a kinetic bar framework mounted on a wooden base made of 3d printed bars of alternative black and grey color, each joined with m3 bolts and nuts

Kinetic Cyclic Scissors

[Henry Segerman] and [Kyle VanDeventer] merge math and mechanics to create a kinetic cyclic scissors sculpture out of 3D printed bars adjoined together with M3 bolts and nuts.

a kinetic bar framework with 3d printed bars of alternative black and grey color, each joined with m3 bolts and nuts being held by a person at two points with a quadrilateral tiling overlay

The kinetic sculpture can be thought of as a part of an infinite tiling of self similar quadrilaterals in the plane. The tiling of the plane by these self similar quadrilaterals can be realized as a framework by joining the diagonal points of each quadrilateral with bars. The basic question [Henry] and [Kyle] wanted to answer was under what conditions can the realized bar framework of a subsection of the tiling be made to move. Surprisingly, when the quadrilateral is a parallelogram, like in a scissor lift, or “cyclic”, when the endpoints lie on a circle, the bar framework can move. Tweaking the ratios of the middle lengths in a cyclic configuration leads to different types of rotational symmetry that can be achieved as the structure folds in on itself.

[Henry] and [Kyle] go into more detail in their Bridges Conference paper, with derivations and further discussions about the symmetry induced by adjusting the constraints. The details are light on the actual kinetic sculpture featured in the video but the bar framework was chosen to have a mirror type of symmetry with a motor attached to one of the central, lower bars to drive the movement of the sculpture.

The bar framework is available for download for anyone wanting to 3D print or laser cut their own. Bar frameworks are useful ideas and we’ve seen them used in art sculptures to strandbeests, so it’s great to see further explorations in this space.

Video after the break!

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Cat9 And LASH Want To Change Your Linux Command Line

It is no secret that to be a true Linux power user you have to deal with the command line. Many people actually prefer to use the command line. However, the shell — the program that provides that command line — is mired in a back history which means it has to work with existing things no matter how modern it tries to be. However, a new set of projects wants to replace most of your user interface stack starting with the shell. At the top of that stack is Cat9 which is technically a shell, but not in the way you probably imagine a shell.

A traditional shell lets you run programs one at a time, feed them input, and observe their output. Sure, you can stash the output away for later use. You can run programs in the background or in parallel, but that requires special attention. In Cat9, everything is asynchronous and results stay around until you deliberately drop them. It is trivial to grab data from a previous command or, for example, to switch to a directory that was in use by an earlier task.

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A prosthetic eye anodized green around the edges with a yellow and blue "iris" surrounding an LED center.

Skull Lamp Illuminates The Cyberpunk Future

Cyberpunk is full of characters with cool body mods, and [bsmachinist] has made a prosthetic eye flashlight (TikTok) that is both useful and looks futuristic. [via Reddit]

[bsmachinist] has been machining titanium prosthetic eyes for over five years now, and this latest iteration, the Skull Lamp, has a high brightness LED that he says is great for reading books at night as well as any other task you might have for a headlamp. Battery life is reported as being 20 hours, and the device is switched by passing a magnet (Instagram) near the prosthetic.

We love seeing how prosthetics have advanced in the last few years with the proliferation of advanced tools for makers. Some other interesting prosthetics we’ve covered are this DIY Socket for Prosthetics with a built-in charger and power supply and several different prosthetic projects for kids including these Heroic Prosthetics by Open Bionics, the E-Nable Alliance, and a Kid Who Designed his Own Prosthetic.

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Digital Hourglass Counts Down The Seconds

If someone asked you to build a digital hourglass, what would your design look like? [BitBlt_Korry] took on that challenge, creating a functional art piece that hits it right on the nose: an hourglass with a digital display

Iron filings fall between two pieces of plexiglass while ghostly numbers appear, counting down 30 seconds. Just as quickly as they appear, the numbers disappear – dropping down to the bottom of the enclosure. Each second is punctuated by what might be the loudest clock tick we’ve ever heard.

Of course, it’s not all magic. The hourglass is controlled by a Raspberry Pi Pico running code in MicroPython. The pico drives a series of transistors, which in turn are used to control 14 solenoids.  The solenoids serve double duty — first, they move pieces of flat “fridge magnet” material close enough to attract iron filings. Their second duty is of course provide a clock tick that will definitely get your attention.

Tilt sensors are the user input to the hourglass, letting the Pi Pico know which end is up when it’s time to start a new 30-second countdown.

[BitBlt_Korry] mentions that the hardest part of the project was setting the screws at the top and bottom of the hourglass to get the perfect uniform flow of iron filings. 

[BitBlt_Korry] calls his creation “「時場(じば)」”.  Google translates this to “Jiba”, which means “magnetic field”.  We’re not native speakers, but we’re guessing there is a double meaning there.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen humble iron filings stand up and dance at our command. If iron dust is too dry a topic, we’ve got plenty of ferrofluid projects as well!

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2022 Cyberdeck Contest: Prototype Cyberdeck Is Anything But Questionable

We see many projects here at Hackaday, about which their creators are unreasonably modest. We like a good cyberdeck, and we think [betaraybiff] is one of those creators from their project description for a Prototype Cyberdeck of Questionable Practical Use. It may be a prototype, but we think it could be quite a practical computer.

At its heart is the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi 4 paired with a PiSugar power supply and a minimalist mechanical keyboard. The case is the interesting part, because it’s well-designed to be 3D printed in sections with the HDMI display hinging up from above the keyboard. The Pi is open and visible on top of the deck, but this could easily be covered with another printed piece if desired.

So we disagree on the practicality, given a train journey and this cyberdeck we think we could easily crack out a Hackaday article or two. Never undersell your creations, like this one they’re almost certainly better than you think.

If you’d like to see more of the 2022 Cyberdeck Contest, take a look at the best of the best.

2022 Supercon: Schedule Released, And [Odd Jayy]

It’s finally time! We’ve put together the 2022 Supercon Schedule, and you can check out all the talks, workshops, and events in one place – right now.

Badge hacking heating up (photo by @hackerwarehouse)

It all starts off with breakfast on Friday morning to power you up for a full day of badge hacking, workshops, and general mixing and mingling before the Friday night party. Fridays are significantly less formal, but swing by Supplyframe HQ any time to get registered, get your badge, and get a mellow head start on Supercon.

Saturday morning, the talks begin! After a brief introduction and welcome, keynote speaker Joe Grand takes the stage to kick things off. And from then on, it’s two tracks of talks on two stages until your brain explodes. Or at least until the Hackaday Prize Awards ceremony at 7:00 PM, followed by the awards after-party.

Pull yourself out of bed Sunday morning for another full day of stellar talks. And squeeze in some more last minute badge-hacking time somehow, because we close up Sunday evening with the always entertaining badge hacking contest and awards.

Jorvon [Odd Jayy] Moss to Speak

Plus, we’ve got one last bit of great news: Jorvon [Odd Jayy] Moss is giving a talk on his adventures in making companion robots, and his latest forays into adding more intelligence into his animatronic and artistic creations.

So if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, do it. ‘Nuff said. See you at Supercon!

And if you’re not able to make it live, all of the talks on the LACM Stage will be streamed live on our YouTube channel, and you can join in the discussion over at the Hackaday Discord server or on Hackaday.io’s Supercon Chat channel. And all the talks that we can’t stream, we’re recording for later release, so you can always catch up later.

The Meraki AP PCB on a desk, case-less, with three USB-UARTs connected to its pins - one for interacting with the device, and two for monitoring both of the UART data lines.

Flashing Booby-Trapped Cisco AP With OpenWrt, The Hard Way

Certain manufacturers seriously dislike open-source firmware for their devices, and this particular hack deals with quite extreme anti-hobbyist measures. The Meraki MR33, made by Cisco, is a nice access point hardware-wise, and running OpenWrt on it is wonderful – if not for the Cisco’s malicious decision to permanently brick the CPU as soon as you enter Uboot through the serial port. This AP seems to be part of a “hardware as a service” offering, and the booby-trapped Uboot was rolled out by an OTA update some time after the OpenWrt port got published.

There’s an older Uboot version available out there, but you can’t quite roll back to it and up to a certain point, there was only a JTAG downgrade path noted on the wiki – with its full description consisting of a “FIXME: describe the process” tag. Our hacker, an anonymous user from the [SagaciousSuricata] blog, decided to go a different way — lifting, dumping and modifying the onboard flash in order to downgrade the bootloader, and guides us through the entire process. There’s quite a few notable things about this hack, like use of Nix package manager to get Python 2.7 on an OS which long abandoned it, and a tip about a workable lightweight TFTP server for such work, but the flash chip part caught our eye.

The flash chip is in TSOP48 package and uses a parallel interface, and an iMX6.LL devboard was used to read, modify and flash back the image — hotswapping the chip, much like we used to do with old parallel-interface BIOS chips. We especially liked the use of FFC cables and connectors for connecting the flash chip to the devboard in a way that allows hotswapping – now that we can see it, the TSOP 0.5 mm pitch and 0.5 mm FFC hardware are a match made in heaven. This hack, of course, will fit many TSOP48-equipped devices, and it’s nice to have a toolkit for it in case you don’t have a programmer handy.

In the end, the AP got a new lease of life, now governed by its owner as opposed to Cisco’s whims. This is a handy tutorial for anyone facing a parallel-flash-equipped device where the only way appears to be the hard way, and we’re glad to see hackers getting comfortable facing such challenges, whether it’s parallel flash, JTAG or power glitching. After all, it’s great when your devices can run an OS entirely under your control – it’s historically been that you get way more features that way, but it’s also that the manufacturer can’t pull the rug from under your feet like Amazon did with its Fire TV boxes.

We thank [WifiCable] for sharing this with us!

(Ed Note: Changed instances of “OpenWRT” to “OpenWrt”.)