If you’ve been hungry for more power for your microcontroller projects, but reluctant to dump your investment in Arduino shields or the libraries and community knowledge that go with them all, Digilent has you covered. Their new chipKIT boards are built around the Microchip PIC32 MCU…a powerful 32-bit chip that until recently was left out of the cross-platform scene. A majority of code and quite a number of Arduino shields will work “out of the box” with the chipKIT, and the familiar development tools are available for all three major operating systems: Windows, Mac and Linux.
We first mentioned these a couple weeks ago, but the software was unavailable at the time. Seeing the development tools in action was quite unexpected…
Continue reading “BAMF2011: chipKIT is Arduino to the power of 32”
Back in 2004, Apple hobbyist/guru [Michael Mahon] built a cluster of Apple IIe main boards dubbed the “AppleCrate” as an experiment in parallel computing. Now that a few years have passed, he is back with a new iteration of the device, aptly named AppleCrate II.
AppleCrate II was built to address some of the design limits of his first cluster project as well as to expand his parallel computing capabilities. His gripes with the first model were primarily structural in nature. The new system is organized in horizontal layers, using metal standoffs between each main board, rather than relying on a shaky wooden superstructure to keep things together. He also found his previous 8-processor configuration a bit limiting, so the AppleCrate II has 17 nodes – 16 slaves and one main board dedicated to running the operation. The cluster even uses his own homebrew networking stack known as NadaNet to enable communications between the boards.
The project is pretty impressive, so be sure to swing by his site if you want to learn more. He has a ton of technical details there, as well as copies of all of the software he used to get the cluster up and running.
[Harishankar] has posted a video on his blog demonstrating the ability to control devices using the Microsoft Kinect sensor via IR. While controlling devices with Kinect is nothing new, he is doing something a little different than you have seen before. The Kinect directly interfaces with his Mac Mini and tracks his movements via OpenNI. These movements are then compared to a list of predefined gestures, which have been mapped to specific IR functions for controlling his home theater.
Once the gestures have been acknowledged, they are then relayed from the Mac via a USB-UIRT to various home theater components. While there are not a lot of details fleshed out in the blog post, [Harishankar] says he will gladly forward his code to you if you request it via email.
Thanks to [Peter] for the tip.
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is preparing for Halloween with this standby-mode pumpkin. Inside there’s an LED plugging a hole that is drilled just to the skin of the gourd-like vegetable. It fades in and out similar to a sleeping Mac, using what we think is a vastly over-powered circuit based on an ATtiny2313 (1k of programming space for this?). But we still like the idea and we’d enjoy seeing it scaled up to a full LED matrix.
We’ve come to expect pumpkin hacks from EMSL and they don’t disappoint. Last year was a mechanized version, and the year before an LED schematic symbol. So what about your creation? With about one week left, take a look around and see if you can’t create something as wonderful as the Pie of Sauron.
Finally, some hardware hacking on an iPad. Finding the 3G connection that came with the iPad lacking, this industrious hacker yanked it out and replaced it with the guts from a MiFi. At the cost of his GPS, he’s gained a better connection and is now a wifi hotspot. It wasn’t horribly complex, but he did have to do a tiny bit more than just plug and play.
A new beta build of VirtualBox, Sun’s Oracle’s free x86 virtualization software, makes it possible to run Mac OS X as a guest operating system…no shenanigans or flaming hoops to jump through, just pop in the $30 retail Snow Leopard upgrade disc and go. This had previously only been possible with some awkward Hackintosh-style maneuvering, or using recent editions of commercial virtualization products.
Continue reading “VirtualBox beta runs Mac OS X”
[Jake Howe] brought his 1984 Mac up-to-date by cramming new guts inside of the classic case. The goal from the start was to run OS X Snow Leopard on the machine without altering the externals. He heated and formed acrylic around the original CRT screen to make a bezel for the replacement LCD screen. The floppy drive slot was used to hide an SD card slot and USB port. The original serial port openings were even outfitted with their own USB ports. In the end he did a brilliant job of hiding the Hackintosh mini-ITX board and components inside this iconic enclosure.