[Tyler] has had his electrochemical machining hack up for a while now. His final version uses a pump to move electrolyte out through the etching head and onto the workpiece. This keeps fresh electrolyte in the etching region and clears out the insoluble material. We see how this could be attached to a CNC system and used to etch PCBs without the use of a special inkjet printer, toner transfer, or laser etching machine.
In the military, you have to carry tons of stuff. This is something we hear and see all the time. They are always trying to come up with ways to reduce the weight or quantity of the things that you bring into the field. This power generating backpack harnesses the natural up and down motion of your steps to produce power. This could reduce the amount of batteries carried into the field greatly. That’s what they say anyway, how many batteries do soldiers normally carry around? Aside from that point, we think it is pretty cool. We could see using this to keep our cell phone or GPS charged on long hiking and camping trips. You could also build something of your own to work similarly.
Reader [GRitchie] wrote in with an interesting find in his new TV set: with just some minor soldering it was possible to tap into an unencrypted hi-def video stream.
HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), used by Blu-Ray players and cable or satellite receivers, normally ensures a DRM-protected link between the device and a compatible display. Any properly-licensed device that forwards HDCP content (such as an HDMI switch box) is expected to provide encrypted output; those that don’t may get blacklisted by the system and become expensive paperweights. It’s something of an annoyance for users who feel this oversteps fair use applications such as time-shifting.
[GRitchie] found that his new TV with “InstaPort” Fast HDMI Switching didn’t perform this re-encryption step between the set’s internal switcher and the next stage in decoding. Soldering just eight wires directly from the switching chip’s output to an HDMI cable provided an unencrypted output that could then be received by a PC for later replay.
What’s not clear at this point is whether the capability is peculiar to just this one make and model, or applies to anything with the new Fast HDMI Switching. If the latter, it will be interesting to see how this plays out…nearly all of the major HDTV manufacturers are evaluating InstaPort for new sets, which would make any attempt at HDCP blacklisting awkward, to say the least.
Researchers at the University of Utah have been able to detect movement in a room based on variations in wireless signals. Accurate to about a meter, they are using a 34 node wireless network to do their sensing. As a person moves, they change the signals, and can therefore be detected. They state one possible application being rescue workers deploying multiple wireless nodes around a building to find people located inside.
We caught a glimpse of this Basic Stamp 2 controlled electronic slot machine on YouTube. We’re very grateful that [Mike Donahue] was willing to share more about his project with us.
He uses tactile switches instead of dropping coins in a slot, and a lever-style switch sets the one-armed bandit in motion. The action is displayed on a 1.5″ µOLED-128-G1 screen that has its own controller (which explains how this operates so well with the relatively slow BS2). For realism there’s some pretty good sound effects provided by a piezo speaker. We’ll look at the code, graphics, and some video after the break. Continue reading “Skip Vegas With This BS Slot Machine”
A new operating system, code named Barrelfish is being developed by Microsoft research labs and ETH Zurich in Switzerland. This operating system is being built with multi core operations foremost in priority. It is supposed to be extremely scalable and able to function on a very wide range of hardware. You can download the current snapshot of it on their site and dig into the source code, released under a 3-clause BSD style license. If you would like to learn the primary differences between this OS and Windows or Linux, you can read this PDF.
One of the best parts of building a coil gun is seeing just how fast you can get that slug to move through the air. [Daniel] built this speed meter to be able to see exactly that. It is comprised of two optical sensors, one at each end of a barrel. As the projectile passes them, its speed is calculated using an Atmega16. Since the distance between the sensors is pre determined, its only some simple math to figure out the speed of an object passing between them. The result is then displayed on a nice looking blue LCD.
If the blue accent lighting and acrylic stylings look familiar, that’s because we’ve seen [Daniel] before. He’s the one that built the portable coil pistol.