Ever wanted to run Linux in an exceptionally small footprint? Then [Reimu NotMoe] from [SudoMaker] has something for you! She’s found an unbelievably small Linux-able chip in BGA, and designed a self-contained tiny SoM (System on Module) breakout with power management and castellated pads. This breakout contains everything you need to have Linux in a 16x16x2mm footprint. For the reference, a 16mm square is the size of the CPU on a Raspberry Pi.
This board isn’t just tiny, it’s also well-thought-out, helping you put the BGA-packaged Ingenic X1501 anywhere with minimal effort. With castellated pads, it’s easy to hand-solder this SoM for development and reflow for production. An onboard switching regulator works from 6V down to as low as 3V, making this a viable battery-powered Linux option. It can even give you up to 3.3V/1A for all your external devices.
The coolest part yet – the X1501 is surprisingly friendly and NDA-free. The datasheets are up for grabs, there are no “CONFIDENTIAL” watermarks – you get a proper 730-page PDF. Thanks to this openness, the X1501 can run mainline Linux with minimal changes, with most of the peripherals already supported. Plus, there’s Efuse-based Secure Boot if your software needs to be protected from cloning.
More after the break…
Continue reading “New Part Day: X1501 Makes For A Tiny And Open Linux SoM”
There are a few ways to access real quantum computers — often for free — over the Internet. However, most of these are previous-generation machines that have limited capabilities. Great for learning, perhaps, but not something you could do anything practical with. Xanadu, however, has announced what they claim to be a computer capable of reaching quantum advantage that is free for anyone to use, within limits. Borealis — the computer in question — uses photonic states and has the capability of working with over 216 squeezed-state qubits.
The company is selling time on the computer, but the free tier includes 5 million free shots on Borealis and 10 million shots on an earlier series of quantum computers. You can also buy pay-as-you go service for about $100 per million shots on Borealis.
While a few million shots may sound like a lot, we noticed that the quickstart demo consumes 10,000 shots and that’s presumably something simple. That’s still about 500 runs of that on Borealis — not bad for free on a state-of-the-art quantum computer. You will be wanting to debug with a simulator, though.
We presume the developers are Beatles fans given that you use software called Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields to access the machines. Your job is controlled by Python and there is a cloud simulator to save your shots.
We won’t pretend to understand all there is about squeezed light qubits and the Borealis architecture. But you can get some general practice in our series on quantum computing. Or there are a few lectures around including one that aims at different levels of experience.
Continue reading “Quantum Computing: The First Taste Is Free”
The big news this week comes from the world of medicine, where a woman has received a 3D-printed ear transplant. The 20-year-old woman suffered from microtia, a rare congenital deformity that left her without a pinna, the external structure of the ear. Using scans of the normal ear, doctors were able to make a 3D model of what the missing pinna should look like. Raw material for the print was taken from the vestigial ear of the patient in the form of cartilage cells, or chondrocytes. The ear was printed using a bioprinter, which is a bit like an inkjet printer. The newly printed ear was placed into a protective structure and transplanted. The operation was done in March, and the results are pretty dramatic. With a little squinting, it does look a bit like there are some printing artifacts in the ear, but we’d imagine that’s more from the protective cage that was over the ear as it healed.
Continue reading “Hackaday Links: June 5, 2022”
[Etienne Sellan] got one of these lovely $5 logic analyzers. As with any shiny new tool, he started looking for things to investigate with it, and his gaze fell on a Sentry Safe (produced by Master Lock). On the surface level, this keypad-equipped safe is designed decently when it comes to privilege separation. You can take the keypad board off and access its backside, but the keypad doesn’t make any decisions, it merely sends the digits to a different board embedded behind the safe’s door. The solenoid-connected board receives the PIN, verifies it, and then controls the solenoid that unlocks the safe.
[Etienne] hooked up a logic analyzer to the communication wire, which turned out to be a UART channel, and logged the keypad communication packets — both for password entry and for password change. Then, he wrote some Arduino code to send the same packets manually, which worked wonders. Bruteforcing wasn’t viable, however, due to rate limitation in the solenoid controller. Something drew his attention from there – if you want to change the password, the keypad requires you enter the factory code, unique to each safe and supplied in the instruction manual. That code entry is a separate kind of packet from the “change password” one.
More after the break…
Continue reading “Anyone Can Be The Master Of This Master Lock Safe”
Everyone knows what a chatbot is, but how about a deadbot? A deadbot is a chatbot whose training data — that which shapes how and what it communicates — is data based on a deceased person. Now let’s consider the case of a fellow named Joshua Barbeau, who created a chatbot to simulate conversation with his deceased fiancee. Add to this the fact that OpenAI, providers of the GPT-3 API that ultimately powered the project, had a problem with this as their terms explicitly forbid use of their API for (among other things) “amorous” purposes.
[Sara Suárez-Gonzalo], a postdoctoral researcher, observed that this story’s facts were getting covered well enough, but nobody was looking at it from any other perspective. We all certainly have ideas about what flavor of right or wrong saturates the different elements of the case, but can we explain exactly why it would be either good or bad to develop a deadbot?
That’s precisely what [Sara] set out to do. Her writeup is a fascinating and nuanced read that provides concrete guidance on the topic. Is harm possible? How does consent figure into something like this? Who takes responsibility for bad outcomes? If you’re at all interested in these kinds of questions, take the time to check out her article.
[Sara] makes the case that creating a deadbot could be done ethically, under certain conditions. Briefly, key points are that a mimicked person and the one developing and interacting with it should have given their consent, complete with as detailed a description as possible about the scope, design, and intended uses of the system. (Such a statement is important because machine learning in general changes rapidly. What if the system or capabilities someday no longer resemble what one originally imagined?) Responsibility for any potential negative outcomes should be shared by those who develop, and those who profit from it.
[Sara] points out that this case is a perfect example of why the ethics of machine learning really do matter, and without attention being paid to such things, we can expect awkward problems to continue to crop up.
What’s more fun than playing video games? Designing your own video game hardware, of course! If you’ve followed these pages long enough you’ll have seen dozens of great examples of homebrew hardware, and perhaps been inspired to try such a project yourself. This often starts with assembling the basic bits onto a solderless breadboard, which is fine for programming but not so great for testing: squeezing pushbuttons into your breadboard works for basic debugging, but is not very user-friendly or reliable. A better solution can be found in [Dimitar]’s GameBug: a set of breadboard-compatible joypad-like controllers.
The GameBug’s design excels in its simplicity: a miniature analog joystick, four buttons arranged in a diamond pattern, a shoulder button and two sliding switches are sitting on a neat purple PCB. On the bottom are two rows of pin headers to ensure a snug fit on your solderless breadboard. There’s even a little vibrating motor for haptic feedback.
Interfacing with the GameBug is simplified by the integrated readout electronics. A Schmitt trigger-based debounce circuit ensures clean signals from all the pushbuttons, while a motor driver chip provides stable current to the haptic feedback system. An RGB LED can be used as yet another user feedback device, or simply for decorative lighting.
All design files are available on [Dimitar]’s GitHub page, along with an Arduino sketch to help you try out the GameBug’s functionality. Having a proper gamepad might come in handy with breadboard-based game systems like Tiny Duck Hunt or this impressive mess of wires that makes up a Colecovision.
How important is it to identify killer asteroids before they strike your planet? Ask any dinosaurs. Oh, wait… Granted you also need a way to redirect them, but interest in finding them has picked up lately including a new privately funded program called the Asteroid Institute.
Using an open-source cloud platform known as ADAM — Asteroid Discovery Analysis and Mapping — the program, affiliated with B612 program along with others including the University of Washington, has already discovered 104 new asteroids and plotted their orbits.
What’s interesting is that the Institute doesn’t acquire any images itself. Instead, it uses new techniques to search through existing optical records to identify previously unnoticed asteroids and compute their trajectories.
You have to wonder how many other data sets are floating around that hold unknown discoveries waiting for the right algorithm and computing power. Of course, once you find the next extinction asteroid, you have to decide what to do about it. Laser? Bomb? A gentle push at a distance? Or hope for an alien obelisk to produce a deflector ray? How would you do it?
NASA is experimenting with moving asteroids. If you want to find some on your own, you might want to check out the atlas of existing ones.
Continue reading “That’s No Asteroid…Oh, Actually It Is”