You know those bottle fillers at schools and airports? What if you had one of those at home?
We know what you’re going to say: “My fridge has one of those!” Well ours doesn’t, and even though [Chris Courses’] fridge did, his bottle of choice didn’t fit in the vertically-challenged water and ice hutch, nor did it fill autonomously. The solution was to build a dubiously placed, but nonetheless awesome custom bottle filler in his kitchen.
The plumbing for the project couldn’t be more straight-forward: a 5-year undersink water filter, electronically actuated valve, some tubing, and a T to splice into the existing water line going to the fridge. Where the rubber hits the road is making this look nice. [Chris] spends a lot of time printing face plates, pouring resin as a diffuser, and post processing. After failing on one formulation of resin, the second achieves a nice look, and the unit is heavily sanded, filled, painted, prayed over, and given the green light for installation.
For the electronics [Chris] went for a Raspberry Pi to monitor four buttons and dispense a precise allotment tailored to each of his favorite drinking vessels. While the dispenser is at work, three rows of LEDs play an animated pattern. Where we begin to scratch our heads is the demo below which shows there is no drain or drip tray below the dispenser — seems like an accident waiting to happen.
Our remaining questions are about automating the top-off process. At first blush you might wonder why a sensor wasn’t included to shut off the filler automatically. But how would that work? The dispenser needs to establish the height of the bottle and that’s a non-trivial task, perhaps best accomplished with computer vision or a CCD line sensor. How would you do it? Continue reading “Bottle Filler Perfectly Tops Your Cup”→
If you are a certain age, your first programming language was almost certainly BASIC. You probably at least saw the famous book by Ahl, titled BASIC Computer Games or 101 BASIC Computer Games. The book, published in 1973 by [David Ahl] was a staple in its day and the first computer book to sell over one million copies. Of course, if you want to run Super Star Trek or Hamurabi, you better fire up an old retrocomputer or a simulator because BASIC in 1973 doesn’t look like what we have today. Or, you can head to GitHub where [coding-horror] is inviting people to help update the programs using modern languages.
A few machines have truly changed the world, such as the wheel, steam engines, or the printing press. Maybe 3D printers will be on that list one day too. But for today, you can use your 3D printer to produce a working printing press by following plans from [Ian Mackay]. The machine, Hi-Bred, allows you to place printed blocks in a chase — that’s the technical term — run a brayer laden with ink over the type blocks and hand press a piece of paper with the platen.
The idea is more or less like a giant rubber stamp. As [Ian] points out, one way to think about it is that white pixels are 0mm high and black pixels are 3mm high. He suggests looking at old woodcuts for inspiration.
It probably can’t have taken long after the first spectrum waterfall display was created, before somebody had a go at creating a waveform that would create an image in the waterfall. We don’t know who that pioneer was, but it’s over 20 years since Aphex Twin famously used the technique in their music, so it’s nothing new. If you fancy a go for yourself, [Gokberk Yaltirakli] has the project for you, creating waterfall images with an SDR from image files, using a bit of Python code.
The value here isn’t necessarily in creating the waterfall of Bitcoin logos that can be seen in the video he’s put on the page, instead it’s in the simple explanation of creating I and Q values for an SDR. The code is a bit slow so writes its values to a file which is output by a HackRF, but it could just as easily be used by any other capable output device such as GNU Radio and a soundcard if you too want an Aphex Twin moment. The hardware for displaying a spectrum waterfall doesn’t even have to be very complex.
There’s a new malware strain targeting MacOS, Silver Sparrow, and it’s unusual for a couple reasons. First, it’s one of the few pieces of malware that targets the new M1 ARM64 processors. Just a reminder, that is Apple’s new in-house silicon design. It’s unusual for a second reason — it’s not doing anything. More precisely, while researchers have been watching, the command and control infrastructure didn’t provide a payload. Silver Sparrow has been positively found on nearly 30,000 machines.
The malware also has an intentional kill switch, where the presence of a particular file triggers a complete removal of the malware package. Researchers at Red Canary point out that this package behaves very much like a legitimate program, difficult to pick out as malware. Ars Technica got an off-the-record statement from Apple, indicating that they are tracking the situation, and have revoked the developer’s certificate used to sign the malware. It’s not entirely clear whether this prevents the malware running on already compromised machines, or just stops new infections.
Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams gab about all of the geeky things. We had a delightful time watching NASA bring Perseverance down to the Red planet. In Kristina’s words, we pour one out for Fry’s Electronics. And then we jump into a parade of excellent hacks with a magnetic bearing for crooked ball screws, a science-based poop-burning experiment, and the music hack only microcontroller enthusiasts could love as an FTDI cable is plugged directly into a speaker. Smart circuit design is used to hack a dimmer into non-dimmable LED fixtures, and an octet of living clams are the early warning sensors for water pollution.
Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!
Engine failures happen, pilots train for them, and our airport infrastructure is setup to accommodate emergency landings like this. However, the timing of this reported failure is notable. This is the second engine failure on a 777 within a week, and the third to occur in a Boeing aircraft.
Reports of this morning’s emergency landing in Moscow will need to be verified and investigated, and we have not seen confirmation on what type of engine the Rossiya Airlines B777-300ER used. For comparison the 777-300ERs of the United fleet and the 777-300ERs operated by Emirates both use General Electric engines rather than Pratt & Whitney models, so it is likely the Rossiya aircraft also had a GE engine.
The fact that the flights were all able to make safe landings is a testament to the redundant engineering of these aircraft. CNET did a deep dive into last Saturday’s engine failure and notes that it was an Extended-range Operations Performance Standards (ETOPS) aircraft capable of flying long distances on a single engine — necessary if an aircraft needed to make it half-way to Hawaii on one engine for an emergency landing. They also report on two other Pratt & Whitney PW-4000 engine failures in 2018 and 2000 2020, although as mentioned before, today’s incident likely didn’t involve an engine from this maker.
[Main image source: B777-300 by Maarten Visser CC-BY-SA 2.0]