Tech In Plain Sight: Eyeglasses

Glasses wearers, try a little experiment. Take off your glasses and look at this page or, at least, at something you can’t see well without your glasses. Now imagine if you lived in a time where there was nothing to be done about your vision. If you wear contacts or you have good vision — perhaps you had surgery — then congratulations. But for most of us, vision changes with age are a fact of life. Even many young people need glasses or some other intervention to get good eyesight. At first glance, you might think eyeglasses are an obvious invention, but it turns out we didn’t get real glasses for quite some time and modern glasses are truly a piece of high tech that hides — quite literally — right in front of your face.

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For All Their Expense, Electric Cars Are Still The Cheapest

A criticism that we have leveled at the move from internal combustion vehicles to electric ones is that their expense can put them well beyond the range of the not-so-well-heeled motorist. Many of the electric vehicles we’ve seen thus far have been niche models marketed as luxury accessories, and thus come with a specification and list price to match. It’s interesting then to see a European report from LeasePlan looking at vehicle ownership costs which reveals that the total yearly cost of ownership (TCO) for an electric car has is now cheaper that comparable internal combustion vehicles across the whole continent in all but the fiercely competitive sub-compact segment.

TCO includes depreciation, taxes and insurance, fuel, and maintenance. Perhaps the most interesting story lies in electric cars progressing from being a high-depreciation, risky purchase to something you can sell on the second-hand market, even if they cost more up front. For example, the electric VW ID3 costs around $11,000 more than the comparable gas-powered VW Golf up front, but the higher resale price later offsets this and helps keep the TCO lower.

We’ve been following electric vehicles for a while now in the hope that an electric people’s car would surface, and have at times vented our frustration on the matter. It’s encouraging to see this particular trend as we believe it will encourage manufacturers to produce more accessible electric vehicles, especially given that we’ve just complained that driving electric seems like more of a rich man’s game.

(via Heise)

Header image: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Making Your Own Touchpad With PWM And Rust

The modern touchpads are incredible feats of engineering, with everything from complex signal processing for noise and tremendous economies of scale driving prices low. So [Kevin] decided to see if he could make his own touchpad. Partially out of curiosity of what makes one touchpad better than another, but also because he was curious if he could. Using an STM32 and a custom PCB, he was off to the races in an incredibly cost-effective way.

After writing some quick firmware in Rust, he was reporting the values read by the PWM channels. Using python, he could get a good idea of the raw values that were being written over USB and visualized. So rather than implement filtering in hardware or firmware, he elected to do the filtering and processing on the host computer side in Python. We suspect this gave him much shorter iteration cycles.

If you like the idea of making your own touchpad but perhaps are dreaming a little bigger, why not make a tablecloth-sized touchpad?