[PyottDesign] recently wrapped up a personal project to create himself a custom AR/VR headset that could function as an AR (augmented reality) platform, and make it easier to develop new applications in a headset that could do everything he needed. He succeeded wonderfully, and published a video showcase of the finished project.
Getting a headset with the features he wanted wasn’t possible by buying off the shelf, so he accomplished his goals with a skillful custom repackaging of a Quest 2 VR headset, integrating a Stereolabs Zed Mini stereo camera (aimed at mixed reality applications) and an Ultraleap IR 170 hand tracking module. These hardware modules have tons of software support and are not very big, but when sticking something onto a human face, every millimeter and gram counts.
Continue reading “Beautifully Rebuilding A VR Headset To Add AR Features”
For hundreds of years, Icelanders have relied on the ocean for survival. This is perhaps not surprising as it’s an isolated island surrounded by ocean near the Arctic circle. But as the oceans warm and fisheries continue to be harvested unsustainably, Iceland has been looking for a way to make sure that the fish they do catch are put to the fullest use, for obvious things like food and for plenty of other novel uses as well as they work towards using 100% of their catch.
After harvesting fish for food, most amateur fishers will discard around 60% of the fish by weight. Some might use a portion of this waste for fertilizer in a garden, but otherwise it is simply thrown out. But as the 100% Fish Project is learning, there are plenty of uses for these parts of the fish as well. Famously, cod skin has been recently found to work as skin grafts for humans, while the skin from salmon has been made into a leather-type product and the shells of crustaceans like shrimp can be made into medicine. The heads and bones of fish can be dried and made into soups, and other parts of fish can be turned into things like Omega-3 capsules and dog treats.
While we don’t often feature biology-related hacks like this, out-of-the-box thinking like this is an important way to continue to challenge old ideas, leave less of a footprint, improve human lives, and potentially create a profitable enterprise on top of all of that. You might even find that life in the seas can be used for things you never thought possible before, like building logic gates out of crabs.
Thanks to [Ben] for the tip!
There was a point in time, excruciatingly brief, in which desktop computers often had a large “TURBO” button on their front panel. Some even featured an LED display that would indicate the current CPU frequency, providing visual conformation that your machine had leaped to a blistering 66 MHz.
The 486 that [someyob] is restoring had the Turbo button, but sadly there was just a simple LED to show whether or not it was engaged. But there was a window in the front panel where it seemed like a numerical display was intended to go, so they decided to wire up their own CPU indicator by sensing the state of the Turbo LED with an Arduino Pro Mini.
Now to modern audiences, this might seem like cheating. After all, the Arduino isn’t actually measuring the CPU speed, nor is it directly controlling it (that’s still done by the original Turbo button wiring). But the truth is, even back in the day, the CPU frequency displays faked it — they just toggled between showing two predefined frequencies depending on the state of the button. The arrangement [someyob] has come up with does the same thing, except now there’s some extra processing power in the mix, so the display can show some slick animations as it switches between 33 and 66 Mhz.
In the GitHub repository, [someyob] has provided the Arduino source code and schematics showing how the microcontroller was shoehorned into the existing front panel wiring without compromising its functionality. There’s even a brief video below that shows the display in operation.
Like the idea but don’t have a 486 laying around? Don’t worry. We’ve seen a similar panel built for modern machines that just doesn’t look the part, it actually manages to be functional.
Continue reading “486 Gets Animated Turbo Button Thanks To Arduino”
As time goes on, more and more computer manufacturers are moving towards the ARM architecture and away from the bloated and outdated x86 instruction set. Apple is the most prominent producer to take this step, but plenty others are using ARM for its flexibility and efficiency. The only problem with ARM is that it’s licensed, so if you want to go even further down the open-source path the RISC-V instruction set is the next logical step. Now at least one mainline Linux distribution will officially support this architecture.
While Debian did have some support for RISC-V before this as a Debian port, which was not officially part of Debian. However, the official support will begin with the release of Debian 13, which is currently in the testing phase and hasn’t seen a stable release yet. To that end, the current state of this official version is extremely limited, being described as “almost empty” but with planned support for an initial 90 packages in the coming days. Most users working on a RISC-V platform will most likely to continue to use their Debian ports version.
It might be a little while before the RISC-V version is as full-featured as the ARM or x86 versions of this Linux distribution, but we are happy to see it move in this direction at all. And don’t think that RISC-V is limited to embedded systems or otherwise limited computing platforms, either. We’ve seen full Linux desktops with RISC-V processors since at least 2019.
As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a lock that can’t be picked. However, it seems like there are plenty of examples of car manufacturers that refuse to add these metaphorical locks to their cars at all — especially when it comes to securing the electronic systems of vehicles. Plenty of modern cars are essentially begging to be attacked as a result of such poor practices as unencrypted CAN busses and easily spoofed wireless keyfobs. But even if your car comes from a manufacturer that takes basic security precautions, you still might want to check out this project from the University of Michigan that is attempting to add another layer of security to cars.
The security system works like many others, by waiting for the user to input a code. The main innovation here is that the code is actually a series of voltage fluctuations that are caused by doing things like turning on the headlights or activating the windshield wipers. This is actually the secondary input method, though; there is also a control pad that can mimic these voltage fluctuations as well without having to perform obvious inputs to the vehicle’s electrical system. But, if the control pad isn’t available then turning on switches and lights to input the code is still available for the driver. The control unit for this device is hidden away, and disables things like the starter motor until it sees these voltage fluctuations.
One of the major selling points for a system like this is the fact that it doesn’t require anything more complicated than access to the vehicle’s 12 volt electrical system to function. While there are some flaws with the design, it’s an innovative approach to car security that, when paired with a common-sense approach to securing modern car technology, could add some valuable peace-of-mind to vehicle ownership in areas prone to car theft. It could even alleviate the problem of cars being stolen via their headlights.
Continue reading “Car Security System Monitors Tiny Voltage Fluctuations”
You might expect Bell Labs would have state-of-the-art computers, and they did. But it is jarring to realize just how little that was in 1973, fifty years ago. If you started work at Bell’s Holmdel Computing Center back then, you might have watched one of the orientation videos below. Your first clue about how far things have come might be the reference to the IBM 370/165, which had “3 million bytes of core, 2 million of which are available for programmer use.” Even our laptops today have at least 8 gigabytes of RAM. There were at least two other smaller IBM 370s, too. Plenty of 029 card punches are visible.
If you were trying to run something between 8:00 AM and 5:30 PM, you had to limit your job run time to three minutes, 4,000 lines of output, and no more than 1,000 cards in and 5,000 cards out. Oh, and don’t use more than 384 kB of that core memory, either. If you fell within those limits, you could hand your card deck over at the express counter and get your results in only five or ten minutes. If you were not in the express line but still rated “premium” service, you could expect to wait a half hour.
Continue reading “Retrotechtacular: The Computer Center Of 1973”
When we closed the official Call for Participation for both workshops and talks last week, a good handful of folks wrote to us and asked if they could slip their presentation application in after the deadline. Who are we to say “no” to potential presenters? We want to see all the ideas!
We’re officially extending the Call for Speakers and the Call for Workshops for another week. Get your outline in before Aug. 1st at 9:00 AM PDT, and it’ll be in the selection for Supercon. (And no, we’re not going to extend it twice!)
The Hackaday Superconference is really and truly our favorite event of the year. It’s small, but not too small. The ideas everyone brings with them, however, are big. It’s like the absolute best of Hackaday live and in person. If you’re looking for a place to give a technical talk, or just to regale us all with the trials and triumphs of hacking, you won’t find a more receptive audience anywhere. Plus, presenters get in free.
Behind the scenes, we’re still working on the badge, but we’ve got many of the details fully hammered down. Expect tickets to go on sale in the second week of August – early bird tickets sell out fast. Keep your eyes on Hackaday for the announcement post when it goes live.
We know that November seems a long way out, but we’re looking forward to seeing you all already. Hooray for Supercon!