Lundi, Février 17, 2014 - 06:00Military pizza prototype lasts three years without spoiling
Not sure how appetizing this is but it’s an idea! Via The Verge.
Military researchers believe they’re close to reaching one of the most sought-after rations ever: a pizza that can be left out for years without spoiling. The AP reports that food scientists at the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts are testing a prototype pizza to include in military meals ready to eat, or MREs. Pizza is frequently requested by soldiers, but the combination of sauce, cheese, and dough quickly becomes a breeding ground for bacteria as moisture from other ingredients turns the crust soggy. The solution was twofold: keep the water in place, and make the whole pie hostile to bacteria.
To stop the dough from going soft, scientists used a type of preservative known as humectants, which include various kinds of gels and sugars (honey is sometimes used as one.) Humectants keep food moist by binding to water; in this case, they lock it into the rest of the ingredients. The pizza’s acidity is also adjusted to make it less hospitable to bacteria, and iron filings in the package help absorb any air that gets into the packet. The result? “You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it’d still be edible.”
Edible and palatable, however, are two different things. Lab director Jill Bates and spokesperson David Accetta both say they’ve tried it and liked it, comparing it to a ready-made pizza that just happens to last at 80 degrees Fahrenheit for years. “It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven,” says Bates. It’s not clear when exactly soldiers will see the new rations, but the AP reports that they’re “closing in” after almost two years of research.
Lundi, Février 17, 2014 - 04:00Lichtspiel crosses board games with video games
Video games are amazing these days. Cinemagraphic game play, incredible accelerated graphics, you name it. The average tabletop board game though, has not received the benefit of all this technology. [Marcel] hopes to provide some options for changing that with Lichtspiel, an Interactive Digital Boardgame. Lichtspiel uses a Philips Pico-Beamer projector to project the game board onto a white surface. A camera (either a Raspberry Pi camera module or a Logitech USB webcam) then picks up the players interactions with the game board. Actual interaction is done with small black chips. When a player moves their chip, the vision system sends the x,y coordinates main processor. The game then changes based upon the chip position. [Marcel's] video shows two demonstrations, a matrix style board game simulation for two and a co-operative asteroids style game. In the asteroids style game one player moves the ship while the other aims the weapons.
We can’t help but see the similarities between this system and the board game demos for castAR , though we feel they fill different niches. Lichtspiel does away with 3D, and by doing so doesn’t require projection glasses to play. Lichtspiel definitely has possibilities. We’d love to see [Marcel] open up his software design so that it can be further developed.
Lundi, Février 17, 2014 - 01:01Hackaday Links: February 16, 2014
[Moogle] wrote in to see if anyone can figure out why his unused electrolytic capacitors are popping. This is the behavior you see in populated caps whose electrolyte dries out. But these are still in his parts bin. Anyone know why they would pop when going unused?
We see a lot of BIOS flashing hacks; but it’s always a handy thing to know about when you get in a bind. Here [Adan] shows us how to reflash a corrupt BIOS using a Tiva C Launchpad board.
Wanting to hack together her own blow gun [Carlyn] scrapped a handheld vacuum cleaner. When she discovered the pump could not easily be converted from suck to blow she made a handheld suction manipulator which picks up paper plates and a few slightly heavier objects.
Unfortunately a drill press is not one of the tools we have in our lair right now. If we did, this tip about using it to help tap threads in a hole would come in really hand.
Retro computing fans will appreciate this Z80 computer build (translated). It’s a fairly large mainboard with plenty of chips, resistors, buttons, and seven segment displays. Excellent. [Thanks Daniel]
We start to drool a little bit when we see a teardown post that shows off a piece of equipment really well. We’ve already reached for a bib to catch the slobber from pawing our way through [David's] teardown of an HP 6010A bench supply.
Filed under: Hackaday links
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 22:00Building A Better Sewing Machine
After making a few fabric RFID tags, [Micah] had a sewing machine sitting in her workshop completely unused. This was due at least in part to how crappy this entry-level sewing machine was; it stalled easily, unusable at low speeds, and noises like a robot with bronchitis. The solution, of course, was to replace the motor and add electronic control, turning a terrible sewing machine into one that should cost several hundred dollars more.
After some experimentations with an AC motor, [Micah] came upon a small DC motor. This, combined with an LMD18200 H-bridge, Propeller microcontroller, and a beefy power supply gave [Micah] enough torque to run the sewing machine without mechanical wheezing and grinding.
The new update to the motor allowed [Micah] several control modes for the machine, all controlled by the foot pedal: an open-loop mode is pretty much the same as the stock machine, a closed-loop mode keeps a constant RPM on the motor regardless of resistance. There are a few more interesting modes that moves the needle down when the pedal is released, perfect for detailed work.
A small addition to this project was an LCD attached to the front of the machine, allowing [Micah] to toggle modes without the microcontroller being connected to the computer.
Thanks [Gregg] for sending this one in.
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 19:00Fixing the Unfixable: Pebble Smartwatch Screen Replacement
[Colt] found himself with a broken Pebble, so he fixed it. The Pebble watch really ignited the smartwatch world with its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. Working on the Pebble has proved to be frustrating experience for hardware hackers though. Ifixit’s teardown revealed the Pebble extremely difficult to repair. This isn’t due to some evil plan by the smartwatch gods to keep us from repairing our toys. It’s a problem that comes from stuffing a lot electronics into a small waterproof package. [Colt's] problem was a bad screen. Pebble has a few known screen issues with their early models. Blinking screens, snow, and outright failed screens seemed to happen at an alarming rate as the early Kickstarter editions landed. Thankfully all those issues were corrected and replacements sent to the unlucky owners.
The actual screen used in the Pebble is a Sharp Memory LCD. Memory is an apt name as the screens actually behave as a SPI attached write only memory. Sharp sells flexible printed circuit (FPC) versions of the LCDs to aid in debugging. For space constrained designs though, an elastomeric or ”zebra strip” connector is the common way to go. Alternating bands of conductive and insulating material make electrical connections between the Pebble’s circuit board and the conductive portions of the LCD glass.
[Colt] found himself with a dead screen out of warranty, so he decided to attempt a screen replacement. He found a replacement screen from Mouser, and proceeded to remove the top case of his watch. The top plastic case seems to be the hardest part of getting into a Pebble. It appears to be bonded with a glue that is stronger than the plastic itself. [Colt] broke the glass of his screen during the removal, which wasn’t a big deal as it was already dead. Prying only destroyed the top plastic, so he broke out a rotary tool which made quick work of the plastic. The new screen worked perfectly, but had to be held in just the right position over its zebra connector. Some waterproof epoxy held it in place permanently. The next step was a new top cover. An old flip phone donated its plastic shell to the effort, and hot glue kept everything in place. [Colt] finished his work with a couple of layers of model paint. The result certainly isn’t as pretty or waterproof as the original. It is functional though, and about $120 USD cheaper than buying a new Pebble.
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 16:01nrf24l01+ using 3 ATtiny85 pins
[Ralph] wasn’t satisfied with the required 5 control pins to drive his nrf24l01+ transceiver module, so he used this circuit needing just 3 pin using an ATtiny85.
One of the key components was to effectively drive the chip select (CSN) line from the clock (SCK) line. The nrf24l01+ needs the CSN line to transition from high to low on the beginning of a communication. [Ralph] put the SCK line behind a diode, put a capacitor in parallel with the CSN line and altered the arduino-nrf24l01 library to encode extra delays for the clock line. This allowed the CSN line to be driven by the SCK line. Subsequent line transitions during transmission happen too fast to charge the capacitor, leaving the CSN line in a low state.
After tying the chip enable line high and dropping the 5V power line to 1.9-3.6V across a red LED, [Ralph] had an ATtiny85 controlling a nrf24l01+ module.
Though deceptively simple, a very cool hack that opens up a couple more lines on the ATtiny85.
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 15:32World press photo of the year
The international jury of the 57th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected an image by American photographer John Stanmeyer of the VII Photo Agency as the World Press Photo of the Year 2013. The picture shows African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia—a tenuous link to relatives abroad. Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants in transit from such countries as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, seeking a better life in Europe and the Middle East. The picture also won 1st Prize in the Contemporary Issues category, and was shot for National Geographic.
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 15:2212-year-old builds low-cost Lego braille printer
Shubham Banerjee, a California seventh grader, is one of those kids whose heart and mind extend well beyond his own life and into the the wider world beyond. For a science fair project, he contemplated the issue of braille printers, which can cost upwards of $2,000, and decided there must be a better way.
The better way he came up with involved the clever use of a $350 Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit along with a few bucks worth of hardware from Home Depot. He took a basic, preexisting pattern for a printer and reworked it with new software and hardware enhancements to print out letters in braille. The result is called the Braigo.
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 14:29faBrickated Makey LEGO Love
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 10:01Hacking a DVD Recorder
[w00fer] wanted to see if any modifications to a DVD Recorder were possible. Initially, the goal was to upgrade the internal hard drive for additional storage. However, after cracking open a DVDR3570H and finding a service port, he decided to look a bit deeper.
Connecting an RS232 to USB converter to the service port resulted in garbled data. It turned out that the port was using TTL signal levels instead of RS232 levels. This was solved by building a converter using the MAX232 converter IC.
With the converter in place, the service menu appeared. It performs some tests and spits out the results when the device is booted. After that, it sits at a prompt and waits for commands. Fortunately, [w00fer] found the service manual which lists the available commands. So far, he’s been able to generate test patterns, test lights, change the display text, spin up the hard drive, and read device information. However, the next steps include disabling Macrovision copy protection, dumping the EEPROM and NVRAM, and copying data off of the hard drive. If you think you can help [w00fer] out, let him know.
Filed under: home entertainment hacks
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 07:00Ion Propelled Tie Fighter Now Has a Laser!
[Steven Dufresne] has been playing around with ion propulsion using high voltage lately, and he’s added another spaceship to his experiments — Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter – and as an added bonus, he’s thrown on a laser too!
We originally covered his Ion Wind Propelled Star Trek Enterprise a few months ago, after someone had mentioned that the ion winds he was generating in experiments kind of looked like the warp drives on the Enterprise. Well, someone else pointed out that a TIE Fighter was an even better candidate for this. After all, TIE stands for Twin Ion Engines. So he decided to build one too. The ion winds look even better on this one as he’s turned the entire back of the fighter into the electrode, which creates a wide and very visible arc.
Oh, he also decided to add lasers to it for some extra flare — unfortunately TIE Fighters used green lasers — not red ones. Stick around for the following videos to see the TIE Fighter in all its ionic glory.
Filed under: laser hacks
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 06:00Tainted Love played by Floppy Disc Drives – now with vocals
Tainted Love played by Floppy Disc Drives – now with vocals.
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 04:00SMD Soldering on… Hot Sand?
Need to do some SMD soldering? No tools? No problem! Here’s a creative method that could be a handy tool to add to your belt: SMD soldering using hot sand.
[Oliver Krohn] recently released this little video demonstrating how to perform re-flow soldering using hot sand. He’s using a bunsen burner to heat up a ceramic pot of sand to use as a kind of hot plate. It seems to work pretty well, and it’s a very unique way of doing it — if you wanted to get a bit more technical, you could also throw a temperature probe in the sand to get a much finer heat control!
Of course there are lots of other ways of doing re-flow soldering, like using a re-purposed toaster oven, frying up some circuits on a skillet after you’ve had your bacon, or if you want to be fancy, you could even build your own toolkit for it!
Anyway, stick around for the epic video of SMD soldering on hot sand.
Doesn’t that just get you pumped to do some soldering?
[via Hacked Gadgets]
Filed under: tool hacks
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 01:01Chinese 3020 CNC Machine Gets Some Upgrades
If you frequent any CNC Forums out on the ‘web you’ll find that these Chinese 3020 CNC routers are generally well received. It is also common opinion that the control electronics leave something to be desired. [Peter]‘s feelings were no different. He set out to make some improvements to his machine’s electronics such as fixing a failed power supply and adding PWM spindle control and limit switches.
[Peter] determined that the transformer used in the power supply was putting out more voltage from the secondary coil than the rest of the components could handle. Instead of replacing the transformer with another transformer, two switch mode power supplies were purchased. One powers the spindle and the other is for the stepper motors. So he wasn’t guessing at the required amperage output of the power supplies, [Peter] measured the in-operation current draw for both the steppers and spindle motor.
As received, the spindle speed is manually controlled by a potentiometer on the control panel. CNC Machine Control software, such as LinuxCNC or Mach3, has the ability to control the spindle speed by using PWM. It turns out that the 3020′s control board and spindle motor driver are designed to do this, it is just not hooked up. After some poking around on the board, all that was needed to finish the job was to add two jumper wires and flip one DIP switch.
The control board also has inputs for limit switches that are unused as shipped from the factory. Through some investigation it was found that the limit switch inputs are opto-isolated. Now the machine can be run without worry about unintentionally running out of travel. This and more is documented on [Peter]‘s site, including all of the parallel port pin functions and machine specifications.
Filed under: cnc hacks
Dimanche, Février 16, 2014 - 00:10How-To: 20-Sided (Pecan) Pie
Samedi, Février 15, 2014 - 22:01Generating Embroidery with an Arduino
Want a nifty way to combine the craft of embroidery with electronics? The folks working on the open source Embroidermodder demoed their software by generating an embroidery of the KDE logo using a TFT screen and an Arduino.
Embroidermodder is an open source tool for generating embroidery patterns. It generates a pattern and a preview rendering of what the embroidery will look like when complete. It’s a cross-platform desktop application with a GUI, but the libembroidery library does the hard work in the background. This library was ported to Arduino to pull off the hack.
While generating pictures of embroidery with an Arduino might look neat, it isn’t too useful. However, since the library has been ported it is possible to use it to control other hardware. With the right hardware, this could be the beginning of an open source embroidery machine.
After the break, check out a video of the pattern being generated.
Filed under: Arduino Hacks
Samedi, Février 15, 2014 - 19:003D Printering: Making A Thing In FreeCAD, Part II
It’s time once again for another installment of a Making A Thing tutorial, where I design the same part, over and over again, in multiple 3D design software packages.
Last week we took a look at FreeCAD, a free, open source parametric modeller. It’s an amazingly powerful tool, and not it’s finally time to complete our model of a strange object ripped from the pages of an 80-year-old drafting textbook.
Here’s some links to previous Making A Thing tutorials, doe:
- AutoCAD Part I
- AutoCAD Part II
- Blender Part I
- Blender Part II
- Autodesk 123D
- FreeCAD Part I
Read on for the second part of our FreeCAD tutorial
Our Thing, And Where We Left Off Last Time
To the right is the thing we’re making. It’s from an 80-year-old book on drafting.
A few people have asked me for a .PDF of this book. My copy is in dead tree format, and I haven’t yet built a book scanner.
If anyone out there has the 1st or 2nd edition of Engineering Drawing (French, 1911 or 1918), please scan it (its public domain) and post a link.Here’s the Google Scanned copy of the 2nd edition.
In the last installment of this tutorial, we went over installing FreeCAD, the basics of parametric modelling, and drawing a few circles and lines. Finishing off our ‘thing’ is just a process of drawing lines, arcs, and fillets, constraining them, and tearing your hair out at the inability of FreeCAD to show you the one unconstrained element in your sketch oh my god. After a little trial and error, we end up with something like the pic below, a fully constrained sketch of most of our switch base:
Yes, it’s ugly, but it’s accurate. Now it’s time to move on to the third dimension, extruding our thing up 7/16th of an inch. Note that I really don’t care about the absolute dimensions of what I’m designing. FreeCAD is metric only, so I’m designing everything around eigths of an inch. Slicers allow you to scale a print anyway…
Once we have our part drawn and constrained, the Solver on the left hand toolbar will tell us we have a fully constrained sketch. Now it’s time to extrude our object. Click Close on the Tasks bar, and you’ll end up with a few options: Create Sketch, Pad, Pocket, Revolution, and Groove. The tool we use for extrusion is Pad, so click on that. Switch over to the isometric view, set the pad parameters for the correct depth of extrusion, and you’ll get an awesome filled solid. Awesome.
While we couldn’t do the ‘interior’ fillets on our part in the Part Design workbench – the fillet command only works between two lines, not a line and an arc. Now that we’ve extruded our thing into the Z axis, we can finally add those fillets. In the 3D view, click the edge separating the big ‘washer’ of our part and the long flange.
After that, we get a fairly good-looking part. We’re not done, though. We still need to make the other part of our thing, the ‘countersunk flange’, as I like to call it.
Adding Another Part
Right now we have the ‘bottom’ of our thing designed, but we’re still missing the flange with the countersunk hole. To add this, we’ll need to create the outline of the ‘countersunk flange’ part of our thing. Do that by going int the Part Design workbench, drawing a fully constrained part, and extruding it just like we did with the first part. When we’re done, we’ll have something that looks like this:
With that done, it’s time to assemble these two parts. When we go back to the Part workbench, we’ll see something like the pic to the right. Our parts are there, but we’ll need to arrange them correctly and join them somehow. After that, we’ll need to put the holes in our flange. Easy enough.
Arranging The Parts
In the Part workbench, select the flange you just made in the part tree for our thing. There’s a tab at the bottom labeled ‘Data’, and this is where we’ll place our flange at the end of the ‘washer’ part of our thing. Play around with the position until everything’s correct, and we have 90% of our thing done.
Adding The Holes
Select the face on the flange we want to drill our holes into. We’ll need to create two sketches for this; one for the through hole, and a second for the counterbored hole. Sketch the smaller hole, then remove it with the Pocket tool. This tool is pretty much the opposite of the Pad tool; it extrudes “down” instead of “up”.
In another sketch in the face of the flange, draw the larger hole, and Pocket it down to the proper depth.
And there’s a completed part. Export, do some Booleans if you need to, and we’re done.
Wrapping Up FreeCAD
FreeCAD is an amazingly powerful tool, but in making this tutorial I did notice a little bit of wonkiness in the FreeCAD interface; using the middle mouse button to pan the sketch through the current view didn’t always work, adding a line sometimes (though rarely) results in freezes, and there were a few instances where the UX is just… crummy.
Seeing as how FreeCAD is currently in version 0.13, and possibly the fact that I’m using the Windows version, this sort of thing is to be expected. It’s still being improved, and although I believe FreeCAD will eventually become one of the best open source design and modeling softwares out there, it still needs a bit of work.
If you know Python and C++, and you’re looking for an open source project to contribute to, I’d highly suggest helping out the FreeCAD devs. There’s no doubt in my mind FreeCAD will eventually be as popular for mechanical and 3D design as KiCAD is for electronic design in a few years. FreeCAD is still a great package now, but it needs a little bit of work before going mainstream.
That’s it for this Making A Thing tutorial. Next week Hackaday contributor [Rich] will putting up the first part of a tutorial on Solidworks. It’s awesome, and you’ll read it.
After the Soildworks tutorial, I have absolutely no idea where these Making A Thing tutorials are going to go. Between the half-dozen software packages this series has covered so far, We’ve covered just about every method of creating an object to be 3D printed – AutoCAD for traditional drafting, FreeCAD for parametric modeling, and OpenSCAD for scripting 3D modeling.
Writing more tutorials for other software packages would only duplicate what this series already has done with less popular softwares. This means I’m sort of in a bind as to what to write next for these Making A Thing tutorials.
If you have an idea of what this series of tutorial should do next, drop a note in the comments. I’ve also considered getting a Printrbot Simple and showing all the ways a print can fail – and the ways to fix it. If you have a better idea, you’re always able to suggest something in the comments.
Samedi, Février 15, 2014 - 18:10Makerland: Three days of Hardware Hacking in Warsaw
Makerland is a new European hardware conference for makers. Attendees will spend three days inside the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland, learning, interacting, and building amazing new things. The event features a diverse set of speakers and workshop leaders from around the world, which will give attendees the opportunity to […]
Samedi, Février 15, 2014 - 17:56DIY Gami-Bots! #SaturdayMorningCartoons
Howtoons uses comic book style storytelling to give a DIY instructional on making Gami-Bots!
We can all agree that robots are awesome, but building them can be a daunting task. Check out this simple origami robot made from a vibration motor, business card, 3v cell battery, and tape. It is so easy it practically builds itself.
Samedi, Février 15, 2014 - 16:01Robot Controller More Fun Than an Actual Wii-U
Okay, that’s probably not fair since we never gave the Wii-U a try at all. But doesn’t this seem like a much better idea for controlling a robot than playing a gaming console?
The photo above is a bit deceiving because the unit actually has quite a bit of depth. Despite that, the cleanliness of the build is very impressive. [Alec Waters] started off with a backup monitor meant for automotive use (we’d estimate 7″). There’s a radio receiver, two analog joysticks where your thumbs line up when holding the controller, and an Arduino to pull it all together. If you haven’t figured it out already, this displays the wireless video from the robot he’s controlling. He’s also include an auxiliary port which lets you bypass the radio receiver and plug in a video feed directly.
Still convinced you need Nintendo’s consumer controller with a built-in screen. Yes, that can be hacked to work with all your projects. But seriously, this is way more fun.