Hackaday Links: August 11, 2019

By the time this goes to press, DEFCON 27 will pretty much be history. But badgelife continues, and it’d be nice to have a way of keeping track of all the badges offered. Martin Lebel stepped up to the challenge with a DEF CON 27 badgelife tracker. He’s been tracking the scene since March, and there are currently more than 170 badges, tokens, and shitty add-ons listed. Gotta catch ’em all!

Nice tease, Reuters. We spotted this story about the FAA signing off on beyond-visual-line-of-sight, or BVLOS, operation of a UAV. The article was accompanied by the familiar smiling Amazon logo, leading readers to believe that fleets of Amazon Prime Air drones would surely soon darken the skies with cargoes of Huggies and Tide Pods across the US. It turns out that the test reported was conducted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks along an oil pipeline in the Last Frontier state, and was intended to explore medical deliveries and pipeline surveillance for the oil industry. The only mention of Amazon was that the company reported they’d start drone deliveries in the US “in months.” Yep.

Ever wonder what it takes to get your widget into the market? Between all the testing and compliance requirements, it can be a real chore. Nathaniel tipped us off to a handy guide written by his friend Skippy that goes through the alphabet soup of agencies and regulations needed to get a product to market – CE, RoHS, WEEE, LVD, RED, CE for EMC. Take care of all that paperwork and you’ll eventually get a DoC and be A-OK.

A French daredevil inventor made the first crossing of the English Channel on a hoverboard on Sunday. Yes, we know it’s not an “actual” hoverboard, but it’s as close as we’re going to get with the physics we have access to right now, and being a stand-upon jet engine powered by a backpack full of fuel, it qualifies as pretty awesome. The report says it took him a mere 20 minutes to make the 22-mile (35-km) crossing.


We had a grand time last week around the Hackaday writing crew’s secret underground lair with this delightful Hackaday-Dilbert mashup-inator. Scroll down to the second item on the page and you’ll see what appears to be a standard three-panel Dilbert strip; closer inspection reveals that the text has been replaced by random phrases scraped from a single Hackaday article. It looks just like a Dilbert strip, and sometimes the text even makes sense with what’s going on in the art. We’d love to see the code behind this little gem. The strip updates at each page load, so have fun.

And of course, the aforementioned secret headquarters is exactly what you’d picture – a dark room with rows of monitors scrolling green text, each with a black hoodie-wearing writer furiously documenting the black arts of hacking. OpenIDEO, the “open innovation practice” of global design company IDEO, has issued a challenge to “reimagine a more compelling and relatable visual language for cybersecurity.” In other words, no more scrolling random code and no more hoodies. Do you have kinder, gentler visual metaphors for cybersecurity? You might win some pretty decent prizes for your effort to “represent different terms and ideas in the cybersecurity space in an accessible and compelling way.”

12 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: August 11, 2019

    1. Interesting topology, but that website reeks of snake oil. Most of the reptilian stank comes from the astronomical ratio of marketing to proven results, but I also have some concerns about what few technical details are given:

      First, motors making about 5kW/kg continuous – 10kW/kg peak have been around for years using just about every topology you can imagine, and at various design speeds from ~2000-20000rpm. None of those designs have been revolutionary in electric vehicles, for concrete and general reasons that mostly apply directly to the “HET” design. It’s easy to come up with a theoretical motor that will blow away the headline numbers of existing automotive designs. The hard part is all the details that make a motor actually work for cars/planes/servos/etc.

      Maybe there are reasons that this new magic bullet will side-step all the tradeoffs that typically come along with remarkably high power density motors, but omitting any comparison to designs with similarly impressive numbers is not a good sign, IMO.

      Second, that topology looks really complicated to manufacture. The website claims that is is way cheaper than existing designs, but it appears to take everything difficult about the mechanical design of a YASA-type motor (EMRAX, Magnax, YASA, etc) and make it even harder. There’s no way that thing is going to be a fraction of the cost of an IPM motor.

      Additionally, the website doesn’t make a good case for how they are going to cool the stator well enough to reach state-of-the-art power density. YASA-type motors have already proven themselves difficult to cool, and making the stator even less accessible is not going to help.

      The only real advantage I see in that design is that it reduces the length of the flux path even further compared to a yoke-less axial flux design. In that sense it is one step further in the same direction that YASA took from the traditional radial flux topology. Otherwise, it doesn’t change the physics of limited flux and current densities. It also takes a step backwards by ruling out the use of GOES as a cost-effective alternative to cobalt iron.

      Aligning the lorentz and reluctance forces is good, but a design like that isn’t going to have much reluctance torque in the first place. Other designs that shift those forces into phase only gain a few percent in overall performance.

      The scheme of physically shifting the rotor segments to implement flux weakening is interesting, but I don’t see that being a cost-effective solution.

      I’m no expert, so I would love to hear the opinion of someone more knowledgeable than myself, but it’s going to take more than that website to be convincing.

      p.s. This is a critique of linearlabs’ marketing, not OP for posting the link (unless he/she is part that campaign, but I doubt it). It’s a good topic for discussion.

      1. I agree, more than enough marketing wank to make me itchy. We’ll see how it develops, it looks like the company formed only very recently judging from their “news” page.

      2. Yes, and that’s the problem. Lots of news article, practically no analyses.

        Best one can do is going through the patents, and that’s a slog especially with the number.

        https://patents.justia.com/inventor/fred-e-hunstable

        It also looks while the company is new, some of the patents have been awhile.

        Also for the memory of this crowd I seem to remember popular science having an article about a printable pole motor several decades back.

  1. An EMC engineer should know better. The WEEE directive is not a marking directive and has no basis for a statement on the Declaration of Conformity, or in the TCF (but bin markings and user manual text should discuss at least the EoL stuff). There are other (mostly minor) technical errors, but it is nonetheless good to see a practicing compliance engineer attempt to write an all-inclusive article on the assessment and documents required to provide a basis for presumption of conformity per the scoped directives and standards.

    The D of C format and related requirements are specified in the ISO17050-x stuff.

    1. Officially, the WEEE Directive is not a CE marking Directive. However, it applies to products that need to comply with CE requirements.

      Directive 2012/19/EU was published on 4th of July 2012. The Member States had until 14th of February 2014 to adopt and publish the national laws and regulations transposing the provisions of the new Directive into national law.

      Could you let me know where you consider other errors to be please.

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