Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 16:29“Space Probe: Math” (1983)
Disney made a Math game spin-off based on the movie “The Black Hole” for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer This and more @ the TRS-80 Color Computer Software Repository.
In 1983, Disney put out a computer learning-game spinoff – “Space Probe: Math”. This was a cassette containing two educational games designed for use with the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer.
The concept of the first game was that the Palomino had landed on an infected planet, Delta 5 Omega. All the crew were falling under “mind diffusion”, basically a viral form of fatigue. The player (aged 7–14) had to solve multiplication or division problems to save the crew. In the second game, the player had to save a primitive world’s crops, using (rectangular) area and perimeter problems – Wikipedia.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 16:00Desktop Sized Tamagotchi Is Even Harder to Ignore
[Vadim] was feeling a bit bored at work one day and dreamed up this rather odd project. He had a spare LED matrix handy, and thought, “I should build a giant Tamagotchi…” and so he did.
In case you’re not aware, Tamagotchi’s were digital pets introduced in the late 90′s. You had to feed them, play with them and even train them — attempting to teach the responsibility of having a real pet. It was a bit of a fad, and to be honest, they were really quite annoying — but that didn’t stop [Vadim] wanting to make his own!
He’s using an ATmega328P with the Arduino boot loader at the heart of this project. The LED matrix is made of a group of four 8×8 LED modules with four shift registers (74HC595) and two Darlington transistor arrays to take the current — This is because the 256 LEDs need to be multiplexed down to 32 IO’s (16 rows + 16 columns).
Once the hardware was all done, he started coding — he’s actually coded the entire game from scratch, and while it’s not that complex it’s still an impressive amount of effort that went into this desktop sized Tamagotchi!
To see it in action, stick around after the break.
To learn more about hacking a Tamagotchi, there’s an excellent talk about how to reverse engineer it that we covered a few years ago.
Filed under: Arduino Hacks
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 15:59Pop up repair services #makerbusiness
Give the Pop Up Repair wizards your poor, your tired, your broken possessions yearning to light up, switch on and make coffee again. This itinerant repair shop run by an ad hoc group of theater professionals and tinkerers is equal parts practical service and philosophical resistance to the “cycle of use-and-discard,” as the sandwich sign in front of its Greenmarket table proclaims.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 13:01Printing In Three Dimensions, For Real This Time
3D printers don’t continuously print in three dimensions – they print one layer, then another, then another. This is true for every single 3D printing technology, but now Topolabs has a very interesting technique that changes that. They’re printing in three dimensions by moving in the Z axis while also printing in the X and Y axes.
The basic idea behind Topolabs’ software is to print a support block, then print an object right on top of the support. The support block can be curved and convex, and the finished product follows the contours of the solid support block. Unlike ‘printing with supports’, the printer extrudes along the X, Y, and Z axes, which should make the finished product much, much stronger.
There are a few drawbacks to the technique – a release agent must be applied to the top of the support block. In the video below, Topolabs is using Kapton, but hair spray or glue sticks will also work. There’s also a limit to how steep an incline a printer can print, determined by the size of the extruder nozzle. Lastly, this technique would be much better suited for a delta-style bot, but the team is getting very good results with a normal Cartesian bot.
You can see a few videos of the Topolabs printing technique below.
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 10:01The Ultimate Workstation That Folds Up
Looking for an easy way to keep on making stuff even though you’re living in a tiny dorm room? [Matt Silver] was tired of not having a dedicated work-space, so he spent some serious time designing this modular, re-configurable and collapsible portable workstation ready for almost anything.
He started out by sketching ideas, playing around with 3D models in SketchUp, and eventually building a few prototypes using trial and error — and what he’s come up with is pretty darn impressive. It folds down to just under a foot by three feet squared and has casters to roll it around. Once unfolded, you stabilize it by placing your chair on one of the walls that folds down, and the desk itself is also re-configurable for different work surfaces. He’s included a power bar, an LED work-light, and it even has storage racks for tools on the side.
It’s a very thorough Instructable, and definitely worth a look through — especially to see how it magically unfolds! And if you’re wondering about how much it would cost to build, you’re probably looking at around $200 depending on what you already have on hand. What we really like is how it’s almost entirely made out of a single 4′x8′ panel of plywood — it’s like this guy works for IKEA or something!
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 09:00A Mathematical Proof That The Universe Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing
Cosmologists now have a mathematical proof that natural quantum fluctuations allowed the Big Bang to happen. via medium:
But that still leaves a huge puzzle. What caused the Big Bang itself? For many years, cosmologists have relied on the idea that the universe formed spontaneously, that the Big Bang was the result of quantum fluctuations in which the Universe came into existence from nothing.
That’s plausible, given what we know about quantum mechanics. But physicists really need more — a mathematical proof to give the idea flesh.
Today they get their wish thanks to the work of Dongshan He and buddies at the Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics in China. These guys have come up with the first rigorous proof that the Big Bang could indeed have occurred spontaneously because of quantum fluctuations.
The new proof is based on a special set of solutions to a mathematical entity known as the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. In the first half of the 20th century, cosmologists struggled to combine the two pillars of modern physics— quantum mechanics and general relativity—in a way that reasonably described the universe. As far as they could tell, these theories were entirely at odds with each other.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 08:00NASA’s flying saucer to land payloads on other planets
NASA built a flying saucer, which they’ve called the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, that will eventually land large payloads on other planets. via Extreme Tech:
No, humble inhabitants of Hawaii, the US government hasn’t increased the level of psychoactive drugs in your water supply: That really is a flying saucer that just flew past your window at three times the speed of sound. Dubbed the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, NASA is hoping that this flying saucer is the secret to eventually landing larger payloads on other planets — such as sending a human exploration party to Mars, along with plenty of supplies. The LDSD is on a pretty aggressive schedule, with seven major tech demos over the next 24 months, and could be used in a real mission to Mars in 2018.
Later this year, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will use a balloon to launch a test vehicle up to an altitude of 120,000 feet (36.5 kilometers) above Hawaii. The test vehicle will then use a rocket to reach supersonic speeds and raise its altitude yet further to 180,000 feet (54.8 kilometers)… and then it will cut its engine and begin to free fall back to earth. As the capsule passes Mach 3.5 (2,600 mph), the LDSD will kick into action, sprouting a Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) from the craft and filling it with pressurized air. With the SIAD fully inflated, the spacecraft looks awfully like a flying saucer. The SIAD slows the craft down to around Mach 2, whereupon a massive 30-meter-diameter parachute will then be used to bring speeds down to subsonic landing speeds.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 07:01Sewing Conductive Thread in Parallel Lines
[Cynthia] has shared a great video of machine sewing parallel lines of conductive thread onto ribbon using a cording foot which usually comes standard with most machines. This technique could be particularly useful when using addressable LEDs like a NeoPixel to get the ground, data, and positive lined up fairly accurately. Sewing the conductive thread onto ribbon also makes it a hell of a lot easier to attach to many garments or textiles, and also makes it easier to replace or reuse.
The method is pretty easy, essentially using the grooves in the cording foot to guide the conductive treads and ensuring even spacing. Two of the lines are sewn down approximately 3 mm apart using a zigzag stitch. The third line is sewn separately making sure the stitching doesn’t break the first two lines. In the video, a striped ribbon is used which has slight troughs that additionally helps the threads stay in place and the sewer to stay on target.
[Cynthia] of Cynthia Designs Studio has been experimenting with embedding electronics in textiles and has quite a few great videos that you can check out on the Cynthia Designs Studio YouTube channel.
We have seen a machine embroidered LED matrix and a hand sewn LED quilt here on Hackaday, but those who have tried know that conductive thread can be very tricky to work with and keep conductivity. Do you have any tips or tricks for hand or machine sewing conductive thread? If so, please share in the comments below.
Filed under: wearable hacks
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 07:00Yale Researchers Reconstruct Images of Faces Using fMRI Scans
Led by a Yale University undergraduate, researchers have used fMRI scans to accurately reconstruct the images of faces as seen by the people being scanned. The level of sophistication in fMRI technology has previously allowed researchers to decipher the subject of what a viewer was looking at, such as whether it was scenery versus an animal. But the task of deciphering subtle differences in faces demonstrates a new level of mastery since faces exhibit many more similarities to each other than say, ponies and beach scenes. We also incorporate large areas of our brains to observe all these subtleties, which left much larger areas of the brain to be carefully monitored and greater amounts of brain activity to be decoded. From YaleNews:
Working with funding from the Yale Provost’s office, Cowen and post doctoral researcher Brice Kuhl, now an assistant professor at New York University, showed six subjects 300 different “training” faces while undergoing fMRI scans. They used the data to create a sort of statistical library of how those brains responded to individual faces. They then showed the six subjects new sets of faces while they were undergoing scans. Taking that fMRI data alone, researchers used their statistical library to reconstruct the faces their subjects were viewing.
Cowen said the accuracy of these facial reconstructions will increase with time and he envisions they can be used as a research tool, for instance in studying how autistic children respond to faces.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 06:00MIT Creates “Living Material” by Fusing Living Cells with Electronics
Don’t worry, it’s not quite the Borg, but researchers at MIT have managed to combine biology with electronics to produce cells capable of conductivity and light emission. From Dvice:
MIT researchers, led by doctoral candidate Allen Chen, have fused the living and non-living worlds by creating E. coli strands capable of incorporating gold nanoparticles and quantum dots into their colonies. These “living materials” will benefit from both the conductivity and light-emitting properties of their non-living parts and the responsiveness of their bacterial hearts.
The concept is based on naturally-occurring living materials like bone, which incorporates both minerals and living cells. While glowing, conductive bacteria is pretty interesting on its own, the research team believes that its new living circuitry could someday be used in everything from solar cells and diagnostic sensors to self-healing electronics.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 06:00Circuit board art
Circuit board art sent in by a reader.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 04:00Turn Your Drill Press into a Bobbin/Spindle Sander
Drill presses are a staple tool of the typical garage — they aren’t too expensive and are indispensably useful — but have you ever thought of turning it into a spindle sander?
You can buy drum sander kits fairly cheap, but the problem is they’re really difficult to use and really messy too — you’ll have sawdust everywhere in no time. What [Carl's] done here is created a wood box for his drill press with different size holes for each drum sander bit. By attaching a vacuum cleaner to the box, you can clean up your mess while you’re still doing the work.
Just a note — drill presses aren’t designed to take radial loads like a mill is. If you’re planning on doing some really heavy sanding, adding a bolt through the entire drum sander bit and then coupling it with a fixed bearing inside of your box might be a good idea.
It’s a pretty simple hack, but could save you an additional power tool, and space on your work bench! Have a drill but no drill press? No problem.
Filed under: tool hacks
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 03:30Maker-Friendly Hardware Stores
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 01:00A Virtual Cane for the Visually Impaired
[Roman] has created an electronic cane for the visually impaired. Blind and visually impaired people have used canes and walking sticks for centuries. However, it wasn’t until the 1920′s and 1930′s that the white cane came to be synonymous with the blind. [Roman] is attempting to improve on the white cane design by bringing modern electronics to the table. With a mixture of hardware and clever software running on an Android smartphone, [Roman] has created a device that could help a blind person navigate.
The white cane has been replaced with a virtual cane, consisting of a 3D printed black cylinder. The cane is controlled by an ATmega328 running the Arduino bootloader and [Roman's] code. Peeking out from the end of the handle is a Maxbotix ultrasonic distance sensor. Distance information is reported to the user via a piezo buzzer and a vibration motor. An induction coil allows for charging without fumbling for tiny connectors. A Bluetooth module connects the virtual cane to the other half of the system, an Android phone.
[Roman's] Android app runs solely on voice prompts and speech syntheses. Navigation commands such as “Take me to <address>” use the phone’s GPS and Google Maps API to retrieve route information. [Roman's] app then speaks the directions for the user to follow. Help can be summoned by simply stating “Send <contact name> my current location.” In the event that the user drops their virtual cane, “Find my device” will send a Bluetooth command to the cane. Once the command is received, the cane will reveal its position by beeping and vibrating.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Using technology to help disabled people is one of the best hacks we can think of. Hackaday alum [Caleb Kraft] has been doing just that with his work at The Controller Project. [Roman] is still actively improving his cane. He’s already won a gold medal at the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair. He’s entered his project in several more science events, including the Canada Wide Science Fair and the Google Science Fair. Good luck [Roman]!
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 22:01Developed on Hackaday: The Top PCB dilemna
The Hackaday community offline password keeper is slowly coming together. A few days ago we received the top PCB for Olivier’s design (shown above). If you look at the picture below, you may see the problem we discovered when opening our package: the soldermask was the wrong color! Given the board is meant to be placed behind a tinted acrylic panel, this was quite a problem…
After using some spray paint, we managed to get to the point shown in the bottom left of the picture. The next task was to find the best way to illuminate the input interface with reverse mount LEDs. Using a CNC mill we machined openings (top right PCB) but also removed some epoxy on both PCB’s sides, thinking it would provide a better light diffusion. We then wrote part of the Mooltipass PWM code and took these pictures:
We hope you agree that the ‘FR4 version’ looks better. The other version, which has the cut openings, illuminates unevenly because the smartcard isn’t under all of the LEDs. This raises several questions that we hope our dear Hackaday readers can answer:
- Can this kind of machining be done in standard PCB fabs?
- Instead of leaving the bare FR4 on top, should we cover it with white soldermask?
- Instead of leaving the bare FR4 on top, should we cover it with white silkscreen?
Keep in mind that we would only need to machine one PCB’s side.
Another concern is the top panel. As previously mentioned we’re currently using a tinted acrylic panel, which may not be the best solution to prevent scratches. We’re thinking to use glass in the future (corning gorilla glass?) so we may also hide everything around the display’s active area. Do you guys have any experience with this? Would it be expensive in relatively small quantities?
As you can see, we still need to find the best compromises and we hope you can help us. Please post a quick message in the comment section below or contact the team in the official Mooltipass Google Group.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 20:07New Project: Near-Space Balloon Cam with Arduino and APRS Radio
Build this battle-tested rig to launch, track, and recover a high-altitude balloon that will carry your hacked Canon camera to the stratosphere. With this setup using APRS ham radio and the Trackuino — an Arduino-based communications board — any hobbyist or science class can photograph (and video) the Earth against the blackness of space, and bring these amazing images home to share.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 19:00DIY Linear Actuators For A Flight Sim
[Roland] has already built a few very cool and extremely realistic flight sims, but his latest project will put his current rig to shame. He’s building a six degree of freedom simulator based on homebuilt linear actuators of his own design.
The actuator is powered by a large DC motor moving timing belts along the length of the enclosure. These timing belts are connected to a shaft that’s coupled to the frame with a few bungee cords. The bungee cords are important; without them, the timing belts would be carrying all the load of the sim – not a good thing if these actuators are moving an entire cockpit around a living room.
Also on [Roland]‘s list of awesome stuff he’s building for his flight sims is a vibration system based on the BFF Shaker. This board takes data in from sim software and turns it into vibrations produced by either unbalanced DC motors or one of those ‘bass kicker’ transducers.
It’s all very cool stuff, and with all the crazy upgrades [Roland] is doing to his sim rig, he’s doing much better than paying $300/hour to rent a Beechcraft Baron.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 18:16Worlds largest multirotor makes successful maiden flight
Advanced Tactics Inc. announced that it has successfully completed the first flight test of the Black Knight Transformer, a modular and roadable vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Advanced Tactics is at the forefront of large scale multicopter design, production, and testing and the successful flights of the Black Knight Transformer open the door to a number of future aircraft designs that leverage Advanced Tactics’ patented and patent-pending technologies.
The patented AT Transformer technology combines the capabilities of a helicopter, such as the ability to take off and land anywhere, with the capabilities of an off-road automobile. The AT Black Knight Transformer completed driving tests in December 2013 and completed its first flight tests in March 2014. The Black Knight Transformer is the world’s largest multicopter that is controlled and stabilized with propeller speed. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 4,400 lb.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 17:00Space Robots, Mars Rovers, and NASA Scientists coming to Maker Faire Bay Area
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 16:48Turn your RROD Xbox 360 into a Bluetooth arcade controller using Adafruit’s Bluefruit EZ-Key – 12 Input Bluetooth HID Keyboard Controller
Dustin Evansfound himself with a few Xbox 360 casings lying around. He ripped all of the remaining hardware out of these boxes and found that what remained was a decent sized box to mount just about anything in. The sturdy design of the 360, which is also just about the perfect shape and size for an arcade controller, seems like an obvious choice when you see it all disassembled like that. With a little bit of measuring to determine spacing that agreed with his hands, and the right parts, Evans was able to make his arcade controller.