[beshur]’s 2-year-old is obsessed with transportation, so he lifted a few DUPLO blocks from the bin and made this toy traffic light as a birthday present. Hey, might as well get him used to the realities of traffic, right? It also makes for a good early hacker lesson: why buy something when you can make it yourself?
The traffic pattern is determined by an Arduino Nano V3 situated inside the carved-out rear block. There’s a push button on the side in case there’s a spill and the lights need to go blinking red until the issue is dealt with. Instead of trying to solder everything in situ and risk melting the plastic, [beshur] dead-bugged the LEDs and resistors to the Nano with a helping hands and then worked everything into the case. The 5mm LEDs fit perfectly into the drilled-out posts of a second block and produce a nice, soft glow. Proceed with caution and check it out after the break.
Of course, plastic building blocks can do real work, too. This LEGO chocolate pantograph is pretty sweet.
Continue reading “Stop ‘n Go DUPLO”
For however many Linux distributions there are to choose from, there are perhaps even more window managers that can be paired with them, and some have dramatically different features than the X window systems that most of us are familiar with. There’s a rabbit hole to fall down, as with most Linux-related topics, but while this tiling window manager from [caoluin], called sara, adds to the cacophony, it’s also representative of any pet project that lets us take a deep dive into something personally interesting.
What started as a desire to revive an abandoned window manager called catwm eventually evolved into a fork of sorts of another popular window manager called dwm. dwm is used as a basis or as building blocks for many other window managers, and while [caoluin] was writing sara he found that many of the solutions he found converged on the same things that dwm had already implemented. In a way, it’s reassuring if your solutions are similar to tried-and-true methods already in use. For other things he found interesting solutions, and other features that dwm has he found to be unnecessary and removed them.
Does the world need another window manager? Probably not. But we can all appreciate building something from scratch, just to see how it really works under the hood. As far as that goes, we’d consider sara a success for [caoluin], and if you’re really interested in window managers then you can take a look at his Github page or one of the more esoteric window managers we’ve seen.
For those in the audience who aren’t well versed in wrangling dead trees, a large press with a lot of clamping pressure can be used for binding books or printing. It can even be used to squeeze the water out of homemade paper. It’s an important tool for anyone looking to make or repair books, but they also tend to be fairly expensive. Which is why [Paul] decided to make his own.
Despite the preconceived notions you might have about the type of guy who binds his own books, it seems like [Paul] is a rather modern fellow. He actually designed the press in CAD and made many of the parts for it on his CNC router. That’s not strictly required, though we do think cutting out the hole for the monstrous lead screw nut would be a bit tricky if you had to do it by hand. But beyond that, the design is pretty straightforward and the video after the break provides a very clear step-by-step guide on how to build your own.
In the past we’ve seen how a similar, if much smaller, book press can be used to make bound books of all those PDFs littering your computer. These sort of projects are getting more rare in an increasingly paperless world, but we always like to see people keeping the old ways alive. If the revolution comes and we end up needing to publish Hackaday on hand-pressed paper, we’ll know who to call.
Continue reading “DIY Large Format Book Press Puts On The Pressure”
There’s not much economic sense in fixing a decade-old desktop computer, especially when it’s the fancy type with the screen integrated into the body of the computer, and the screen is the thing that’s broken. Luckily for [JnsBn] aka [BEAN] the computer in question was still functional with a second monitor, so he decided to implement a cheap repair to get the screen working again by making it see-through.
The only part of the screen that was broken was the backlight, which is separate from the display unit itself. In order to view at least something on the screen without an expensive replacement part, he decided to remove the backlight altogether but leave the display unit installed. With a strip of LEDs around the edge, the screen was visible again in addition to the inner depths of the computer. After a coat of white Plasti Dip on the inside of the computer, it made for an interesting effect and made the computer’s display useful again.
While none of us, including the creator, recommend coating the inside of an iMac with Plasti Dip due to the risk of fire and/or other catastrophic failure, there’s not much to lose otherwise. Just don’t shove this one into the wall. Continue reading “New Depths For IMac Repair”
Back in January when we announced the Train All the Things contest, we weren’t sure what kind of entries we’d see. Machine learning is a huge and rapidly evolving field, after all, and the traditional barriers that computationally intensive processes face have been falling just as rapidly. Constraints are fading away, and we want you to explore this wild new world and show us what you come up with.
Where Do You Run Your Algorithms?
To give your effort a little structure, we’ve come up with four broad categories:
- Machine Learning on the Edge
- Edge computing, where systems reach out to cloud resources but run locally, is all the rage. It allows you to leverage the power of
other people’s computers the cloud for training a model, which is then executed locally. Edge computing is a great way to keep your data local.
- Machine Learning on the Gateway
- Pi’s, old routers, what-have-yous – we’ve all got a bunch of devices laying around that bridge space between your local world and the cloud. What can you come up with that takes advantage of this unique computing environment?
- Machine Learning in the Cloud
- Forget about subtle — this category unleashes the power of the cloud for your application. Whether it’s Google, Azure, or AWS, show us what you can do with all that raw horsepower at your disposal.
- Artificial Intelligence Blinky
- Everyone’s “hardware ‘Hello, world'” is blinking an LED, and this is the machine learning version of that. We want you to use a simple microprocessor to run a machine learning algorithm. Amaze us with what you can make an Arduino do.
These Hackers Trained Their Projects, You Should Too!
We’re a little more than a month into the contest. We’ve seen some interesting entries bit of course we’re hungry for more! Here are a few that have caught our eye so far:
- Intelligent Bat Detector – [Tegwyn☠Twmffat] has bats in his… backyard, so he built this Jetson Nano-powered device to capture their calls and classify them by species. It’s a fascinating adventure at the intersection of biology and machine learning.
- Blackjack Robot – RAIN MAN 2.0 is [Evan Juras]’ cure for the casino adage of “The house always wins.” We wouldn’t try taking the Raspberry Pi card counter to Vegas, but it’s a great example of what YOLO can do.
- AI-enabled Glasses – AI meets AR in ShAIdes, [Nick Bild]’s sunglasses equipped with a camera and Nano to provide a user interface to the world. Wave your hand over a lamp and it turns off. Brilliant!
You’ve got till noon Pacific time on April 7, 2020 to get your entry in, and four winners from each of the four categories will be awarded a $100 Tindie gift card, courtesy of our sponsor Digi-Key. It’s time to ramp up your machine learning efforts and get a project entered! We’d love to see more examples of straight cloud AI applications, and the AI blinky category remains wide open at this point. Get in there and give machine learning a try!
Ever since my RSI surgery, I’ve had to resort to using what I call my compromise keyboard — a wireless rubber dome affair with a gentle curvature to the keys. It’s far from perfect, but it has allowed me to continue to type when I thought I wouldn’t be able to anymore.
This keyboard has served me well, but it’s been nearly three years since the surgery, and I wanted to go back to a nice, clicky keyboard. So a few weeks ago, I dusted off my 1991 IBM Model M. Heck, I did more than that — I ordered a semi-weird hex socket (7/32″) so I could open it up and clean it properly.
And then I used it for half a day or so. It was glorious to hear the buckling springs singing again, but I couldn’t ignore the strain I felt in my pinkies and ring fingers after just a few hours. I knew I had to stop and retire it for good if I wanted to keep being able to type.
Continue reading “Inputs Of Interest: My First Aggressively Ergonomic Keyboard”
Nixie clocks have become such a staple in our community as to have become mundane. They’re pretty, but show us something new! It seems [Marcin Saj] has done just that with his offering, because with a bank of 18 IN-2 Nixie tubes he’s telling the time – but in binary rather than the usual decimal.
The tubes are arranged in three banks of six, the upper registering hours, the middle minutes, and seconds on the lowest. Each one only uses two digits, as you might expect from a binary device they are 0 and 1. Behind is a large PCB with the Nixie sockets, and on the back of that in sockets are a pair of Nixie driver boards, a real-time clock module, temperature sensor module, PSU module, and either a Particle Photon or an Arduino Nano IoT. This two-option set-up for the choice of dev board is unusual, and there is code for both of them in the GitHub repository.
The result is eye-catching and unusual, and certainly a departure from the usual Nixie digital clock. Hackaday readers are probably more likely than the average Joe or Jane to be able to read binary at a glance, watching it in action in the video below the break is an interesting exercise in testing one’s binary-aptitude.
Meanwhile if binary Nixies are too commonplace, how about binary neon lamps?
Continue reading “Just When You Thought There Was Nothing New In Nixie Clocks…”