Logic Simulator Atanua Goes Free, Possibly Open Source

The history of software is littered with developers that built a great product, gave people a reasonable option to license the software, and ended up making a pittance. There’s a reason you don’t see shareware these days – nobody pays. It looks like [Gates] had a point with his Open Letter to Hobbyists.

Such is the case with Atanua. [Jari] built a nice little graphical logic simulator that has tens of thousands of downloads, and is being used in dozens of universities. [Jari] has sold only about 60 licenses for Atanua, netting him only a few thousand Euro. You can’t develop software with a pittance, so now [Jari] is giving Atanua away. This neat little logic simulator has reached the end of its life, the license is free, and [Jari] is out of the business.

This isn’t an ideal situation, but [Jari] is strongly considering open-sourcing Atanua. The code is a little bit of a mess at the moment, and cleaning it up will require a bit of work. [Jari] is leaving the option to buy a license for Atanua open, and anyone who wants to see this bit of software open sourced could buy a license or hundred.

While this isn’t great news for [Jari], if you’re looking for a neat tool to learn digital logic, you now have a very nice free option. Atanua simulates individual logic gates, 74-series chips, and even an 8051 microcontroller in real-time (up to about 1 kHz), with enough buttons, LEDs, and displays to do some very cool stuff. It’s more than enough to learn digital logic on, and good enough for a test bed for some odd and bizarre projects you might have floating around your head.

Geodesic Structures that aren’t just Domes

Geodesic structures

[Brian Korsedal] and his company Arcology Now! have developed a great geodesic building system which makes architectural structures that aren’t just limited to domes. They 3D scan the terrain, generate plans, and make geodesic steel space frame structures which are easy to assemble and can be in any shape imaginable.

Their clever design software can create any shape and incorporate uneven terrains into the plans. The structures are really easy to construct with basic tools, and assembly is extremely straight forward because the pole labels are generated by the design software. Watch this construction time lapse video.

At the moment, ordering a structure fabricated by the company is your only option. But it shouldn’t be too hard to fabricate something similar if you have access to a hackerspace. It may even be worth getting in touch with Arcology now! as they do seem happy collaborating to make art like the Amyloid Project, and architectural structures for public spaces and festivals like Lucidity. Find out what they are up to on the Arcology Now! Facebook page.

Would this be perfect for what you’ve been thinking about building? Let us know what that ‘something’ is in the comments below. Continue reading “Geodesic Structures that aren’t just Domes”

An interview with [David] of Ultimaker

cura

After interviewing the creator of Slic3r and the folks at Shapeways, [Andrew] is back again with his adventures in 3D printer videography and an interview with [David Braam] of Ultimaker

About a year ago, [David] looked at the state of the art in 3D printer control and Replicator G. While Replicator G, along with Pronterface and Repetier-Host both convert 3D models into G-code files as well as control the printer while its squeezing plastic out onto a bed. [David] thought the current state of these RepRap host programs were janky at best, and certainly not the best user experience for any home fabricator. This lead him to create Cura, a very slick and vastly improved piece of host software for the Ultimaker.

Cura isn’t just a fancy front end on an already existing slicer engine; [David] created his own slicing algorithm to turn .STL files into G-code that’s immensely faster than skeinforge. Where skeinforge could take an hour to slice a complex model, Cura does the same job in minutes.

There are also a bunch of cool features available in Cura: you can rotate any part before sending it to the printer, as well as pulling voxels directly from your Minecraft world and sending them to your printer. Very, very cool stuff, and if you’re running a Ultimaker or any other RepRap, you might want to check it out.

Continue reading “An interview with [David] of Ultimaker”

Playing SNES with an R/C controller

Normally when we see an R/C transmitter used in a build we’re prepared for robots, quadcopters, or UAVs. [Alex] found a new use for his Futaba radio – hooking it up to his Super Nintendo.

We’ve seen a lot of builds using game controllers as interfaces to other hardware. The N64 media remote comes to mind, as does the NES iPod dock. Outside of a few builds to automatically win in-game currency for you, we haven’t seen much of anything to control a video game with additional electronics. [Alex]’s build happily bucks that trend, and technically gives the SNES an analog controller.

The build uses an mBed microcontroller to capture the radio’s button and stick positions. This is sent through a two shift registers to produce the 16-bit packet required of the SNES controller protocol. [Alex] posted all the software for his build, and from the looks of it the code seems pretty portable. [Alex] says he’s working on getting his Sega Saturn running with his Futaba, so we can’t wait to see some Panzer Dragoon action. Check out [Alex] demoing his controller with Gradius III after the break.

Continue reading “Playing SNES with an R/C controller”

Body heat sensing PC security system

lockifnothot

[Didier Stevens] wrote in to tell us about a little piece of PC security software he put together recently. His application, LockIfNotHot, works in conjunction with your PC as well as an IR temperature sensor in order to lock your computer the moment you step away.

The theory behind the system is pretty simple. Basically, the IR temp sensor monitors when you are at your desk, sensing your presence by the heat your body gives off. As soon as you step away however, it locks the computer since the temperature of the surrounding area immediately drops. It’s pretty simple, but as you can see in the video below, it works quite well.

The software has configurable set points and timeout values, which make it flexible enough to adapt to your specific situation. He happens to use an off-the-shelf IR sensor, but we assume any USB temperature module will do the trick. If you happen to work with sensitive information but often forget to lock your workstation, this is the program for you!

Continue reading to see a quick demonstration of his software in action.

Continue reading “Body heat sensing PC security system”

555 Timer circuit simulation software

ltspiceiv_demo

[FightCube] wrote in recommending a very helpful piece of circuit simulation software for those of you still constructing entries for the 555 design contest.   LTSpiceIV, available from Linear Technology, allows you to construct moderately complex 555 driven circuits including common components such as capacitors, resistors, diodes, FETs, and more.  Once you have constructed your circuit, you can view the results in an easy to use visualization window, without ever having to touch your soldering iron or a breadboard.  According to [FightCube], the software is fairly easy to use, and best of all, it’s free.

He has shared one basic circuit he built as a demonstration of the software’s capabilities, and promises to share more in order to motivate others to enter the contest.

Android Development 101 – Part 6:Getting ready for Market!

In this tutorial we are going to cover packaging one of our applications into an .apk file and getting it ready for the Android Market.  After we have completed this tutorial you should be able to use the tools provided in the AndroidSDK to sign your application, put the application on your phone and install it or send it to the Android Market.  These will be great assets to have if you decide to develop applications that you may want to charge for.  This tutorial will also be a change from the normal ones because it will include little, if any, code.