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Micro-Robots Are Scary Awesome

Hackaday - 1 ชั่วโมง 49 minก่อน

A team of scientists at SRI international are creating real-life replicators from Star Gate SG1 — micro-robots capable of smart (and scary!) manufacturing. Thousands working in parallel will be able to achieve tasks previously unheard of, in a completely compact and integrated system.

These tiny ant-like robot systems are magnetically controlled and can use tools, move at incredible speeds, and swarm over surfaces. SRI’s vision was “to have an army of ants under your control”. It’s actually been an ongoing project since the 1990′s — but a recent undisclosed chunk of funding from DARPA has helped accelerate the project — giving it a new title of the MicroFactory for Macro Products project.

You have to see the video to believe it. Potential applications for these tiny swarm-bots include precise pick & place manufacturing, micro bio-technology, electronics manufacturing, and even rapid prototyping of high quality parts.

We get shivers just watching them slide around effortlessly on almost any surface.

[Thanks Matthew!]


Filed under: robots hacks

Japan Display unveils 10 inch, 3840 x 2160 pixel tablet dispay

Liliputing - 2 hours 52 minก่อน

Tired of tablets with plain old 1080p or lower resolution displays? There are a handful of options with higher pixel counts, including the Apple iPad‘s 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel screen and the Google Nexus 10‘s 10.1 inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel display. But soon we could see 10 inch tablets with 3840 x 2160 […]

Japan Display unveils 10 inch, 3840 x 2160 pixel tablet dispay is a post from: Liliputing

Deals of the Day (4-23-2014)

Liliputing - 4 hours 19 minก่อน

Asus may be preparing to launch a new version of the Transformer Book T100 with a slightly faster processor. But the 2013 model is still a great bargain for folks looking for a Windows tablet with long battery life and the ability to serve as a notebook thanks to the included keyboard dock. The Asus […]

Deals of the Day (4-23-2014) is a post from: Liliputing

Video: Getting Your Feet Wet with Programmable System On Chip

Hackaday - 4 hours 48 minก่อน

 

Ever since I received my PSOC 4 Pioneer kit from Cypress I have wanted to play with this little mixed-signal Programmable System-on-Chip (PSOC) developer board. I love developer boards, providing that they are priced in a way to entice me to not only open my wallet but also make time in a busy schedule. I think my kit was free after winning a swag bag from Adafruit that they themselves obtained at the Open Hardware Summit and gave away on their weekly streamcast. Ultimately it was the invitation to beta test datasheet.net which also was included in that pile of swag that led to my getting involved with Hackaday.

PSCO4 Development Board on Hackaday

What is Programmable System On Chip?

So what is a PSOC 4? A quick summary is that it’s based on an ARM Cortex reduced instruction set processor (RISC) and is somewhat capable of supporting shields based on the Arduino footprint, and it also uses a bright red PCB that I have come to associate with a Sparkfun PCB. What doesn’t show is the fact that this programmable system on chip has programmable analog function blocks in addition to programmable digital logic blocks. There is also some supporting input/output circuitry such as a multicolored LED and a capacitive touch sensor directly on the PCB.

This is an intriguing amount of programmability, so much so that Newark/Element 14 highlighted a “100 projects in 100 days” event on it.

Enter the IDE

Over the years I have had to create or install many Integrated Development Environments (IDE) that linked hardware to software. Knowing that you had to, and how to, implement an IDE was part of being an engineer. Nowadays with the Arduino type environment the user has an IDE pretty much as soon as they click on the executable which I find to be one of the best aspects of the genre. It was so quick in fact that I was able to get my teenaged son into writing his first program even before he remembered to do massive eye-rolls and make sounds of utter disdain. He did give up however, just shy of learning how to have the Arduino make sounds of disdain on his behalf.

Closeup of a Programmable System on Chip Development System

Love Your Developer Board

So here  is why I love cheap developer boards, you have standard hardware that in theory is already working, and demonstration projects are readily available to feed the IDE. Loading untested software code into a project that probably has hardware issues can present a bit of a challenge. Starting with either hardware or software that is already known to be working is a big plus as you don’t necessarily have to troubleshoot the difference between a jump out of bounds of the memory map or a blown address line, or both.

Setting up the IDE consists of downloading and installing PSoC Creator 3.0 from the Cypress website and clicking execute; I usually click “run as administrator” just because I can and it makes me feel superlative as if I have a role to play.

 

PSOC Creator 3.0 Integrated Development Environment

As mentioned above, Newark hosted a 100 Projects event and I have decided to try circuit #2 as a way of exercising all of the steps from selection and compiling to download and use. Simply put this example changes the color of the multicolor LED based on where the user touches the capacitive sensor.

Build and Run

Compiling and running the example was accomplished by a rapid-fire succession of mouse clicks, with the only pause being for the “clean and build” step. A quick click on “Debug” and the “Program” completes the process and a quick test showed the color of the LED changing based on where the capsense (capacitive sense) slider gets touched. At this point both analog and digital components have been included and configured based on a one sheet schematic.

Post-build Pinout of PSCO4 on Hackaday

So why do this? What is the significance of having analog compiled along with digital when the user can just utilize an add-on solder-less breadboard? The answerer is that you absolutely could implement the same designs using external analog components, especially since not all circuits can be realized with the PSOC architecture. However if you are into having more than one screwdriver in the box you will appreciate this version of having multiple answers to a problem. You might like the fact that you can re-implement a design by just pulling it from disc and not have to rebuild the solder-less breadboard (or keep the circuit built for two months in case you might need it, which you do 3.45 months later)

You may also appreciate the cleanliness of a design where most of the support circuitry is tucked up in the chip itself, not to mention real life issues with noise and reliability.

Or you might like it because it is kind of cool to compile analog.

In my case I think it’s kind of cool.


Filed under: ARM, Featured

Xiaomi launches a 4K TV box, and two wireless router

Liliputing - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 23:15

Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi has unveiled three new devices, and just like the company’s smartphones, two of the three are designed to be sleek-looking, high quality products offered at low prices. Those include a $20 WiFi router and a $63 TV box with support for 4K Ultra HD video playback. The third is a bit […]

Xiaomi launches a 4K TV box, and two wireless router is a post from: Liliputing

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 lineup launches May 1st for $200 and up

Liliputing - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 22:26

Samsung’s new entry-level Android tablets are coming to America, where they’ll be available starting May 1st for around $200 and up. Pre-orders will begin April 24th. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 lineup includes models with 7, 8, and 10 inch displays. While the larger models have bigger batteries, the rest of the specs are pretty […]

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 lineup launches May 1st for $200 and up is a post from: Liliputing

Samsung SM-T2558: 7 inch tablet that looks like a phone?

Liliputing - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 21:30

Samsung may be working on a new 7 inch tablet that looks almost exactly like a smartphone… albeit a smartphone with an enormous screen. Details for the Samsung SM-T2558 showed up recently at the website for China’s wireless regulatory service TENAA. At first glance the photos seem to show something that looks like a phone. But […]

Samsung SM-T2558: 7 inch tablet that looks like a phone? is a post from: Liliputing

TherMOFOrmer

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 21:00

3D printers are the tool of choice for all the hackerspaces we’ve been to, and laser cutters take a close second. There’s another class of plastic manipulating machines that doesn’t get enough credit with the hackerspace crowd – the vacuum thermoformer. Surprisingly, there haven’t been many – if any – vacuum formers on Kickstarter. Until now, that is.

[Ben] and [Calvin] are the guys behind the MOFO, and built their machine around ease of use and reliability. After a few prototypes, they settled on their design of aluminum extrusion for the frame, a ceramic heating element for the heater, and an off-the-shelf PID controller for the electronics.

The MOFO has so far been tested with polycarbonate, acrylic, PETG and styrene with good results. The Kickstarter has reward levels of $500 for a 12″x12″ work area, and $1000 for a 24″x24″ work area. That’s not too bad, and building your own similar thermoformer would probably cost just as much. Just the thing if you need to print out a few dozen sets of storm trooper armor.

 


Filed under: Crowd Funding, tool hacks

Amazon Prime to stream HBO shows… but no Game of Thrones yet

Liliputing - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 20:30

Amazon and HBO have announced a deal to let Amazon Prime subscribers stream select HBO shows including Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, and The Sopranos. But one of the most popular current HBO shows is still unavailable: You still need to be an HBO subscriber to watch Game of Thrones online (or you could buy individual […]

Amazon Prime to stream HBO shows… but no Game of Thrones yet is a post from: Liliputing

OnePlus One smartphone coming in May for $299 and up

Liliputing - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 19:22

OnePlus has been promising for months to deliver a top-tier smartphone at a mid-range price. And it looks like the company is going to deliver on that promise. The OnePlus One is scheduled to hit the streets in mid-May, and it will sell for just $299 and up. For less than the price of a […]

OnePlus One smartphone coming in May for $299 and up is a post from: Liliputing

Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: Science Nonfiction

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 18:00

Yep, we have a Sci-Fi contest on our hands, with a week to go until entries are due. There are amazing prizes for the best Sci-Fi build, but in the spirit of the Internet, a few teams have elected to put together a science nonfiction project. We won’t hold that against them, because these builds are really, really cool.

Rockin’ bogie, man

First up in the ‘real life science fiction’ category is an adorable little rocker bogie robot designed and built by a team at MADspace, the Eindhoven Hackerspace.

A rocker bogie suspension is rather unique in that it can be used to drive over obstacles twice the size of the wheels, has a zero turning radius, and is found on every rover that has ever gone to Mars. The suspension system has articulated rockers on each side of the chassis , with pivoting wheels at each of the four corners of the robot. While this type of suspension can’t go very fast, it can go just about anywhere.

The team loaded up their bot with a Raspberry Pi, a pair of webcams, 20Ah of batteries, gyro, and a web interface. The suspension works beautifully, and most of the parts are 3D printable. Very cool. There’s a pair of videos with this bot in action below.

Spider bot. Just add two more legs.

Continuing on with the science nonfiction theme of this post is a cute little hexapod walker reminiscent of designs that have been proposed to visit the moon and asteroids.

This is a rather unique hexapod, controlled entirely with 12 PWM channels on an ATMega1284. Although each leg only has two degrees of freedom (the software has support for 3 DOF, though) the movement is surprisingly smooth. It’s an inexpensive build, too, with 5 gram servos providing all the power to the legs. Video below.


Filed under: contests

Need An Idea For Your Next Kickstarter? Check Out This Kickstarter!

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 16:00

Kickstarter has become the most powerful force in kickstarting new hardware projects, video games, documentaries, and board games, and now everyone wants a piece of the action. The problem obviously isn’t product development and engineering; you can just conjure that up with a little bit of Photoshop and some good PR. The only you really need for a good Kickstarter is an idea, and META is just the tool for the job. It’s the Arduino-powered Motivational Electronic Text Adviser, the perfect device to generate the next big idea in the world of crowdfunding.

The Arduino-powered META includes three buttons and an Arduino-controlled LCD display. Press a button, and the next big hardware project to wash across the blogs faster than the announcement of a campaign for a $300 3D printer will appear on the screen.

Because META is Arduino-compatible, it’s compatible with existing Arduino sketches. This makes turning the META into the next home automated Bluetooth low energy 4.0 internet of things a snap. Because this is open hardware the laser cut enclosure can easily be upgraded to an RGB LED 3D printer robotic drone bluetooth boombox.

If Kickstarters aren’t your thing, there’s also a cloud-based META that will generate ideas in the mobile app browser cloud. Bitcoin.


Filed under: Crowd Funding

I2S Audio And SPI Display With An Ethernet Module

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 15:00

[kgsws] is working on a small project that requires some audio and a display of some sort. While this project can be easily completed with a bigish microcontroller or ARM board, he’s taking a much simpler route: the entire project is built around a cheap router module, giving this project amazing expandability for a very meager price.

The router module in question is the HLK-RM04 from Hi-Link, commonly found via the usual Chinese resellers for about $25. On board this module is a UART, Ethernet, and a WiFi adapter along with a few GPIO pins for interfacing with the outside world.

[kgsws] is using the native SPI pins on this module to control the clock and data lines for the tiny LCD, with a GPIO pin toggling the chip select. I2S audio is also implemented, decoded with an 8-bit DAC, the MCP4801.

It’s an extremely inexpensive solution for putting audio and video in a project, and since this board has Ethernet, WiFi, and a few more GPIO pins, it’s can do much more than whatever [kgsws] is planning next.


Filed under: hardware

Electromagnetic Spiderman Webshooter Railgun / Grappling Hook

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 12:00

As technology continues to advance, make-believe props and technology from movies are coming closer and closer to reality. [Patrick Priebe] has managed to put together a working Spiderman Webshooter with the help of electromagnets!

He’s built a tiny coil gun that puts out 100 Joules of energy using a 350V capacitor bank, which straps cleanly to his wrist over top of a Spiderman costume glove. It makes the classic high-pitched hum as it charges, and launches a small barbed brass arrow capable of skewering Styrofoam.

He didn’t stop there though! He’s created a handy little winch using a small high-powered brushless motor with an ESC. A weighted disk acts as a flywheel to increase the pulling power of the fishing line, and he’s built it on a pivot so when you launch it, the fishing line just slips off the end without resistance. To engage, you flip it back perpendicular to the line and turn on the motor.

This isn’t his first ridiculously cool gadget either — remember his 1kW Laser Pulse pistol?  Or how about the 1W Iron Man Repulsor beam?

[Thanks Tom!]


Filed under: laser hacks, weapons hacks

HummingBoard, The Vastly More Powerful Raspi

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 09:00

 

The Raspberry Pi has been around for a while now, and while many boards that hope to take the Pi’s place at the top of the single board ARM Linux food chain, not one has yet succeeded. Finally, there may be a true contender to the throne. It’s called the HummingBoard, and packs a surprising amount of power and connectivity into the same size and shape as the venerable Raspberry Pi.

The HummingBoard uses a Freescale i.MX6 quad core processor running at 1GHz with a Vivante GC2000 GPU. There’s 2GB of RAM, microSD card slot, mSATA connector, Gigabit Ethernet, a BCM4329 WiFi and Bluetooth module, a real-time clock, and IR receiver. There’s also all the usual Raspberry Pi flair, with a 26 pin GPIO connector, CSI camera connector, DSI LCD connector,  stereo out, as well as the usual HDMI and analog video.

The company behind the HummingBoard, SolidRun, hasn’t put a retail price on the board, nor have they set a launch date. You can, however, enter a contest to win a HummingBoard with the deadline this Friday. Winners will be announced in early May, so maybe the HummingBoard will be officially launched sometime around then.

It’s an amazing board with more than enough power to rival the extremely powerful BeagleBone Black, with the added bonus of being compatible with so many of those Raspberry Pi accessories we all love dearly.


Filed under: hardware, Raspberry Pi

Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: Doctor Who

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 06:00

What’s a Sci-Fi contest without entries from the longest running sci-fi TV show, Doctor Who?

Sonic Screwdriver Door Lock

Ah yes, the iconic Sonic Screwdriver, able to get the Doctor out of almost any jam — with style.

Started this project over a year ago, [Daniel] figured a Sci-Fi contest was a good enough excuse to get around to finishing it.

Using a Raspberry Pi and a microphone, the lock unlocks when the python script detects a sound signature that matches previously recorded Sonic Screwdriver’s hums — meaning friends with novelty Sonic Screwdrivers can join in the fun too — if he lets them.

When the correct sound sample FFT is detected, the door is unlocked using a transistor that is connected to an electronic door strike. When completed you’ll be able to show off your true Whovian nature, and impress your friends!

Head Tracking Augmented Reality Police Box

Inspired by the augmented reality TARDIS that is actually bigger on the inside, [Mike] and his wife are working on creating one that doesn’t need a smart phone to enjoy.

Instead it uses head tracking and an LCD inside the door to create the illusion of a cavernous inside! A head tracking Tardis!

A webcam tracks your head’s position, which then changes the perspective of the interior of the TARDIS on the LCD — we’re getting giddy just thinking about it!

EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!!!

While there isn’t too much information on this project, [th3c4rd] is planning on creating a Doctor Who Voice Modulator which will allow you to sound like your favorite villains with the press of a button!

Using a ring modulator for the effect, [th3c4rd] plans on making his own, since commercial ones will run you upwards of $200!

He’s still looking for a team-mate for the project so if you’re interested in helping out, get in touch!

Still haven’t entered the contest? Don’t worry — there’s still time for you to put an awesome Sci-Fi project together to win some crazy cool prizes!

 

 

 


Filed under: contests

Lilbits (4-22-2014): Use Amazon’s smartphone by tilting?

Liliputing - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 04:30

You’d think the key difference between Amazon’s upcoming (and as-yet, officially unannounced) smartphone and other Android devices would be tight integration with Amazon’s app, music, book, and video stores. And you’d probably be right for thinking that — but with hundreds of other options available for smartphone shoppers, it looks like Amazon may be trying […]

Lilbits (4-22-2014): Use Amazon’s smartphone by tilting? is a post from: Liliputing

chipKIT Project 4: Digital light meter

dangerous prototype - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 04:00

Raj of Embedded Lab has a series of chipKIT tutorials.  This 4th project of a series will show you how to build a digital light meter using the chipKIT Uno32 board and the BH1750 digital light sensor:

A light meter is used to measure the intensity of illumination in a given area. It is widely used in schools, warehouses, factories, hospitals, office buildings, museums, art-galleries, parking garages, stadiums, and many more, to measure and maintain proper lighting levels. The intensity of illumination is usually expressed in Lux or foot-candles. As the 4th project in our chipKIT tutorial series, today we are going to build a digital light meter using the chipKIT Uno32 board and the BH1750 digital light sensor. This project uses Digilent’s chipKIT Basic I/O shield for displaying the measured light intensity in Lux, foot-candles, and Watts/m^2 units.

FunBox Android game console with Tegra 4 available for $159 (unofficially)

Liliputing - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 03:00

The FunBox is a Chinese video game console with an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of RAM, and an Android-based operating system. Developed by ZTE and The9, the FunBox launched in China recently, and now it’s available internationally for $159… if you don’t mind ordering from a reseller at retail marketplace AliExpress. The box is powered […]

FunBox Android game console with Tegra 4 available for $159 (unofficially) is a post from: Liliputing

2048: Embedded Edition

Hackaday - พุธ, 04/23/2014 - 03:00

How ’bout that 2048 game? Pretty addictive, huh? Almost as addictive as embedded systems are, at least if you’re [Andrew]. Armed (pun intended) with a Nucleo F4 and a Gameduino 2 shield, he decided to have a go at making an embedded version of the popular tile pusher web game.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Nucleo boards from STMicroelectronics, check out our post on the Nucleo family from a couple of months ago. The Gameduino 2 shield ships with a 4.3″ touchscreen driven by an FT800 GPU EVE. [Andrew] wrote his own driver for it and his blog post goes into great detail about its programming model and the SPI read, write, and command functions he wrote. Full code is available from [Andrew]‘s repo.

He started by generating a blank screen based on clues found in the Gameduino 2 source. Pretty soon he had rendered a rectangle and then a full 2048 board. A minor difference between [Andrew]‘s creation and the original is that his always creates new tiles as ’2′ while the web game cranks out the occasional ’4′.

We were unable to embed [Andrew]‘s gameplay videos, but you’ll find two on his blog.

 


Filed under: ARM, handhelds hacks

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