CUDA, But Make It AMD

Compute Unified Device Architecture, or CUDA, is a software platform for doing big parallel calculation tasks on NVIDIA GPUs. It’s been a big part of the push to use GPUs for general purpose computing, and in some ways, competitor AMD has thusly been left out in the cold. However, with more demand for GPU computation than ever, there’s been a breakthrough. SCALE from [Spectral Compute] will let you compile CUDA applications for AMD GPUs.

SCALE allows CUDA programs to run as-is on AMD GPUs, without modification. The SCALE compiler is also intended as a drop-in swap for nvcc, right down to the command line options. For maximum ease of use, it acts like you’ve installed the NVIDIA Cuda Toolkit, so you can build with cmake just like you would for a normal NVIDIA setup. Currently, Navi 21 and Navi 31 (RDNA 2.0 and RDNA 3.0) targets are supported, while a number of other GPUs are undergoing testing and development.

The basic aim is to allow developers to use AMD hardware without having to maintain an entirely separate codebase. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s a promising tool that could help break NVIDIA’s stranglehold on parts of the GPGPU market.


Smart Ball Technology Has Reached Football, But The Euros Show Us It’s Not Necessarily For The Better

Adidas brought smart balls to Euro 2024, for better or worse. Credit: Adidas

The good old fashioned game of football used to be a simple affair. Two teams of eleven, plus a few subs, who were all wrangled by a referee and a couple of helpful linesmen. Long ago, these disparate groups lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when VAR attacked.

Suddenly, technology was being used to adjudicate all kinds of decisions, and fans were cheering or in uproar depending on how the hammer fell. That’s only become more prevalent in recent times, with smart balls the latest controversial addition to the world game. With their starring role in the Euro 2024 championship more than evident, let’s take a look at what’s going on with this new generation of intelligent footballs.

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Nitric Acid Is The Hot New Way To Pick Locks

Lockpicking is a grand skill to have, and one that’s often presumed to be one of the dark arts of the burglar. However, a new technique has come to the fore in some European contexts. It appears nitric acid is being used to damage locks to allow criminals to gain entry into residential premises.

Germany’s Bild has covered this matter, as has Feuerwehr Magazine. The technique has apparently come to prominence in the last couple of years. Attackers pour the corrosive liquid into the keyway of a typical door lock. This damages the cylinder, and perhaps the pins inside as well. Once the metal has been eaten away and the structure of the lock is sufficiently degraded, it can presumably be forced open quite easily with hand tools. The technique is apparently especially effective in Germany, where locks are typically installed with the pins facing down. This makes it easy for any liquid trickled into the lock to eat away at the pins in the bottom.

German authorities advised people to be on the look out for discoloration around door locks. If seen, it’s important to avoid contact with any corrosive liquid that may have been used on the lock.

It’s a nasty technique that doesn’t just damage locks, but doors as well! Meanwhile, if you’re learning the art of lockpicking, just remember not to practice on any important locks you might actually need. More pictures after the break.

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A Teeny 3D-Printed Printing Press, Thanks Gutenberg

The printing press was first invented in 1440 AD by Johannes Gutenberg. It’s not so relevant to our day to day lives today, but it’s a technology that forever changed the path of human history. Now you can whip one up yourself using this teeny design from the [3DPrintingEnthusiast]!

Don’t expect to be making broadsheets with this thing—it’s a strictly table-top sized unit made on a 3D printer. Still, it does the job! The bed, frame, paper holder, and clamps are all 3D-printed. However, you will need some minor additional supplies to complete the carriage and inkballs.

As for your printing plates, you could go out and source some ancient lead type—or you could just 3D print some instead. The latter is probably easier if you’re living in 2024 like yours truly. Who knows, though. 2028 could be a banner year where printing presses roar back to prominence. Try not to think about the global scale disasters that would make that a reality.

In any case, there’s got to be some kind of irony about 3D-printing a printing press on a 3D printer? Perhaps, perhaps not. Debate it below!

Iron Man Arc Reactor Clock Is A Stylish Piece

Iron Man was the film that kicked off the Marvel craze, and is widely regarded to be better than a lot of the movies that followed. If you’re a big fan of the OG, you’re probably already drowning in Iron Man helmets and arc reactor doo-dads, but here’s one more for you. After all, you probably don’t have an arc reactor clock yet.

The build comes to us from [jerome95]. It starts with an off-the-shelf ring of addressable LEDs, which serves as the basic defining dimension for the project. The ring gets a 3D printed support structure and some non-functional copper coils to complete the basic “arc reactor” look. Inside the center sits a small 7-segment display which displays the time under the command of an ESP32. It uses a network time server so it’s always on the dot.  Meanwhile, if you’re not a fan of the 7-segment version, you can always try the OLED variant of the build instead.

It’s not a complicated build; that could have been easily achieved, though. The builder could have displayed the time by making the LEDs flash different colors, instead of using a 7-segment display. However, that would have made a far more confounding clock. As it is, this design would make an excellent gift for any Marvel fan. Particularly those that acknowledge the supremacy of the film that started it all.

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You Can Use A CRT As An Audio Amplifier Tube

When we talk about audio amplifier tubes, we’re normally talking about the glass little blobby things you might find in a guitar amplifier. We’re not normally talking about big ol’ color CRTs, but apparently they can do the job too. That’s what [Termadnator] is here to show us.

The CRT in question is a 14″ unit from a common garden variety Philips color TV.  [Termadnator] pulled out the TV’s original circuitry, and replaced much of it with his own. He had to whip up a high-voltage power supply with a 555 and a laptop power supply, along with a bunch of fake MOSFETs pressed into service. He also had to build his own Leyden jar capacitor, too. The specifics of converting it to audio operation get a bit messy, but fear not—[Termadnator] explains the idea well, and also supplies a schematic. Perhaps the coolest thing, though, is the crazy color pattern that appears on the display when it’s working as an amp.

Sound output isn’t exactly loud, and it’s a little distorted, too. Still, it’s amusing to see an entire TV instead doing the job of a single amplifier tube. Video after the break.

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You Can Build A Little Car That Goes Farther Than You Push It

Can you build a car that travels farther than you push it? [Tom Stanton] shows us that you can, using a capacitor and some nifty design tricks.

[Tom]’s video shows us the construction of a small 3D printed trike with a curious drivetrain. There’s a simple generator on board, which charges a capacitor when the trike is pushed along the ground. When the trike is let go, however, this generator instead acts as a motor, using energy stored in the capacitor to drive the trike further.

When put to the test by [Tom], both a freewheeling car and the capacitor car are pushed up to a set speed. But the capacitor car goes farther. The trick is simple – the capacitor car can go further because it has more energy. But how?

It’s all because more work is being done to push the capacitor car up to speed. It stores energy in the capacitor while it’s being accelerated by the human pushing it. In contrast, after being pushed, the freewheeling car merely coasts to a stop as it loses kinetic energy. However, the capacitor car has similar kinetic energy plus the energy stored in its capacitor, which it can use to run its motor.

It’s a neat exploration of some basic physics, and useful learning if you’ve ever wondered about the prospects of perpetual motion machines.

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