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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 06:11
    Cow-Sized Plywood Spider Walker Shrieks Like Swarming Demon Horde

    Matt_Garten's_CNC_Spider_WalkerCNC cut gear driven walker mechanism based on Klann linkage.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 06:00
    First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed: It may have liquid water


    Via Phys.org.

    The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The initial discovery, made by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, is one of a handful of smaller planets found by Kepler and verified using large ground-based telescopes. It also confirms that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zone of other stars.

    “What makes this finding particularly compelling is that this Earth-sized planet, one of five orbiting this star, which is cooler than the Sun, resides in a temperate region where water could exist in liquid form,” says Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center who led the paper published in the current issue of the journal Science. The region in which this planet orbits its star is called the habitable zone, as it is thought that life would most likely form on planets with liquid water.

    Steve Howell, Kepler’s Project Scientist and a co-author on the paper, adds that neither Kepler (nor any telescope) is currently able to directly spot an exoplanet of this size and proximity to its host star. “However, what we can do is eliminate essentially all other possibilities so that the validity of these planets is really the only viable option.”

    With such a small host star, the team employed a technique that eliminated the possibility that either a background star or a stellar companion could be mimicking what Kepler detected. To do this, the team obtained extremely high spatial resolution observations from the eight-meter Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawai`i using a technique called speckle imaging, as well as adaptive optics (AO) observations from the ten-meter Keck II telescope, Gemini’s neighbor on Mauna Kea. Together, these data allowed the team to rule out sources close enough to the star’s line-of-sight to confound the Kepler evidence, and conclude that Kepler’s detected signal has to be from a small planet transiting its host star.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 06:00
    MDK — Project Ara

    Adafruit 2941

    MDK — Project Ara.

    The Module Developers Kit (MDK) defines the Ara platform for module developers and provides reference implementations for various design features. The Ara platform consists of an on-device packet-switched data network based on the MIPI UniPro protocol stack, a flexible power bus, and an elegant industrial design that mechanically unites the modules with an endoskeleton. Throughout 2014, the Project Ara team will be working on a series of alpha and beta MDK releases. We welcome developer input to the MDK: either through the Ara Module Developers mailing list/forum or at one of the series of Developers Conferences. Additionally, if you’d like to create a reference module design, please get in touch!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 04:00
    The Raspberry Eye Sees All

    rasp pi eyes

    [Roman Rolinsky] wanted to try to do something interesting with his Raspberry Pi and a 2.8″ LCD he had laying about… So he made a rather bulky version of Google Glass.

    We’ve seen a few examples of home brew Google Glass before, or even real-life subtitle glasses used for translation on the fly, but what we really like about [Roman's] project (besides the fact he hosted it on our very own awesome project hosting site) is that he’s put together the projection system himself out of basic components.

    To create the HUD, he’s using a semi-transparent mirror which he took out of an Eye of Horus Beamsplitter game – which is a really cool real-life puzzle board game like those games where you have to reflect the laser to solve a puzzle. He’s then using a 3x Fresnel magnification lens which is placed over top of his 2.8″ LCD in a 3D printed enclosure. This magnifies and reflects the image onto the mirror which is placed directly over his eye, allowing for a see through display.

    We’ve asked for a demonstration video, so if you follow his project you’ll get all the future updates of his Raspberry Eye.

    Filed under: Raspberry Pi

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 01:01
    Hackaday Links: April 20, 2014


    [Josh] hit the same issue we’ve faced before: cable modems don’t match a form factor and usually don’t make themselves easy to mount on something. We could complain about routers as well, but at least most of those have keyhole slots so you can hang them on some screws. Inspiration struck and he fabricated his own rack-mount adapter for it. Velcro holds it in place, with a cutout bezel to see the status lights and an added fan to keep things cool.

    Here’s a pair of strange but possibly interesting ones that were sent in separately. The first is an analysis of how much energy short-run CNC prototyping consumes versus traditional manufacturing. The other is an article that [Liz] wrote about getting started with CNC mill bits. She says she compiled all that she learned as she was getting started in the field and wants to save others the effort.

    This one goes back several years, but who doesn’t love to hear about a voice-controlled wheelchair?

    So you can solder QFN parts but you can’t hammer a nail straight into a piece of wood? The answer, friend, is a laser guided hammer. Someone hire this [Andybot] person, because the solution to the problem shows the ability to out-think an interesting dilemma: how do you put a laser in a hammer head and still use it to hit things?

    We’ve seen a lot of these long-range WiFi hacks over the years. This one is worth looking at because of the work done to create an outdoor mount that will stand the test of time.

    And finally, we’re still really fond of this 2-bit paper processor that helps you wrap your brain around what’s going on with those silicon wafers that rule our everyday lives. [glomCo] liked it as well, and actually coded an emulator so that you can play with it without printing anything out on paper. We think it takes away some of the fun, but what an excellent programming exercise!

    Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 23:26
    Thermomètre Nixie Steampunk

    Fan de ce style depuis pas mal de temps déjà, c’est ma première réalisation concrète. L’idée était de réaliser un (joli) thermomètre d’ambiance, histoire de savoir quelle température il fait dans la pièce. J’avais déjà réalisé un thermomètre à tubes Nixies, mais ce dernier avait deux défauts : les tubes n’étaient pas centrés sur le pcb, et il consommait un peu trop pour avoir envie de le laisser allumé en permanence (et en plus, il n’était pas « habillé »…).

    Du coups, la première étape de cette réalisation a été de refaire un pcb complet. Pas simplement déplacer les tubes, j’en ai profité pour alléger le tout, histoire de supprimer les composants qui n’étaient pas nécessaires. En effet, sur la version précédente, j’utilisais un NE555 pour générer les impulsions nécessaires à la haute tension. Désormais cette tâche est réalisée par le microcontrolleur lui-même.

    Schéma thermomètre Nixie

    Schéma thermomètre Nixie

    Quitte a devoir reprogrammer le microcontrolleur pour rajouter la génération de la haute tension, j’en ai profité pour tout ré-écrire en avrc. Ca me permet d’avoir un timing très précis, autant sur la génération du signal HT que sur le multiplexage des tubes. (La fréquence est importante pour la génération de la haute tension car elle joue pour beaucoup dans le rendement). Mon code aurais pu être grandement optimisé si j’avais un peu mieux réfléchi à mes branchements, mais sur ma version, je m’étais trompé sur certaines liaisons (ce qui expliquera les fils visibles sur les photos). Le schéma proposé corrige ces erreurs.

    tarthermomètre nixie (AVRC)


    Thermomètre à tube Nixie Steampunk

    Thermomètre à tube Nixie Steampunk

    Pour l’habillage, je me suis fait un peu plaisir. Les deux « chapeaux » sont en laiton, que j’ai tourné, moitié façon meca, c’est à dire en utilisant le tour de manière traditionnelle, moitié à main levée à l’aide d’une lime (pour les arrondis notamment). Le reste de l’accastillage est composé de différents tubes de laitons, diamètre 5 et 3mm, que l’on trouve facilement en magasin de modélisme.
    Le tube est quand a lui un tube de plexyglass acheté pour l’occasion.

    Socle vu de dessous

    Socle vu de dessous

    Le socle a été tourné dans un beau morceau de chêne, par un ami car je ne disposais pas de tour à bois, et le tour à metal n’est vraiment pas adapté à ce genre d’opérations. Le plot du milieu est assez profond pour que le tube laiton soit bien maintenu, mais ne va pas jusqu’en bas pour pouvoir laisser passer les fils. J’ai repris ensuite le socle tourné pour le fraiser afin de fixer le connecteur d’alimentation, et fait les 4 perçages nécessaires (2 pour les tubes verticaux, un pour le capteur de température, et un pour le connecteur d’alim).

    Détail du capteur de température

    Détail du capteur de température

    Le capteur de température utilisé est un LM35. Pas particulièrement esthétique donc. Pour le masquer, je l’ai donc glissé à l’intérieur d’une douille de 22lr qu’un ami tireur m’a gentiment fourni. Le capteur est fixé à l’intérieur à la colle à chaud.

    En fonctionnement

    En fonctionnement

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 22:00
    Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: Stargate


    The 90s were a remarkable time for Sci-Fi movies, in that there actually were sci-fi movies, and not sequels to a reboot of yet another comic book movie. One of the breakout hits from this era was Stargate, the film and three syndicated television series. With a corpus this large, a few Stargate builds made it into our Sci Fi contest, and from the looks of things, they’re pretty cool.

    The Ma’Tok Staff

    546381397503980641The Ma’Tok staff is an energy weapon used by Jaffa warriors that fires a concentrated plasma bust over 70 yards. While we question the utility of a weapon that’s only accurate to 70 yards on the battlefield (like, arrows are better, man) [frankstripod] is making his own version. Instead of plasma bolts, it’ll be a hairspray-powered PVC potato cannon.

    It’s totally not a tricorder

    scannerThe Ancients in Stargate Atlantis had a multifunction handheld device capable of detecting life signs, observing multiple frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, and finding power sources.  Basically, it’s a smartphone that’s not from Star Trek. This scanner became an important piece of commandeered technology, and these guys are building their own. Qi wireless charging, touch screen, IR transceiver, and everything a real tricorder should be.

    Wait. Where did he get Naquadah?


    What good would a post on Stargate builds be without an actual Stargate? [shlonkin] and [dkopta] are doing just that, complete with a rotating right and light-up chevrons. Here’s a video. Video below, of course.

    The Sci-Fi contest runs until the end of the month, so there’s still time for you to get in on the action and get your hands on some really great prizes. We’re giving away O’scopes, soldering stations, dev boards, some sweet Sci-Fi prizes, and awesome Hackaday T-shirts.


    Filed under: contests

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 21:33
  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 21:12
    The Egg Painter

    The Easter tradition of dying eggs is practiced by people all over the world, but in Ciocanesti, a small village in Romania’s northern region of Bukovina, this tradition has evolved into an art form.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 20:23
    Underwater ROV at the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire

    Home designed and built ROV (left) and an OpenROV kit (right).Martin Evans builds underwater ROV’s and he brought three different type of ROV here to the Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire and I took the opportunity to talk to Martin about his builds.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 19:33
    Making stuff with SplatForm at the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire

    SplatFormI talked to Evan Lind—the inventor of SplatForm, a new free-form social toy system—about it, and what it's actually supposed to be for, and how he came up with the idea in the first place.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 19:00
    Blinky LED Necklace That Actually Looks Chic

    LED bib necklace by Agy

    [Agy] a fabric hacker in Singapore has made a chic light sensitive LED necklace, and written up the tutorial on her blog  Green Issues by Agy. The lovely thing about this hack is that it doesn’t look like a breadboard round her neck, and most of the non-electronic components have been upcycled. [Agy] even used Swarovski crystals as LED diffusers for extra bling.

    Using a LilyPad Arduino with a light sensor and a few LEDs, [Agy's] circuit is not complicated. She seems to be just branching out in to wearable tech, so it is nice that she learnt to program different modes for bright and low light (see video below). Her background in sewing, refashioning and upcycling does show through in her crafty use of an old pair of jeans and lace scraps for this project.

    We love tech focused jewelry like [TigerUp's] LED matrix pendants or [Armilar's] Nixie-ify Me Necklace, but they do scream Geek. DIY electronically enhanced accessories are becoming more commonplace with the variety of micro-controller platforms expanding rapidly. Low energy wearable boards like MetaWear are making it easy for the tech to be discreet and easily connected to your smartphone.  3D printing is enabling us to create durable enclosures, settings and diffusers like the ones used for LED Stegosaurus Spikes. With all these things, hobby wearable projects can not only be functional and durable, but can also look great too.

    Do you think this necklace would look out of place in a non-geeky gathering? Have you got any helpful tips for [Agy's] code? Have you tried using gems or crystals as diffusers and what were the results? Let us know in the comments below.



    Filed under: wearable hacks

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 18:24
    The Edinburgh Tool Library at the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire

    Tool LibraryYou can't own every tool, and even if you're lucky enough to be a member of a hackspace or makerspace, you can't take them home if they do. Which is where the Edinburgh Tool Library comes in, it's a new charity that not only wants to lend you tools, but teach you how to use them.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 18:14
    Talpadk: Measuring printbed tempeartures on a RepRapPro Huxley

    I have finally gotten around to measuring the surface temperature of my Huxley.

    Temperature as function of set-point

    Temperature as function of set-point

    Method and instruments used

    For measuring the temperature a Agilent U1233A with a U11186A (k type thermocouple) has used.

    The ambient temperature has measured by waiting for the display to settle and the taking a readout.

    The heat bed temperatures has measured on top of the aluminium print surface with the polyarmide tape left in place.
    The thermocouple was held in place by another piece of polyarmide tape.

    The thermocouple was left on the print bed for 1 minute for the temperature to stabilize, the temperature was then measured on  the multimeter using the “avg” function after a 2 minute sampling period.


    The temperatures were measured at the centre and approximately 1cm from the edge.
    The center temperature was measured an additional time at the end of the measurement cycle.
    The print bed was in its forward position with the print head to the left at the end stop (cooling fan running)

    The ambient temperature was measured as 22.1C at start of the surface scan, and 24.4C at the end.
    The heat bed has maintained at 85C using the 3d printer firmware.

    NA 71.2C 75.8C
    77.6C 71.1C
     75.6C  77.1C  72.8C

    After this the thermocouple was reapplied using a fresh piece of polyarmide tape at the centre of the print bed and left there.
    The print bed set point was then reduced and the surface temperature measured.

    Set point [C] Measured [C] Percentage
    85 76.2 90
    70 63.1 90
    55 50.2 91
    40 37.8 95


    Some of the variances in the measurements across the bed might be related probe mounting relative to the surface and cooling to ambient.
    Using a piece of foam or another insulator might improve this.
    The lower measurement points may simply be caused by a bad thermal contact to the print bed.
    Heat sink compound could perhaps have alliviated some of this as well (and made a lot of mess).

    Also even though the measurements was taken as a 2 minute average, the temperature swings of the heat bed regulation may have contributed with some noise.

    Also a thermal camera would have made this much easier and quicker, too bad they are so expensive.
    (And that Fluke VT02/VT04 visual thermometers has such a bad resolution)


    I would consider the bed temperature constant across the print bed within the uncertainty of my measurements.

    At “higher” temperatures the surface temperature seems to be roughly 90% of the set point.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 16:21
    What should I see at the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire?

    Screenshot 2014-04-20 14.35.53I caught up with Maaroof Fakhri—one of the organisers' of today mini Maker Faire and asked him what you should see if you're coming to the faire.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 16:00
    The Computer Without A CPU


    [Jeff Laughton] was contacted by a customer that was interested in adding some automated functions to a printing press. Before eventually settling on a microcontroller for the job, [Jeff] went old school and started looking at logic gates, counters, and flip-flops. This lead him to the Motorola 14500 industrial control unit, a minimal processor with only 16 instructions. After a few ‘back of the napkin’ sketches, he came up with an extremely minimal computer that doesn’t use a microprocessor. It’s an interesting design notable not only for its electronic brevity, but also because it only uses one instruction.

    The only instruction this computer will ever execute is an input test, the result of which controls a two-way branch. Instructions consist of an input address, output address, and a single bit of data. If the data bit is true, the computer jumps to one location in ROM, and if the data bit is false, a jump to another location is executed.

    A computer really isn’t a computer without some form of memory, and this design is no exception. [Jeff] managed to add two bits of data between the 8-bit latch and 8-bit multiplexer in the design. This is enough to call a few subroutines which test the I/O-mapped memory to decide what the next instruction should be.

    It’s a truly bizarre design, but actually much closer to a true Turing machine than the computers in your pocket, on your wrist, on your desk, and in your car.

    Thanks [James] for the tip!


    Filed under: misc hacks

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 14:58
    Co2 detecting and display in an outlet with an OLED

    Co2 detecting and display in an outlet with an OLED. timv1 in the Adafruit customer support forums writes-

    Concerning the monitoring of the CO2 I’ll share an idea for displaying it.

    Wanted to keep it all inside an outlet that could be used to power a solenoid connected to the CO2 tank. Due to space limitations I decided on using a little OLED… A place like OshPark can make you up a board SUPER inexpensive if you’re interested in such things. Anyhow, here are some pictures of the what I did to get the little OLED into the outlet.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 14:51
    Internet of Things – When phoning home breaks everything

    940 Lrg-1-2

    Adafruit is working on a few Internet of Things products, services and more – we’re thinking carefully about the best and open way to do this as you’d expect. We started with an Internet of Things Bill of Rights.

    We believe Internet of Things devices should all come with a well established expectation of what they will and will not do with consumer’s data. In the article we put together the start of what we hope will help this effort – Minimizing Risk Is Easy: Adopt a Bill of Rights

    • Open is better than closed; this ensures portability between Internet of Things devices.
    • Consumers, not companies, own the data collected by Internet of Things devices.
    • Internet of Things devices that collect public data must share that data.
    • Users have the right to keep their data private.
    • Users can delete or back up data collected by Internet of Things devices.

    Today we saw that Samsung’s data center caught on fire and their products check Samsung.com before being able to get online. You can see how this would usually be a good idea, if the device cannot reach Samsung.com then the device likely isn’t online… except when Samsung.com is offline, then everything breaks. Someone reverse engineered what their TV was trying to do.

    For “Internet of Things” devices and services, there should be more checks than a single point of failure.

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 14:50
    Wall-E the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire

    WALL-EDale Wood—a maker from Zimbabwe that now lives here in Scotland—has built a life-sized replica of Disney's WALL-E robot and it's on display at the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 13:41
    The Darwin Toolbox at the Edinburgh mini Maker Faire

    The Darwin ToolboxI talked to Philip Boeing from UCL about the Darwin Toolbox—an affordable biotechnology laboratory in a compact toolbox-size container that should allow you to get started doing real DIY genetics at home.

    Read more on MAKE