Kickstarter isn’t a store anymore

Over the past few months, we’ve seen an increasing amount of Kickstarter projects making it into the Hackaday tip line. We don’t mind all these emails from people trying to get their Kickstarter project off the ground, but reading through all the emails of people wanting us to pitch their stuff does get a little bothersome.

It looks like our problem of having to go through dozens of Kickstarter hardware projects a week is about to change. Kickstarter is implementing a few new rules for hardware and product design projects. The new rules prohibit product simulations. This means project creators can’t suggest what the product might do in the future. Only what the prototype can currently do is allowed in the Kickstarter project. Also, product renders aren’t allowed. The only pictures allowed on your Kickstarter project are photos as the prototype currently exists.

There’s also another catch for hardware and product design projects: offering multiple quantities of a reward are prohibited. Of course there’s a provision for things that only make sense as a set (building blocks, for instance), but it looks like funding an Arduino-compatible ATtiny85 board and getting multiple boards is out of the question now.

Of course Kickstarter is looking at the long-term, trying to dissuade project creators from taking the money and running off to South America. We’re wondering what the effect will be in the coming months, though; under these rules Ouya wouldn’t have passed Kickstarter’s litmus test, and smaller projects depending on Kickstarter funding for tooling and molds probably wouldn’t either.

The new changes are probably for the best, and will certainly speed up how long it takes us to go through our email. We’re wondering what HaD readers think of the change, so post your thoughts in the comments after the break.

LED array uses ridiculous amount of 14-segment displays

What do you do if you see a bunch of 14-segment LED displays for sale for a penny a piece? [Fritzler], when faced with that conundrum did what any of us would do – he bought 64 14-segment displays and built a huge 16×4 alphanumeric display (German, here’s the translation).

[Fritzler] found a cache of old East German 14-segment displays for €0.01 at (don’t bother, they’re out of stock), and the only thing he could think of was building a gigantic display. He used ULN2803 Darlington drivers for each LED module, but there was still the issue of controlling the entire display.

For that, [Fritzler] decided to make his 16×4 use the same protocol as the Hitachi HD44780 LCD controller. This meant [Fritzler] could wire up his gigantic, power-hungry display to a microcontroller as if it were a simple LCD display.

An amazing amount of work went in to the creation of this display, as evidenced by a pair of pictures showing what [Fritzler] had to solder.

Thanks [freax] for sending this one in.

Volumetric display projects 200 Million voxels per second

Over the last four years, [Will] and [Gav] have spent their time creating a huge, high-resolution 3D display. The’re just about done with their build, so they decided to offer it up to the Internet in the hopes of people creating new 3D content for their display. They call their project the HoloDome, and it’s the highest resolution volumetric display we’ve ever seen.

The HoloDome operates by spinning a translucent helix around its vertical axis at 20 rotations per second. A pico projector above the helix capable of projecting 1440 frames per second (an amazing device by itself) displays 72 ‘z-axis’ frames for each of the 60 ‘x and y frames’ per second. The result is a 3D display with a 480 * 320 * 72 voxel resolution capable of displaying 20 frames per second.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a swept helix used as a volumetric display, but it is by far the highest resolution display of its type in recent memory. [Gav] and [Will] have put their HoloDome up on the Australian crowd-funded site Pozible if you’d like to buy your own, but thankfully the guys have included enough detail on the main site to reconstruct this project.

Check out the video after the break to see the HoloDome in action.

[Read more...]

USBPIC controls just about anything

Over the last few years, [Michael] has been developing a PIC microcontroller board. He calls his project USBPIC, and with the addition of a few FET drivers, H-bridges, and LED drivers his homemade dev board can handle just about anything thrown at it.

[Michael]‘s board is build around a PIC18F2455 microcontroller with both an In Circuit Serial Programming header and support for a USB port included. Instead of going for a modular format where the board can expanded through shields or expansion cards, [Michael] decided to make three different versions of the USBPIC.

The TRANS USBPIC includes eight FETs for switching off high current devices totaling 32 Amps. The MATRIX board has twice as many outputs as the TRANS board, but uses ULN2803 or UDN2982 chips for driving smallish-current devices. Finally, the HBSW board takes a TRANS board and replaces four FETs with a an L298 H-bridge chip for driving two DC motors.

For what [Michael] lost in modularity, we think he gained a very tidy microcontroller board capable of driving everything from robots to LED matrix displays.