Hackaday Links: April 17, 2016

There have been really cool happenings in the CNC world for the past few years. There is a recent trend of portable, handheld CNC machines. Yes, you read that correctly. This SIGGRAPH paper demonstrated a handheld router with a camera and a few motors that would make slight corrections to the position of the router. Load in a .DXF or other vector file, and you become the largest CNC machine on the planet. We saw it at one of the Maker Faires, and about a year ago the team soft launched. Apparently, the Shaper router is gearing up for production and [Ben Krasnow] got the first look with a full 17-minute demonstration of [Ben] fabricating parts out of aluminum. It looks like a great tool, and we can’t wait to see this thing in production.

Octoprint is the best way to give a 3D printer a web interface. The dev for Octoprint, [Gina Häußge] used to have a sponsor for developing Octoprint. They’re gone now, which means it’s time for [Gina] to start a Patreon. If you use Octoprint, you know it’s worth more than a dollar a month.

Really bad USB power supplies are nothing new around these parts. There are cheap USB supplies that don’t have any fuses, don’t have any circuit protection, and are noisy as hell. This is the worst USB power supply the Internet has to offer. It’s from one of the relatively new designs of USB power supplies that steps down mains voltage to five USB A ports. [bigclive]’s teardown revealed this was passing half wave mains voltage to the USB ports. It can light up a light bulb. It can kill your phone. The fault? A pinhole in the insulation between the windings of the transformer.

Electronic conference badges are getting excessive, but they can be so much cooler. Here’s Atmel’s take on a high-end conference badge. It has a display, sensors, WiFi, Bluetooth, runs Android, and has 512MB of RAM, 4GB of Flash. It’s a freakin’ mini tablet meant to last for three days.

Speaking of Atmel, they’re having a few growing pains in the merger with Microchip. Employees coming to Microchip from Atmel are getting their severance benefits cut in half. Apparently, the severance benefits given to Atmel employees were not communicated to Microchip before the merger.

Raspberry Pi Zeros are back in production. There’s also going to be a mysterious new feature. Is it WiFi? No, it’s confirmed not to be WiFi. How about Ethernet? Bluetooth? an RTC? Full size HDMI port? Actual pin headers? Audio port? Improved CPU / RAM? No, children. It’s none of these.

C.H.I.P., the nine dollar computer that made some waves last summer, has on-board Flash storage. That means you don’t need to put an image on an SD card. The folks behind C.H.I.P. have recently improved the method for flashing a new OS onto their tiny board: a Chrome plugin. Yes, this sounds completely bizarre, but Chrome plugins are becoming increasingly popular for USB gadget wizardry. You can program an Arduino with Chrome and log USB power profiles with a USB tester and Chrome. You will ride eternal, shiny and chrome.

20 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 17, 2016

  1. atmel badge looks impressive until you realize its emmc ram and 100MHz cortex m4 arm :) then you are like, oh, that old overpriced piece off shit, I bet bom alone is >$50, more than real quad core tablet retail

    1. and merger troubles:
      “hard realities of a semiconductor industry going through a historic consolidation amid slowing revenues and rising costs.”

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAaaa, rising costs, slowing revenues, doom and gloom and whats that? 6 BILLION smackers burning hole in the pocket? yeah right
      Sanghi sounds like Gordon Gekko/Edward Lewis type of scumbag, exclusively short term vision.

      1. only because it is missing any net connectivity, no wifi and no Ethernet. If it would include WiFi, that would be the best feature they could add. I wonder if they can slap an ESP8266 there and sell it for $6.

  2. Fuck Ebon Upton. He came to our hackerspace, telling us there wasn’t a new iteration of the pi coming out (back when it was the 256mb of ram version) and actively sold the original pi at our hackerspace. It wasn’t 3 days later that the 512mb version came out. Don’t trust him denying anything. He has no problem lying.

  3. That’s not a convention badge, it’s a tricorder onna string. Watch the demo video to see all the sensors it has.

    Chrome plugins for USB, check out Vysor. There’s a good reason to always leave USB Debugging enabled on your Android phone. If you break the display and digitizer, Vysor can push its Android part to the phone then mirror the display to a window on your computer. I used it to backup stuff from a Galaxy S4 that did a faceplant onto a tile floor.

  4. Chrome can access USB devices? That is multiple kinds of troubling from a security perspective. What is a browser doing at that layer of the operating system anyway?

    The fact that it has such low level access would make it possible for Google, or someone leveraging an exploit, to read anything on your machine since the browser has the ability to enumerate the bus, perform raw data transfers, and to perform special functions.

    The browser updates automatically by way of a massive binary blob, it’d be trivial for Google to push a specific build that could read encryption keys from anywhere on the machine or even plant a malicious firmware update on a device, including a mobile phone, without raising any flags (The code is signed after all, and the browser would already be running with root / LOCALSYSTEM level permissions, needed to talk directly to USB devices). There’s a good chance that has already happened, we don’t know what is in the National Security Letters the NSA sends out, and there has to be a reason why an Apple Fanboi like the US president loves Google so much (Actively blocking the FTC’s investigations for violating anti-trust laws, hiring Google employees for high-level government jobs, etc).

    1. I don’t think Chrome/Chromium accesses USB devices with any special privileges, at least not on Linux. You need to give your user/group read and write access to the device via udev rules to use it in Chrome, just like you would for any other libusb client software running locally.

      I think Chrome/Chromium does include a SUID “sandbox” executable, but it’s not because of USB.

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