We always enjoy a [FesZ] video and we wonder if the “Z” stands for impedance? That’s the topic of his latest video series: measuring impedance with LTSpice. Of course, he also does his usual thorough job of mapping the virtual world to the real one. You can see the video below.
It is simple enough. Impedance is very similar to resistance. That is to say, we have a ratio of voltage and current. However, since it is an AC quantity, you need a complex number to represent it and there is an associated phase shift.
Continue reading “Measuring Impedance Virtually”
Having a 3D printer or a CNC machine available for projects is almost like magic. Designing parts in software and having them appear on the workbench is definitely a luxury. But for a lot of us, these tools aren’t easily available and projects that use them can be out-of-reach. That’s why one of the major design goals of this robotics platform was to use as many off-the-shelf components as possible.
The robot is called the OpenScout and, as its name implies, intends to be a fully open-source robotics platform for a wide range of use cases. It uses readily-available aluminum extrusion as a frame, which bolts together without any other specialized tools like welders. The body of the robot is articulating, helping it navigate uneven terrain outdoors. The specifications also call for using an Arduino to drive the robot, although there is plenty of space in the robot body to house any robotics platform you happen to have on hand.
For anyone looking to get right into the useful work of what robots can do, rather than spending time building up a platform from scratch, this is an excellent project. It’s straightforward and easy to build without many specialized tools. The unique articulating body design should make it effective in plenty of environments. If you do have a 3D printer, though, that opens up a lot of options for robotics platforms.
As anyone who has taken care of chickens or other poultry before will tell you, it can be backbreaking work. So why not build a robot to do all the hard work for us? That’s precisely what [Aktar Kutluhan] demonstrated with an AI-powered IoT system that automatically feeds chicks and monitors unhatched eggs.
Make no mistake, hens are adorable, feathered creatures, but they can be quite finicky. An egg’s weight, size, and frequency can determine the overall health of a hen, and they can stop laying eggs altogether if something as simple as their feeding schedule is too sporadic. This is precisely what inspired [Aktar] to create a system that can feed hens at a consistent time every day while keeping track of the eggs laid to ensure the coop is happy and healthy.
What’s so impressive about this build isn’t just the clever automation that scratches off a daily chore, it’s built completely with IoT devices, including the AI. The setup uses Edge Impulse as an object detection model on an OPenMV Cam H7 microcontroller to recognize eggs in the coop. From there, an WizFi360-EVB-Pico board was attached so data could be sent over WiFi, with a DHT22 thrown in to monitor and record the overall temperature of the coop.
This is already an amazing setup, but when it comes to IoT devices, the sky’s the limit. You could control heat lamps in larger coops, automatically refill a water bowl if the hens’ water is low, or even build a hands-off incubator. We’re only just beginning to see the clever ways with which AI can help monitor our pet’s health. Just look at how another hacker used AI to monitor cat poop to make sure their furry friend wasn’t eating plastic. Thanks to [Aktar Kutluhan] for showing us more ways we can use AI to help our pets!
Continue reading “Lending A Helping Hand To Hens With AI”
Got any plans for tonight? No? Well then you’re in luck, because NASA is just a few hours from intentionally smashing a probe into the minor planet Dimorphos as part of Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) — marking the first time humanity has ever intentionally tried to knock a space rock off-course. If it works, we’re one step closer to having a viable planetary defense system in case we ever detect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. If it doesn’t work. . . well, we’ve still got time to come up with another plan.
To be clear, the 170 meter (560 feet) wide Dimorphos DOES NOT pose any threat to us, nor will it after NASA smacks it around with an ion-propelled spacecraft. This is simply a test to see if a small spacecraft impacting an asteroid head-on can slow it down enough to appreciably change its orbital trajectory. We won’t know for a week or so if the impact did the trick, but it should still be fascinating to watch the crash happen live.
We’ve embedded the two NASA streams below. The first one will start about a half an hour before impact and is going to show live navigational images of Dimorphos as the DART spacecraft zeros in on its target, and the second stream will cover the main event. Keep in mind this isn’t a Hollywood film we’re talking about — don’t expect any dramatic explosions when the clock hits zero. When the telemetry stops coming back, that means it was a bullseye.
Continue reading “Watch NASA Crash A Probe Into An Asteroid Tonight”
There are plenty of resins advertised as being suitable for functional applications and parts, but which is best and for what purpose?
According to [Jan Mrázek], if one is printing gears, then they are definitely not all the same. He recently got fantastic results with Siraya Tech Fast Mecha, a composite resin that contains a filler to improve its properties, and he has plenty of pictures and data to share.
[Jan] has identified some key features that are important for functional parts like gears. Dimensional accuracy is important, there should be low surface friction on mating surfaces, and the printed objects should be durable. Of course, nothing beats a good real-world test. [Jan] puts the resin to work with his favorite method: printing out a 1:85 compound planetary gearbox, and testing it to failure.
The results? The composite resin performed admirably, and somewhat to his surprise, the teeth on the little gears showed no signs of wear. We recommend checking out the results on his page. [Jan] has used the same process to test many different materials, and it’s always updated with all tests he has done to date.
Whether it’s working out all that can go wrong, or making flexible build plates before they were cool, We really admire [Jan Mrázek]’s commitment to getting the most out of 3D printing with resin.
Back in the “beige box” days of computing, it was pretty easy to tell what your machine was doing just by listening to it, because the hard drive was constantly thrashing the heads back and forth. It was sometimes annoying, but never as annoying as hearing the stream of Geiger counter-like clicks stop when you knew it wasn’t done loading a program yet.
That “happy sound” is getting harder to come by, even on retro machines, which increasingly have had their original thrash-o-matic drives replaced with compact flash and other solid-state drives. This HDD sound simulator aims to fill that diagnostic and nostalgic gap on any machine that isn’t quite clicky enough for you. Sadly, [Matthias Werner] provides no build details for his creation, but between the longish demo video below (by a satisfied customer) and the details of the first version, it’s easy enough to figure out what’s going on here. An ATtiny and a few support components ride on a small PCB along with a piezoelectric speaker. The dongle connects to the hard drive activity light, which triggers a series of clicks from the speaker that sound remarkably like a hard drive heading seeking tracks. A demo starts at 7:09 in the video below; the very brave — or very nostalgic — might want to check out the full defragmentation that starts at 13:11.
Sure, this one is perhaps a bit over-the-top, but in the retrocomputing world, no price is too high to pay in the name of nostalgia. And it’s still far from the most ridiculous hard drive activity indicator we’ve seen.
Continue reading “Tiny Dongle Brings The Hard Drive’s Song Back To Updated Retrocomputers”
People are well aware of the power of virtual machines. If you want to do something dangerous — say, hack on the kernel — you can create a virtual machine, snapshot it, screw it up a few times, restore it, and your main computer never misses a beat. But sometimes you need just a little shift in perspective, not an entire make belive computer. For example, you are building a new boot disk and you want to pretend it is the real boot disk and make some updates. For that there is
chroot, a Linux command that lets you temporarily open processes that think the root of the filesystem is in a different place than the real root. The problem is, it is hard to manage a bunch of
chroot environments which is why they created Atoms.
The system works with several common distributions and you install it via Flatpak. That means you can launch, for example, a shell that thinks it is running Gentoo or Centos Linux under Ubuntu.
Continue reading “Linux Fu: Atomic Power”