Hackaday Links: March 28, 2010

Cardboard record player

[Yen] tipped us off about this cardboard record player. It’s a marketing tool that you receive in the mail. Inside the cardboard packaging is a record and the packaging itself can be folded into a player.

Hackable handheld

The NanoNote is a tiny handheld housing a lot of power for a small price. It ships running openWRT and sports a full keyboard, 336MHz processor, 32 MB ram, and 2 GB of flash memory. Not bad for $99. [Thanks Drone via Linux Devices]

Virtual page flipping physical interface

Love reading ebooks but miss flipping through the pages? [Marcin Szewczyk] developed this interface that lets you flip a couple of sheets of plastic to turn and fan through pages on the screen.

Augmented reality tat

Not interested in supporting an ink artist or just can’t decide on the design? Perhaps you should get an augmented reality marker tattooed on your arm and have the art digitally added for those who have already made the switch away from using their analog-only eyes. [Thanks DETN8R via Asylum]

Cooking with a CPU

[Bo3bo3] is practicing the art of cooking with processors but he’s bumped things up a notch. Instead of cooking inside a computer case, he removed the processor from the board and made it USB powered. [Thanks Waseem]

30 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: March 28, 2010

  1. Wow, you guys must be awfully young to think of the cardboard record player as novel. Those things were around 30 years ago when I was a kid…and probably before then, too!

  2. Wow hackaday, get out of my head! I was going to post something in the comments about AR marker tats so you can chat on webcam in the nude, but I had a pretty good buzz on and thought better of it.

  3. oh common the usb powered cpu hot plate “hack” is completely worthless. At least when you use a processor connected to your actual computer you have some of the geek factor of saving the environment (to a degree), but this is just stupid.

  4. “(Does the pencil lubricate the record slide surface with graphite? If so it might be the only cool thing about it, hacking-wise.)”

    No, does that stop it being cool then?


  5. For a second, I was excited about the Nano, until I read the specs.

    While prettier, the Nano doesn’t seem much better than a Zipit Z2(MIPS 336Mhz vs ARM 312Mhz, 32 MB RAM, QVGA screens), except the Nano has 2 gigs flash instead of barely enough to boot.

    On the other hand, the Zipit also has b/g wireless, while the Nano would need a USB dongle or SDIO. Do they make microSD sized SDIO wireless?

    A nicer case and some flash doesn’t seem to justify $99 USD instead of $50 if you need to bring your own wireless.

    Am I missing something? Is the Jz4720 a much nicer chip than the PXA270?

  6. @zerth Right – the Z2 is a hell of a lot better than this “open” handheld. And yes, MicroSDIO wireless cards are out there – for another $50-60 more.

    A Z2 also has MicroSD either way – so, I’d rather go Z2 than Ben. And it’s cheaper – less than $50 versus $150+ to import, deal with customs forms (each Ben imported into the US needs some FCC form to clear customs as it’s not been FCC tested, apparently), and overseas shipping from China.

  7. The Z2 is a great deal, but has one major drawback, unless I missed something. Is there no peripheral hardware expansion port? On the Nanonote, I could at least plug in a multi I/O adapter giving me keyboard, mouse, serial, parallel, ethernet, and four USB ports(likely overkill) or something as simple and tiny as a micro Bluetooth USB adapter. If it just had some sort of hardware port it could be used for a whole additional set of control applications…

  8. Does anyone know where the actual distribution in use is? For another project, I’m wondering how they got X running (well) on only 133 MHz CPU with 32MB RAM.

    I know they say it’s “OpenWRT Based”, but OpenWRT doesn’t seem to use X.

  9. I dunno about the Nano thing. Big claims to open-source, but I couldn’t FIND any schematics. And it looks like it uses CoB, plus a bunch of relatively custom components (case, keyboard, etc.) I guess it’s still “open source” in SOME sense, but if my chances of actually building one are effectively nil, I’d just as soon have something else. It looks more like a typical showcase “reference design”…

  10. if you scale up the performance to price, 128mb ram and 1.2ghz for $400, no wifi. 1.5ghz 160mb ram for $500.. just shop around for good cheap laptops, you can get way more power for your moneyz

  11. @Hitek146 The Z2 has an expansion port on back(no power, so I think it only does USB client), as well as pads on the board for TTL serial.

    @Dakota miniSD actually. Almost worse than microSD, really.

  12. @jeditalian

    It seems like there’s a ‘price floor’ for certain gadgets in a form factor, so that even using the cheapest components possible, a nextbook sized piece of tech will never be able to be cheaper than X. I have no numbers, but I think it’s a concept to explore.

  13. The nanonote is actually MUCH more limited since its USB is device – NOT HOST. No keyboard, no wifi, no mouse.

    Nice try, but I’ve already got a Linux palmtop with no built-in networking (Zaurus) and it’s really a drag. No wifi == no sale.

  14. While it’s not the same the cardboard phonograph reminded me of the cut out Archies record on the back a breakfast cereal boxes. In today’s world they would have you go online and enter a promo code to download a mp3 file. 30 years ago I was 23, but don’t recall a cardboard phonograph made available to the general public. Then., like now I may not have been in position the receive on as part of any commercial promotion. The girl in the video razor directed us to is is a honey.

  15. The hotplate is stupid. The USB port would instantly go into an over-current condition. Zero watts. Period. Idiotic and not worthy of Hackaday.

    I like the little Linux box though.

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