Make Your Music Simpler With The User-Unfriendliest Cassette Deck Ever

Call us crazy, but music was a whole lot more fun when it was on physical media. Or perhaps just easier to use, especially in the car. Whether your particular vintage favored CDs, cassettes, or even 8-tracks, being able to fish out that favorite album and slam it in the player while never taking your eyes off the road was a whole lot easier than navigating a playlist on a locked phone, or trying to control an infotainment system through soft buttons on a touch screen.

It seems like [Jarek Lupinski] is as much a Spotify Luddite as we are, since his “tape-deck” project is aimed to be as user-unfriendly as possible. It’s just an auto-reversing cassette deck movement stripped bare of all useful appurtenances, like a way to fast forward or rewind. You just put a cassette in and it plays, start to finish, before auto-reversing to play the other side in its entirety. It doesn’t even have a volume control — his cheeky advice is to “listen to louder or quieter albums” to solve that problem. Pretty easy, really, and not a EULA or advertisement in sight. Build files are available if you hate yourself enough to build one of your own.

All kidding aside, this is kind of a nice reminder of how much things have changed, and how much complexity we’ve layered onto the simplest of pleasures. If you like the minimalist approach of this project but not the deconstructed aesthetics, we’ve got you covered.

Randomly Move Marionette With Steel Balls And Geneva Drives

The ball driven Geneva drives that move the marrionette. (Credit: Karakuri channel, YouTube)
The ball driven Geneva drives that move the marrionette. (Credit: Karakuri channel, YouTube)

Over the years we have seen many marble machines, but this one on the [Karakuri channel] (hit CC for subtitles) on YouTube is somewhat special, as it uses Geneva drives to turn the motion of the steel balls going around the circuit into random movement of a marionette. The Geneva drive type of gear mechanism normally converts a constant rotary motion into intermittent rotary motion by having a singular pin on the first wheel drive the second wheel. In the demonstrated mechanism, however, the pin is replaced by the steel balls, which are only intermittently and randomly present because of how each steel ball picks one of four paths, one towards each Geneva drive.

As a result of this, the motion of the marionette’s appendages – attached to the red wheel – is random. The only powered element of the (mostly 3D printed) system is the drive mechanism that carries the steel balls up again and keeps the primary wheels on the Geneva drives rotating. We have to give the creator pops for what is both an interesting art piece and a demonstration of how to creatively use this somewhat unusual gear mechanism to introduce randomness without a lot of complexity.

Thanks to [MrTrick] for the tip.

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Micro Jeep Model Kit Is Both Business Card And Portfolio

When finding work in product design and prototyping, two things are important to have at hand: a business card, and a sample of one’s work. If one can combine those, even better. Make it unique and eye-catching, and you’re really onto something. That seems to  have been the idea behind [agepbiz]’s 1:64 scale micro Jeep model kit that serves as an  “overcomplicated” business card.

Complete with box and labels in a shrink-wrapped package.

At its heart, the kit is a little print-in-place model kit that looks a lot like larger injection-molded model kits. Completing it is a custom-made box with custom labels, and it’s even shrink-wrapped. The whole thing fits easily in the palm of a hand.

There’s a lot of different tools effectively used to make the whole thing. The model card itself is 3D printed in multiple filament colors, and the box is constructed from carefully glued cardstock. The labels are custom printed, and a craft cutter (which has multiple uses for a hobbyist) takes care of all the precise cutting. It’s an awfully slick presentation, and the contents do not disappoint.

Get a closer look in the video, embedded just below. And if you like what you see, you’re in luck because we’ve seen [agepbiz]’s work before in this mini jet fighter, complete with blister pack.

Continue reading “Micro Jeep Model Kit Is Both Business Card And Portfolio”

Stepping Inside Art In VR, And The Workflow Behind It

The process of creating something is always chock-full of things to learn, so it’s always a treat when someone takes the time and effort to share it. [Teadrinker] recently published the technique and workflow behind bringing art into VR, which explains exactly how they created a virtual reality art gallery that allows one to step inside paintings, called Art Plunge (free on Steam.)

Extending a painting’s content to fill in the environment is best done by using other works by the same artist.

It walks through not just how to obtain high-resolution images of paintings, but also discusses how to address things like adjusting the dynamic range and color grading to better match the intended VR experience. There is little that is objectively correct in technical terms when it comes to the aesthetic presentation details like brightness and lighting, so guidance on what does and doesn’t work well and how to tailor to the VR experience is useful information.

One thing that is also intriguing is the attention paid to creating a sense of awe for viewers. The quality, the presentation, and even choosing sounds are all important for creating something that not only creates a sense of awe, but does so in a way that preserves and cultivates a relationship between the art and the viewer that strives to stay true to the original. Giving a viewer a sense of presence, after all, can be more than just presenting stereoscopic 3D images or fancy lightfields.

You can get a brief overview of the process in a video below, but if you have the time, we really do recommend reading the whole breakdown.

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Meet GOODY-2, The World’s Most Responsible (And Least Helpful) AI

AI guardrails and safety features are as important to get right as they are difficult to implement in a way that satisfies everyone. This means safety features tend to err on the side of caution. Side effects include AI models adopting a vaguely obsequious tone, and coming off as overly priggish when they refuse reasonable requests.

Prioritizing safety above all.

Enter GOODY-2, the world’s most responsible AI model. It has next-gen ethical principles and guidelines, capable of refusing every request made of it in any context whatsoever. Its advanced reasoning allows it to construe even the most banal of queries as problematic, and dutifully refuse to answer.

As the creators of GOODY-2 point out, taking guardrails to a logical extreme is not only funny, but also acknowledges that effective guardrails are actually a pretty difficult problem to get right in a way that works for everyone.

Complications in this area include the fact that studies show humans expect far more from machines than they do from each other (or, indeed, from themselves) and have very little tolerance for anything they perceive as transgressive.

This also means that as AI models become more advanced, so too have they become increasingly sycophantic, falling over themselves to apologize for perceived misunderstandings and twisting themselves into pretzels to align their responses with a user’s expectations. But GOODY-2 allows us all to skip to the end, and glimpse the ultimate future of erring on the side of caution.

[via WIRED]

Your 1983 Video Phone Is Finally Ready

If you read Byte magazine in 1983, you might have expected that, by now, you’d be able to buy the red phone with the video screen built-in. You know, like the one that appears on the cover of the magazine. Of course, you can’t. But that didn’t stop former Hackaday luminary [Cameron] from duplicating the mythical device, if not precisely, then in spirit. Check it out in the video, below.

The Byte Magazine Cover in Question!

While the original Byte article was about VideoTex, [Cameron] built a device with even more capability you couldn’t have dreamed of in 1983. What’s more, the build was simple. He started with an old analog phone and a tiny Android phone. A 3D-printed faceplate lets the fake phone serve as a sort of dock for the cellular device.

That’s not all, though. Using the guts of a Bluetooth headset enables the fake phone’s handset. Now you can access the web — sort of a super Videotex system. You can even make video calls.

There isn’t a lot of detail about the build, but you probably don’t need it. This is more of an art project, and your analog phone, cell phone, and Bluetooth gizmo will probably be different anyway.

Everyone always wanted a video phone, and while we sort of have them now, it doesn’t quite seem the same as we imagined them. We wish [Cameron] would put an app on the phone to simulate a rotary dial and maybe even act as an answering machine.

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Cute Brass Lunar Lander Is A Neat Little Environment Monitor

Sometimes form can make a project more attractive than its simple function. [Mohit Bhoite]’s free-form builds are great examples of this. His latest effort is a gorgeous little device that displays environmental readings, and it’s shaped like a lunar lander. (Nitter) Just exquisite!

The device is based around a Seeedstudio XIAO nRF52840 dev board. It’s hooked up to a BME280 sensor which delivers temperature, humidity and air pressure readings from the immediate environment. These readings are displayed on a tiny 128×32 OLED display, along with the current time. Power is via a compact 14250 lithium cell.

So far, so simple, but the real magic is in the housing. It’s a wireframe lunar lander lookalike which [Mohit] put together using brass wire and some careful soldering. It adds so much to the build, which wouldn’t be nearly as attractive if just assembled on a PCB. It’s not his first rodeo, either. He previously built a cute device (Nitter) with an animated face in 2019 using similar techniques; it used a CCS811 gas sensor to detect air quality.

Often, we find ourselves falling most in love with devices that please the eye. [Mohit] certainly demonstrates a great skill in building things that fit this brief. Sometimes, it only takes a bit of thought and careful application of the mind to bring a beautiful aesthetic to your projects, and the results can be most rewarding. Try his Hackaday Supercon talk if you want to learn more. Continue reading “Cute Brass Lunar Lander Is A Neat Little Environment Monitor”