Sci-Fi Contest Prize Acquisition Issues — Oh Noes!

sci-fi-contest-prize-woes

We spent quite a bit of time picking out prizes for the Sci-Fi contest. But wouldn’t you know it, literally the day after announcing the contest we cued up The Amp Hour and heard about a worldwide stock shortage (34:00) of BeagleBone Black boards. About a week later Adafruit ran an explanation of the issues. It became clear why we were having issues sources a quintet of boards so that we could deliver on our prize offer.

To further compound problems we a somewhat smaller issue sourcing Spark Core boards. We put in an order for a quintet of them when we posted the contest; at the time they were supposed to be shipping in late March, but now shipping estimates have been delayed to mid-April. Assuming no more delays these should be available by the time the contest ends at the end of April so keep your fingers crossed.

We have a good relationship with the folks over at Spark Core and can probably ask them to help us out if we do get in a bind. But we don’t think anyone is going to be able to deliver the BeagleBone Black boards (which we have on backorder) in time for the end of the contest. So here’s the deal: if you win and really want these exact boards in the prize package you select, we’re going to do what needs to be done to get it for you, eventually. If you don’t want to wait and there is a suitable alternative we’ll make that happen.

We wondered what people are doing if they don’t want to wait out these shortages. Are there any other open-hardware projects that are similar in price and functionality? Our gut says no (that’s why they’re in such high demand). But we’d love to hear about some alternatives. Let us know by leaving a comment below.

You are Fined 1 Credit for a Violation of the Verbal Morality Statute

demolition-man-verbal-morality-monitor

Some citizens can control their language and others cannot. What is a civilized society to do? In a dystopian future you can count on electronic monitoring. But wait, the future is now… or it will be in a few weeks. [Tdicola] is building the verbal morality monitor from Demolition Man as his entry in Hackaday’s ongoing Sci-Fi Contest.

Currently the project is in the early planning phase, but holy cow this is a fantastic idea! For those that didn’t see the glorious 1993 feature film, the young [Stallone] pictured above is accepting a ticket (as in: he must pay for his violation) from the tattle-tale wall-mounted computer. Everything about this device is completely feasible using today’s tech. It needs voice recognition and a list of naughty words, a way to play a pre-recorded message, and a printer to spit out the tickets. The build log for the project outlines all of this, as well as possible cost and sources for each.

We’ve been wondering who it was that injected an Artificial Intelligence into our project hosting system. We see both [tdicola] and [colabot] are on the team for this build. The names are too conveniently similar to be a coincidence, don’t you think?

Hacking the Sci-Fi Contest Team Requirement

923531394944874135

We saw that some readers were not entirely happy with the team requirement for our Sci-Fi contest, which is running right now. We figured that those who do not work well with others might commit a bit of fraud to get around the requirement. But we’re delighted that someone found a much more creative solution. Why not enlist an AI to collaborate on your project?

[Colabot] is a hacker profile over on hackaday.io which is driven by ELIZA, a computer program that achieves limited interaction through natural language. Supposedly you add [Colabot] to your project and as it questions. We asked one on the profile page and are still awaiting the response. We think this itself could be a qualifying entry for the Sci-Fi contest if someone can find the right thematic spin to put on it.

As far as contest entries go there are only seven so far. Since everyone who submits an entry gets a T-shirt, and there are 15 total prize packages, we encourage you to post your entry as soon as possible. We want to see teams from hackerspaces and we can cryptically tell you that good things come to teams who post their project with the “sci-fi-contest” tag early!

Sci-Fi Contest Prizes Make You Drool Like a Rancor

sci-fi-contest-v1000

It’s been awhile since we hosted a contest, now is the time to up our game. You have a few weeks to come up with the best Sci-Fi themed hack. We’ve amassed a number of prizes well worth fighting for, and the challenge will be won by a combination of clever, collaborative, and open. The booty includes rad (yeah, we said it) tools like Oscilloscopes, Logic Sniffers, Solder Stations, and Dev Boards, as well as themed offerings like classic Sci-Fi films and tchotchkes from our favorite fictional universes.

Yesterday we announced that Hackaday Projects is open for public registration and now we’re taking the new site for a spin. Previous contests like the Trinket and Fubarino versions became unwieldy for the Hackaday crew just because of the sheer volume of entries. The new interface will make it much easier. We also want to test out the collaborative features so one of the requirements for entry is to participate as a team. The winners will be picked based on how well the project is documented, how open (as in software and hardware) it is, how it fits the theme, and on how well the team worked together.

The contest starts right now and ends at 12:00:00am Pacific time (we know a lot of you like to push deadlines) on April 29th, 2014. Head over to the contest page to see all of the details. Let the games begin!

[Official Contest Page]

[Background Image Source]

Interfacing with the HTC Desire Display and its Touch Panel

Part of [Linas]‘ submission to last year’s Cypress Smarter Life Challenge involved using the HTC Desire display and its touch screen. This particular phone includes a full-color active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) display that has a 3.7″ diagonal and a 480×800 resolution, resulting in a 252ppi pixel density. Using a MSO2024B oscilloscope, [Linas] originally started his adventure with the touchscreen by sniffing the I2C signals. As some math was required to extract the data, he later found the HTC Desire source code and included it on his STM32F429 (so much for reverse engineering!).

After spending many hours searching for the AMOLED display and controller datasheets, [Linas] resorted to pay a company to get the resources he needed. He produced a custom-made PCB to provide the display with the required voltages, as well as offering a 0.1″ connector to interface with it. A RGB565 interface is used to communicate with the screen so only 65k out of the 16 million colors are used. You may download all the program files and datasheets in [Linas] write-up.

Fubarino Contest Winners

fubrino-contest-winners

It is with great pleasure that I announce the winners of the Fubarino Contest (alphabetical order): Brian, Daniel, Dave, Dominic, Eric, Gerben, James, Joel, Joseph, Laurens, Luis, Mats, Mike, Nathanael, Pete, Peter, Sebastian, Taciuc, Vojtěch, and Wes. They rose to the challenge and added our URL as an Easter Egg in their microcontroller project. Their hacks were chosen for their creativity, as well as completeness of presentation. Congratulations! Links to all twenty project features are after the break in reverse order in which they were originally published. To see all the entries hit up the contest tag.

We also want to take a moment to thank Microchip Technology Inc. They not only put up twenty Fubarino SD boards as prizes, they are also covering the cost of shipping to each winner. Many thanks!

We thought it was interesting that the twenty winners live in 11 different countries: Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, UK, and the USA. Hackaday really is a global community!

If you are one of the winners please leave your acceptance speech in the comments section. This is also a great place to leave feedback — if you didn’t submit an entry we want to know why!

[Read more...]

Fubarino Contest: Splash Screen On System Reset

logo

Here’s a Fubarino contest entry for all those homebrew computer nuts out there. [Danjovic] modified an NTSC/PAL display adapter to show an ASCII version of the Hackaday logo when his board first boots up.

The build is based on [Daryl Rictor]‘s Video Display Adapter intended for use with homebrew computers, microprocessor projects, and any other minimalist digital setup that needs an NTSC or PAL video display. It’s a surprisingly simple circuit, made of a few logic ICs and an ATmega8.

[Danjovic] modified this video display adapter with an easter egg: if one pin on the ATmega8 is shorted when the board is powered on, a neat Hackaday splash screen is displayed for several seconds before falling back to the stock display of a blinking cursor. [Dnajovic] converted the ASCII Hackaday logo with the help of a short Python script and loaded it onto the AVR with a small firmware change.

Video of the boot screen in action below.


This is an entry in the Fubarino Contest for a chance at one of the 20 Fubarino SD boards which Microchip has put up as prizes!

[Read more...]