Rigol WFM viewer ported for non-Windows users

rigol-wfm-parser-for-linux

[Matthias Blaicher] may think this isn’t a big deal when it comes to the amount of work he put into the hack. But for us, anything that extends the functionality of the versatile yet affordable Rigol DS1052E is a win. In this case he’s taken a previous hack and made it work for more people by extending the functionality of the WFM file format viewer.

[Dexter2048] pulled off the original hack which allows this oscilloscope to be used as a spectrum analyzer. [Matthias] didn’t want the tool to be limited to running only on Windows systems so he got to work. This isn’t quite as easy as sounds because the only part of the original code that was released is the parser itself. [Matthias] had to build everything up from that starting point. His software uses standard Python to parse the WFM file and reformat the data. The features included in the current version allow you to export data as a CSV file and even plot the waveform and FFT as seen above.

Robot bartender mixes a mean drink

robot-bartender-mixes-mean-drink

Back in 2002, [Dave] came across a discarded PUMA robotic arm and quickly set his sights on turning it into a bartender to serve drinks at his parties. Unfortunately, the arm was far from operational and being an engineer at his day job meant that working on this project was the last thing he wanted to do when he came home. So, progress trickled along slowly for years. He eventually announced a public deadline to spur him to action, and this years Pi(e) party saw the official debut of  ‘Sir-Mix-a-Bot’ – the robot bartender.

With the exception of having to build a new hand for it, mechanically, the arm was still in good condition when [Dave] found it. The electronics were another story however. Using some off the shelf components and his own know-how, [Dave] had to custom build all the controls. The software was written from scratch as well. (He lucked out and had help from his brother who was taking a Ph.D. program in robotics at the time).

As if the robotics aspect of the project wasn’t enough, [Dave] even created a beautiful custom table that both houses and displays his masterpiece. The quality of craftsmanship on his table alone is worth the time to check this out – there’s a short video after the break.

[Thanks Dave]

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Hackaday Links: March 25, 2013

Illegal, yet impressive

cans

Want a soda? Just grab a robot, shove it in a vending machine, and grab yourself one. This video is incredibly French, but it looks like we’ve got a custom-built robot made out of old printers and other miscellaneous motors and gears here. It’s actually pretty impressive when you consider 16 ounce cans weigh a pound.

UNOBTANIUM

chip

Okay, we got a lot of emails on our tip line for this one. It’s a group buy for a programmable oscillator over on Tindie. Why is this cool? Well, this chip (an SI570) is used in a lot of software defined radio designs. Also, it’s incredibly hard to come by if you’re not ordering thousands of these at a time. Here’s a datasheet, now show us some builds with this oscillator.

Chiptune/keygen music anywhere

keygen

[Huan] has a co-loco’d Raspi and wanted a media server that is available anywhere, on any device. What he came up with is a service that streams chiptune music from your favorite keygens. You can access it with Chrome (no, we’re not linking directly to a Raspberry Pi), and it’s extremely efficient – his RAM usage didn’t increase a bit.

Take it on an airplane. Or mail it.

bomb

[Alex]‘s hackerspace just had a series of lightning talks, where people with 45-minute long presentations try to condense their talk into 10 minutes. Of course the hackerspace needed some way to keep everything on schedule. A simple countdown timer was too boring, so they went with a fake, Hollywood-style bomb. No, it doesn’t explode, but it still looks really, really fake. That’s a good thing.

Printers have speakers now?

nokia

[ddrboxman] thought his reprap needed a nice ‘print finished’ notification. After adding a piezo to his electronics board, he whipped up a firmware hack that plays those old Nokia ringtones. The ringtones play over Gcode, so it’s possible to have audible warnings and notifications. Now if it could only play Snake.

Installing GLaDOS in the ceiling of your house

glados-ceiling-light

Install this light fixture in your bedroom and you might kiss your nights of peaceful sleep goodbye. Fans of the Portal game franchise will recognize it as a smaller version of the megalomaniacal artificial intelligence character from the game. This particular rendition is how she looked in the second installment of the series. The lamp is the creation of [Dragonator]. It was entirely 3D printed before being outfitted with LEDs to actually function as a light.

Our first thought is that this project is all about 3D design to get the final product t0 look so fantastic. But if you dig a little deeper you’ll see that it’s so much more than that. To get pieces that look this fantastic you must have a well tuned printer and be willing to let it run for 40-60 hours as it burns through 2 kg of filament. At that point you’re still far from the finish line as the [Dragonator] then set to work sanding and painting all of the pieces. From there he lovingly assembled everything, including gears and motors to give it motion.

In the end the electronics did not work as he envisioned. But maybe after a bit of time off from all that work he’ll revisit the project and make a bit more progress. For us, the aesthetic already makes the hack. Making it move and sound like the character would be over the top.

If you liked this you can’t miss the GLaDOS potato.

IR Based Augmented Reality

ARUCI

For a final design project, [Frank] and his group took on an augmented reality project. The goal was to make objects interactively controllable by pointing a smartphone at them. Their solution was Augmented Reality Universal Controller and Identifier (ARUCI).

The system locates controllable objects by sensing IR beacons that contain identifiers for each object. The IR is received by a Wiimote sensor, which has been integrated into a custom PCB. This board sits in a 3D printed enclosure, and mounts to the back of a smartphone. The electronics are powered by tapping off of the phone’s battery.

Commands are sent to devices using a custom 2.4 GHz protocol which was implemented using the ATmega128RFA1. Each device has another ATmega to receive the signal and control the real world object. In their demo, the group shows the system controlling devices including a TV, a radio, and an RC car.

The system provides an interesting way to interact with objects, and the hardware integration is quite impressive. After the break, watch [Frank] give a demo.

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Going back to our old commenting system!

On Friday, I announced we would upgrade our commenting system. It was tested over the weekend, and ultimately I have decided to go back to the wordpress system.  Here are the reasons why:

1. Our old comments never got transitioned over.

The intenseDebate system says I can just click a single button and it will import our old posts into the new system.  I did this Friday and the page never moved from 0%. I tried again Saturday night, with the 0% import still there this morning(Monday). Our old posts simply never imported. I don’t know if it was because our database of comments was so large (I doubt it) or what. I went to contact their support, but found them out for the weekend. That’s no big deal, but I wonder if the importer was a manual thing and no one was there to do it? If so, they should probably put a warning on the importer page.

2. It wasn’t failing gracefully.

I had many emails and comments saying that the comments were not showing when people were using script blockers, or certain android devices. The intenseDebate website claims that their system will show comments even if someone is using a script blocker. I did not personally test this, and frankly I don’t have to. Even if those people are mistaken or have peculiar setups, I simply can’t ignore complaints that our content isn’t even showing.

3. I couldn’t expand all replies by default, or maybe I’m an idiot.

I didn’t see an option anywhere to display all comment threads expanded by default. Maybe I just overlooked it. Maybe there’s some css trick to it. We HAVE to have our comments expanded. Often there is more useful information in the comments than the article itself. With replies nested you would have to go through and click every single thread just to see if there was anything useful. This is such an obvious feature that I’m convinced I just went stupid for a while and didn’t read the button that enabled it, surely they didn’t omit it.

For these 3 reasons, I removed it.  Just like they said it would, it came out with no issue.

Giving an Electric RC Plane an Afterburner

RC Afterburner

The folks at Flitetest decided to add some extra power to an electric DH.100 Vampire RC plane by adding a butane afterburner. After some testing, and a bit of fire, they were able to make it fly.

Their afterburner uses a small butane canister for fuel. A servo motor actuates the valve on the canister, forcing fuel into a tube. This tube is set up to regulate the flow of butane and ensure it vaporizes before reaching the afterburner.

At the afterburner, a circular piece of tubing with holes is used to dispense fuel, much like a barbecue. This tube is connected to one side of a stun gun’s flyback generator, and the metal surrounding it is connected to the other. The stun gun creates sparks across the gap and ignites the fuel.

With the extra components added, the landing gear was removed to save weight and the plane was given a nice coat of paint. They started it up for a test run, and the plane’s body caught fire. After some rework, they managed to take off, start the afterburner, fly around, and belly land the plane. It achieved some additional thrust, but also sounds and looks awesome.

After the break, check out a video walkthrough and demo. We promise you fire.

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