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Logic Gates Under (Air) Pressure

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 21:00

We’ve always been fascinated at the number of ways logic gates can spring into being. Sure, we think of logic gates carrying electrons, but there are so many other mechanical means to do the same thing. Another method that sometimes has a practical use is fluidic or pneumatic logic. We guess [dAcid] has a similar interest since he’s written two posts on how to construct the gates. One post covers making them with ordinary tools. The other requires an SLA printer.

According to [dAcid], the design is effectively the same either way, but the SLA printing is more precise. Silicone is an important component, either way. Fluidic logic has applications in some mechanical systems, although digital logic has made it less important than it once was. However, it is very possible that nanotechnology systems will implement logic mechanically, so this is still an interesting technique to understand. You can see videos of how a D latch looks using both methods, below.

The idea is simple. A fluid — keeping in mind that air can be a fluid — is sent into a tube that splits into a “Y” or “T” shape (see figure, below). Small control tubes that are perpendicular to the main flow can force the flow down one leg of the Y or the other. In the case of the figure, O1 and O2 are the branches of the “T” with C1 and C2 allowing control of the direction of flow. There are other variations, including using a vacuum and a pressure on one port to move the main flow and the implementation of basic building blocks.

You might wonder how you can make logic gates out of this until you realize it is nothing more than a demultiplexer. Some FPGAs use multiplexers to implement logic in a regular way, and the idea is the same here. Incidentally, you can view a relay as a mux, as well, and do the same techniques.

In fact, it is surprising just how many ways there are to make logic gates if you try. We are often amused to think that if the Egyptians had used the Nile for pneumatic pressure, they probably had the brick-making technology that the pyramids could have been the first data centers. You can only wonder what they would have computed if they had thought about it.

You can make purely mechanical gates, too. If you have a laser cutter, you are all set.


Filed under: news

Project Kino: Robotic Jewelry And Tech Accessory

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 18:00

Researchers from MIT and Stanford are taking the ‘person’ in ‘personal assistant’ to mean something more literal with these robots that scurry around on the user’s clothing.

Project Kino — inspired by living jewelry — are robotic accessories that use magnetic gripping wheels on both sides of the clothing to move about. For now they fill a mostly aesthetic function, creating kinetic accents to one’s attire, but one day they might be able to provide more interactive functionality. They could act as a phone’s mic, adjust clothing to suit the weather, function as high-visibility wear for cyclists or joggers, as haptic feedback sensors for all manner of applications (haptic sonar bodysuit, anyone?), assemble into large displays, and even function as a third — or more! — hand are just the tip of the iceberg for these ‘bots.

Size and the 45 minute battery life are limiting factors at present — both addressable down the line — but a wireless charging station on the user’s person that the robots can top up at is an intermediate solution. In addition, the complex 3D mapping of the user’s person is a bit too much for the Rovables’ microprocessors, so they are only partially autonomous and limited in their movement for now. Still, a personal swarm of these assistant-accessories sounds like some seriously cool near-future tech.

[Thanks for the tip, Itay!]


Filed under: robots hacks, wearable hacks

Fresh-Pressed Clothes Courtesy of TEO, the Iron Man

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 15:00

As with many tasks, robots may soon be ironing our clothes for us before we leave for work. Built by a team from the University Carlos III de Madrid’s robotics lab in Getafe, Spain, TEO is a highly articulated robot, that can climb stairs, open doors, and has recently added ironing to its skill set.

Data from a depth-sensing camera in TEO’s head is combed over by an algorithm, breaking it down into thousands of points — 0 being smooth and 1 a defined line in the clothing. Comparing those point values to those of its neighbours allows TEO to identify wrinkles without any preexisting notion of what a freshly-pressed garment looks like.

Once the offending wrinkles have been identified, the information is passed to TEO’s other processes and get the job done. It doesn’t yet know how to differentiate between a wrinkle and other features like a zipper, and it takes a while to complete it’s chore — both of which can be a hazard when ironing — but that’s only a matter of time.

Folding said laundry however, is a bit further away, so it may be easier to enlist the help of the internet of things to help with the chore in the meantime.

[Thanks for the tip, Itay!]


Filed under: home hacks, robots hacks

It’s an Angle Grinder! No, it’s a Floor Sander!

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 12:00

Faced with the potentially arduous task of sanding a wood floor, what would you do? Hire a pro? Rent the proper tools and do it yourself? Perhaps even shell out big bucks to buy professional grade tools? Or would you root around in your junk pile and slap together a quick and dirty floor sander from an old angle grinder?

That’s what [Donn DIY] did when looking at the wide expanse of fresh floorboards in his new sauna. Never one to take the easy way out, and apparently with a thing for angled gear boxes, [Donn DIY] took the guts out of a burnt-out angle grinder for his impromptu floor sander. A drill attached to the old motor rotor provides the spin, and a couple of pieces of scrap wood make the platen. Sandpaper strips are clamped between the discs, and as seen in the video below, the whole contraption does an admirable job.

We’ve seen lots of angle grinder hacks before, some useful, some silly. This one gets the job done and is a nice quick hack that speaks to the value of a well-stocked junk pile.


Filed under: tool hacks

PiCorder: Raspberry Pi Stands in for Stone Knives and Bearskins

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 09:00

In a classic episode of Star Trek, Spock attempts to get data from a tricorder while stuck in the 1930s using what he described as “stone knives and bearskins.” In reality, he used vacuum tubes, several large coils, and a Jacob’s ladder. Too bad they weren’t in the year 2017. Then Spock could have done like [Directive0] and used a Raspberry Pi instead. You can see the result in the video below.

The build starts with a Diamond Select Toys model tricorder. The Raspberry Pi, a battery, a TFT screen, and a Pi Sense Hat make up the bulk of the build.

Truthfully, this is one of those projects that isn’t rocket science (or perhaps warp core engineering) electronically. It is just stringing together some off-the-shelf modules with Python code. But the refitting of the toy tricorder is where the real story is and the video shows details of how it all goes together.

We have seen quite a few duplicates of the next generation tricorder. We’ve also seen devices that claim to be tricorders even though they don’t always look like any we’ve ever seen. We live in a world where hoverboards don’t hover and AI assistants aren’t really that smart. So I guess we can overlook that none of these tricorders can really do half of what the ones on Star Trek could do.


Filed under: Raspberry Pi, toy hacks

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

dangerous prototype - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 06:22

Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes to two random commenters. The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder . More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • We’ll contact you via Facebook with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month, please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

PRECIsion Power SUpply project

dangerous prototype - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 06:20

PreciPSU, a high performance power supply project from Mare & Gal Electronics:

PreciPSU is an attempt to build high performance power supply. The idea started few years ago but it was never realised. Some major target performance specs are as follows:

  • three isolated channels
  • around 50W per channel
  • 24V/3A output per channel
  • lowest possible ripple at fastest response
  • small size
  • programmable via USB
  • nice housing with minimalist user interface (2 plugs per channel, knob, button and small display

Read the full post here.

Apple’s Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) Firmware Decrypted

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 06:01

The decryption key for Apple’s Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) firmware Posted Online by self-described “ARM64 pornstar” [xerub]. SEP is the security co-processor introduced with the iPhone 5s which is when touch ID was introduced. It’s a black box that we’re not supposed to know anything about but [xerub] has now pulled back the curtain on that.

The secure enclave handles the processing of fingerprint data from the touch ID sensor and determines if it is a match or not while it also enables access for purchases for the user. The SEP is a gatekeeper which prevents the main processor from accessing sensitive data. The processor sends data which can only be read by the SEP which is authenticated by a session key generated from the devices shared key. It also runs on its own OS [SEPOS] which has a kernel, services drivers and apps. The SEP performs secure services for the rest of the SOC and much more which you can learn about from the Demystifying the Secure Enclave Processor talk at Blackhat

[xerub] published the decryption keys here. To decrypt the firmware you can use img4lib and xerub’s SEP firmware split tool to process. These tools make it a piece of cake for security researchers to comb through the firmware looking for vulnerabilities.


Filed under: iphone hacks, security hacks

Asus VivoBook Pro 15 now available for $1299 (powerful, thin, and relatively light 15.6 inch laptop)

Liliputing - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 04:23

The Asus VivoBook Pro 15 N580VD is a high-power laptop with discrete graphics, a quad-core Kaby Lake processor, plenty of RAM, and a big solid state drive. First unveiled at Computex in May, the VivoBook Pro 15 is now available for $1299. While its 15.6 inch display makes it a bit larger than most of […]

Asus VivoBook Pro 15 now available for $1299 (powerful, thin, and relatively light 15.6 inch laptop) is a post from: Liliputing

Live Stream to YouTube by Pointing a Box and Pressing a Button

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 03:01

YouTube has the ability to do live streaming, but [Tinkernut] felt that the process could be much more straightforward. From this desire to streamline was born the Raspberry Pi based YouTube live streaming camera. It consists of a Raspberry Pi with some supporting hardware and it has one job: to make live streaming as simple as pointing a box and pressing a button. The hardware is mostly off-the-shelf, and once all the configuration is done the unit provides a simple touchscreen based interface to preview, broadcast live, and shut down. The only thing missing is a 3D printed enclosure, which [Tinkernut] says is in the works.

Getting all the software configured and working was surprisingly complex. Theoretically only a handful of software packages and functionality are needed, but there were all manner of gotchas and tweaks required to get everything to play nice and work correctly. Happily, [Tinkernut] has documented the entire process so others can benefit. The only thing the Pi is missing is a DIY onboard LED lighting and flash module.


Filed under: digital cameras hacks, how-to, Raspberry Pi

Some more Coffee Lake laptop leaks (Acer, Asus, and HP)

Liliputing - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 02:59

We already know Acer and HP have laptops with Intel Coffee Lake chips on the way. But in addition to the upcoming HP Envy 13 and Acer Swift 3 with Coffee Lake, it looks like we can expect a new 14 inch Coffee Lake laptop from Asus (which also features NVIDIA graphics) and at least […]

Some more Coffee Lake laptop leaks (Acer, Asus, and HP) is a post from: Liliputing

Deals of the Day (8-18-2017)

Liliputing - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 02:04

Like story-driven adventure games and have an iOS or Android device? Then TellTale Games has got the sale for you. The developer of popular game series including The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Wolf Among Us, and Minecraft Story Mode is running a promotion that lets you pick up the first episode of many […]

Deals of the Day (8-18-2017) is a post from: Liliputing

Hackaday Prize Entry: Archelon ROV Explores the Ocean

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 01:30

Acendtech Robotics is a 4H robotics club located in Freehold, NJ, and their centerpiece project is the Archelon, an underwater drone they built out of PVC pipes. It’s also a Hackaday Prize entry designed to monitor marine traffic, the seabed, piers, jetties, and other underwater constructions.

The Archelon uses eight thrusters constructed out of bilge pumps that have been hacked to add a propeller, leaving the motor sealed safely inside.

The ROV’s motors are controlled by an Arduino Mega along with two motor driver boards, each board driving two pairs of DC motors. There’s also a robot claw rotated by another modified bilge pump, opened and closed by a waterproof servo. The on-board electronics including a Teensy 3.2 are sealed inside a 1/2″ acrylic tube sealed with rubber o-rings and custom-milled stainless steel endcaps. Connected to the Teensy are the ROV’s cameras as well as an ATTiny88, which in turn control the motors.

Students working with the Archelon learn not only the technical aspects of building a ROV like assembly and programming, but also its mission, learning how to take test samples of agar to study pollutants in the maritime environment.

The HackadayPrize2017 is Sponsored by:
Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

HP Envy 13 notebook with Coffee Lake chips leaked (by HP)

Liliputing - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 00:47

With Intel set to unveil its 8th-gen Core processor lineup in a few days and the IFA technology trade show coming up at the end of the month, you can probably expect to see PC makers announce a whole bunch of new and updated laptop and desktop computers in the coming days. Case in point: […]

HP Envy 13 notebook with Coffee Lake chips leaked (by HP) is a post from: Liliputing

Retrotechtacular: Olivetti Net3

Hackaday - เสาร์, 08/19/2017 - 00:01

If you sign up for a European hacker camp such as CCC Camp in Germany or SHA Camp in the Netherlands, you’ll see among the items recommended to take with you, a DECT handset. DECT, or Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, refers to the set of standards that lie behind the digital cordless telephones that are ubiquitous across Europe and some countries elsewhere in the world. These standards cover more than just the simple two-way telephone calls through a base station that most Europeans use them for though, they define a fully functional multi-cell 3G phone and data networking system. This means that an event like SHA Camp can run its own digital phone network without having to implement cell towers.

Olivetti promotional Net3 image

Reading the history of DECT, there is the interesting snippet that the first DECT product on the market in 1993 was not a telephone but a networking device, and incidentally the first wireless LAN product on the European market. Olivetti’s Net3 provided 512kB/s wireless networking to a base station with Ethernet or Token Ring interfaces for connection to a LAN. In its original form it was an internal card for a desktop PC coupled to a bulky external box containing radio circuitry and antenna, but its later incarnations included a PCMCIA card with a much smaller antenna box. The half-megabit speed seems tiny by today’s standards, but in the pre-multimedia world of 1993 would have been perfectly adequate for a Novell Netware fileserver and an HP Laserjet 4.

[Heinz Wolff] swallows a condom in another Olivetti promotional image. Mystery Technology

So DECT is an interesting technology that can do more than just a simple cordless phone, and its first product was unexpectedly somewhat groundbreaking. It then becomes even more interesting to find that Net3 has left very little evidence of itself to find that can be found on the Web, and learning more about it requires a little detective work.

The Wikipedia entry has the bare bones, but it speaks volumes about the obscure nature of the product that the encyclopedia’s only picture of it is a tiny thumbnail-sized promotional image of the PCMCIA variant in a chunky mid-1990s laptop. A further search reveals a 1993 British Olivetti staff newsletter (PDF) carrying another promotional image of the desktop Net3 device featuring the then-well-known TV personality and academic [Heinz Wolff] demonstrating the technology bizarrely by swallowing a DECT medical instrumentation transponder wrapped in a condom. Some press releases remain in the fossilized remnants of the 1990s internet, and a Net3 design team member’s LinkedIn page led us to the patent covering the system, but that’s pretty much it. We can’t even find a high enough resolution image of a Net3 card for our featured image slot.

Wireless Things Before Their Time

It’s obvious that Net3 and DECT networking as a high-end wireless LAN before a need for wireless LANs existed never made it, but what is perhaps more interesting is that it seems to have left no legacy for other more mundane applications. We are in the midst of an explosion of hype around the Internet of Things and it seems new short-range wireless networking technologies appear almost daily, yet the world seems to have overlooked this robust, low power, and mature wireless network with its own dedicated frequency allocation that many of us already have in our homes. It seems particularly surprising that among the many DECT base stations on sale at your local consumer electronics store there are none with an Internet connection, and there is no market for IoT devices that use DECT as their backhaul.

In the open-source community there has been some work on DECT. The OsmocomDECT project for example provides a DECT software stack, and deDECTed.org states an aim to “better understand DECT and its security and to create an Open Source implementation of the DECT standard”. But there seems to have been very little hardware work in our community on the standard, for example there are no DECT-specific projects on Hackaday.io.

Net3 then was a product before its time, a herald of what was to come, from that twilight period when the Web was definitely a thing but had yet to become the world’s universal information repository. Public wireless networking was still several years in the future, so there was no imperative for road warriors to equip themselves with a Net3 card or for computer manufacturers — not even Olivetti themselves! — to incorporate the technology. It thus didn’t take the world by storm, and unusually for such a ground-breaking computer product there remains little legacy for it beyond a rarely-used feature of the protocol Europeans use for their cordless phones.

Did you have a Net3 card? Do you still have one? Let us know in the comments.


Filed under: History, phone hacks, Retrotechtacular

Intel Coffee Lake laptop details leak (4-cores, 15 watts, big performance gains)

Liliputing - ศุกร์, 08/18/2017 - 23:12

Intel is set to officially launch its 8th-gen Core processor family on Monday, August 21st. But details about the new chips, code-named Coffee Lake, have been leaking for months. While many of the details we’ve seen so far have been about the company’s new desktop-class processors, now we have some new details about some of […]

Intel Coffee Lake laptop details leak (4-cores, 15 watts, big performance gains) is a post from: Liliputing

Google schedules Android O “reveal” for August 21st

Liliputing - ศุกร์, 08/18/2017 - 22:39

As the moon blocks out the sun on Monday, August 21st, Google plans to shed some light on the next version of its smartphone operating system. As expected, the company has scheduled an event to coincide with the solar eclipse. In fact, Google says its “Android O Reveal” livestream will start at 2:40 PM Eastern, […]

Google schedules Android O “reveal” for August 21st is a post from: Liliputing

Latskap Semi-Automatic Liquor Cabinet

Hackaday - ศุกร์, 08/18/2017 - 22:30

A well-stocked liquor cabinet is a necessity for the classy gentleman or gentlelady who likes to entertain. Having the proper spirits and mixers on hand to make anything from a martini to a sidecar is always a solid way to ensure guests have a good time at your cocktail party. In the past, a beautifully crafted cherry or walnut liquor cabinet was enough to impress visitors with your affluence. These days, if you don’t want to look like a pauper, you have to take it a step further.

[Elias Bakken] and his uncle [Mike Moulton] have decided to take liquor cabinets into the 21st century with a semi-automatic liquor cabinet called Latskap. The project is still in progress, and in the prototyping stage, but their build log on Hackaday.io is showing a lot of potential. It shouldn’t be long before they have a fully functional prototype finished.

Latskap has a few primary functions: the first is that it automatically opens when someone approaches it. Then the thirsty guest can use the touchscreen to choose the drink they’d like from the menu. The bottles inside the cabinet are resting on NeoPixels, and the system lights up the liquor and mixer bottles needed for that drink. Finally, a scale at the front of the cabinet weighs the glass as ingredients are poured, and tells the parched patron when they’ve poured the correct amount for their drink.

We’ve seen liquor dispensers in the past that are designed to mix a cocktail all on their own, but the Latskap takes an interesting new approach. The main benefit of this design is that the number of bottles is limited only by how much room is available. There are no complex pumping systems necessary. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing the finished product!


Filed under: Beer Hacks

Lasering Axonometric Fonts

Hackaday - ศุกร์, 08/18/2017 - 21:01

I am something of an Inkscape fan. If you’re not familiar with the application, it’s like an Open Source version of Adobe Illustrator. Back when I was a production artist I’d been an Illustrator master ninja but it’s been four years and my skills are rusty. Plus, Inkscape is just enough different in terms of menus and capabilities that I had a hard time adapting.

So I created some wooden lettering with the help of Inkscape and a laser cutter, and I’m going to show you how I did it. If you’re interested in following along with this project, you can find it on Hackaday.io.

While playing around with Inkscape, I noticed you can create a variety of grids, including axonometric grids. This term refers to the horizon lines in an orthographic projection. In other words, it helps make things look 3D by providing perspective lines.

Font Play

While a production artist I’d been really into fonts. Especially making my own. I’ve been making typefaces for years, including some unforgivably ’90s grudge fonts that thankfully never made it into the world. Fonts are mostly just vector sets dropped into a database with tracking and kerning data embedded alongside.

I’ve been watching videos of Jimmy Di Resta cutting channel lettering on a bandsaw — he does a million sign projects — so, when I saw that axonometric grid, I got the idea of making a 3D-looking set of letters that could be cut out on a laser cutter and made into a sign. Maybe try 1/8″ plywood, with the different facets being painted different colors to reinforce the perspective.

To begin with, however, I had to create the letters. I wanted to start with an easy project and just use blocky shapes to form the various parts of each letter, rather than create sexy bezier curves. I started drawing different kinds of letters before settling on a tall, slender, blockish shape. I didn’t do the entire alphabet, just enough letters to get a feel for it.

The Third Dimension Illusion

The next step was to create the perspective effect with the help of the axonometric grid. Each point on the grid consists of two diagonals meeting a vertical. Remember the vanishing point in art class? Same thing. You can play with the angles but they all end up working pretty much the same way.

The sides of each shape are easy to create. All you have to do is create a duplicate of the letter in question, drop it to the bottom, and then select “Path > Difference” to cut out the parts that are covered up by the main letter. You will still need to draw in triangular shapes that connect the front and back — you can see them in the image above.

Once you get a sense of your design you can free-hand the side panels pretty easily if you have “snap to grid” turned on.

While I was at it I drew smaller inset letters (marked in blue) that will help give my sign a little more visual interest. Remember, each of those smaller side pieces is going to be its own laser-cut part. I have them color-coded to keep them straight in my head, but ultimately they’ll be spray-painted another color.

Cosmetic Cornering

I also want to draw lines for the corners, purely for cosmetic purposes — they help create the 3D effect. You can see them in the design, marked with fat yellow lines. The real lines won’t be that bold, I just kept them that way during the design process so I wouldn’t lose track of them.

So, having created my sign, it was time to laser it out. I sized it for a 24″x12″ sheet of 1/8″ pine, and I bought a second sheet upon which to glue the letters as they come out of the cutter and are painted. The lasering went off without a hitch, with 100% speed and 100% power ensuring the design was complete in less than 8 minutes. The only thing that went wrong is that I failed to ensure the lettering was centered, so I had a harder time aligning it on the board. The diagonal lines marking the corners went through at 1% power and 100% speed.

I’m really happy how the effect turned out — Now I want to make signs for my house, my friends’ houses, random people on the street! It’s pretty easy and you can do it yourself. Having all of these signs around the house might not be for everyone, but what hackerspace, makerspace, or office space isn’t begging for some colorful signage to spice up the decor?  Grab some friends and start designing!


Filed under: Featured, laser hacks, Skills

Essential Phone review roundup: It’s good… but so are a lot of phones (this one could get better over time)

Liliputing - ศุกร์, 08/18/2017 - 20:55

If you look at the spec sheet for the Essential Phone, it looks like a lot of current high-end smartphones. It has the same processor and memory as many of the latest flagships. It has a big, quad HD display and dual rear cameras. And it has a USB Type-C port, but no dedicated headphone […]

Essential Phone review roundup: It’s good… but so are a lot of phones (this one could get better over time) is a post from: Liliputing

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