There are a lot of common phrases that no longer mean what they used to. For example, you may have used the term “turn on the lights.” What are you actually turning? Where does this come from? Old gas lights had a valve that you did physically turn, and the phrase simply stuck around. Kids of the 90s have no idea why they “dial” a phone number. What about “roll up the car window”? You don’t often encounter old-fashioned car doors with manual locks or a crank to roll up the window. These days it is all electronic. But have you ever wondered what’s going on inside there?
Let’s take a look at car doors, how they keep you safe, and how that sheet of glass slides into place, sealing against wind, rain, and noise. Of course, there are fancy car doors like suicide doors or sexy-but-impractical gull wing doors. At least one concept car even has a door that disappears under the vehicle when it opens; check out the video below. But even garden-variety doors are marvels of mechanical engineering. A compact structure that is secure and — mostly — reliable. Let’s look at how they do that.
Continue reading “Tech In Plain Sight: Car Doors”
Gesture controls arrived in the public consciousness a little over a decade ago as touchpads and touchscreens became more popular. The main limitation to gesture controls, a least as far as [Norbert] is concerned, is that they can only control objects in a virtual space. He was hoping to use gestures to control a real-world object instead, and created this device which uses gestures to control an actual picture.
In this unique augmented reality device, not only is the object being controlled in the real world but the gestures are being monitored there as well, thanks to a computer vision system watching his hand which is running OpenCV. The position data is fed into an algorithm which controls a physical picture mounted on a slender robotic arm. Now, when [Norbert] “pinches to zoom”, the servo attached to the picture physically brings it closer to or further from his field of view. He can also use other gestures to move the picture around.
While this gesture-controlled machine is certainly a proof-of-concept, there are plenty of other uses for gesture controls of real-world objects. Any robotics platform could benefit from an interface like this, or even something slightly more mundane like an office PowerPoint presentation. Opportunity abounds, but if you need a primer for OpenCV take a look at this build which tracks a hand in minute detail.
Continue reading “OpenCV Brings Pinch To Zoom Into The Real World”
[DandyWorks] had an NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti GPU, and found it was running incredibly hot, with the card’s memory hitting temperatures of 110 °C. He decided to try “copper modding” to solve the problem, and made some impressive improvements along the way.
Copper modding is where small copper shims are used to connect hot chips on the GPU to the heatsink more effectively than the standard thermal pads used by the manufacturer. Copper has much better thermal conductivity than thermal pads, and thus can help improve cooling of components when used in this fashion.
With the GPU carefully disassembled, [DandyWorks] notes the design uses a sub-heatsink specifically for the memory chips. He then sets about removing the thermal pads from the chips with isopropyl alcohol to help. They’re replaced with copper shims of a precise thickness, with a thin layer of thermal paste to ensure good heat flow. [DandyWorks] also shields all surrounding parts of the board with Kapton tape to avoid shorts if the copper shims happen to shift at any point.
Running the same hashing operation, the GPU now operates with its memory at a much cooler temperature of just 64 °C. [DandyWorks] ran the test for hours and temperatures didn’t climb beyond there. It’s evidence that the copper shims do a far better job of conducting the heat out of the memory chips versus the stock thermal pad setup.
We’ve seen some other interesting mods in this vein before, such as CPU die lapping for better thermal performance. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Copper Modding Helps Cool A Toasty GPU”