Hackaday Links: July 12, 2015

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Adafruit is working on a series of videos that’s basically Sesame Street for electronics. G is for Ground is out, where [Adabot] discovers pipes and lightning rods are connected to ground. Oh, the rhyming. Here’s the rest of the videos so far. We can’t wait for ‘Q is for Reactive Power’.

Think you’re good enough to build an airlock 70 cubic meters in volume that can cycle once every thirty seconds? How about building a 500 mile long steel tube with zero expansion joints across active fault lines? Can you stop a 3 ton vehicle traveling at 700 miles per hour in fifteen seconds? These are the near-impossible engineering challenges demanded of the hyperloop. The fact that no company will pay for this R&D should tell you something, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t contribute.

Calling everyone that isn’t from away. [Paul] lives near Augusta, Maine and can’t find a hackerspace. Augusta is the capital of the state, so there should be a hackerspace nearby. If you’re in the area, go leave a message on his profile.

Last week we found memristors you can buy. A few years ago, [Nyle] found them while hiking. They were crudded up shell casings, and experiments with sulfur and copper produced a memristor-like trace on a curve tracer.

Need a way to organize resistors? Use plastic bags that are the same size as trading cards.

The Arduino is too easy. It must be packaged into a format that is impossible to breadboard. It should be shaped like a banana. Open source? Don’t need that. The pins are incorrectly labelled, and will be different between manufacturing runs.

36 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: July 12, 2015

  1. “The fact that no company will pay for this R&D should tell you something,”

    Worse, those same companies that will not pay a dime has absolutely ZERO compunction about taking your free R&D and turning it into many many many dollars. So knock yourself out – there’s corporations out there just waiting to turn your genius into their billions.

    1. Yes and that has been considered in the new WTFDuino design. Several pads form a perfect arc with one pad being an exception and falling completely out of place. So, if, for example, you have taken engineering to level savant and you can design a bread board where the holes form perfect arcs then it still wont f{n} fit into the breadboard making it competitively just as useless and a pain in the ass as the Arduino!

  2. I’m not sure there’s enough WTF on that arduino. I feel that a mini-USB connector is a much too normal way to transfer data to connect the USB. I feel that it should have a mini-firewire connector, but the data transfer should still be USB, so you have to use one of the odd USB-Firewire converters, like you get for video cameras and stuff. Alternatively, you could have a full-size female USB socket, requiring one of the odd male-male USB cables which shouldn’t really exist but do, or a mini-USB connector, like there currently is, but not a USB connection; Use an audio bootloader, and then require the audio signal to be sent into the video out channel on a AV-out USB cable for a slightly obscure camcorder. That’d confuse them. Screw simplicity.

    1. How about an IRDA port for data transfer, or use an audio cassette tape drive (like I used with my C64 when I was a kid) to load code / save data to / from the Arduino?

    1. That’s not quite right. 3 ton @ 700 mph into concrete is not technically stopping it. You’re just converting the primary vector into a multitude of new secondary vectors that have a component that is cancelling out components of other new secondary vectors creating a new net vector of zero.

        1. Cheaper than ballistics gel, water…
          Have it enter a pool with a tapered depth at an acute angle.
          I’m just guessing, but recall how a mud hole would slow down my pickup when I was younger.

  3. The Hyperloop is one of those things where once someone forks over the cash to get it going, it will be unstoppable, but that is a high initial barrier to entry. That “someone” will also become wealthy beyond their wildest imaginings if they play their cards right. It would solve a great many problems, the one I’m looking forward to most is the end of the phrase “slow boat from China.”

  4. About resistor organization: You can take normal plastic bags (more than 2x the width of your resistors, try sandwich bags!), parchment paper, a pencil, and a ruler:

    – Fold the parchment paper in half.
    – Make a line that’s parallel to the cut with the pencil and ruler – halfway.
    – Put the bag into the parchment paper
    – Trace along the line with the soldering iron.

    I am not responsible for any damage this may cause to you, other people, or property. It worked for me though!

      1. Translation: oldlish to younglish –
        You can use a soldering iron to plastic weld ziplock bags into smaller sizes but you have to use something like parchment paper to stop the plastic sticking to the soldering iron. It helps to draw lines on the parchmet paper with a pencil first.

  5. I watched the adabot video but i was a bit underwhelmed. I learned that conductive things connected to the ground are “grounded”, but I didnt learn why.
    “Why do some plugs have three prongs?”
    “Because they are connected to the ground.”
    “But why do we connect them to the ground?”
    “Duh, isn’t it obvious?”

  6. Augusta may be the capital, but it’s the 3rd smallest state capital in the US with a population around 20K. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta,_Maine – we got beat by Vermont and South Dakota.) Portland would be a much likelier place for a makerspace to exist (66K population, 500K+ in the metro area), and there are a couple local maker groups, but nothing well established and hardware-centric at this point that I’ve found.

    1. Sounds like time to start from scratch…
      Find friends, high school shop teachers, businesses, a cheap/available space, time…,
      Go to the web and get boilerplates for legal documents to start a makerspace.
      Get the word out, pool resources (tools, junk boxes, spare parts, furniture)
      Maybe, like the one here, it will be open one evening a week, but it’s a start.

      1. I agree – if only I had the time to pour into it. :) It’s hard when my hacking time is <1hr blocks before work or after the kids are in bed. For others in the area, here is what I know of at the moment – though I haven't been in touch with any of these groups yet personally.

        Hack Portland – fairly regular weekly gathering:

        Waterville, trying –

        Kennebec County/Augusta area facebook group:

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