See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon: China’s Lunar Radio Observatory

For nearly as long as there has been radio, there have been antennas trained on the sky, looking at the universe in a different light than traditional astronomy. Radio astronomers have used their sensitive equipment to study the Sun, the planets, distant galaxies, and strange objects from the very edge of the universe, like pulsars and quasars. Even the earliest moments of the universe have been explored, a portrait in microwave radiation of the remnants of the Big Bang.

And yet with all these observations, there’s a substantial slice of the radio spectrum that remains largely a mystery to radio astronomers. Thanks to our planet’s ionosphere, most of the signals below 30 MHz aren’t observable by ground-based radio telescopes. But now, thanks to an opportunity afforded by China’s ambitious lunar exploration program, humanity is now listening to more of what the universe is saying, and it’s doing so from a new vantage point: the far side of the moon.

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Quadruped Robot Disguises Itself As A Ball

When the Skynet baseball bot swarms attack, we’ll be throwing [Carl Bugeja] some dirty looks for getting them started. He’s been working on 4B, a little quadruped robot that can transform itself into a sphere almost perfectly.

Before [Carl] was distracted by the wonders of PCB actuators more than a year ago, he started working on this little guy. He finally found some time to get it moving on its own, and the preliminary results look promising to say the least. Inside the 6 cm sphere is a total of 12 servos, 3 for each leg. All of the mechanical parts were 3D printed in nylon on an SLS machine, and the custom PCB has a BLE microcontroller module, an IMU and IR proximity sensors onboard. Everything is open source with all the files available on the project page.

The microcontroller runs a full inverse kinematic model, so only the desired tip and base coordinate for each leg is input and the servo angles are automatically calculated. Ultimately [Carl] aims to have the robot both walking and rolling controllably. So far he’s achieved some degree of success in both, but it still needs some work (see the videos below. We’re eager to see what the future holds for this delightfully creepy bot.

Walking robots are always an interesting challenge. For more of our future overlords, check out this adorable little cat and this truly terrifying strandbeest.

194 LED Ball Is Free-Form Soldering On Another Level

We’ve all seen plenty of impressive free-form soldering in these pages, maybe some of us have even had a go ourselves. Using nothing but bare conductors, electronic components, and solder, complex and beautiful electronic sculptures can be created. But the latest free-form project from [Jiří Praus] takes the medium to a new level, as he’s taken no less than 194 bare surface-mount addressable LEDs and formed them into a perfect sphere supported by nothing more than soldered copper wire.

This feat was achieved with the aid of a 3D printed hemispherical jig with spaces for each LED, and each half was assembled in a marathon soldering session. Some significant fault-finding was required due to a few dry joints, and an ESP32 board and Li-Po cell were fitted in between the two halves as they were joined. The result is a triumph, a Christmas bauble like no other, and one which we aren’t sure we could manage to solder so well even on a good day.

If you recognise [Jiří ]’s work, it’s probably because we’ve featured several of his creations previously. It’s always difficult to pick a favorite, but the one which caught our eye the most was his fully functional freeform Arduino Uno.

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