With every website these days demanding the creation of an account, it can become difficult to remember so many logins. Each password should ideally be unique, lest a leak from your fantasy football game cost you thousands in stolen bitcoins. To help, [vcch] developed a password vault, using an interesting off-the-shelf platform.
The platform in question is the M5stickC, which packs an ESP32, color LCD, and battery into an attractive orange enclosure. It’s even got USB-C, making it a tool with an eye on the future. It serves as a quick way to get a basic IOT project up and running, without having to fuss about designing your own enclosure or basic power supply hardware.
On this platform, [vcch] created a tool to make keeping track of passwords easy. The PassStrong, as it’s called, can store a huge number of passwords, and communicates with the host PC over Bluetooth. The interface makes good use of the LCD, displaying the current mode and function of each button on the device for the user. It’s capable of working in both QWERTY and AZERTY environments, which should appeal to European users.
The M5StickC is a perfect choice in this regard, packing enough buttons and the required Bluetooth hardware to get the job done. No need to spend any time integrating modules – simply open the box and get to coding. We expect to see more developments in this space in future, and look forward to the efficiency gains this will bring to all kinds of projects!
[SaltyPuglord] needed a solid state relay for a project. We’d have just bought one, but he decided to design his own in LTSpice. Along the way he made the video below, which is pretty informative and a good example of a non-trivial design in LTSpice.
MOSFETs have made designs like this a lot easier, to the extent that it should be as easy as putting a pair of beefy fets in-line with the AC source and load. However, that has a few ramifications that [Salty] covers in the video.
The biggest concern comes in isolating the DC supply from ground. He used a transformer which is tricky to simulate in LTSpice. Beyond that the design of the power supply is quite simple, and as he mentions in the video, you don’t really need this complex of a regulator just to feed the gates of the MOSFETs.
It’s something of an unwritten rule at this point that you can’t hold a hacking conference without providing a badge with at least a few LEDs on it. Not only can they be a great way to learn electronics for the attendees that tinker with them, but they’re a keepsake to commemorate the event. As a perfect example, [Matt Agius] recently wrote in to tell us about the badge he’s made for the upcoming CarolinaCon 16.
As [Matt] explains, the idea with this badge was to make it as easy as possible for attendees to assemble. In the final version there are only going to be three components that need to be soldered, so even if they’ve never touched SMD components before, they should still be able to get their badge lit up.
The badge largely makes up for its simplistic electronics with some fantastic board art on the flip side. The two red LEDs illuminate the eyes of a rather sinister looking octopus that’s ensnaring the unsuspecting state of North Carolina in its tentacled grip. The art was originally done by [Katie Dorn], with [Matt] spearheading its conversion into something that could be sent out for PCB fabrication.
It’s a case of standing on the shoulders of giants. The ESP32-CAM is a device that allows one to stream live video images over a network using existing example code. In this case, it’s combined with an L298N DC motor driver which allows the Adafruit robot platform to be steered like a tank via its two wheels. A pair of SG90 servos then serve as a pan/tilt mechanism to further improve the robot’s field of view.
If you aimed to attempt this back in 2010, you’d have spent six months figuring out how to get a microcontroller to talk to a small camera module. Only then could you consider solving the multitude of other problems presented by getting the video feed off the bot to somewhere useful. These days, you can order a bunch of parts online and have it up and running in a couple hours. This project from 2013 serves as an example of how much things have changed in the intervening years. Video after the break.
Kids of the 1990’s would call you a liar if you told them that within thirty years you’d go to a conference and be handed a Super Nintendo Entertainment System to wear around your neck. But that’s what happened with the badge Jeroen Domburg, aka [Sprite_TM], designed for the 2019 Hackaday Superconference. It’s built in the Game Boy form factor, complete with a cartridge slot, beautiful screen, and the familiar button layout. But there’s so much more here, like the HDMI port on the bottom and the ability to completely reconfigure the device by dropping a binary file onto it over USB.
Of course what makes this possible is the FPGA at the heart of the design. The story of how the badge was developed is shared in great detail during Sprite’s Supercon talk. The timeline, the hardware choices, and the oopses along the way make for a great story. But what you really don’t want to miss is how he built the machine inside of the FPGA — the collection of Verilog code known as “gateware” that brings together the System-on-a-Chip (SoC). From his delight at being able to spawn more processor cores by changing a single variable, to the fascinating SNES-inspired graphics subsystem, the inside story shared below is even more interesting than the physical device itself.
Welcome back to Inputs of Interest! If you haven’t heard, I am all ears when it comes to new ways of talking to computers and machines. And speaking of ears, did you know they can do useful tricks? If you squeeze your eyes shut tightly and/or yawn widely, you might hear a low-level rumbling sound like distant thunder. A decent percentage of people are able to move theirs voluntarily, but not everyone. Maybe you already knew you could rumble, and have used it to entertain yourself, or dampen the unpleasant sounds of life.
That rumbling is caused by a muscle in your middle ear stretching out. It’s called the tensor tympani, and its purpose is to shield your ears from loud sounds like chewing, and oddly enough, thunder. When the tensor tympani are activated, they pull the eardrums taut to keep them from vibrating and getting damaged. Unfortunately, they don’t react quickly enough to protect us from sudden sounds like gunshots.
[QLRO] wanted a 3D scanner, but didn’t like any of the existing designs. Some were too complex. Some were simple but required you to do things by hand. That led to him designing his own that he calls AAScan. You can see the thing operating in the video below.
In general, you can move the camera around the object or you can move the object around while the camera stays fixed. This design chooses the latter. You’ll need a stepper motor with a driver board and an Arduino to make the turntable rotate. You also need a computer running Python and Meshroom. The phone also has to run Python and [QLRO] used QPython on an Android device.