If you’ve ever been at an eatery and thought the server was a bit robotic, you should try San Francisco’s Mezli. The restaurant claims to be the first one to be totally automated. There are no humans in there. The restaurant serves Mediterranean grain bowls. Honestly, it is hard to decide if Mezli is a restaurant or a very sophisticated vending machine.
Then again, that makes sense. Only in science fiction do you have androids flying spaceships. In real life, the robot probably is the spaceship. Obviously, someone is still loading ingredients into the machine — some precooked — but that’s about it. Some restaurants let you order from a computer while a human makes your food and we’ve seen a few automated chefs, but nothing with this degree of mechanization.
Continue reading “I’m Your Overlord, May I Take Your Order?”
Imagine for a moment that you design products for a living. But you can’t design all the things, so you have to buy some of your stuff from big-box stores just to go about your everyday life. This is more or less what happened to [Eric Strebel], who recently bought a bathroom faucet from IKEA. This particular flat-pack faucet came with a single-use plastic nut driver to be used in putting the faucet together. Since there is no marking that indicates the plastic type, it can’t be easily recycled. Not even the size of the business end is indicated. So between the shoddy plastic construction and the lack of information, most people are going to just throw this thing away. And that’s terrible.
So what’s to be done? Aside from boycotting IKEA (which [Eric] may do in the future for all we know), there’s not much to do but to offer up solutions on public platform and see what happens. To that end, [Eric] came up with five different ways of making this nut driver that are arguably more sustainable than single-use mystery plastic.
Say what you will about sustainability of using metals, which have to be mined, versus plastic – many of these methods use no tooling, so that’s something. Nut drivers made by [Eric] would instead be laser-cut from flat stock and either folded up and welded, or assembled from a multi-piece cut into a single-piece tool via perpendicular members that slot together. Or as [Eric] points out, the design could stay exactly the same as the plastic original and be die-cast instead.
It’s certainly an interesting exercise in design, and it’s really cool to see a little bit into [Eric]’s thought process when it comes to improving existing things. Be sure to check it out after the break, and let us know how you’d have done it better.
Continue reading “The Tools To Fight Against Single-Use Plastic”
In the old days, it wasn’t uncommon to put an AM radio near a computer or a monitor and deliberately cause interference to have a crude form of sound generation. Did you miss out on that? No! Thanks to [luambfb] you can now do the same trick with a common LCD monitor. You’ll need the horizontal refresh rate of the monitor in question.
Of course, doing it is somewhat less interesting than learning how it works. The effect relies on the fact that the LCDs emit signals as it refreshes a row. A black row emits relatively low energy while a white row emits more. Grayscale… well, you get the idea. Continue reading “LCD Monitor Plays The Hits”
If you’ve ever tried to drill a hole on an angle with a power drill, you’ve probably drilled some pretty shocking holes. To do it right, you really need some mechanical assistance, and this jig from [Kartik_Nandrui] should do the trick.
The device uses a guide that sits on the surface to be drilled, with a pair of angled connectors that fit two wooden dowels. These connect the guide to a corresponding sleeve that fits around the drill body. The sleeve then slides up and down the dowels, allowing the drill to move in a straight line towards the targeted area.
It’s a useful hack, but we can see room for some improvements that would take it to the next level. Having a way to lock the angle of the guide base would be great for accuracy. As it’s 3D printed, it would also be simple to create a version with a curved guide base that could fit over pipes, or other designs to fit complex geometries like roof sheeting or other corrugated materials.
Sometimes the most interesting hacks are the ones that get us thinking about our own potential projects. If you’ve got any creative tool hacks you’ve been brewing up in the lab, be sure to let us know!
Have you ever been tempted by those metal 3D printing services? [Carter Hurd] has, and puts them to the test with a wristwatch. (Video, embedded below.)
It’s fair to say that among Hackaday readers you will find a very high percentage of 3D printer ownership compared to the general population, but for most of us that means an FDM or perhaps even an SLA printer. These two technologies have both effectively delivered polymer printing at the affordable end of the market, but as readers will also be aware they are only the tip of the 3D printing iceberg. We know the awesomeness of your industrial 3D printer is defined by the size of your wallet, and while our wallets are small, we are offered a chance at the big time through the services of rapid prototyping companies that will print our models on these high-end machines. Thus [Carter]’s project video is as much about using these services as it is about making a wristwatch.
Continue reading “Put 3D Metal Printing Services To The Test, By Making A Watch”
If you’re a die-hard sports fan, there’s nothing you love more than staying abreast of developments in the league, from top to bottom. [Kiu] had a family member that was big into NFL, so set about building them a remarkably cool ladder tracker.
The tracker displays the NFL league table with a ten-minute delay, thanks to a paid live data feed from MySportsFeeds.com. When an update comes in, miniature helmets representing each team in the competition are moved into the correct order. The helmets sit on little plastic tags that make moving them easy, reliable, and repeatable. Built using parts familiar to the 3D printer world, this tracker relies on steppers and V-rails for linear movement, under the command of an Arduino Nano.
It’s a build that would look great in any games room, and we bet a scaled-up version would look the business in an upmarket sports bar. Let’s be honest – the league’s top quarterbacks will all be fighting to have one of these sooner rather than later. That’s not to say it won’t sting to come home to your team’s helmet scooting down the board after a painful loss!
We’ve seen some other interesting sports tracking projects over the years, too. Video after the break!
Continue reading “Cute NFL Standings Tracker Uses Little Mini Helmets”
There’s a dreaded disease that’s plagued Internet Service Providers for years. OK, there’s probably several diseases, but today we’re talking about bufferbloat. What it is, how to test for it, and finally what you can do about it. Oh, and a huge shout-out to all the folks working on this problem. Many programmers and engineers, like Vint Cerf, Dave Taht, Jim Gettys, and many more have cracked this nut for our collective benefit.
When your computer sends a TCP/IP packet to another host on the Internet, that packet routes through your computer, through the network card, through a switch, through your router, through an ISP modem, through a couple ISP routers, and then finally through some very large routers on its way to the datacenter. Or maybe through that convoluted chain of devices in reverse, to arrive at another desktop. It’s amazing that the whole thing works at all, really. Each of those hops represents another place for things to go wrong. And if something really goes wrong, you know it right away. Pages suddenly won’t load. Your VoIP calls get cut off, or have drop-outs. It’s pretty easy to spot a broken connection, even if finding and fixing it isn’t so trivial.
That’s an obvious problem. What if you have a non-obvious problem? Sites load, but just a little slower than it seems like they used to. You know how to use a command line, so you try a
ping test. Huh, 15.0 ms off to Google.com. Let it run for a hundred packets, and essentially no packet loss. But something’s just not right. When someone else is streaming a movie, or a machine is pushing a backup up to a remote server, it all falls apart. That’s bufferbloat, and it’s actually really easy to do a simple test to detect it. Run a speed test, and run a ping test while your connection is being saturated. If your latency under load goes through the roof, you likely have bufferbloat. There are even a few of the big speed test sites that now offer bufferbloat tests. But first, some history. Continue reading “Bufferbloat, The Internet, And How To Fix It”