Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 16:11Tinkering with Kids – Get in It for the Long Haul
Why do we educators do it? It’s fun enough tinkering around with projects on our own, so why must we bang our heads trying to involve a pack of screaming kids from the neighborhood? I’ve thought through this before, sometimes at professional lows, when the mob of scruffy little ingrates […]
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 15:00A Hexacopter with FPV
[Robert's] been hard at work becoming a hexacopter expert over the past two years, and he’s offered up a retrospective of his multi rotor build experience since he first clicked the “buy” button on Hobbyking. He’s come a long way from his first build, which used inexpensive carbon rods and 3D-printed parts for a frame, supported by scrap wood and hot glue. It met its end in his car; exposed to direct sunlight, the 3D-printed components melted.
The latest iteration—seen above on the right—is a complete redesign, with a laser-cut frame that dramatically reduced the overall weight and new “Donkey” motors off Hobbyking. It’s strong enough to lift a 1.6kg (3.5lbs) stuffed animal suspended from a rope! Most recently [Robert] has worked out streaming first-person video after fitting a camera to the hexacopter via a 3D-printed attachment and pairing the experience with Zeiss Cinemizer 3D glasses. He still has some bugs to work out, namely screws loosening from vibrations and adding a HUD to the display so he’ll know when the battery levels are low. You can see the poor teddy bear getting hanged along with some other videos, including the first-person video flight, after the break.
Filed under: toy hacks
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 13:00Routing a Four Foot Tall Tiki Sculpture
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 12:00DIY CNC Dust Collection Really Sucks!
CNC Routers are great. If you’ve ever used one you know this but you also know that they will cover the machine and everything around it with a layer of dust. It is certainly possible to use a shop vac to suck up the dust coming from the router, however, the only problem with that is the shop vac’s filter will clog with dust and lose suction, defeating the intent of your vac system.
[Mike Douglas] was ready to step up his CNC game and decided to make his own dust separator. This design is extremely simple and only uses a couple 5 gallon buckets, a few PVC fittings and pieces of wood. To keep the cost down and the style up, the accompanying ‘shop-vac’ is also made from 5 gallon bucket with a vacuum lid. The project is well documented so head over to his site and check out the build process.
A dust separator does exactly what its name implies, it separates the dust and debris from the air before entering the vacuum. The following diagram shows how it works: First, a vacuum creates low-pressure inside the dust separator. That low-pressure draws the dust-filled air into the dust separator. The inlet tube directs the incoming air tangent to the circular chamber. Large debris falls quickly down past the baffle and into the collection chamber. The dust enters and is thrown against the walls of the separator as it spins around. While the dust is traveling around the circumference of the separator, gravity pulls it down into the collection chamber. The now much-cleaner air then travels up through the outlet to the vacuum.
Now that we have a dust separator doing its job, would you want to stand beside your CNC machine holding the vacuum hose collecting the newly created dust? Probably not. Neither did [Gerg], and that is why he made a dust shoe for his ShopBot. It is made from scrap polycarbonate that was kicking around the shop. There are two main components of the design, the top part that attaches to the router and the bottom part that has the skirt. The bottom piece attaches to the top with magnets which allows the skirt to be removed quickly so that the tool bit can be changed easily. And in case you want to make your own dust shoe, [Gerg] has made the dxf files available.
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 09:00Learning Assembly with a Web Based Assembler
Very few people know assembly. [Luto] seeks to make learning assembly just a little bit easier with his “fully functional web-based assembler development environment, including a real assembler, emulator and debugger.”
These days, you can be a microcontroller expert without knowing a thing about assembly. While you don’t NEED to know assembly, it actually can help you understand quite a bit about embedded programming and how your C code actually works. Writing a small part of your code in assembly can reduce code size and speed things up quite a bit. It also can result in some very cool projects, such as using Java to program microcontrollers.
With high quality example code, it is very easy to get started learning assembly. The emulator consists of a microcontroller with 32 registers, hooked up to three LEDs, two buttons, and a potentiometer. This is way better than painfully learning assembly on real hardware. Be sure to check out the online demo! Being able to step through each line of code and clearly see the result help make assembly easier to use and understand. It would be great to see this kind of tool widely adopted in engineering programs.
Have you used assembly in any of your projects? Let us know how it went and why you choose to use assembly
Filed under: Microcontrollers
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 08:00Watson to be used in choosing cancer treatments
Earlier today, IBM announced that it would be using Watson, the system that famously wiped the floor with human Jeopardy champions, to tackle a somewhat more significant problem: choosing treatments for cancer. In the process, the company hopes to help usher in the promised era of personalized medicine.
The announcement was made at the headquarters of IBM’s partner in this effort, the New York Genome Center; its CEO, Robert Darnell called the program “not purely clinical and not purely research.” Rather than seeking to gather new data about the mutations that drive cancer, the effort will attempt to determine if Watson can parse genome data and use it to recommend treatments.
Darnell said that the project would start with 20 to 25 patients who are suffering from glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer with a poor prognosis. Currently, the median survival time after diagnosis is only 14 months; “Time, frankly, is not your friend when you have glioblastoma,” as Darnell put it. Samples from those patients (including both healthy and cancerous tissue) would be subjected to extensive DNA sequencing, including both the genome and the RNA transcribed from it. “What comes out is an absolute gusher of information,” he said.
It should theoretically be possible to analyze that data and use it to customize a treatment that targets the specific mutations present in tumor cells. But right now, doing so requires a squad of highly trained geneticists, genomics experts, and clinicians. It’s a situation that Darnell said simply can’t scale to handle the patients with glioblastoma, much less other cancers.
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 07:00How did Bill Nye become “the Science Guy?”
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 06:05Hackaday At MakeDC
Last Wednesday, our Hackaday travels took us to the Washington, DC area for a visit to NOVA Labs near Dulles and a yet-to-be opened Metro stop. Also on our itinerary was a visit to MakeDC, an informal get together for people around the nation’s capitol to show off their latest projects and builds.
The highlight of the evening was a pair of talks from [Julian] and [Taylor] on a project they did for work: a social cooler, or a locked box holding cool drinks that will only open when enough people send a text to a certain number. We’ve got [Julian]‘s talk on video, but despite our fancy new camera gear for this sorta thing, [Taylor]‘s demo of what an Electric Imp can do was lost to the digital wastes.
Aside from [Julian]‘s talk on APIs and [Taylor]‘s talk on the Electric Imp, there were a few impromptu presentations from the attendees. One of the most thorough was the duo from Shiny & Jackal Cosplay, crafters of EVA foam and LEDs. Truth be told, Hackaday doesn’t see many of these ‘softer’, cosplay and prop making builds in the tip line, and that’s a shame; the amount of skill that goes into these costumes is at least as equal as a woodsmith that can build fine furniture using only hand tools.
Perhaps a little premature, but TechShop is opening a new location in Arlington, VA at the end of the month. The GM [Addam Hall] was there scoping out the hacks and letting the attendees know there’s going to be a huge, awesome shop that’s down town in Crystal City. Close enough to public transportation, anyway, because anyone who drives in DC is certifiable.
The last item of note isn’t a build yet, but it’s shaping up to be pretty cool. It’s BRWRY – pronounced, ‘brewery’ – and will be a semi-automated beer making machine. Robots and beer, what can’t you love?
We’d like to thank [Zach], [Julian], [Taylor], and all the other guys from iStrategyLabs for putting together a nice evening of hanging out, drinking beer, eating pizza, and talking about what you’ve built. We had a great time, and we’re looking forward to the next one, as well as any other similar get together in other cities.
Filed under: Featured
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 06:00Bionic Plants Offer Superpowered Photosynthesis
While it’s widely understood that plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis, many people might not realize how inefficient this process itself actually is. Plants are not only limited in the spectrum of light they can absorb (green light is only reflected and not absorbed, giving them the color we perceive them to have), but only about 10% of the light they do absorb is actually capable of being used. Recently, a team of chemical engineers and biochemists addressed this by giving a few plants a boost. By embedding carbon nanotubes capable of absorbing sunlight and converting it into electron flow, they were able to dramatically enhance the photosynthesis rates by up to three times that of untreated plants. The researchers see possible applications ranging from solar energy harnessing to detection of airborne pollutants and more. From Scientific American:
“Plants have, for a long time, provided us with valuable products like food, biofuels, construction materials and the oxygen we breathe,” notes plant biologist turned chemical engineer Juan Pablo Giraldo, a postdoctoral fellow in the research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who did the work. “We envisioned them as new hybrid biomaterials for solar energy harnessing, self-repairing materials [and] chemical detectors of pollutants, pesticides, [and] fungal and bacterial infections.”
First, the researchers removed the chloroplasts from some spinach leaves and put it in a sugary solution. The researchers then introduced the carbon nanotubes, which embedded in the cell’s fatty walls when treated with DNA to take on a negative charge or chitosan (a derivative of the material comprising insect exoskeletons) for a positive charge. This penetration happens within seconds and doesn’t require heat, a catalyst or anything else, according to the researchers. The move also appears to be irreversible and complete. No nanotubes remained floating outside the chloroplasts in these experiments.
Even better, the trick also works on chloroplasts in living plants. Introduced carbon nanotubes found the chloroplasts in the leaves of an Arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant often used in such studies. Perhaps more important, it did not kill the leaves or the plant over a period of several weeks.
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 05:00Cyborg Neil Harbisson Can Hear Colors, Share Senses with Friends.
Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia which left him only able to see in shades of black and white. However, after inventing the “eyeborg,” Harbisson has been able to hear colors and experience the world in a new way. Initially, the device worked externally using headphones, a camera, and a small computer that he carried in a backpack. A chip translated a limited spectrum of colors into notes on a musical scale. The device has undergone many revisions since then to reduce its size and also to vastly expand the number of colors Harbisson is capable of perceiving (which now include infrared and ultraviolet!) as well as saturation. Recently, Harbisson unveiled the latest revisions to his device which allow him to hear colors directly through bone conductivity thanks to a recent surgical implantation. Harbisson also demonstrated and experienced a new addition for the first time in front of the audience that allows him to experience sensations from colors that his friends are seeing from across the globe! From Motherboard:
Unsurprisingly, it took a lot of effort to find a doctor willing to go ahead with the procedure, but he finally had the operation in Barcelona last December. He showed photographs of the surgeons drilling into his head as he sat with his chin to his chest. The antenna is embedded in the occipital bone at the back of his head, with a separate hole for audio input—essentially, a jack drilled into his skull that transmits sound into his head through bone conduction.
At the end of the antenna, a modified camera detects both hue and saturation (more vibrant colours make a louder noise), and the whole setup is controlled by a chip. In a phone call, Harbisson talked me through the surgery. They had to remove a patch of his hair permanently to reduce infection, and reduce the thickness of the skin. “Then they opened the skin and they drilled—it was just drilling different holes for the antenna and the audio entry,” he said. It took around eight weeks to heal.
For Harbisson, the new antenna understandably feels even more a part of his body than before. There’s no pressure against the back of his head, the sound quality is better, and it feels like a body part. “If you touch the camera or the antenna it’s like touching a tooth or a nail—I feel it, basically, which is weird, because I didn’t feel that before,” he said.
The technology in the latest version of the device also included a very juicy little addition: thanks to a Bluetooth connection and a custom developed app, Harbisson can now hear colours that other people are seeing.
He demonstrated this new capability—which he hadn’t tried before—by hooking up to friends in Barcelona and New York (a third connection in Melbourne appeared to have overslept). They called Harbisson through the Eyeborg app, then used their smartphone cameras to look at different coloured objects. Harbisson could then hear the hues directly in his head.
He also experimented with getting one of the students present to point their viewfinder at different objects on a table and stream what they were seeing to his antenna. Going on the sound, he could correctly identify objects like his blue travel card, multicoloured tie, and burgundy passport.
I asked Harbisson about this experience and he said it was “very special.” “When someone was pointing at the passport I was actually visualising the passport,” he said. “It was not only a sense of colour, it was actually the object for me. So this is something new to me, to visualise things that are not in front of me and share someone else’s vision.”
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 03:00Home Made Resin Based 3D Printer is Incredible
Resin based 3D printers (SLA) are the next big thing, and while they may seem daunting at first, in some ways they are actually simpler than FDM machines with less moving parts! Loosely following an Instructable, [Dan Beaven] has just finished putting together his own home-made 3D DLP Printer, and it’s bloody brilliant.
He owes a lot of thanks to [Tristram Budel] and his incredibly detailed Instructables guide on building a 3D DLP printer, but [Dan] has also added quite a bit of his own flair to the build. Most notably is his method of separating layers from the vat of resin — most designs tilt the bed slightly to counter the suction forces, but his slides the vat back and forth along the Y-axis, which seems to work extremely well.
The printer is built out of 1″ T-slot aluminum and has a NEMA 17 motor that provides the Y-axis movement along two linear rods for the vat. The Z-axis stage uses a NEMA 23 motor and has a whopping 14″ of travel. Combined with a 104mm x 204mm build plate, this thing can print some decently sized parts!
To cure the resin, he’s using a 1080p DLP projector with no modifications. To conserve space, it is mounted at a 90 degree angle, and uses a small mirror to reflect the image onto the build plate inside of the vat. To pump the resin in and out of the vat, he’s using an industrial peristaltic pump he bought off eBay — a word to the wise, it needs to be flushed with isopropyl alcohol after each use! He learned the hard way…
For more info on printing in resin, don’t forget to check out our column on 3D Printering: You Want UV Resin?
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks
Dimanche, Mars 23, 2014 - 00:00Bitbanging USB On Low Power ARMs
With the Adafruit Trinket, the Digispark, and some very clever work with the smallest microcontroller Atmel offers, it looks like the ‘in’ thing to do for embedded software developers is to bitbang the USB protocol on hardware that shouldn’t support it. There are a lot of very small ARM chips out there without USB support, so it was only a matter of time before someone was able to bitbang USB on the ARM Cortex M0+.
The board above is based on an Energy Micro EFM32ZG, a very small 24-pin QFN device with up to 32 kB of Flash and 17 GPIOs. As with all the bitbanged USB hacks, the differential data lines are attached directly to the microcontroller. A 24 MHz crystal is needed, but the team behind the project is working on using the internal RC oscillator instead.
The code is portable with minimal changes between other manufacturer’s Cortex M0+ chips, and with a little work, this could become a very, very cheap USB-programmable ARM dev board, something the community could certainly use.
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 21:00The Makerspace Workbench at the NoVa Mini Maker Faire
Last weekend, I traveled down to Northern Virginia for the NoVa Mini Maker Faire. I joined Adam Kemp, author of our book The Makerspace Workbench. His exhibit was, appropriately, called Inside the Makerspace Workbench.
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 21:00Drilling Into a Laptop: Extreme Hinge Repair
What is it with laptop companies spending millions on design and aesthetics… and then using a cheap hinge design that is almost guaranteed to break? After [Peter Zotov] spent hours trying to find a replacement online, he decided to take matters into his own hands with this slightly unorthodox hinge repair.
The problems lies in the design of the hinge mounting to the lid. First, they’re using a non-standard screw sizes, slightly larger than an M2. Second, it’s threaded into cast aluminum — and to make matters worse, it doesn’t even look like there is sufficient thread engagement! A good rule of thumb is about 2 times thread diameter for aluminum — 1-1.5 times for steel. And it’s not just ASUS doing this, we’ve seen numerous laptops of different brands where the hinge goes after a year or two — what happened to cyclic stress tests?
Anyway, [Peter] decided to drill out the existing threads to allow for larger bolts. He threw his precious laptop up onto his CNC mill (a drill press would do just fine), and popped larger holes straight through the lid. This allowed him to put three standard M2 screws in place with a nut and washer. We admit it’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s saved him from getting a new laptop just because of planned corporate obsolescence.
Filed under: laptops hacks
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 18:00Build Your Own Radio Clock Transmitter
Deep in the Colorado foothills, there are two radio transmitters that control the time on millions of clocks all across North America. It’s WWVB, the NIST time signal radio station that sends the time from several atomic clocks over the airwaves to radio controlled clocks across the continent. You might think replicating a 70 kW, multi-million dollar radio transmitter to set your own clock might be out of reach, but with a single ATtiny45, just about everything is possible.
Even though WWVB has enough power to set clocks in LA, New York, and the far reaches of Canada, even a pitifully underpowered transmitter – such as a microcontroller with a long wire attached to a pin PWMing at 60kHz – will be more than enough to overpower the official signal and set a custom time on a WWVB-controlled clock. This signal must be modulated, of course, and the most common radio controlled clocks use an extremely simple amplitude modulation that can be easily replicated by changing the duty cycle of the carrier. After that, it’s a simple matter of encoding the time signal.
The end result of this build is an extremely small one-chip device that can change the time of any remote-controlled clock. We can guess this would be useful if your radio controlled clock isn’t receiving a signal for some reason, but the fact that April 1st is just a few days away gives us a much, much better idea.
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 16:42HackTV
- Un téléviseur en panne ?
Plus où moins… En fait on m'a fait don de cette télé qui fonctionne plutôt bien malgré la piètre qualité des couleurs…
Sauf qu'en basculant sur les canaux AV1 et AV2 ou encore S-VHS, un horrible sifflement se fait entendre, qu'une source vidéo soit connectée ou non, et quelque soit le réglage du volume sonore.
Bruit parasite strident qui cesse dés qu'on remet la TV sur son tuner… Étonnant !
J'ai alors entrepris d'ouvrir l'engin et de trouver un défaut évident, mais rien de probant.
De plus, impossible d'identifier la marque et le modèle du châssis, de ce TV DUAL ETV 70440.
À force de recherches sur le circuit et sur internet, j'ai fini par comprendre qu'il s'agissait en fait d'un châssis standard de type E9.
Sur une base commune, les fabricants de TV pouvaient donc distribuer leurs produits avec plus où moins d'options, câblées ou non sur ce châssis.
Ensuite il ne restait qu'à dégoter le « Chassis TV Standard E9 Service Manual », permettant de suivre le schéma à la recherche de la panne, mais je n'ai rien trouvé, et au bout de quelques heures, j'en ai eu marre…
- Une panne à la con que j'ai donc choisi de contourner, en déconnectant simplement des enceintes l'ampli audio du chassis E9, pour le remplacer par un ampli d'enceinte de PC.
J'ai raccordé celui-ci sur les enceintes et la prise casque du TV, puis ajusté le niveau de son amplification de manière cohérente avec le réglage du volume de la prise casque à la télécommande.
Le Service Manual s'est révélé très utile pour bénéficier de la manipulation à effectuer à la télécommande pour accéder au menu « ingénieur », permettant notamment le réglage de la géométrie de l'image.
 dispo en annexe ci-dessous
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 15:32SparkFun April Fool's Prank Contest
We love a good prank. The build up, the suspense - the final moments…it’s just so much fun. Today we want to invite you to participate in the SparkFun April Fool’s Prank Contest. Watch the video for more details:
Did you watch? No? Ok, well here are the rules or those who prefer the written word:
- Send us a video of your best prank! The prank must use electronics (though not necessarily from SparkFun). Send an email with a YouTube or Vimeo link of your prank to AprilFools@sparkfun.com
- We will accept entries until 11:59 p.m. MT on March 31st, 2014.
- The next day (April Fool’s Day) we will post the top three pranks on our website - the winners will get $300 in SparkFun credit for first place, $200 in SparkFun credit for second place and $100 in SparkFun credit for third.
- You can submit an old prank project if you want, but keep in mind points will be awarded for creativity, prank effectiveness (did you get ‘em good?!) and your use of electronics.
But wait - there’s more!
Don’t have time to build a prank in the next week? No problem! Submit your idea for a great electronics based prank in the comments below. We’ll choose one winner, and after April Fool’s day passes, we’ll build your prank idea and then film it in action at SparkFun HQ. We’ll also send you a $50 SparkFun credit! We’ll accept entries for this part of the contest until 11:59 p.m. MT on March 31st, 2014 as well.
Good luck - we can’t wait to see your pranks!
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 15:00Hackerspace Tour: Xerocraft In Tucson, Arizona
While we try to get out to as many hackerspaces as possible, we can’t be everywhere. Not wanting to wait for a Hackaday compatriot to roll through their dusty town, the folks over at Xerocraft in Tucson, Arizona sent in their own video tour of their space.
We’ve seen the Xerocraft space before when [Caleb] rolled through town on his south-west tour a few years ago. Since then, a lot has changed; they have a new, larger, and cleaner space a few miles north of the old one. There’s also a huge increase in the number of tools. While the old space had all the usual metalworking tools, the new space has a much improved wood shop and more 3D printers than anyone can shake a stick at.
From the video, it looks like a great space, and from their blog it looks like they’ve got some really cool projects under their belt. If you’re a member of a hackerspace, we’re always looking for some tour videos. Be sure to send them in so you can share your space with the rest of the Hackaday readership.
Filed under: Hackerspaces
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 13:16Marty McFly H-Copter Hoverboard – it’s real
This H-copter on steroids has an “all up” weight of 20lbs when you add the “Marty” mannequin and 13.4Ah 5S lipo battery. The chassis is made of 300PSI 1/2in PVC. Each motor can handle 1200W but only takes 640W to hover. The battery acts as a counter-balance below the prop line. Flying time is respectable at over 5 minutes thanks to the 83% efficiency of the 12″ props. It is controlled by multiwii 2.3. Flying is simplified by using the magnetometer in Head Free mode (not available on KK2) The entire system was simulated with eCalc before construction. This was not the first iteration of the design. I explored bi-copter, tri-copter, and dual-copter configurations but ended up with the traditional quad for it’s simplicity and stability.
Samedi, Mars 22, 2014 - 13:00CNC At Home: Machining Aluminum with a Tormach PCNC 1100