A highlight of last year’s Hackaday Remoticon was a soldering competition that had teams from around the world came together online and did the well-known MakersBox SMD Challenge kit in which a series of LED circuits of decreasing size must be soldered. The Hackaday crew acquitted themselves well, and though an 01005 resistor and LED certainly pushes a writer’s soldering skills to the limit it’s very satisfying to see it working. Lest that kit become too easy, [Arthur Benemann] has come up with something even more fiendish; his uSMD is a 555 LED flasher that uses a BGA 555 and a selection of 008004 small components.
The trick with an 01005 is to heat not the tinned and fluxed solder joint, but the trace leading up to it. If components of that size can be mastered then perhaps an 008004 isn’t that much smaller so maybe the same technique might work for them too. In his tip email to us he wrote “Soldering 008004 isn’t much worse than a 0201, you just need magnification“, and while we think he might be trolling us slightly we can see there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be do-able. Sadly he doesn’t seem to have made it available for us to buy and try so if you want to prove yourself with a soldering iron you’ll have to source the PCBs and parts yourself. Still, we suspect that if you are the type of person who can solder an 008004 then that will hardly be an onerous task for you.
Meanwhile this isn’t the first soldering challenge kit we’ve brought you, and of course if you’d like to hone your skills you can find the MakersBox one on Tindie.
The number of artificial prosthetic replacement parts available for the human body is really quite impressive. From prosthetic eyes to artificial hips and knees, there are very few parts of the human body that can’t be swapped out with something that works at least as well as the original, especially given that the OEM part was probably in pretty tough shape in the first place.
But the heart has always been a weak spot in humans, in part because of the fact that it never gets to rest, and in part because all things considered, we modern humans don’t take really good care of it. And when the heart breaks down past the point where medicine or surgery can help, we’re left with far fewer alternatives than someone with a bum knee would face. The fact is that the best we can currently hope for is a mechanical heart that lets a patient live long enough to find a donor heart. But even then, tragedy must necessarily attend, and someone young and healthy must die so that someone else may live.
A permanent implantable artificial heart has long been a goal of medicine, and if recent developments in materials science and electrical engineering have anything to say about it, such a device may soon become a reality. Heart replacements may someday be as simple as hip replacements, but getting to that point requires understanding the history of mechanical hearts, and why it’s not just as simple as building a pump.
Continue reading “Permanent Artificial Hearts: Long-Sought Replacements May Not Be Far Away”
When [John Floren] obtained a vintage Depraz mouse, he started out being content to just have such a great piece of history in his possession. But if you’re like him, you know it’s not enough to just have something. What would it be like to use it?
To find out, [John] embarked on a mission to build a USB adapter for his not so new peripheral.
Originally used in very early terminals with a Unix GUI, the Depraz mouse utilizes an unusual male DE9 connector rather than the more familiar female DB9 used in RS232 serial mice. Further deviating from the norm, he found that the quadrature encoders were connected directly to the DE9 connector.
Armed with an Arduino Pro
Mini Micro and some buggy sample code, he got to work. The aforementioned buggy code was scrapped and a fresh sketch for the Arduino Pro Mini Micro gave the Depraz mouse the USB interface it lacked. [John] also found that he wasn’t the first hardware hacker to have modified the mouse for their use. Be sure to read to the end the article to find out about the vintage surprise lurking in the mouse shell itself! A demonstration of the mouse in action can be seen in the video below the break.
Looking for a fun mouse hack? Perhaps you’d like to use your more modern USB mouse on a retro computer, or try your hand at recreating an early Apple mouse for use in modern computers.
Continue reading “This Old Mouse: Building A USB Adapter For A Vintage Depraz Mouse”
As [Joshua Bird] began his foray into the world of film photography, he was taken back by the old technology’s sheer hunger for light. Improvised lighting solutions yielded mixed results, and he soon realized he needed a true camera flash. However, all the options he found online were large and bulky; larger than the camera itself in some cases. To borrow his words, “[he] didn’t exactly want to show up to parties looking like the paparazzi”. So, he set about creating his own compact flash.
Impressed by the small size and simple operation of disposable camera flashes, [Joshua] lifted a module out of an old Fuji and based his design around it. An existing schematic allowed him to attach the firing circuitry to his Canon’s hot shoe without the risk of putting the capacitor’s 300 volts through the camera. With that done, he just had to model a 3D-printed case for the whole project and assemble it, using a few more parts from the donor disposable.
Of course, as it came from a camera that was supposed to be thrown in the trash, this flash was only designed for a specific shutter speed, aperture, and film. Bulkier off-the-shelf flashes have more settings available and are more capable in a variety of environments. But [Joshua] built exactly what he needed. He now has a sleek, low-profile external flash that works great in intimate settings. We’re excited to see the photographic results.
This is not the first photography hacker we’ve seen breathe new life into disposable flashes. Some people see far more than a piece of camera equipment in old flashes, though, with aesthetically stunning results.