It’s hurricane season in the northern hemisphere right now, and plenty of news and weather organizations remain dedicated to alerting people if a storm is about to impact their area. There’s no shortage of ways to receive this information, either. We all have our favorite weather app or forecasting site, and there are emergency alerts to cell phones, TV, and radio stations as well. If none of that suits you, though, you can also roll out your own weather alert readerboard.
[Damaged Dolphin] built a weather alert readerboard using a Raspberry Pi and a 64×128 LED matrix. The Raspberry Pi runs Raspbian and uses a HAT from Adafruit, and once connected to the internet pulls down weather information for a specific area using custom python code. From there it can display any emergency weather alerts instantly on the readerboard screen including alerts for hurricanes. It does rely on data from the National Weather Service though, so if that is not available in your area some modifications will need to be made to the code.
While he notes that you probably shouldn’t rely on his non-professional python code exclusively when getting weather information, it would still be a good way of retrieving information about weather events without having to refresh a browser all the time. Once the storms have passed though, be sure you’re prepared for the days following.
Thanks to [b00tfa|l] for the tip!
Continue reading “The Hurricanes Are Coming”
[Jean-Francois Debroux] spent 35 years designing analog ASICs. He’s started a book and while it isn’t finished — indeed he says it may never be — the 180 pages he posted on LinkedIn are a pretty good read.
The 46 sections are well organized, although some are placeholders. There are sections on design flow and the technical aspects of design. Examples range from a square root circuit to a sigma-delta modulator, although some of them are not complete yet. There are also sections on math, physics, common electronics, materials, and tools.
Continue reading “An Analog IC Design Book Draft”
To get the perfect mix for your paint, you need a good shake that is as random as possible. [Mark Rhodes] wanted to automate the process of mixing paint, so he built a 3D printed shaker to thoroughly shake small paint bottles. Using only a single motor, it shakes the bottle along three axes of rotation and one axis of translation.
A cylindrical container is attached to a U-shaped bracket on each end, which in turn is attached to a rotating shaft. Only one of these shafts are powered, the other is effectively an idler. When turned on, it rotates the cylinder partially around the pitch and yaw axis, 360 degrees around the roll axis, and reciprocates it back and forth. The design appears to be based on an industrial mixer known as a “Turbula“. Another interesting feature is how it holds the paint bottle in the cylinder. Several bands are stretched along the inside of the cylinder, and by rotating one of the rings at the end, it creates an hourglass-shaped web that can tightly hold the paint bottle.
The mechanism is mounted on a 3d printed frame that can be quickly clamped to a table. The Twitter post embedded below is a preview for a video [Mark] is working for his Youtube channel, along with which he will also release the 3D files.
Mixing machines come in all shapes and sizes, and we’ve seen a number of 3D printed versions, including a static mixer and a magnetic stirrer.
Continue reading “A 3D Printed Paint Mixer”
Those little pocket TVs were quite the cool gadget back in the ’80s and ’90s, but today they’re pretty much useless at least for their intended purpose of watching analog television. (If someone is out there making tiny digital-to-analog converter boxes for these things, please let us know.)
Now that analog pocket TVs are obsolete, they’re finally affordable enough for hacking into a useful tool like an inspection camera. [technichenews] found a nice Casio TV and a suitable analog pinhole camera that also does IR. Since the camera has RCA plugs and the TV’s video input is some long-gone proprietary 3.5mm cable, [technichenews] made a new video-only cable by soldering the yellow RCA wires up to the cable from an old pair of headphones. Power for the camera comes from a universal wall wart set to 12V.
Our favorite part of this project is the way that [technichenews] leveraged what is arguably the most useless part of the TV — the antenna — into the star. Their plan is to use the camera to peer into small engines, so by mounting it on the end of the antenna, it will become a telescoping, ball-jointed, all-seeing eye. You can inspect the build video after the break.
Need a faster, easier way to take a closer look without breaking the bank? We hear those slim earwax-inspection cameras are pretty good.
Continue reading “Pocket TV Now Shows The Inspection Channel 24/7”
[Erik Knutsson] is stuck inside with a bunch of robot parts, and we know what lies down that path. His Open Personal Assistant Robotic Platform aims to help out around the house with things like filling pet food bowls, but for now, he is taking one step at a time and working out the bugs before adding new features. Wise.
The build started with a narrow base, an underpowered RasPi, and a quiet speaker, but those were upgraded in turn. Right now, it is a personal assistant on wheels. Alexa was the first contender, but Mycroft is in the spotlight because it has more versatility. At first, the mobility was a humble web server with a D-pad, but now it leverages a distance sensor and vision, and can even follow you with a voice command.
The screen up top gives it a personable look, but it is slated to become a display for everything you’d want to see on your robot assistant, like weather, recipes, or a video chat that can walk around with you. [Erik] would like to make something that assists the elderly who might need help with chores and help connect people who are stuck inside like him.
Expressive robots have long since captured our attention and we’re nuts for privacy-centric personal assistants.
Continue reading “OPARP Telepresence Robot”
We’ve had something of an anniversary of late, and it’s one that will no doubt elicit a variety of reactions from our community. It’s now 25 years ago that Windows 95 was launched, the operating system that gave the majority of 1990s PC users their first taste of a desktop-based GUI and a 32-bit operating system.
To the strains of the Rolling Stones’ Start me up, Microsoft execs including Bill Gates himself jubilantly danced on stage at the launch of what was probably to become the company’s defining product, perhaps oblivious to the line “You make a grown man cry” which maybe unwittingly strayed close to the user experience when faced with some of the software’s shortcomings.
Its security may seem laughable by the standards of today and the uneasy marriage of 16-bit DOS underpinning a 32-bit Windows operating system was clunky even in its heyday, but perhaps now is the best time to evaluate it unclouded by technical prejudice. What can we see of Windows 95 in the operating systems we use today, and thus from that can we ask the question: What did Windows 95 get right? Continue reading “Start Me Up: What Has The Windows 95 Desktop Given Us 25 Years Later?”
E-waste is a gigantic problem, and it can seem impossible as a lone individual to make any kind of dent in it. But [akshar1101] is trying to do their part by looking past the defective aspects of broken, discarded electronics to draw out the possibilities of what’s left.
This friendly night light is made from the PCBs of four broken Nokia 5110 LCD modules. The screens were all toast, but the nice white LEDs that used to light them from the sides work just fine. [akshar1101] cleverly tied all the LED and GND lines together with single right-angle header pins. To power the LEDs, they wired up a JST receptacle to one of the PCBs and connected a 3.7 V lithium battery pack that sits underneath. [akshar1101] diffused the piercing white lights into a soft glow with two pieces of acrylic.
We love to see electronic components get saved from landfills, especially when they can be turned into something useful and beautiful. Something about the traces on these boards makes them visually interesting to us — it’s that little hiccup that interrupts otherwise parallel lines.
If all of your 5110 LCDs are in working order, you could spice one of them up with an RGB backlight.