The winds of change are in the air for CPUs. Intel has long lorded over the computing world, and they remain a force to contend with, but many challengers gather at their gates. AMD, ARM, IBM, and other X86 designs sense a moment of weakness. In response, Intel released their Alder Lake platform with high-performance and high-efficiency cores, known as Golden Cove and Gracemont, respectively. [Clamchowder] and [cheese] have written up as many details as they were able to suss out about Gracemont.
ARM has done a multi-multi core design (big.LITTLE) for several years where they have a mix of high-power, high-performance cores and smaller, low-power cores. This allows the scheduler to make tradeoffs between power and performance. Typically the smaller cores in an ARM design are simpler in-order processors, having more in common with a microcontroller than with a full-scale desktop core. Many people have made an obvious comparison with the apparent similarities between ARM’s approach and Intel’s new offerings as Gracemont is based on Intel’s old Atom core, a low-power single issue, in-order processor. Continue reading “Peering Into The Murky Depths Of Alder Lake” →
While online shopping was already very popular in South Korea, it has become even more so as people stay home more during the pandemic. Several robotic delivery services have launched around the city, such as 7-Eleven using the Neubie robot by Neubility, the GS25 convenience store using LG’s CLOi ServeBot, and the Baemin food delivery service using the Delidrive robot.
Love it or hate it, in the dense population of big cities like Seoul the vast majority of people live in apartment complexes. This lends itself well to these robot delivery projects. In fact, many of these pilot projects are only available in one apartment complex, which can consist of ten to twenty 15+ story buildings. Training your robot to navigate the sidewalks, operating the doors, calling the elevators, and buzzing the customer’s home intercom is an easier task when dealing with only one campus.
Some projects are more ambitious, like another Neubility system operating on the Yonsei University Songdo City campus. You can order fried chicken and have it delivered by a Neubie robot, which comes to your address along the sidewalk at a brisk 5 to 6 km/h. There are some issues, however. First of all, government regulations haven’t quite kept up with the technology. These services are basically operating case-by-case, temporary waiver basis. They are not allowed to operate on the streets, and when driving on the sidewalks they have to avoid bumping into people.
We wrote about a prototype RC truck delivery system last year, and covered Amazon drones and Automating Freight Delivery as well. These all show promise, but are not mainstream yet. The vast majority of your orders are still delivered by a person. Will these automated delivery services eventually replace humans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Maybe we’re biased, but we think everyone has a use for a macropad. It’s just a matter of time before a highly personalized set of speed controls starts to sound like a great time-saving device to have around.
Trouble is, macropads are usually kind of expensive to buy outright, and not everyone feels comfortable building keyboards. Okay, so what if you didn’t even have to solder anything? That’s the idea behind [Jan Lunge]’s hand-wired macropad.
You will still want to open a window for ventilation if you build this one, because this macropad requires a lot of 3D printing. What it doesn’t require is glue or screws, because everything snaps together.
Of course, the star of this build is [Jan]’s hot swap socket design. We especially love the little clip that holds the column wires in place while also providing a spacer between those and the row wires. Everything is connected up to a Pro Micro with non-insulated wire and held in place with bends at the ends and the magic of tension. Be sure to check out the build video after the break.
Thirsty for more than a six pack of switches? This design is easy to scale up until you run out of microcontroller inputs. At that point, you might want to add screens to keep track of all your macros.
Continue reading “Snap-Together Macropad Does It Without Solder” →
Looking to keep an eye on the temperature inside his wood-fired pizza oven, [Giovanni Bernardo] decided to skip the commercial offerings and build his own high-temperature thermometer using a type-K thermocouple. The end result is a no-nonsense handheld unit with a surprisingly low part count that, at least in theory, can read temperatures as high as 1023.75°C. Though we hope he’ll be pulling the pizza out long before that.
Inside the 3D printed case we find just a handful of components. The 0.91″ OLED display mounted in the front panel is wired to a Digispark ATtiny85 development board, which in turn is connected to a MAX6675 breakout board. This takes the input from the thermocouple probe and converts it into a digital signal that can be read over SPI with an Arduino library from Adafruit. Rather than going through the added complication of adding a rechargeable pack, [Giovanni] is running this thermometer from a standard 9 V battery thanks to the 5 V regulator built into the Digispark.
We especially appreciate the attention to detail [Giovanni] put into his case design. Each component is nestled into a perfectly formed pocket in the bottom of the box, and he’s even gone through the trouble of using heat-set inserts for the front panel screw holes. It would have been quicker and easier to just model up a basic box and hot glue his components in place, but he took the long way around and we respect that.
This project is another example of an interesting principle we’ve observed over the years. Put simply, if somebody is going through this much trouble to check an object’s temperature, there’s a higher than average chance they intend on eating it at some point.
Have you ever wanted to make your own surfboard, but felt held back by a lack of tools, materials, or the cost of it? Drawing almost entirely from what can be found at a well-known home improvement retailer, [AndrewW1997] details the steps needed to craft your board.
In his guide, he details the difference between XPS (expanded polystyrene) and EPS (extruded polystyrene) and how each product’s closed cell and open cell nature affects the final board. Starting with two pink sheets of XPS, he laminated them together with glue to form his blank. A stringer is a long piece of wood in the middle of the surfboard that provides additional flex and strength. Some flooring plywood curved with a jigsaw provides the shape needed. Unfortunately, the blank needs to be split in half to install the stringer. However, he has a trick for gluing the blank back together without it buckling, and that trick is ratchet straps.
He cuts the foam into roughly the right shape with a hot wire. Clean up is done with sanding blocks, a plane, and a level. The next step is laminating the board with epoxy and fiberglass. Next, [Andrew] details a few considerations around the process and gets to glassing. Sanding up to 2000 grit and some polishing compound make the board gorgeous. After a bit of final curing time, you’re ready to ride some waves.
There’s a handy playlist on YouTube detailing the process so you can follow along. Once you’ve finished your surfboard, perhaps your next project will be to power it up with a jet drive. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Foam Surfboard From Scratch” →
When it comes down to it, we humans have two major concerns when venturing away from home for an extended period of time: what we’ll eat, and where we will sleep. Depending on the mode of travel, you might take some snacks along, or else rely on restaurants and/or the pantry of your possible hosts. Until the day we can reliably grow many types of food in space, or that Milliways, that five-star eatery at the end of the universe is operational, astronauts and other space-bound travelers will have to bring most of their food with them.
Cubes and Tubes
Space food has its roots in military rations, which in the United States were devised during the Revolutionary War. Both the variety and delivery methods of food have changed significantly since the beginning of the space program. While the menu may have at first been limited to tubes of nutrient-rich goo, bite-sized cubes and freeze-dried powdered beverages, the fare is more far-out these days. Astronauts on the ISS even enjoy tortillas, fresh fruits, and vegetables thanks to resupply missions, though they have to eat some of these types of foods quickly.
The average astronaut has also changed quite a bit, too. At first, they were all young and super-fit ex-military men, but nowadays they are more likely to be middle-aged science-y types and women. All three of these groups have different nutritional needs when faced with the rigors of living and working in space.
Continue reading “Astronaut Food Is Light Years Beyond Tang And Freeze-Dried Ice Cream” →
Environmental Engineering [Prof Jaeweon Cho] at South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology specializes in water and waste management. He has developed an energy-generating toilet called BeeVi (pronounced beevee) that recycles your waste in three ways. Liquid waste is processed in a microbial reaction tank to make a liquid fertilizer. Solid waste is pumped into an anaerobic digestion tank, which results in methane gas used to power a silicone oxide fuel cell to make electricity. The remaining solids are composted to make fertilizer. The daily waste from one person is about 500 g, which can generate about 50 L of methane.
The BeeVi toilets, located on the UNIST campus, pay students in a digital currently called Ggools, or Honey Money in English. Each deposit earns 10 Ggools, which can be used to purchase coffee, instant noodles, and other items (one Ggool is equivalent to about $3.00 value). The output from this pilot project is used to partially power the building on campus, and to fertilize gardens on the grounds. If you want to learn more, here is a video lecture by [Prof Cho] (in English).
Waste management is an area of research around the world. The Gates Foundation has been funding research into this field for ten years, and has held a number of expos over the years highlighting innovative solutions, most recently being the 2018 Reinvent the Toilet Expo in Beijing. We wrote a piece about the future of toilets last year as well.
Continue reading “Modern Toilet Generates Energy” →