Electric Truck Carries 74 Tons

Thanks to the various measurement systems in use, we aren’t sure if Volvo has created an electric truck that carries 74 metric tons, 74 short tons, or 74 long tons, but either way, that’s a lot of cargo for an electric truck. After all, that’s somewhere between 148,000 and 163,000 pounds (or 67,000 kg to 74,000 kg). That’s about three times what a typical 18-wheeler with a flatbed carries in the US. In fact, on a U.S. road, trucks typically have to weigh less than 80,000 pounds, including the truck to be legal.

Well, the monster electric Volvo has two trailers, so it is more fair to compare it to turnpike doubles, which typically carry about 148,000 pounds of cargo. The truck operates 12 hours a day and charges when the driver takes a break. At the depot, charging is from two 180 kW chargers that use green electricity, according to the company. The truck has been running for a few months, although we haven’t heard more about how successful or unsuccessful it might be.

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Additive Manufacturing Of Nickel Nanopillars Using Two-Photon Lithography

The multistep, two-photon-lithography-based additive manufacturing method forms intermediate products of blank polymer, Ni-infused polymer, and NiO while fabricating Ni
nanopillars. (Credit: Zhang et al., 2023)

Manufacturing nano-sized features is rapidly becoming an essential part of new technologies and process, ranging from catalysts to photonics and nano-scale robotics. Creating these features at scale and in a reproducible manner is a challenge, with previous attempts using methods ranging from dealloying and focused ion beams to templated electrodeposition all coming with their own drawbacks. Here recent research by Whenxin Zhang and colleagues as published in Nano Letters demonstrates a method using additive manufacturing.

Specifically, nanopillars were printed in a hydrogel polymer with a laser-based lithography method called two-photon absorption which allows for a femtosecond laser to very precisely affect a small region within the targeted material with little impact on the surrounding area. This now solid and structured polymer hydrogel was then submerged into a Ni(NO3)2 solution to infuse it with nickel. After drying, the resulting structure had the polymer burned away in a furnace, leaving just the porous Ni nanopillars.

Subsequent testing showed that these nanopillars were more robust than similar structures created using other methods, presumably due to the less ordered internal physical structure of each pillar. Based on these results, it’s likely that the same approach could be used for other types of nano-sized structures.

A Low Voltage Tube Makes For A Handy Preamplifier

When most people think of tube circuits, the first thing that comes to mind is often the use of high-voltage power supplies. It wasn’t a given for tube circuits, though, as a range of low-voltage devices were developed for applications such as car radios. It’s one of these, an ECH83 triode-heptode, which [mircemk] has taken as the basis of an audio preamplifier circuit.

The preamp circuit is pretty simple, being a two-stage single-ended design using both halves of the tube. Between the two is a three-band tone control circuit as used in classic guitar amplifiers, making for a serviceable and easily achievable way to chase that elusive “valve sound.”

There is much discussion among audio enthusiasts about the supposed benefits of vacuum technology as opposed to transistors in an amplifier. Much of it centres around the idea that tubes distort in the even harmonics while semiconductors are supposed to do so in the odd harmonics. Still, we’d be inclined to spot a bit of snake oil instead and point to early transistor amplifiers simply being not very good compared to the tube amps of the day. That said, a well-made tube amplifier set-up will sound just as amazing as it always did, and since this one is paired with a matching power amp we wouldn’t say no to it ourselves.

If you fancy messing about with tubes for not a lot, there’s a cheap module for that.

The masks with which the Intel 4004 was fabricated

Supersize Your Intel 4004 By Over 10 Times

A PCB covered in discrete transistors with light shining through it
This is quite a bit bigger than the original 12mm² die.

The Intel 4004 was among the first microprocessors and one of the first to use the MOS silicon-gate technology. In the decades long race to build bigger CPUs, it’s been mostly forgotten. Forgotten that is, until [Klaus Scheffler] supersized it over ten-fold!

The project took about 2 years to complete and re-creates it faithfully – all 2,300 transistors included – enough to run software written for the Intel 4004. But the idea for this project isn’t unique and dates all the way back to 2000, so what gives? Turning a bunch of masks for silicon fabrication into a schematic is actually harder than it seems! [Tim McNerney] originally came up with the idea to make a giant 4004 for its “35th anniversary”. [Tim] managed to convince Intel to give him schematics and other drawings and would in return make an exhibit for Intel’s museum. With the schematic straight from [Federico Faggin], software analysis tools from [Lajos Kintli] and [Klaus Scheffler] to actually build the thing, they did what [Federico] did in one year without CAD, but in two with modern tools.

The full story by [Tim] is a lot longer and it’s definitely worth a read.

You Can Now Build Your Own Polaroid-style Pack Film Cartridge

Instant photography was one of the twentieth century’s coolest-to-have consumer inventions, but when the digital photography revolution came it had few answers. It survives as a niche format thanks to Fuji’s Instax line and a group of Dutch entrepreneurs who revived a defunct Polaroid works, but what hasn’t made it are the earlier pack and roll film formats for which the picture is revealed by peeling apart a negative and positive side. All isn’t lost though, because a small Austrian company has been producing pack film cartridges as a handmade artisan product. To reduce the cost per print they’re now available as a DIY self-assembly kit, and it’s this which [In an Instant] is taking a look at in their latest video.

The kit has enough components for eight shots, and where the original cartridge would have held multiple exposures this one can only hold one at a time. The cartridge itself is cleverly formed from folded card as opposed to the plastic and metal of the original, and the components are a relatively straightforward assembly task. It’s a fascinating window into how the Polaroid pack film process worked, with the light-sensitive layer behind a pull-away black light screen, in front of the white positive sheet and with a pouch of developer chemicals to one side. It’s in no way cheap at somewhere about 10 dollars a shot, but it’s amazing that pack film can be recreated and for enthusiasts it’s a lifeline that keeps their cameras useful.

This isn’t the first time we’ve looked at revitalising a pack film camera, but it’s a lot easier than hacking a Fuji cartridge to do the job.

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The Case For A Technology Aware Lobby Correspondent

We cover all manner of stories here at Hackaday, including awesome hardware hacks, the latest trends and inventions, and in-depth guides to fascinating technologies. We also cover a few news stories from the wider world outside our community, usually when they have some knock-on effect that has an impact on us. Recently this last category of stories has included laws which present a threat to online encryption and privacy in the UK and in the European Union, for example. They’re not the most joyful of news, but it’s vital for everyone with an interest in online matters to be informed about them.

A Long And Inglorious History

A quad flat-pack computer chip, made by VLSI
The infamous Clipper chip. Travis Goodspeed, CC BY 2.0

Those of us who have followed the world of technology will know that badly thought out laws with a negative impact on technology have a long and inglorious history. Some like the infamous backdoored Clipper chip encryption device die an inglorious death as industry or the public succeed in making them irrelevant, but others such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA live on for decades and present an ongoing malign influence. Most recently our ongoing coverage of dubious drone stories included a hefty dose of equally dubious action from lawmakers.

When considering these pieces of legislation it’s easy to characterise the politicians who advance them as gullible idiots easily swayed by any commercial lobbyist with a fistful of cash. But the reality is far more nuanced, while some of them may well be tempted by those lobbyists  they are in most cases neither gullible nor foolish. Instead they are better characterised as clueless on technical issues, and thus easily swayed by received opinion rather than by technological reality. If there’s a fault in the system it’s that the essential feedback which provides the checks and balances is missing, and oddly while sitting here writing this story, the responsibility for this comes close to home. The solution doesn’t lie in changing the politicians, but in changing how they are treated by journalists. Continue reading “The Case For A Technology Aware Lobby Correspondent”

Hackaday Podcast 244: Fake Chips, Drinking Radium, And Spotting Slippery Neutrinos

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Kristina Panos met up to discuss the best hacks of the previous week, at least in our opinions.

After chasing the angry bird away from Kristina’s office, we go to the news and learn that we’re in the middle of a solar conjunction Essentially, the Sun has come between Earth and Mars, making communication impossible for about another week. Did you know that this happens every two years?

Then it’s time for a new What’s That Sound, and although Kristina had an interesting albeit somewhat prompted guess, she was, of course, wrong.

And then it’s on to the hacks, beginning with a really cool digital pen that packs all the sensors. We learned about the world’s largest musical instrument, and compared it to the Zadar Sea Organ in Croatia, which if you’ll recall was once a What’s That Sound.

From there we take a look at fake buck converters, radioactive water as a health fad, and a garage door company that has decided to take their ball and go home. Finally we talk about how slippery neutrinos are, and discuss Tom’s time at JawnCon.

Check out the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Download and savor at your leisure.

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