Storing 32 bits of data in a piece of glass

After finding an old piezoelectric delay line in an old TV, [Mike] decided to figure out how it works and in the process stored his name in sound waves reflecting inside a piece of glass

[Mike] was intrigued by these old-fashioned delay lines after watching [Dave] from EEVblog’s teardown of an circa 1985 camcorder. [Dave] found a piezoelectric delay line in his camcorder – a device that is able to store digital data by sending a sound wave into a glass plate, letting the sound wave bounce through the plate. and picking up the sound on the other end. It’s actually not too dissimilar to a mercury delay line used in the earliest computers.

After sending a pulse through his piezoelectric delay line, [Mike] picked up an echo almost exactly 64 microseconds later. After hooking up a simple circuit constructed out of a 74-series chip, [Mike] found he could ‘loop’ the delay line and keep a pulse going for up to 3 milliseconds.

Three milliseconds isn’t much, but by injecting serial data into the delay line, [Mike] was able to spell out his name in binary, as seen above. It’s just 32 bits stored for a fraction of a second, making it a very volatile, low-capacity memory, but functionally equivalent to the old mercury delay lines of yore.

It’s certainly not what [Mike] or [Dave]‘s delay line was designed to do; these video delay lines were used to hold the previous line of video for a form of error correction. Outside [Mike]‘s workbench and a few museums, though, you won’t see a delay line used as a form of computer memory. A very cool build and an awesome history lesson, and we thank [Mike] for that.

Netduino gets a huge upgrade

The Netduino, a dev board built around the .NET Micro framework with the goal of being compatible with Arduino shields just got a huge upgrade.

The new Netduino Plus 2 features an upgraded STM32 ARM Cortex-M4 uC running at 168 MHz, improving on the original Netduino’s ARM7 running at 47 MHz. In addition to some more processing power, the STM32-based microcontroller has twice the RAM and six times as much Flash memory. Also, Ethernet (10Mbps), a MicroSD card port, and of course compatibility with all Arduino shields – including the new Arduino ‘Revision C’ boards for the Leonardo – remains intact.

In keeping with the design goals of the Netduino, the new board uses the .NET Micro Framework running under Windows. It looks like OS X and Linux users won’t be left out in the cold for long, though; there’s a project to port the .NET Micro stuff over to Mono.

Tip ‘o the hat to [Jason] for sending this one in.

Hardsync – DDR Reimagined for the C64

hardsync

For those of you that like to play dance games, but [DDR] for the [PS2] uses too modern hardware for your tastes, [Hardsync] may be for you. Although the chiptune-style music coming out of the [C64] may not appeal to everyone, one would have to imagine that a game like this could have been a huge hit 30 years ago.

As for the hardware itself, it does indeed use one PS2 element, the dance mat. It’s hooked into one of the C64 joystick ports. In this case, the cable was cut, but it would also be possible to make a non-destructive adapter for it so as not to interfere with any future PS2 fun.

The program is made so that fellow retro-dancers can make their own songs. Each song is a discreet file, and can be reconfigured to your own personal mix. Be sure to check out the video after the break of this old-school dance machine in use after the break! [Read more...]

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