Eagle 5 overview


Not sure how we missed this when it was originally published, but our friend [Ian Lesnet] at DIY Life posted an overview of Cadsoft’s new release Eagle 5. This upgrade seems to be all usability tweaks-it really took 5 versions before you could right click? They also made CTRL+Z undo. Really. Eagle3D works nearly the same as before, but has a few changes to help you figure out why certain parts aren’t rendering. We’re happy to see the OSX version is now Universal and no longer needs X11.

Camera lightning capture


The people at [Hobby Robotics] decided to build a trigger circuit for lightning photography. There are more complex ways to do this, but they just used a photo transistor and an Arduino. The Arduino watches the photo transistor’s value and compares it to the previously captured one. If the difference is above a certain threshold, it means a rapid change in the amount of light has occurred, which triggers the shutter. An earlier post covered how to directly control the Canon 30d using an Arduino. All of this works because the shutter lag and code execution together are less than lighting’s 100ms duration.

RoboGames 2008 this weekend


The fifth annual RoboGames is happening this weekend in San Francisco. RoboGames is a broad reaching competition designed to bring together specialists in all areas of robotics. Last year’s event had 800 entries in 62 different events. The biggest audience draw is definitely the combat robots shown in the video above, but there are other skill and task based competitions. If you’re in the area, this is definitely worth your time. Check out ROBOT magazine’s coverage from last year to get an idea of what you’ll see (or in our case miss).

[thanks io9]

Web based bittorrent support

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We recently came across a new bittorrent service called Torrent Relay that features an innovative yet simple function: it allows you to download torrents to web-enabled devices like the PlayStation 3 and iPhone. Torrent Relay works by having the user surf to their site using the web-enabled device and upload a local copy or enter the url of a torrent file. The file is downloaded as normal, only all the work happens on Torrent Relay servers. It works especially well with Mininova, using torrent IDs from the site instead of the torrent’s URL. Once Torrent Relay has the completed file it sends it to the web-enabled device. It is not without a few kinks, however, as it only seems to be able to download a single file from a torrent whether or not it contains more than one, and it has a size cap of 400MB for that file. That limit means you’re probably just going to be watching television and not grabbing ISOs, albums, or movies. Far from perfect, but how else are you supposed to watch Battlestar Gallactica on your iPhone?

Hubless inline skateboard


We’ve been talking a lot about alternate modes of transportation lately. The 360 inline skateboard immediately caught our eye for its simplicity and hubless wheel design. The usage seems fairly straightforward, but the videos posted by designer [Francesco Sommacal] don’t make it look exceptionally fun; more like they’re daring you to use the thing. What we find most jarring about this is how similar it is to the Bushpig. Did the commercial gas powered version really predate this unpowered device?

The design is simple enough to understand, but we’re not really sure where you can easily source hubless wheels like this. Any ideas?

[via Gizmodo]

Hexapod CNC bot


With all the 8 legged beasts lumbering about and hosting sausage fests, it’s nice to see the robots with 6 legs actually being productive. [Matt Denton]‘s hexapod robot CNC router is quite an impressive piece of machinery. The B.F. Hexapod was built using Hitech’s HSR-5995TG which are much higher torque than similar sized units. Each foot is ball joint mounted to ease terrain adaptation. Only recently has [Matt] started playing with CNC. First, he did a pen plotter proof of concept. Now The bot can mill 3D surfaces in polystyrene. It’s still a little course and will probably always be a bit imprecise since it’s not bolted down. He’s also still planning to convert it from standard 1/8inch bits to 3mm router bits. We’d love to see this bot working away at an intricate bas-relief. Having no fixed work envelope really opens up the possibilities for machines like this and Hektor. Video and final product are embedded below.

[Read more...]

Data recovery tools


In your zeal to delete your data, you may have accidentally deleted files that you wanted to keep. Lifehacker has posted this handy list of data recovery tools to help you get those files back.

As you may know, whenever you delete a file, the only thing that changes is the file system. The data of the deleted file is still on the hard drive, but the file system sees the space containing the file as “blank” writable space. Data recovery software typically looks into the directory where the file was stored and scans it, finding any files not listed in the file system.

The program you choose for this task will not only be determined by your OS, but also by the specifics of your recovery needs. Do you need to recover a single file? Many files? A whole hard drive? An unbootable drive? A really scratched optical disk? Specialized tools for all of these needs are available, and this article will help you find the right program for yours.

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