Enhance VR Immersion By Shoehorning An Ambilight Into A Headset

Everyone wants a wider field of view in their VR headsets, but that’s not an easy nut to crack. [Statonwest] shows there’s a way to get at least some of the immersion benefits with a bit of simple hardware thanks to the VR Ambilight.

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A Quick Look At The Hilbert Transform

While the Fourier transform gets all the attention, there are other transforms that engineers and mathematicians use to transform signals from one form to another. Sometimes you use a transform to make a signal more amenable to analysis. Other times, you do it because you want to manipulate it, and the transform is easier to change than the original signal. [Electroagenda] explains the Hilbert transform, which is often used to generate single-sideband signals.

The math behind the transformation is pretty hairy. However, if you understand the Fourier transformer, you can multiply the Fourier transform by -i sgn(ω), but that isn’t really going to help you much in a practical sense. If you don’t want to bog down in the math, skip immediately to section two of the post. That’s where it focuses more on the practical effect of the transform. You can think of the transform as a function that produces a 90 degree phase shift with a constant gain. For negative frequencies, the rotation is 90 degrees and for positive frequencies, the shift is negative.

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Hackaday Links: July 9, 2023

Good news this week from Mars, where Ingenuity finally managed to check in with its controllers after a long silence. The plucky helicopter went silent just after nailing the landing on its 52nd flight back on April 26, and hasn’t been heard from since. Mission planners speculated that Ingenuity, which needs to link to the Perseverance rover to transmit its data, landed in a place where terrain features were blocking line-of-sight between the two. So they weren’t overly concerned about the blackout, but still, one likes to keep in touch with such an irreplaceable asset. The silence was broken last week when Perseverance finally made it to higher ground, allowing the helicopter to link up and dump the data from the last flight. The goal going forward is to keep Ingenuity moving ahead of the rover, acting as a scout for interesting places to explore, which makes it possible that we’ll see more comms blackouts. Ingenuity may be more than ten-fold over the number of flights that were planned, but that doesn’t mean it’s ready for retirement quite yet.

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Reviving Interlisp With The Medley Interlisp Project

Within the Artificial Intelligence and natural language research communities, Lisp has played a major role since 1960. Over the years since its introduction, various development environments have been created that sought to make using Lisp as easy and powerful as possible. One of these environments is Interlisp, which saw its first release in 1968, and its last official release in 1992. That release was Medley 2.0, which targeted various UNIX machines, DOS 4.0, and the Xerox 1186. Courtesy of the Interlisp open source project (GitHub), Medley Interlisp is available for all to use, even on modern systems.

The documentation contains information on how to install Medley on Linux but also Mac and Windows (via WSL1 or WSL2). For those just curious to give things a swing, there’s also an online version you can log into remotely. What Medley Interlisp gets you is an (X-based) GUI environment in which you can program in Lisp, essentially an IDE with a debugger and the (in)famous auto-correction tool for simple errors such as typos, known as the DWIM (Do What I Mean), which much like the derived version in Emacs seeks to automatically fix simple issues like misspellings without forcing the developer to fix it and restart the compilation.

Thanks to [Pixel_Outlaw] for the tip and for also telling us about a project they wrote using Medley Interlisp for the Spring Lisp Game Jame 2023 titled Interlisp Fifteen Puzzle.

Miniware TS1C: A Cordless Soldering Iron With A Station

Most soldering irons in the market seem to fall into a few distinct categories. They either provide a full-blown station to which the soldering iron is wired, powered straight by mains, or an iron powered by DC power. The Miniware TS1C takes up an interesting position here in that it features both a station you put the iron into and adjust the temperature, as well as a fully cordless iron. Sounds too good to be true, perhaps, but a recent Tom’s Hardware review by [Les Pounder] seems to think it has real merit.

Behind the glossy exterior and marketing, we find a cordless soldering iron that uses a supercapacitor to power itself when it is not inserted into the station, with communication between the iron and station performed using Bluetooth. This way, you can keep an eye on both the tip temperature and the remaining charge left, which [Les] found to be sufficient for soldering about 80 smaller joints, with the marketing claiming it can solder 180 size 0805 SMD parts with one charge.

The advantage of having a station is that it is the part that is wired to a power bank or wall wart, with the temperature setting performed using a chunky dial. The station also provides a place for the iron in between soldering sessions, but in order to recharge the iron, the brass bands near the front have to be pushed into the holder for them to make contact. This also makes one-handed removal of the iron from the holder not as easy as you’d hope.

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Clock Escapement Uses Rolling Balls

The escapement mechanism has been widely used for centuries in mechanical clocks. It is the mechanism by which a clock controls the release of stored energy, allowing it to advance in small, precise intervals. Not all mechanical clocks contain escapements, but it is the most common method for performing this function, usually hidden away in the clock’s internals. To some clockmakers, this is a shame, as the escapement can be an elegant and mesmerizing piece of machinery, so [Brett] brought his rolling ball escapement to the exterior of this custom clock.

The clock functions as a kitchen timer, adjustable in 10-second increments and with several preset times available. The rolling ball takes about five seconds to traverse a slightly inclined, windy path near the base of the clock, and when it reaches one side, the clock inverts the path, and the ball rolls back to its starting place in another five seconds. The original designs for this type of escapement use a weight and string similar to a traditional escapement in a normal clock. However, [Brett] has replaced that with an Arduino-controlled stepper motor. A numerical display at the bottom of the clock and a sound module that plays an alert after the timer expires rounds out the build.

The creation of various types of escapements has fascinated clockmakers for centuries, and with modern technology such as 3D printers and microcontrollers, we get even more off-the-wall designs for this foundational piece of technology like [Brett]’s rolling ball escapement (which can also be seen at this Instructable) or even this traditional escapement that was built using all 3D-printed parts.

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2023 Cyberdeck Challenge: YAHRC Takes Its Power Seriously

Cyberdecks are all about custom builds, and [f4drj]’s YAHRC (Yet Another Ham Radio Cyberdeck) takes its ruggedization and power seriously. There are some great power management features, and the enclosure even has a layer of RF shielding.

YAHRC is a Raspberry Pi-based build with a generously-sized screen that tucks a small Bluetooth keyboard into a storage area for input in a pinch. Everything is secured behind custom panels, and behind those panels are some really great build details. There’s active cooling via fans, an SSD for data, and [f4drj] even made a custom riser for the GPIO header by soldering together a couple of headers to act as an extender. This exposes the GPIO header right beside a clear area for prototyping, with easy access to USB ports next to the screen in the top panel. Continue reading “2023 Cyberdeck Challenge: YAHRC Takes Its Power Seriously”