and-flash loop like in C or Arduino either.

More guts, just for completeness

There are two cute things that I did in the firmware that are worth mentioning. The KEY line that’s used to detect button presses is only pulled up when the microscope’s power is on, so it can be read by the microcontroller to figure out if the microscope is currently on or off. When the microscope first turns on, it is in video mode, which allows the software to keep track internally of the mode it’s currently in.

Combined, this allows for a single “shoot” command that first verifies that the microscope is on, then switches into camera mode if it’s not already there, and then finally takes a photo. Similarly a “delete” command switches over to preview mode and deletes the last photo, confirming all of the “are you sure?” dialogs automatically. The code is here if you’re interested.

Making it Usable and Then Some

The out-of-the-box menu system is horrible. It requires something like fifteen keypresses to toggle the ring light on or off. Scripting this in the microcontroller makes it a lot more pleasant. Moreover, it’s now possible to set up repetitive exposures to make time-lapses, or film a two-minute video once every ten minutes, or automate essentially anything. I might add a distance sensor to make filming automatic when a PCB is present under the lens, or something silly. I really like the idea of tying these script functionalities to external buttons: a one-press light toggle or bracketed exposure button would be nice, as would a single-button delete.

The world is now my oyster, so expect to see a lot more super-closeup footage in upcoming Hackaday articles. And if you pick up one of these microscopes, don’t hesitate to open it up, solder a handful of resistors in, and take control of it yourself. You’ll probably find it useful enough that you’ll build it a proper stand, but that’s another story.


Filed under: Engineering, Featured, reviews

KiCad design files for the LH5801 Sharp Microprocessor

dangerous prototype - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 19:58

Kai Bader writes, “I’m currently working on a custom development board, based on a quarter of a century old microprocessor, the Sharp LH5801. This microprocessor is the heart of the Sharp PC-1500(A) Pocket Computer, also known as Tandy TRS-80 Model II.”

More details at Kai Bader’s blog.

Fidget-Spinning Robot Out-Uselesses Other Useless Machines

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 18:00

When the [Director of Legal Evil] at Louisville’s LVL1 Hackerspace decided to demonstrate the uselessness of a 3D printer by printing a fidget spinner, another member at the space’s Tuesday meeting rose to the challenge and built a machine that whose sole purpose is to spin fidget spinners.

[Gary Flispart] used an Arduino clone and what appears to be a motor driver in conjunction with a stepper motor. The motor moves a belt that turns a series of metal scraps serving as a four-bar linkage. The linkage moves the dowel that turns the spinner and then gets out of the way so it doesn’t inhibit the toy’s rotation. The Digital Fidget Digit, as [Gary] calls it, looks like it was built out of scrap metal and random pieces of wood in the glorious tradition of hackerspace projects.

We at Hackaday love crazy projects that come out of hackerspaces, like the iris porthole at i3Detroit, another space’s ultimate fume extractor, and LVL1’s doomcano.

Thanks, [JAC_101]!


Filed under: Hackerspaces

A Table From Beyond Infinity

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 15:00

Infinity mirrors are some far-out table mods and make a great centerpiece. Instructables user [bongoboy23] took a couple steps beyond infinity when designing this incredible table tailor-made for our modern age.

Poplar and pine wood make up the framing, and red oak — stained and engraved — make for a chic exterior. Programmed with Arduino and run on a Teensy 3.1, the tabletop has 960 LEDs in forty sections. There are, four USB ports hidden behind sliding panels, as well as a two-port AC outlet and an inductive charging pad and circuit.  A hidden Adafruit TFT touchscreen display allows the user to control the table’s functions. Control is limited to changing lighting functions, but Pac-Man, Snake, and text features are still to come!

Weighing in at $850, it’s not a cheap build, but it looks amazing.

This is one of the most extensive Instructables you may happen across, containing dozens of pictures, CAD files, diagrams, appendices, and a change log, with tips besides; if you want one just like this at home, you are in good hands, here. Or try an easier build, we won’t judge. However, maker beware — you may be stepping through a portal that’s difficult to return from.

[Thanks for the tip, JohnL!]


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, how-to, led hacks

TEMPEST In A Software Defined Radio

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 12:00

In 1985, [Wim van Eck] published several technical reports on obtaining information the electromagnetic emissions of computer systems. In one analysis, [van Eck] reliably obtained data from a computer system over hundreds of meters using just a handful of components and a TV set. There were obvious security implications, and now computer systems handling highly classified data are TEMPEST shielded – an NSA specification for protection from this van Eck phreaking.

Methods of van Eck phreaking are as numerous as they are awesome. [Craig Ramsay] at Fox It has demonstrated a new method of this interesting side-channel analysis using readily available hardware (PDF warning) that includes the ubiquitous RTL-SDR USB dongle.

The experimental setup for this research involved implementing AES encryption on two FPGA boards, a SmartFusion 2 SOC and a Xilinx Pynq board. After signaling the board to run its encryption routine, analog measurement was performed on various SDRs, recorded, processed, and each byte of the key recovered.

The results from different tests show the AES key can be extracted reliably in any environment, provided the antenna is in direct contact with the device under test. Using an improvised Faraday cage constructed out of mylar space blankets, the key can be reliably extracted at a distance of 30 centimeters. In an anechoic chamber, the key can be extracted over a distance of one meter. While this is a proof of concept, if this attack requires direct, physical access to the device, the attacker is an idiot for using this method; physical access is root access.

However, this is a novel use of software defined radio. As far as the experiment itself is concerned, the same result could be obtained much more quickly with a more relevant side-channel analysis device. The ChipWhisperer, for example, can extract AES keys using power signal analysis. The ChipWhisperer does require a direct, physical access to a device, but if the alternative doesn’t work beyond one meter that shouldn’t be a problem.


Filed under: radio hacks

Flash a Light Bulb, Win a Prize

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 09:00

How many geeks does it take to flash a lightbulb? Judging from the list of entries in the 2017 Flashing Light Prize, so far only seven. But we suspect Hackaday readers can add to that total.

The goal is almost as simple as possible: build something that can flash an incandescent light bulb for at least five minutes. The system actually has to power the bulb’s filament, so no mechanical shutters are allowed. Other than that, the sky is the limit — any voltage, any wattage, any frequency and duty cycle, and any circuit. Some of the obvious circuits, like an RC network on a relay, have been tried. But we assume there will be points for style, in which case this sculptural cascading relay flasher might have a chance. Rube Goldberg mechanical approaches are encouraged, as in this motor, thread, stick and switch contraption. But our fave thus far is the 1000-watt bulb with solar cell feedback by Hackaday regular [mikeselectricstuff].

Get your entry in before August 1st and you’ll be on your way to glory and riches — if your definition of rich is the £200 prize. What the heck, your chances are great right now, and it’s enough for a few pints with your mates. Just don’t let it distract you from working on your 2017 Hackaday Prize entry — we’re currently in the “Wheels, Wings, and Walkers” phase, so maybe there’ll be a little crossover that you can leverage for your flasher.

Thanks to [db] for the tip.


Filed under: contests, news

Hackaday Links: June 25th, 2017

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 06:00

There will be no special badges for DEFCON. Everyone will still have badges — and our expectations are tempered because of the one year on / one year off schedule for electronic badges — there just won’t be mind-bending puzzles wrapped up in the official badges. What this means: it probably won’t matter if you’re late for linecon, and someone in the DEFCON hive mind still has a Facebook. Also, DEFCON is canceled.

In the past, we have decried the very existence of fidget spinners. It’s what the kids are into, after all. However, an electronic fidget spinner is an interesting engineering challenge. It combines the mechanical fun of bearing science, the exacting precision of balancing stuff, and stuffing electronics where no electronics should be. This Kickstarter is perhaps the best electronic fidget spinner we’ve seen. The electronics are powered by a coin cell and are packed into one of the spaces for the ‘wing’ bearings, and two additional weighted bearings allow the spinner to balance. There’s a small magnet for a hall effect sensor in the ‘stator cap’ so RPM can be measured. This design uses the most common mold for a fidget spinner, making it very manufacturable. Compare this design to the Internet of Fidget Spinners, a POV fidget Spinner, another POV fidget spinner, an educational electronic fidget spinner, or this amazing technique to measure the speed of a fidget spinner that will blow your mind, and you’ll see this Kickstarter project is clearly the superior design.

You kids are spoiled with your programmable drum machines like your 808 and 909. Back in the day, drum machines were attached to organs, and only had a few patterns. You couldn’t change the patterns, you could only change the speed. [Jan] has created one of these prehistoric drum machines in a microcontroller. You get hard rock, disco, reggae, rock, samba, rumba, cha-cha, bossa nova, beguine, synthpop, boogie, waltz, jazz rock, and slow rock. Awesome.

There’s a new electronics magazine. It’s called DIYODE, and we’re all kicking ourselves for not coming up with that name.

Do you need a new password? Humans really aren’t good at coming up with random numbers, and if you need a completely random alphanumeric password, it’s best left to a computer. Have no fear, because there’s now a website that generates the single most secure password on the planet. This password, “H4!b5at+kWls-8yh4Guq”, features upper and lowercase characters, numbers, symbols, and twenty unique characters. This password was developed by security researchers and encryption specialists in Europe, so you know it has absolutely nothing to do with the NSA, CIA, or any other American three-letter agency.

Speaking of three-letter agencies, last Wednesday was International Selfie Day! That doesn’t mean you still can’t get in on the action. Take a selfie right now and upload it to social media! What’s facial recognition?

Looking for a great little ESP32 breakout board with all the bells and whistles? Olimex has a new board out with Ethernet, a MicroSD card slot, and 20 GPIOs broken out.


Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links

Hackaday Prize Entry: Modular Circuits with SnapBloks

Hackaday - จันทร์, 06/26/2017 - 03:00

[Ekawahyu Susilo]’s twist on the modular circuit kit, SnapBloks helps you create circuits by stacking components on top of each other with the help of three magnetic contacts that not only keep the modules stuck together but also deliver power, ground, and data to each part.

[Ekawahyu] envisioned it as a prototyping kit, used to whip together an idea without a lot of hassle. It could also be an educational aid, used to teach Arduino coding while skipping the confusing tangle of wiring. You can stack a sound module on top of a power module to make a buzzer, or attach power to a wheel Blok to make a robot.

With version 2 of the project [Ekawahyu] updated the look with color-coded shells, with pink signifying input Bloks, green for output, orange for communication, and blue for power. Each Blok has a Arduino chip inside — an STM32, which Hackaday reviewed back in March. For version three, he hopes to leverage the ESP8266 to make a WiFi-enabled Blok. [Ekawahyu]’s idea of having a cheap SMD Arduino in every module seems like a smart way to simplify module creation—no “controller block” needed!

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