Hackaday links: August 15, 2010

Creepy or not?

Do you find these faces creepy or cute? They can display a huge range of facial gestures and the German engineers who designed them were trying to avoid the uncanny valley. That’s the point at which human features on a robot seem quite real, but are off in just the right way as to cause revulsion. [Thanks Simon]

Water in your ink cartridge

Like all great hackers [Dean] digs through his neighbors’ trash. He found an inkjet printer but wanted to test it out before buying new cartridges. The old ones were dried up but he revitalized them with an injection of filtered water. It might get you through that quick printing project without a trip to Walgreen’s.

Laser-cut LP record

[Niklas Roy] demonstrates a laser-cut LP record. He’s using acrylic as a medium, kind of like a big CD with grooves in it. He’s got several tracks that are simple loops instead of the longer spirals you may be familiar with. They definitely sound different but it’s up to you to decide if that’s by design, or a fluke.

Star Wars cinema

Ever wonder what to do with those classic toys you’ve got sitting around? Here’s a little video that envisions your life with an AT-AT as the house pet. [Thanks Gabe via Wired]

Making EL wire

[Jeri Ellsworth] adds electroluminescent wire to the list of things she makes. The materials list is incredibly low. The common components are epoxy coated magnet wire for the center conductor and bare wire for the second conductor. The part you don’t have on hand is phosphors, although she does link to a source.

The bad news: she doesn’t show us the build process or share the details about the inductor that fires this thing up. The good news: in-depth videos are on the way. In the mean time you can marvel in her glowing success at the end of the video, or check out some of her other electroluminescent fun.

More car audio input hacking

[Dave] pulled the head unit out of his dashboard to add an iPod input. He took a much more invasive route than the other hack we saw a few days ago. He actually patched into the audio lines going from the Dolby reader head chip to the amplifier.

The first step was to trick the deck into thinking it had a cassette inserted. He scoped an enable pin on one of the chips to discover the timing and emulated that signal using a PIC microprocessor. From there he popped off the chip that reads the tape data, patching directly into the audio out traces. This presented some noise issues when charging the iPod but [Dave] fixed that with some decoupling capacitors.

New nook says: no root for you!

That is a blurry image of a Barnes & Noble Nook eReader stuck in an infinite reboot loop. This is the result of trying to downgrade the firmware to 1.0 in preparation to soft-root the device. So after a few failures the device will recover itself, right? It doesn’t look that way. No problem, don’t you just pop it open and re-write the OS to the SD card inside to do a hardware root? Nope, it looks like the newest hardware revision has replaced that convenient SD card with a memory chip.

For now it’s a brick, but we’re sure there will soon be a way to fix this. A bit of solder, some wires, and a reflash should work much in the same way an EEPROM recovery does. That is, if you have an original image to work with.

So for now, be careful not to attempt to root your nook if the serial number starts with 1003.

[Thanks Ken]

YM2149 gets new life

[MicroMinded] took us way back to our childhoods with his experiments and subsequent YMstream music player based on the Yamaha YM2149 sound generator used in old arcade systems, computers, and even phones (think chiptune). This reminds us of the Chipophone, only this time the sound is achieved from ICs used back in the day, rather than MCU waveforms.

There is still some work to be done to make the music player have a bit more functionality, but for now source is available if you want to make your own. Of course you might come across a small problem; finding an SSG is a tad bit more difficult than say, an Arduino. If a good resource is found, please share it in the comments!

[Thank you Andrew Kretschmer for sending in the chiptune mp3s]

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