Like many new technologies, smartwatches needed a few iterations before they became useful enough for the average person. Early examples were too clunky and limited to be of use to anyone but geeks who wanted to show off their “next big thing”. The 2005 Fossil Wrist PDA was a prime example: although impressively compact for its time, its limited battery life and poor feature set made it obsolete as soon as it was released. But since it ran on Palm OS, it offered plenty of opportunity for hacking: Palm expert [Cameron Kaiser] has upgraded his Wrist with internet access.
While Palm OS 4 natively supports TCP/IP networking, this component was deleted from the Wrist version to save memory. In any case, the only viable network interface would have been the USB port, which isn’t too convenient for a watch. Not to be deterred, [Cameron] worked out a way to add network support back into the Wrist: he used the IR port on a Palm m505 to send a copy of its own network drivers to the watch. This works because both devices run the same basic OS version on the same CPU type; the only drawback is that the network setup dialog doesn’t respond correctly to the Wrist’s different set of buttons. Continue reading “Mobile Gopher Client Brings Fossil Wrist PDA Online”
Ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus worked to accurately catalog and record the coordinates of celestial objects. But while Hipparchus’ Star Catalogue is known to have existed, the document itself is lost to history. Even so, new evidence has come to light thanks to patient work and multispectral imaging.
Hipparchus’ Star Catalogue is the earliest known attempt to record the positions of celestial bodies (predating Claudius Ptolemy’s work in the second century, which scholars believe was probably substantially based on Hipparchus) but direct evidence of the document is slim. Continue reading “Multispectral Imaging Shows Erased Evidence Of Ancient Star Catalogue”
Although new electric motor types are still being invented, the basic principle of an electric motor has changed little in the past century-and-a-half: a stator and a rotor built of magnetic materials plus a bunch of strategically-placed loops of wire. But getting even those basic ingredients right took a lot of experimentation by some of the greatest names in physics. Michael Faraday was one of them, and in the process became the first person to turn electricity into motion. [Markus Bindhammer] has recreated Faraday’s experiment in proper 19th century style.
Back in 1821, the very nature of electricity and its relation to magnetism were active areas of research. Tasked with writing an article about the new science of eletromagnetics, Faraday decided to test out the interaction between a current-carrying wire and a permanent magnet, in a setup very similar to [Markus]’s design. A brass wire is hanging freely from a horizontal rod and makes contact with a conductive liquid, inside of which a magnet is standing vertically. As an electric current is passed through the wire, it begins to rotate around the magnet, as if to stir the liquid.
[Markus]’s video, embedded after the break, shows the entire construction process. Starting from rods and sheet metal, [Markus] uses mostly hand tools to create all basic parts that implement the motor, including a neat knife switch. Where Faraday used mercury as the conductive liquid, [Markus] uses salt water – cheaper and less toxic, although it does eventually eat up the brass wire through electrolysis.
While not particularly useful in itself, Faraday’s motor proved for the first time that electric energy could be converted into motion through magnetism, leading to a whole class of ultra-simple motors called homopolar motors. It would be a while before experiments by the likes of Tesla and Ferraris led to modern AC motors. If you don’t like your motors magnetic, you can use electrostatics instead.
Continue reading “Replicating Faraday’s 200-Year-Old Electric Motor”
[InazumaDenki] wanted to answer the question: can you drive a motor with an audio amplifier chip? The answer, of course, is yes. The TDA7052 has a single input, and a bridge output meant to drive a speaker differentially. It should work if the motor doesn’t present more of a load than a speaker.
The plan was to use a resistive divider to provide several discrete voltages to the input. At precisely the half-way mark, there should be no voltage across the load. Altering the input to go higher than halfway should make the motor turn one way, and making it go lower should turn the motor the other way. As you can see in the video below, it does work, although it may not be ideal for this application.
Continue reading “Driving A Motor With An Audio Amp Chip”
Perpetual motion and notions of ‘free energy’ devices are some of those pseudo-science topics that seem to perpetually hang around, no matter how many times it is explained how this would literally violate the very fabric of the Universe. Even so, the very notion of a device which repeats the same action over and over with no obvious loss of energy is tempting enough that the laws of physics are employed to effect the impossible in a handy desktop format. This includes the intriguing model demonstrated by [Steve Mould] in a recent video, including a transparent version that reveals the secret.
This particular perpetual motion simulator is made by [William Le] and takes the form of metal balls that barrel down a set of metal rails which turn upward so that each metal ball will land back where it started in the top bowl. To the casual informed observer the basic principle ought to be obvious, with magnetism being a prime candidate to add some extra velocity to said metal ball. What’s less obvious is the whole mechanism that makes the system work, including the detection circuit and the tuning of the parameters that tell the device when its electromagnet should be on or off.
When [Steve] figured that he could just make a transparent version using the guts from the one he purchased, he quickly found out that even with [William]’s help, this wasn’t so easy. Ultimately [William] hand-crafted a transparent version that shows the whole system in its entire glory, even if this is somewhat like demonstrating a magic trick in an easy to follow manner.
Continue reading “Simulating A Real Perpetual Motion Device”
I get it — you hate writing by hand. But have you ever considered why that is? Is it because typing is easier, faster, and more convenient here in 2023? Maybe so. All of those notwithstanding, I honestly think there’s an older reason: it’s because of the rise of ballpoint pens. And I’m not alone.
Bear with me here. Maybe you think you hate writing because you were forced to do it in school. While that may very well be, depending on your age, you probably used a regular wood-case pencil before graduating to the ballpoint pen, never experiencing the joys of the fountain pen. Well, it’s never too late.
Continue reading “What Is Killing Cursive? Ballpoints. Probably.”
Join us on Wednesday, September 20 at noon Pacific for the Satellite Hunting Hack Chat with Scott Tilley!
From the very first beeps of Sputnik, space has primarily been the domain of nations. It makes sense — for the most part, it takes the resources of a nation to get anything of appreciable size up out of the gravity well we all live in, but more importantly, space is the highest of high ground, and the high ground has always been a place of advantage to occupy. And so a lot of the hardware we’ve sent upstairs in the last 70 years has been in the national interest of this or that country.
A lot of these satellites are — or were, at least — top secret stuff, with classified payloads, poorly characterized orbits, and unknown communications protocols. This can make tracking them from the ground a challenge, but one that’s worth undertaking. Scott Tilley has been hunting for satellites for years, writing about his exploits on the Riddles in the Sky blog and sometimes being featured on Hackaday. After recently putting his skills to work listening in on a solar observation satellite as its orbit takes it close to Earth again, we asked him to stop by the Hack Chat to share what he’s learned about hunting for satellites, both long-lost and intentionally hidden. Join us as we take a virtual trip into orbit to find out just what’s going on up there.
Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, September 20 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.