Jiří Praus@jipraus has made a nice LED sphere.
I was pointing to BitSavers before. And I will do it again as it’s a never ending source of joy.
Now some old schematics had been spilled into my feeds that show how logic gates had been implemented with transformers only.
And not only BitSaver is on this path of sharing knowledge, also TubeTime is such a nice account to follow and read.
And if you want it too, there is the how-to available on the RaspberryPi forum.
In a tweet we were given an early christmas present – open-sdr released an open source software Wi-Fi stack that utilizes software-defined-radio technology to implement actual working Wi-Fi.
- 802.11a/g; 802.11n MCS 0~7; 20MHz
- Mode tested: Ad-hoc; Station; AP
- DCF (CSMA/CA) low MAC layer in FPGA
- Configurable channel access priority parameters:
- duration of RTS/CTS, CTS-to-self
- Time slicing based on MAC address
- Easy to change bandwidth and frequency:
- 2MHz for 802.11ah in sub-GHz
- 10MHz for 802.11p/vehicle in 5.9GHz
- On roadmap: 802.11ax
See this demonstration:
It’s 3.8 kg and delivers 25.5 kg of force. Impressive! And it’s in stores (in Japan).
The “Every Muscle Suit” has a lot going for it. Weighing just 3.8 kilograms, the pneumatic artificial muscle suit is powerful enough to generate up to 25.5 kilogram-force and effectively relieves pressure on users’ backs when performing activities like heavy lifting.
Best of all, its streamlined design conceals an advanced air pressure system that doesn’t require electricity or batteries.Japan Today
- GUI wide open.
- Default password on WiFi and management interface
- Attacker can cause financial damage to consumer
- Attacker can dump entire PW Load into the grid at once
- Attacker can oscilate between CHARGING and DUMPING (microseconds, the poor sub-station!)
- Attacker can change grid codes.
More here. At least somebody looked into the security and attack potential of these things.
Please read this first paragraph and let it settle:
At the core of the BrainScaleS wafer-scale hardware system (see Figure 90) is an uncut wafer built from mixed-signal ASICs , named High Input Count Analog Neural Network chips (HICANNs), which provide a highly configurable substrate that physically emulates adaptively spiking neurons and dynamic synapses (Schemmel et al. (2010), Schemmel et al. (2008)).
I’ve highlighted in bold the portion that I want you to think about once more. We are not talking about chips, dies or cut-up wafers.
We are talking about real-size, huge, fully developed wafers filled with logic. For the sole purpose of brain scale neural network research and development…
The Neuromorphic Computing Platform allows neuroscientists and engineers to perform experiments with configurable neuromorphic computing systems. The platform provides two complementary, large-scale neuromorphic systems built in custom hardware at locations in Heidelberg, Germany (the “BrainScaleS” system, also known as the “physical model” or PM system) and Manchester, United Kingdom (the “SpiNNaker” system, also known as the “many core” or MC system). Both systems enable energy-efficient, large-scale neuronal network simulations with simplified spiking neuron models. The BrainScaleS system is based on physical (analogue) emulations of neuron models and offers highly accelerated operation (104 x real time). The SpiNNaker system is based on a digital many-core architecture and provides real-time operation.https://electronicvisions.github.io/hbp-sp9-guidebook/index.html
Of course this post is talking about hard disks. The ones with spinning disks and read/write heads flying very close to the spinning disks surface.
There are several links to the source papers and works discussing the findings – take look into this nice rabbit hole:
Current generations of RaspberryPi single board computers (from 3 up) already got WiFi on-board. Which is great and can be used, in combination with the internal ethernet or even additional network interfaces (USB) to create a nice wired/wireless router. This is what this RaspAP project is about:
This project was inspired by a blog post by SirLagz about using a web page rather than ssh to configure wifi and hostapd settings on the Raspberry Pi. I began by prettifying the UI by wrapping it in SB Admin 2, a Bootstrap based admin theme. Since then, the project has evolved to include greater control over many aspects of a networked RPi, better security, authentication, a Quick Installer, support for themes and more. RaspAP has been featured on sites such as Instructables, Adafruit, Raspberry Pi Weekly and Awesome Raspberry Pi and implemented in countless projects.
This really is going to be very useful while on travels. I plan to replace my GL-INET router, which shows signs of age.
Shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed and brevity of writing as compared to longhand, a more common method of writing a language. The process of writing in shorthand is called stenography, from the Greekstenos (narrow) and graphein (to write). It has also been called brachygraphy, from Greek brachys (short) and tachygraphy, from Greek tachys (swift, speedy), depending on whether compression or speed of writing is the goal.Wikipedia
Of course there’s hardware:
Georgi: Steno For All
Georgi an economic, low profile rework of Gergo made for Steno. Fully assembled and ready to go!
Even when you’re not onto stenography, you it’ll be a full qwerty keyboard for you:
I’ve upgraded just before the Japan travelling to the current iPhone generation. I was expecting some improved battery life but I did not dare to think I would get THIS.
I’ve taken the last 3 generations of iPhones on trips to Japan and they all went through the same exercises and quite comparable day schedules.
The amount of navigation, screen-time, taking pictures and just browsing the web / translating led to all 3 previous generations to be out-of-juice just around half-day.
Not this generation. Apparently something has changed. Not really in terms of screen time – screen on-time got better, but not as great as the overall usage time of the device with screen off.
In regards of how much power and runtime I am getting out of the device without having to reach for a batter pack or power supply is astonishing. I am using my Apple Watch for navigation clues so I am not really reaching out for the phone for that. But that means the phone is constantly used otherwise to make pictures, payments, translations….
I am comfortably leaving all battery packs and chargers at home when all the time before I was charging the phones at lunchtime for the first time. I usually had to charge 2 times a day to get through.
With this generations iPhone 11 Pro I am getting through the whole day and reach the hotel just before getting down to 20%.
I am still using it all throughout the day. But this is such a relief that I am confidently getting through a full day of fun. Thumbs up Apple!
RTL-SDR is a very cheap ~$25 USB dongle that can be used as a computer based radio scanner for receiving live radio signals in your area (no internet required). Depending on the particular model it could receive frequencies from 500 kHz up to 1.75 GHz. Most software for the RTL-SDR is also community developed, and provided free of charge.
The origins of RTL-SDR stem from mass produced DVB-T TV tuner dongles that were based on the RTL2832U chipset. With the combined efforts of Antti Palosaari, Eric Fry and Osmocom (in particular Steve Markgraf) it was found that the raw I/Q data on the RTL2832U chipset could be accessed directly, which allowed the DVB-T TV tuner to be converted into a wideband software defined radio via a custom software driver developed by Steve Markgraf. If you’ve ever enjoyed the RTL-SDR project please consider donating to Osmocom via Open Collective as they are the ones who developed the drivers and brought RTL-SDR to life.https://www.rtl-sdr.com/about-rtl-sdr/
And since the hardware is so affordable there’s lots of software and therefore things that can be done with it.
This repo contains an annotated overlay for the Nintendo Game Boy DMG-CPU-B chip die and the extracted schematics.
This was done manually with only a few automated checks so THERE’S A HIGH RISK OF ERRORS. I’m in no way responsible if you made someone’s life depend on this and it fucked up.https://github.com/furrtek/DMG-CPU-Inside
Curtesy of Sam Zeloof I came around the fact that I’ve got a good part of a FSTM in a cupboard here.
Apparently my choice of purchasing the HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 will ultimately pay off!! As we all know Bluray won that format war back in the days.
But now it seems that this below would be useable for something:
Over the life of nuclear fuel, inhomogeneous structures develop, negatively impacting thermal properties. New fuels are under development, but require more accurate knowledge of how the properties change to model performance and determine safe operational conditions.
Measurement systems capable of small–scale, pointwise thermal property measurements and low cost are necessary to measure these properties and integrate into hot cells where electronics are likely to fail during fuel investigation. This project develops a cheaper, smaller, and easily replaceable Fluorescent Scanning Thermal Microscope (FSTM) using the blue laser and focusing circuitry from an Xbox HD-DVD player.The Design, Construction, and Thermal Diffusivity Measurements of the Fluorescent Scanning Thermal Microscope (FSTM)
As mentioned, Sam Zeloof shows off the actual chip in more detail:
Can you display VGA and play audio on a Cortex-M4 in pure Rust? The short answer is yes, yes you can! Minus the hand-unrolled assembler loop for fixing the phase error in the RGB output. But we don’t talk about that in polite company.Monotron project page
What currently is in place:
- The Atari Joystick interface works, but two Joysticks would be more fun
- The PS/2 Keyboard via the Atmega works, but the pinout was mirrored so you have to put the connector under the PCB :/
- The RTC works
- VGA Output works
- The MIDI Out seems to work when looped to MIDI In, as does the MIDI Though.
- The MIDI In seems to receive data when connected to my electronic drum kit
- The Audio output seems to work quite nicely
- The SD card works, but the power supply can’t handle hot-insertion of the SD card and it makes the TM4C reboot. More capacitors / some current limiting probably required.
I can load games and programs from the SD card into the 24 KiB of free Application RAM. You can interact with these games via the PS/2 Keyboard and Joystick. I can play simple games (like Snake) and play three channels of 8-bit wavetable audio simultaneously. I’ve even got a 6502 Emulator running a copy of 6502 Enhanced BASIC, if you want to go old school!
As you might know I am regularly looking into indoor-location systems and opportunities to optimize my own system (based on Bluetooth…)
Now I cam across a concept by a german company called Localino. They’ve built their own hard- and software.
Localino has its own “satellites”, also called “anchors”. The mobile receivers are called “tags” and can locate their position based on the available anchors inside a building. Anchors and tags precisely measure signal propagation delays in the order of sub-nanoseconds, resulting in centimeter-accurate location. Any person or object wearing a tag can be located.Localino website
There’s also a hack-a-day article on the system which states that all hard- and software would be open source. So far I did not find any source code though…
As far as I could dig into this so far it’s based upon decawave DW1000 hardware and an older base-library of this is available as source code here.
There’s the DJI drones that seemingly own the market at this point. Mostly used to take aerial images and movies. Your average YouTuber will probably have two or more of them.
Turns out that, if you add modern camera technology to these small flying objects and a lot of processing power you can do crazy things like indoor realtime 3D mapping…
Skydio is a vendor to look at when it somes to such interesting mapping applications.
The first sound card I got as an upgrade to a PC without sound back in 90s was the glorious Sound Blaster 16:
There were several different sound card options back in the days and all sounded a bit different.
A sound card (also known as an audio card) is an internal expansion card that provides input and output of audio signals to and from a computer under control of computer programs. The term sound card is also applied to external audio interfaces used for professional audio applications.Wikipedia
With the synthesizers and audio processing each series and make produced a distinctive sound. Some of us want to bring these sounds back. But keeping the (old) hardware running is an increasingly difficult task.
For example: The interface used by the above mentioned Sound Blaster 16 card is the ISA bus interface. This interface was introduced in 1981 and replaced in 1993. If you want to hear how such a sound card sounds today you would have to run hardware from this time period.
But some people are working towards getting at least some authentic sound back.
In this talk, Alan Hightower takes a look at the complexities, challenges, and even current progress at integrating all of the above cores into one FPGA based ISA sound card.
This is what the concept would bring if done:
Oh that would be soooooo nice to have all these vintage sound interfaces available and to be able to actually use them for audio output.
A month ago I wrote about a very black paint. This month brings me a papepr about an even blacker substance.
The synergistically incorporated CNT–metal hierarchical architectures offer record-high broadband optical absorption with excellent electrical and structural properties as well as industrial-scale producibility.Paper: Breakdown of Native Oxide Enables Multifunctional, Free-Form Carbon Nanotube–Metal Hierarchical Architectures
I played with SDR – Software Defined Radio – back in 2013. I’ve still got the equipment around.
Now that I am thinking about it – there is a practical use-case that I will look into in the coming months for sure for it. And just to mention this use case here: With SDR I could create a more versatile 443/886 Mhz receiver.
Anyhow. SDR hardware allows you to access a whole spectrum of radiosignals at once. And a common way to visualize the spectrum is to draw the amplitudes in a line add each new measurement as a new line – color/brightness coded.
What you get is some sort of waterfall diagram that looks like this:
Hertzian Landscapes (2019) is a live visualization of the radio spectrum. Unlike visible light, waves in the radio spectrum cannot be perceived by us directly yet this space is teeming with human activity. Hertzian Landscapes employs a digital receiver to scan large swaths of radio spectrum in near real-time and visualizes thousands of signals into a panoramic electromagnetic landscape. Users can zoom in to specific frequencies by positioning themselves in front of the panorama as if controlling a radio tuner with their body, giving them a sense of walking through the spectrum.http://www.hertzianlandscapes.com/
From radio broadcasts to weather satellites and from medical implants to aeronautical navigation, the radio spectrum is divided into hundreds of designated slices each tied to a specific application. Based on a localized frequency database that describes these slices, signals are annotated to provide information about their theoretical type and application.
After looking into the NES emulation written entirely in C# I came across a similar approach using C# to emulate a full and much more complex PlayStation 1.
I then stumbled on this very early version of a PSX Emulator in C#.
Now, if you were to theoretically have a Playtation SCPH1001.BIN BIOS and then physically owned a Playstation (as I do) and then created a BIN file from your physical copy of Crash Bandicoot, you could happily run it as you can see in the screenshot below.
If you’re old enough to have used MS-DOS you know the benefits a read cache introduced back at the time for floppy disks. Without such a cache everything data intensive was magnitudes slower.
Now after all these years more and more stories emerge about how certain thresholds and timeings where set back in the days.
This is such a story:
Mark Zbikowski led the MS-DOS 2.0 project, and he sat down with a stopwatch while Aaron Reynolds and Chris Peters tried to swap floppy disks on an IBM PC as fast as they could.
They couldn’t do it under two seconds.
So the MS-DOS cache validity was set to two seconds. If two disk accesses occurred within two seconds of each other, the second one would assume that the cached values were still good.Raymond Chen blog
There are more links in the original article – so go there and down that rabbit hole!
I do not drive motor cycles. I never found a reason to.
Given that non-experience: I can only assume that something like this helmet would really make a difference for bikers.
With the integrated camera system it will have a rear-view mirror screen in sight all the time and be able to overlay all sorts of information into the field-of-view of the driver. In addition it seems to be capable to augment the audio getting to the driver in various ways.
If you are as interested as I am, despite not having a motorcycle: take a look at the Indiegogo campaign.
Usually when we visited lectures the notes and explanations where given on a chalk board or a projector. With the lecturer looking away from the audience most of the time.
This is where Light Boards come in handy. They allow the lecturer to face his audience and give explanations on a board…
I was made aways by Ryan Heffernans tweet on the project he did together with his son. He built one of these light boards! The short clip above shows his son on their board.
My son and I built a lightboard. You write on it like a whiteboard, but you can face your audience and the writing is illuminated. Commercial versions cost around $10k, but we made ours for $400 in parts from Home Depot. Here’s how.Ryan Heffernan Tweet
Of course there are commercial ready-made ones. But where’s the fun in that?
Still working on these…
Still lots of errors and challenges to positioning and casing. It works electrically and in software. Does not yet fit into a case.
It’s supposed to get you these sensors accomodated:
- barometric pressure
- PIR motion
- light intensity
- bluetooth scan/BLE connectivity
- Wifi scan / Wifi connectivity
And a RGB LED as output. All powered by USB and an ESP32.
Do you always slack off on your computer and worry about getting busted?Not anymore because Daytripper is here to save the day!daytripper
Booting a computer does not happen extremely often in most use-cases, yet it’s a field that has not seen as much optimization and development as others had.
You might have asked yourself how it is that some phones charge up faster than others. Maybe the same phone charges at different speed when you’re using a different cable or power supply. It even might not charge at all.
There is some very complicated trickery in place to make those cables and power supplies do things in combination with the active devices like phones. Many of this is implemented by standards like “Quick Charge”:
Quick Charge is a technology found in QualcommSoCs, used in devices such as mobile phones, for managing power delivered over USB. It offers more power and thus charges batteries in devices faster than standard USB rates allow. Quick Charge 2 onwards technology is primarily used for wall adaptors, but it is also implemented in car chargers and powerbanks (For both input and output power delivery).Wikipedia: Quick Charge
So in a nutshell: If you are able to speak the quick charge protocol, and with the right cable and power supply, you are able to get anything between 3.6 and 20V out of such a combination by just telling the power supply to do so.
This is great for maker projects in need of more power. There’s lots of things to consider and be cautious about.
“Speaking” the protocol just got easier though. You can take this open source library and “power up your project”:
The above mentioned usage-code will give you 12V output from the power supply. Of course you can also do…:
Be aware that your project needs to be aware of the (higher) voltage. It’s really not something you should just try. But you knew that.
More on Quick Charge also here.
We’ve got several quite big fish tanks in our house. Mainly used by freshwater turtles.
These turtles need to be fed every once in a while. And while this is not an issue normally it’s an issue if you leave the house for travel for an extended period of time.
Of course there are humans checking on everything in the house regularly but as much as can be automated should and will be automated in our household. So the requirement wa to have the turtle feeding automated.
To achieve this is would be necessary to have a fixed amount of turtle food be dispensed into the tanks on a plan and with some checks in the background (like water quality and such).
It’s been quite a hassle to come up with a plan how the hardware should look like and work. And ultimately i’ve settled on retrofitting an off-the-shelf fish pond feeder to become controllable through MQTT.
The pond feeder I’ve found and used is this one:
It’s not really worth linking to a specific product detail page as this sort of feeder is available under hundreds of different names. It always looks the same and is priced right around the same.
If you want to build this yourself, you want one that looks like the above. I’ve bought 3 of them and they all seem to come out of the same factory somewhere in China.
Anyway. If you got one you can easily open it up and start modifying it.
The functional principle of the feeder is rather simple:
- turn the feeder wheel
- take the micro-switch status in account – when it’s pressed down the wheel must be pushing against it
- turn it until the micro-switch is not pressed anymore
- turn some more until it’s pressed again
Simple. Since the switch-status is not known on power loss / reboot a calibration run is necessary (even with the factory electronics) every time it boots up.
After opening the feeder I’ve cut the two cables going to the motor as well as the micro-switch cables. I’ve added a 4-Pin JST-XH connector to both ends. So I can reconnect it to original state if desired.
These are all the parts needed:
I am using a Wemos D1 Mini and a couple of additional components apart from the prototype board:
A PN2222 NPN transistor, a rectifier diode 1N4007 and a 220 Ohm resistor.
I’ve connected everything according to this schematic I’ve drawn with Fritzing:
I’ve then prototyped away and put everything on the PCB. Of course with very limited solderig skill:
As you can see the JST-XH connector on Motor+Switch can now be connected easily to the PCB with all the parts.
Make sure you check polarity and that you did correctly hook up the motor and switch.
When done correctly the PCB (I’ve used 40mm x 60mm prototype pcb) and all cables will fit into the case. There’s plenty of room and I’ve put it to the side of it. I’ve also directly connected an USB cable to the USB port of the Wemos D1 Mini. As long as you put at least 1A into it it will all work.
Since the Wemos D1 Mini sports an ESP8266 and is well supported by Arduino it was clear to me to use Arduino IDE for the software portion of this project.
Of course everything, from schematics to the sourcecode is available as open source.
To get everything running you need to modify the .ino file in the src folder like so:
What you need to configure:
- the output pins you have chosen – D1+D2 are pre-configured
- WiFi SSID + PASS
- MQTT Server (IP(+Username+PW))
- MQTT Topic prefix
Commands that can be sent through mqtt to the /feed topic.
There are overall two MQTT topics:
This topic will hold the current state of the feeder. It will show a number starting from 0 up. When the feeder is ready it will be 0. When it’s currently feeding it will be 1 and up – counting down for every successfull turn done. There is an safety cut-off for the motor. If the motor is longer active than configured in the MaximumMotorRuntime variable it will shut-off by itself and set the state to -1.
This topic acts as the command topic to start / control the feeding process. If you want to start the process you would send the number of turns you want to happen. So 1 to 5 seems reasonable. The feeder will show the progress in the /state topic. You can update the amount any time to shorten / lengthen the process. On the very first feed request after initial power-up / reboot the feeder will do a calibration run. This is to make sure that all the wheels are in the right position to work flawlessly.
So if you want to make it start feeding 3 times:
mosquitto_pub -t house/stappenbach/feeder/feeder-00F3B839/feed -m 3
And if you want to see the state of the feeder:
mosquitto_sub -v -t house/stappenbach/feeder/feeder-00F3B839/state
All in all there are 3 of these going to be running in our household and the feeding is going to be controlled either by Alexa voice commands or through Node-Red automation.
I am still working on it – but it is coming together nicely. During the next vacation our fish tanks are going to be well fed.