Random number generation is a frequent topic of discussion in projects that involve encryption and security. Intel has just announced a new feature coming to many of their processors that affect random number generation.
The random number generator, which they call Bull Mountain, marks a departure from Intel’s traditional method of generating random number seeds from analog hardware. Bull Mountain relies on all-digital hardware, pitting two inverters against each other and letting thermal noise tip the hand in one direction or the other. The system is monitored at several steps along the way, tuning the hardware to ensure that the random digits are not falling more frequently in one direction or the other. Pairs of 256-bit sequences are then run through a mathematical process to further offset the chance of predictability, before they are then used as a pseudorandom number seed. Why go though all of this? Transitioning to an all-digital process makes it easier and cheaper to reduce the size of microchips.
A new instruction has been added to access this hardware module: RdRand. If it works as promised, this should remove the need for elaborate external hardware as a random number source.
In our hands-on review of the Digilent chipKIT Uno32, we posed the question of what the lasting appeal might be for a 32-bit Arduino work-alike. We felt it needed some novel applications exploiting its special features…not just the same old Arduino sketches with MOAR BITS. After the fractal demo, we’ve hit upon something unique and fun…
Continue reading “chipKIT Sketch: Mini Polyphonic Sampling Synth”
If it sometimes seems that there is only a finite amount of things you can do with your kids, have you ever considered making movies? We don’t mean taking home videos – we’re talking about making actual movies where your kids can orchestrate the action and be the indirect stars of the show.
Maker [Friedrich Kirchner] has been working on an application called MovieSandbox, which is an open-source realtime animation tool. A couple of years in the making, the project is cross-platform compatible on both Windows and Apple computers (with Linux in the works), making it accessible to just about everyone.
His most recent example of the software’s power is a simple digital puppet show, which is sure to please young and old alike. Using sock puppets fitted with special flex sensors, he is able to control his on-screen cartoon characters by simply moving his puppets’ “mouths”. An Arduino is used to pass the sensor data to his software, while also allowing him to dynamically switch camera angles with a series of buttons.
Obviously something like this requires a bit of configuration in advance, but given a bit of time we imagine it would be pretty easy to set up a digital puppet stage that will keep your kids happily occupied for hours on end.
Continue reading to see a quick video of his sock puppet theater in action.
Continue reading “Real-time digital puppetry”
[Joren] likes his digital piano, but it was missing one key component that he wanted to use: the ability to produce vibrato while playing. Vibrato can be done in several different ways on regular pianos, but it seemed as if there was not a lot of consideration given to the effect when designing digital pianos.
He enjoys playing all sorts of music, including solos from Franz Liszt which suggest using vibrato at times, so he decided to build himself a vibrato box. Constructed with a bit of assistance from the friendly folks at Hackerspace Ghent, his “Pidato” incorporates an Arduino and three-axis accelerometer to get the job done.
The Arduino is connected to both the MIDI output of the piano as well as to the accelerometer, which he has mounted on his wrist. While playing, all he needs to do is simply move his hand rapidly to produce the vibrato sound as you can see in the video below. The Arduino code filters out any other sorts of movements to ensure that he does not accidentally trigger the effect when it is not desired.
Check out the video below for a quick demonstration of the Pidato box.
Continue reading “Pidato box adds vibrato effect to digital pianos”
This is a hack in the finest sense of the term. It not only allows you to capture data from an analog oscilloscope for later analysis, but provides you with a great tool if you’re posting on the Internet about your projects. [J8g8j] used an empty cashew container to add a camera mount to the front of his scope. This is possible because the bezel around the display has a groove in it. A bit of careful measuring helped him make an opening that was just right.
You can see that the red cap for the jar holds the camera and gave him a bit of trouble in the original prototype. This version has a tray where camera sits, which replaces the Velcro with didn’t hold the camera level the first time around. He’s also painted the inside of the clear plastic to reduce glare on the oscilloscope readout. Black and white images seem to come out the clearest, but it can be difficult to make out the grid lines. The addition of LEDs to help them stand out is one of the improvements we might see in the future.
[Jonas Kroyer] is a digital photographer, with a fascination with old cameras and pairing the two together sounded like a fun idea. Searching around on the net he fell in love with the design of the Zeiss Ikon Ikonette (1929-31), and found one with a chipped lens.
After dismantling the camera completely, it was found out that he needed the lens/shutter mechanism, the bellows, and the rails that allow the lens to slide back and forth. The bellows were glued to the body of the camera, but some careful prying and they were quickly removed unharmed. Next was to make an adapter so he could attach the lens to a digital DSLR camera, a steel plate and a Nikon Bayonet swiped off of a no name lens holds everything together. Rails were reattached using rivets, and the bellows were glued onto the plate. Other mods include adding small brass knobs to aid in adjustments, and a spring from a ballpoint pen to hold the original shutter open.
The new old lens is said to be easy to operate, and produces some beautiful images. Though since the lens does not have any modern day coatings it does have its drawbacks, like a diamond shaped flare in the middle of the image, which can be good when you want it, or partially removed in photoshop if you don’t.
Shots of this Canon AE-1 camera-gone-digital have a lot of people scratching their heads. Originally there were a lot of “that’s been photoshopped” cries but the video after the break shows that it physically exists. This particular model of camera hasn’t been manufactured since 1984 so there’s little chance that the company’s bringing it back in a digital format. What we have here is a classic camera body with a modern point-and-shoot fit inside. This seems to be a PowerShot SD 870 IS and we’d guess the original lens has been replaced with a plate of glass so as not to affect the PowerShot’s focus, and the “AE-1 Program Digital” screen is probably just an image on the memory card.
We admire the clean mod work necessary to produce this hack.
Continue reading “Classic Canon AE-1 gets a digital upgrade”