If you have an iota of musicality, you’ve no doubt noticed that you can play music using glass bottles, especially if you have several of different sizes and fill them with varying levels of water. But what if you wanted to accompany yourself on the bottles? Well, then you’d need to build a bottle-playing robot.
First, [Jens Maker Adventures] wrote a song and condensed it down to eight notes. With a whole lot of tinkling with a butter knife against their collection of wine and other bottles, [Jens] was able to figure out the lowest note for a given bottle by filing it with water, and the highest note by emptying it out.
With the bottle notes selected, the original plan was to strike the bottles with sticks. As it turned out, 9g servos weren’t up to the task, so he went with solenoids instead. Using Boxes.py, he was able to parameterize a just-right bottle holder to allow for arranging the bottles in a circle and striking them from the inside, all while hiding the Arduino and the solenoid driver board. Be sure to check it out after the break.
Don’t have a bunch of bottles lying around? You can use an Arduino to play the glasses.
Continue reading “Pour One Out For This Bottle-Playing Robot”
The harmonisation of standards for electronic identification across the EU should normally be soporific enough to send even the most Club-Mate-hyped hacker straight to sleep, but as Computer Weekly reports, discussion of this reform in the EU corridors of power has caused significant unrest among cyber security experts. Just how can providing Europeans with a harmonised digital ID be so controversial? As you might imagine, the devil lies in the detail.
At issue is the eIDAS Regulation, a system which, in the words of its website: “ensures that people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes (eIDs) to access public services available online in other EU countries,” and “creates a European internal market for trust services by ensuring that they will work across borders and have the same legal status as their traditional paper-based equivalents,” and the point of concern lies with its application to websites. The EU want to ensure that Europeans can digitally verify businesses as well as individuals they deal with, and since that includes websites, they want to insert a provision allowing countries to mandate their own trusted root certificates. At a stroke, this opens the potential for state actors to snoop on all encrypted online traffic, something which would compromise the security of all.
Sadly for Europeans, this isn’t the only questionable online regulation effort from that region.
Thanks [Joyce Ng] for the tip.
Hot off the heels of their musical debut 6502 song the good folk at the Taylor and Amy Show are at it again. This time instead of assaulting our auditory senses, they play with our perception of color all while keeping the spirit of retro computing alive.
To back up a bit, I had the pleasure of witnessing the discovery of the Avon Beauty Vision Computer while at the Vintage Computer Festival Mid-West (VCFMW) this past September. We had visited the home of our friend [Jim W] from VCFMW who nonchalantly pulled down from the shelf the reddest computer I have ever seen.
A crowd quickly gathered at this newfound treat, designed and built before the invention of the Blue LED, was fallen upon and the process of prying out its secrets began. I was not privy to the negotiations, but I did notice a brightly colored red suitcase being exfiltrated by highly trained operatives later that night.
Continue reading “The Avon Computer Goth Challenge”
Hackers love random numbers, or more accurately, the pursuit of them. It turns out that computers are so good at following our exacting instructions that they are largely incapable of doing anything that would fit the strict definition of randomness — which has lead to some elaborate methods of generating the unexpected.
Admittedly, the SB42 Random Number Generator built by [Simon Boak] isn’t exactly something you’d be using for cryptography. The method used to generate the digits, a pair of 555 timers sending pulses through linear-feedback shift registers, would at best be considered pseudo-random. Plus the only way of getting the digits out of the machine is by extracting them from the Nixie tubes with your Mark I Eyeballs. But it absolutely excels at the secondary reason many hackers like to build their own randomness rigs — it looks awesome.
Externally, it absolutely nails the look of a piece of vintage DIY year. Down to the classic white-on-black label tape. But open up the hood, and you’re treated to a real rarity these days: wirewrap construction. In an era where you can get PCBs made and shipped to your door for literally pennies, [Simon] is out there keeping the old ways alive. It doesn’t just look the part either. Unlike most modern projects we see, there isn’t a multi-core microcontroller behind the scenes doing all the work, it’s logic gates all the way down.
This isn’t the first random-ish number generator that we’ve seen use shift registers. But if you’re looking for something that might actually pass some randomness checks, and don’t mind working with something a bit spicy, you could check out some of the previous devices we’ve covered that used radioactive decay as an entropy source.
Continue reading “Random Number Generator Is A Blast From The Past”
For amateur radio operators, the quest for the perfect antenna never seems to end. Perhaps that’s because our requirements are always changing. We never quite seem to get to one design that can do everything. This copper-foil Yagi antenna might not do everything, but it really seems to tick off the boxes for gain and directionality along with ultra-portability.
If you’ve been following [Ben Eadie (VE6SFX)]’s trip down the rabbit hole of lightweight antenna building, you’ll recall that he’s already knocked off a J-pole antenna and a stealthy mobile slot antenna using little more than copper foil tape. Both of those designs performed great, but [Ben] had bigger fish to fry: he wanted to build a directional antenna for the 2-meter band and go for distance. The traditional Yagi-Uda is generally the preferred design for beam antennas, but they tend to be bulky and cumbersome. But with a roll of copper foil tape [Ben] was able to lay out a three-element Yagi on a sheet of Tyvek wrap. Reinforced with some packing tape and stiffened with a couple of fiberglass rods attached to a 3D printed handle, and it was ready to go.
[Ben]’s field test results were most impressive. Not only was he able to open up repeaters up to 90 km away, but he was getting good signal reports to boot. He was even able to reach a repeater 150 km distant, just barely though. Still, that’s mighty impressive performance from something that looks like a Union Jack and rolls up to fit in a pocket.
Continue reading “Pocketable Yagi Antenna Really Shoots For Distance”
Imagine trying to read a 2000-year old scroll from an ancient civilization. Now imagine that scroll is rolled up, and in a delicate, charred, carbonized form, having been engulfed by the fiery eruption of a volcano. The task would seem virtually impossible, and the information in the scroll lost forever. Right?|
As it turns out, new developments are changing that. Modern scanning techniques and machine learning tools have made it possible to read fragments of the heavily-damaged Herculaneum scrolls. Hopes are now that more of the ancient writings will be salvaged, giving us a new insight into the ancient past.
Do you ever find yourself eating walnuts and think, this would make a great enclosure for something like a Bluetooth speaker? That seems to be exactly what happened to [Penguin DIY].
In the mesmerizing video after the break, you’ll see [Penguin DIY] do what seems to be impossible. They start with a tiny 5 V power bank module which is still not small enough to fit, so they remove all the components and dead-bug them back together.
This is really just the beginning. There of course has to be a female USB of some type, so [Penguin DIY] Dremels out the perfect little slot for it.
They did manage to stack and fit a MH-MH18 Bluetooth audio module and an HXJ8002 mini audio amplifier module in the walnut, but of course, it took a lot of fiddly wiring to extend the LEDs and wire them up.
Then in the other half of the shell went the 4Ω 2 W mini speaker. [Penguin DIY] of course drilled a ton of little holes in the shell for the sound to come through. Also on this side are three tiny switches for play/pause and previous and next track, and the latter two can be long pressed to control the volume. Definitely check this out after the break.
Do the notifications of your Bluetooth speaker annoy you? There’s a hack for that.
Continue reading “The Best-Sounding Walnut You’ll Hear Today”