Free (…as in ‘free beer’) ARM kit

NXP holds a lot of market share for their ARM based solutions as it is. That’s why we were a little surprised when we found a link on their website announcing that they were giving away free LPCXpresso development boards, based on their Cortex-M0 line.

Catches? Unfortunately there are a few to get the board shipped and running. In order to do so, you must…

  • register with a corporate email address
    …the promo is targeted at engineers
  • use the crippled IDE supplied with the board
    …due to hard to find (non-existent?) documentation for the integrated LPC-Link
  • upload an original video of the physical destruction of a competing board to the NXP website

While killing your Arduino may not sound like the most fun, some qualified readers may be interested in moving up to 32-bits for a price that is hard to beat.

Bluetooth Tomy Omnibot hack

 

tomy_omnibot_hack

[DJ Sures] sent us his most recent hack, and it’s one that is sure to please those who enjoy a good dose of 80’s nostalgia. He located a Tomy Omnibot on eBay and snatched it up immediately. While he was waiting for it to arrive, he planned out what he would add to it once it showed up at his door. Once the robot was delivered, he cleaned it up, painted it, then got down to business.

The original robot had no ability to move its arms or head, so he immediately added servos to enable those actions. A wireless camera was inserted between the Omnibot’s eyes, and a wireless mic was mounted in his chest. He has also added some features found in his previous projects, such as voice recognition, visual recognition, voice synthesis, and the ability to remotely control the bot. He plans on adding an ultrasonic ping sensor and IR floor sensors in the near future. This is a great build so far, and it sounds like he has plenty more in store.

Be sure to stick around for a video of the robot in action, and if you are interested in some of [DJ Sures'] previous work, check these out as well.

[Read more...]

Emulating Oric-1 floppy disk hardware

This device is called the Cumulus and it’s used to emulate the floppy disk hardware for Oric-1 and Oric Atmos computers. These 1980’s era computers included an expansion slot to which you could connect a floppy drive. That module, called a Microdisc system, also included the driver circuit which means you can’t just use a modern-day floppy drive as a replacement. [Retromaster] sidestepped the need for magnetic media all together by building an SD card interface which emulates the original module. We can tell by the use of a color screen and clean board layout that a lot of love went into the project. A CPLD implements the communications protocol used by the Microdisc system and creates all of the registers that would have been found on the original hardware. A PIC takes care of the SD card communications and the user interface.

With the exception of comforting noises, we’d bet there are few who have fond memories of using floppy disks. No wonder we’ve been seeing hacks to replace them quite a bit lately.

Measure earth’s rotation with PlayStation Move

This somewhat odd-looking apparatus is being used to measure earth’s rotation. At the heart of the system is a PlayStation Move controller, used because of its dual-axis gyroscope which has the highest dynamic range compared to other available products like the Wii Motion Plus. It rests on a column perched atop a record player that was chosen because of its precision rotation rate. The two rings that flank the controller make up a Helmholtz coil which is used to cancel out the earth’s magnetic field which was found to be interfering with measurements taken by the Move controller. By recording data over time the experimenter can prove that the earth is indeed rotating, as well as ascertain longitude data and find true north. Check out the data-packed video after the break.

[Read more...]

Plug-in module lies about news at coffee shops. Real or Fake?

[Mike] sent in a tip about Newstweek, and we’re turning to our readers to tell us if this is real or if we’re being trolled. The link he sent us points to a well-written news-ish article about a device that plugs into the wall near an open WiFi hotspot and performs something of a man-in-the-middle attack on devices connected to the access point. The article describes the device above as it observes, then spoofs the ARP table of the wireless network in order to inject fake news stories in pages you are reading. Apparently once it boots, the small box phones home for commands from its maker over a TOR connection.

The box reminds us of the Sheevaplug so it’s not the hardware that makes us question the possibility of the device. But look at the Linux terminal screen readout. It shows a prompt with the word ‘newstweek’ in it. That’s the address of the site the article is hosted on, giving us a strong sense of being trolled.

What do you think, real or fake? Let us know (and why you think that) in the comments.

Stackable macro photography rig

When taking macro photographs you lose a lot of clarity due to a reduced depth of field. One way to get sharp pictures is to take multiple shots at slightly different distances from the subject and then stack them into one image. There’s software to do this for you, but you still need a set pictures to start with. [Dsvilko] built this setup to easily capture a set of macro images.

He’s using the internals from an optical drive as a sled to carry the subject. A PICAXE drives the stepper motor that moves the carriage, which takes input from an IR remote control. This turns out to be a fantastic method as the sled can move in 0.2mm increments. After he’s got his set of images he uses Zerene to stack them together.

Bonus points to [Dsvilko] who used Linux command line tools to edit together the demonstration video embedded after the break.

[Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91,380 other followers