Many of us have gone on a stationary romp through some virtual or augmented scape with one of the few headsets out in the wild today. While the experience of viewing a convincing figment of reality is an exciting sensation in itself, [Mark Lee] and [Kevin Wang] are figuring out how to tie other senses into the mix.
The duo from Cornell University have built a mechanical exoskeleton that responds to light with haptic feedback. This means the wearer can touch the sphere of light around a source as if it were a solid object. Photo resistors are mounted like antenna to the tip of each finger, which they filed down around the edges to receive a more diffused amount of light. When the wearer of the apparatus moves their hand towards a light source, the sensors trigger servo motors mounted on the back of the hand to actuate and retract a series of 3D printed tendons which arch upward and connect to the individual fingers of the wearer. This way as the resistors receive varying amounts of light, they can react independently to simulate physical contours.
One of the goals of the project was to produce a working proof of concept with no more than 100 dollars worth of materials, which [Mark] and [Kevin] achieve with some cash to spare. Their list of parts can be found on their blog along with some more details on the project.
Filed under: Virtual Reality
Imagine a camera that took encrypted pictures. If your camera is stolen, the only thing on the memory card would be random data that can only be unlocked with a key. If you hire a photographer, those images cannot be copied without the key. At the very least, it’s an interesting idea made impressive because this actually exists.
[Doug] recently got his hands on a Samsung NX300, a nice camera for the price that conveniently runs Linux and is kinda open-sourced by Samsung. With special firmware, [Doug] created public/private key encryption for this camera, giving only the person with the private key the ability to unlock the pictures taken with this camera.
[Doug] started his build by looking at the firmware for this camera, figuring out how to take everything apart and put it back together. With a few modifications that included encryption for all images taken with this camera, [Doug] repackaged the firmware and upgraded the camera.
The encryption firmware is available on the site, but considering how easily [Doug] was able to make this hack happen, and a great walkthrough of how to actually do it raises some interesting possibilities. The NX300 is a pretty nice camera that’s a little bit above the Canon PowerShot cameras supported by CHDK. It also runs Linux, so if you’re looking for something cool to do with a nice camera, [Doug] has a very good resource.
Filed under: digital cameras hacks
Earlier this year Asus introduced a tiny desktop computer with an Intel Bay Trail processor and what the company originally said would be a fanless design… until Asus decided to go ahead and put a fan in the case anyway. Now Asus has a new mini PC with a remarkably similar looking design. But this […]
Asus introduces fanless mini PC with Celeron N2807 is a post from: Liliputing
Over in Russia there are a few people doing extremely in-depth technical teardowns, and the latest is one of the most ambitious ever seen. The PSXDEV team is tearing into the heart of the original PlayStation (Google translatrix), looking at 300,000 transistors, and re-implementing the entire console in a logic level simulator.
While the CPU in the PSX is unique to that specific piece of hardware, a lot of this custom silicon can be found in other places. The core – a RISC LSI LR33300 – is documented in a few rare tomes that are somehow available for free on the Internet. Other parts of this chip are a little stranger. There is a bizarre register that isn’t documented anywhere, a Bus Unit that handles the access between various devices and peripherals, and a motion picture decompressor.
The reverse engineering process begins by de-encapsulating the CPU, GPU, sound processing unit, and CD-ROM controller, taking very high magnification photos of the dies, and slowly mapping out the semiconductors and metals to figure out what cells do what function, how they’re connected, and what the big picture is. It’s a painstaking process that requires combing through gigabytes of die shots and apparently highlight gates, wires, and busses with MS Paint.
The end result of all this squinting at a monitor is turning tracings of chips into logic elements with Logisim. From there, the function of the CPU can be understood, studied, and yes, eventually emulated down to the gate level. It’s an astonishing undertaking, really.
If this sort of thing sounds familiar, you’re right: the same team behind PSXDEV is also responsible for a similar effort focused on the Nintendo Entertainment System. There, the CPU inside the NES – the Ricoh 2A03 – was torn down, revealing the 6502 core, APU, DMA, and all the extra bits that made this a custom chip.
Thanks [Rasz] for the tip.
Filed under: playstation hacks, teardown
Microsoft is starting to roll out the Denim software update for Lumia phones that the company first unveiled in September. The new software is based on Windows 8.1, but it adds improvements to the camera and Cortana voice assistant, among other things. The Denim update is initially available for the Lumia 830, Lumia 930, Lumia 1520, […]
Microsoft releases Denim Update for select Lumia phones is a post from: Liliputing
Looking for an iPod-like portable media player that runs Android instead of iOS? Your best bet might be to buy a cheap smartphone and use it without a SIM card. One of the best options might be a Motorola Moto G which offers decent specs for a device that sells for less than $200… and right […]
You might notice that many of my writings start with “Back in the day”. Not wanting to disappoint I will say that back in the day we used to use wire wrap technology when we needed a somewhat solid, somewhat reliably assembly. Given a readable schematic a good tech could return a working or near-working unit in a day or two depending on the completeness and accuracy of the schematic.
Properly done a wire wrap assembly is capable of fairly high speed and acceptable noise when the alternative option of creating a custom PCB would take too long or not allow enough experimentation. Wire wrap is also used in several types of production, from telco to NASA, but I am all about the engineer’s point of view on this.
My first wire wrap tool and wire wrap wire came from Radio Shack in the mid 1970’s. I still have the wire, because frankly its kind of cheap wire and I use it when it’s the only thing I can reach quickly when I need to make a jumper on a PCB. The tool is still around also, given the fact that I can’t find it at the moment the one shown here is my new wire wrap tool which is good for low quantity wrapping, unwrapping and stripping.
The skinny little wrap tool is okay for hobbyist as the wraps are fine with a little practice. But I do recommend investing in high-quality wire. A common wire available is Kynar® coated, a fluorinated vinyl that performs well as an insulator.
Before I go too much further, here’s the video walkthrough of wire wrap, its uses, and several demonstration. But make sure you also join me after the break where I cover the rest of the information you need to start on the road to wire wrap master.
Another important You will also hear me harp on good power and ground layout; “stubs or lengths of power supply wire that terminate in dead ends should be kept to a minimum and the power and ground wires are routed in close proximity to each other. Inductively coupling the supply and return together reduces impedance, hence noise. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that but that’s for another video.
A good wrap has 3-4 turns of the exposed wire on the square post and a turn of insulated wire which improves resistance to vibration and vibration based failure. The drawing here is from the NASA standards part of their website showing an acceptable wrap.
Wire wrap sockets are still available and I keep wire wrap SIP terminal strips as a custom socket footprint can be created as needed.
For more complex wire wrap components such as connectors you might have to find other sources such as electronic junk-yards. Hackaday’s [Brian Benchoff] was able to get a 64 pin “Hershey Bar” wire wrap socket from Apex Electronics in Sun Valley CA with an assist from [Todd Black].Wrap-ID Labels for Wire Wrap
Little slip on tags are available to help keep track of “reversed” pin numbering as seen from the bottom of the board.
Wrapping a wire on a post is accomplished by first stripping back the insulation on the wire wrap wire to 1″. The bare wire is then inserted into the hole on the wire wrap tool end (that is not in the center), and then the wire is pushed in until it is stopped by the tool. Next the tool and wire is placed over the specific square post being sure that the post goes into the hole in the center of the tool. For a manual router the tool is rotated with slight downward force to keep the wire wrap tight until the wire is completely wrapped, between 5-6 turns.
With the hand operated or power tool the same procedure is performed with inserting wire into the tool, then placing tool and wire onto the post, and finally the tool wraps the number of turns it is set up for.
There are different techniques for organizing the wires on a wire wrap board; sometimes the wires are routed together down channels and sometimes the individual wires connect straight across the board in as little length as possible. Both techniques have pros and cons as crosstalk and impedance are affected by wire placement.
Discrete components can be soldered to headers that then insert into standard wire wrap sockets as shown above with the 3.3K resistors.
And finally a technician named [Jeff] in the old MOS/Commodore R&D lab showed me how his boards never seemed to have much slack in them. He would take one of the skinny wire wrap tools and get on a socket pin/tail, then rotate the pin itself taking up the slack. While this looks better what he didn’t really address was the fact he was making a more pronounced inductor at the end of some wires. The answer to this technique as well as the channel routing technique (the techs would actually lace up the little bundles some times) was that my boards were to be “jungle routed”, I.E. more or less straight connections between pins, and slack was to be dealt with by adding some convolutions in the wire between the two pins by looping over other pins, similar to what you see on a high speed PCB where a trace will take a few extra turns to control the length/propagation time.
I should tell you that [Jeff] threw away my coffee cup one day because of what I had growing in it. From that day until I left Commodore I would make at least one trip a day to the R&D lab to throw his coffee cup away.
[Wire wrap diagram is from the nasa.gov website on Discrete Wiring]
Filed under: Featured
Chinese computer maker Giada has offers a line of tiny desktop computers in a variety of shapes and configurations. One of the company’s newest models is a slim, low-power computer called the Giada F110D. Notebook Italia reports it will be available with a 4.5W Intel Celeron N2807 or a 10W J1900 Bay Trail processor and both […]
Giada F110D is a small, fanless Bay Trail computer is a post from: Liliputing
LG started shipping smart TVs with webOS software this year, bringing a relatively easy-to-use way to stream content from the internet to a television. Now LG has announced that webOS 2.0 for smart TVs is coming next year. The company plans to begin showing off its latest smart TV software at the Consumer Electronics Show […]
Summoning 4chans, 9gags, Reddits and other denizens of easily-digested content, Liberty Games stripped apart a dilapidated “Baby Doll” pinball arcade machine and turned it into this meme-spouting monstrosity. A complete redo of the vinyl and graphics to sport dozens of familiar internet tropes was first, then they had Shapeways create internal scenery and finally some electronics were added to spice things up.
We have seen PINMAME-based digital machines but this took a different path. Pinball machines this old pre-date common transistors so they rely on electro-mechanicals for everything. This made hacking the machine challenging so the team intercepted most of the signals and tied them into a Raspberry Pi with a Pi-face interface board. A videoscreen was added to the scoreboard, triggering all manner of memey videos and sounds according to actions performed and unlocked on the screen.
If you yearn for expired pranks of years gone by and are bad at pinball, you are in luck. Losing the game gets you Rickrolled – over and over again. On the plus side, Nyan Cat rockets away to bonuses and even the Admiral himself warns you of impending danger.
We resisted the urge to write this article as a chain of one meme to the next, you will get plenty of that from the well-documented project conversion and the following video. Someone in the comments will probably make a list of all memes.http://www.libertygames.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/internet-meme-pinball.mp4
Filed under: classic hacks, Raspberry Pi
Want to get your Amazon delivery quickly? You can pay for same-day or 1-day delivery on many items. In less of a rush? There’s free 2-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. But what if you’re in more of a rush? Now you can choose 1-hour delivery… if you happen to be a Prime Member living in […]
Amazon Prime Now: 1-hour delivery (in New York City) is a post from: Liliputing
Indian smartphone maker Micromax has launched a new brand called Yu which aims to deliver high quality smartphones and entry-level prices thanks in part to a partnership with software maker Cyanogen. The first member of the Yu family is now available in India. The Yureka is a phone with a 5.5 inch screen, a quad-core […]
When [Ch00f] was getting jeans rung up at Nordstroms, he noticed how fast thermal receipt printers can put an image on a piece of paper. This observation isn’t unique to the circles [Ch00f] frequents – there are a few small receipt paper printers out there that connect to the Internet, iPhones, and a whole bunch of other Kickstarter-friendly keyword devices.
Nevertheless, a device that can make a hard copy of an image quickly and cheaply isn’t something you just stop thinking about. After rolling the concept around in his head for a few years, [Ch00f] finally came up with the perfect build – a camera.
The hardware for the build is based around an STM32F4 Discovery board. It’s a bit overpowered for this sort of application, and this is one of [Ch00f]’s first adventures in ARM-land. The rest of the hardware consists of a thermal receipt printer and a JPEG camera, the latter of which replaced a cellphone CMOS camera module that was lost in a move.
A custom camera requires a custom enclosure, and for this [Ch00f] made something remarkable. The entire enclosure is CNC milled out of a beautiful piece of figured walnut. The end result looks far too good for a prototype, but it does polish up nicely with a bit of linseed oil.
Now [Ch00f] has an instant camera that takes the idea of a Polaroid and turns it into something that produces a print for tenths of a cent. There’s a time-lapse function – just a zip tie on the shutter button – filters with the help of highlighters, and the ability to record movies in flipbook format.
It’s a great project, and also something that will make for a great crowdfunding campaign. [Ch00f] has already started work on this. He already has a sleek, modern-looking website that requires far too much scrolling than should be necessary – the first step to a winning Kickstarter. [Ch00f] also learned a lot about ARMs, DMA, dithering, gamma correction, and the JPEG format, but that’s not going to get anyone to open up their wallet. You know what will? A slick video. You’ll find that below.
Filed under: ARM, digital cameras hacks
Several years ago [dan] saw some plastic frame bikes designed by MIT students. Ever since he saw those bikes he thought it would be cool to make an edge-lit plastic framed bike.
The frame is made from 1/8″ and 3/8″ thick polycarbonate sheet. The parts were designed with tongue and grooves so they fit together nicely. The joints were glued to hold everything together. Holes were drilled in the edge of the plastic large enough to fit an LED. Once the LED was inserted in the hole, it was wired up and secured with hot glue. There are about 200 LEDs on the bike, powered by a constant current LED driver circuit that [dan] designed specifically for this project.
The build process was certainly not flawless. For example, the plastic holding the bottom bracket (where the crank and pedals attach) broke. This can be avoided by increasing the amount of material in that area prior to cutting out the pieces. [dan] was able to fiberglass his broken parts back together.
[dan] admits that the bike is heavy and a little wobbly, but is definitely ride-able. He did us a favor and made all his CAD files available to anyone that wants to make one themselves. If polycarbonate is too expensive for your blood, check out this bike make from cardboard.
Filed under: transportation hacks
[psgarcha]’s modem/router comes straight from his internet provider, is on 24/7, and is built with the cheapest components imaginable. Eventually, this will be a problem and for [psgarcha], this problem manifested itself sooner than expected. Fortunately, there was a soldering iron handy.
The problems began with a boot loop – starting the router up, watching the blinking LEDs, and watching these lights follow the same pattern forever. Initially thinking this would be a problem with the firmware, [psgarcha] did the only thing he could do – take it apart. Inside, he found some bulging capacitors. Unsheathing his iron and replacing the obviously faulty components, [psgarcha] plugged the router in and had everything work. Great. Until those caps failed again a few months later.
There was obviously something wrong with the circuit, or wrong with the environment. Figuring it was hot out anyway, [psgarcha] replaced those caps again and added a fan and a small heatsink to the largest chip on the board. This should solve any overheating problems, but the real testing must be done in summer (or putting the router in a well-insulated enclosure). It’s an easy fix, a good reminder of exactly how often caps fail, and a great example of reducing the electronic cruft building up in landfills.
Filed under: repair hacks
Two Cornell students have designed their own multi-factor authentication system. This system uses a PIN combined with a form of voice recognition to authenticate a user. Their system is not as simple as speaking a passphrase, though. Instead, you have to sing the correct tones into the lock.
The system runs on an ATMEL MEGA1284P. The chip is not sophisticated enough to be able to easily identify actual human speech. The team decided to focus their effort on detecting pitch instead. The result is a lock that requires you to sing the perfect sequence of pitches. We would be worried about an attacker eavesdropping and attempting to sing the key themselves, but the team has a few mechanisms in place to protect against this attack. First, the system also requires a valid PIN. An attacker can’t deduce your PIN simply by listening from around the corner. Second, the system also maintains the user’s specific voice signature.
The project page delves much more deeply into the mathematical theory behind how the system works. It’s worth a read if you are a math or audio geek. Check out the video below for a demonstration.
Filed under: security hacks
There’s just something about the holidays and man’s best friend that brings out the best in people. [Tara Anderson], Director of CJP Product Management at 3D Systems, fostered a husky mix named Derby. Derby was born with a congenital defect: his forelegs were underdeveloped with no paws. This precluded the poor fellow from running around and doing all of the things dogs love to do. [Tara] had fitted him with a wheel cart, but she still felt that Derby deserved more mobility and freedom. Deciding that 3D-printed prosthetics was the answer, she turned to her colleagues and collaborated with Derrick Campana, a certified Animal Orthotist, to create a new set of forelegs for Derby.
The design is different from typical leg prosthetics; Tara felt that the typical “running man” design would not work for a dog, since they’d just sink right into the ground. Instead, the “loop” design was used, allowing for more playful canine antics. They were constructed using MultiJet Printing on the 3DS’ ProJet 5500X. MultiJet Printing enabled the prosthetics to be printed with firm and soft parts, both needed for comfort and durability.
The first set they designed is lower, to help ease the dog into using the prosthetics and strengthening his muscles. As he grows more accustomed to his newfound mobility, newer ones will be printed that will gradually increase in height. Derby has taken a shine to his new legs, happily gallivanting around and in some cases outrunning his new owners!
This is a very neat variation on prosthetics; we are impressed with the novel design and efficacy. We would love to see this MultiJet concept explored in the Maker community with open-source platforms and materials, as well as more unconventional designs made possible by 3D-printing. We never get tired of seeing the many ways people have already created amazing prosthetics for men, women, and children. No matter your personal opinion on 3D Systems, you can’t deny that Derby is having a blast with his awesome gams.
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks
Amazon is rolling out a major software update for its first smartphone, bringing new features and improvements to the camera, SMS, Kindle, and other apps. The company says the update also kills hundreds of bugs and improves battery life. The Fire Phone hasn’t exactly been a hot seller, and it could take more than a […]
What do you get when you have a computer-controlled laser pointer and a big sheet of glow in the dark material? Something very cool, apparently. [Riley] put together a great build that goes far beyond a simple laser diode and servo build. He’s using stepper motors and a proper motion control software for this one.
The theory behind the device is simple – point a laser at some glow in the dark surface – but [Riley] is doing this project right. Instead of jittery servos, the X and Y axes of the laser pointer are stepper motors. These are controlled by an Arduino Due and TinyG motion control software. This isn’t [Riley]’s first rodeo with TinyG; we saw him at Maker Faire NYC with a pendulum demonstration that was absolutely phenomenal.
Right now, [Riley] is taking SVG images, converting them to Gcode, and putting them up on some glow in the dark vinyl. Since the Hackaday Skull ‘n Wrenches is available in SVG format, that was an easy call to make on what to display in weird phosphorescent green. You can see a video of that along with a few others below.
Filed under: laser hacks
Google has released an update to its Text-to-speech app for Android, and it removes the “high quality” voices the company introduced earlier this year. Don’t worry though… they’re only gone because Google says its standard voices now sound better than the high quality voices they replace (although some users disagree). They also take up a […]
Android Text To Speech update improves voice quality is a post from: Liliputing