A render of the Melodio Self Mate music player with it's front plate removed. It's a grey device with a small screen and navigation wheel, similar to a chunky iPod. It has an IR blaster LED in the top and various exposed screw holes letting everyone know that this is a device you can open.

Melodio Self Mate

While the proliferation of the smartphone has caused the personal music player (PMP) market to mostly evaporate, there are still those who prefer a standalone device for their music. The Melodio Self-Mate is one such spiritual successor to the iPod.

Music-only devices really benefit from the wheel interface pioneered by Apple, so we still see it in many of the new Open Source PMPs including this one and the Tangara. The Melodio uses the ubiquitous ESP32 for its brains coupled with a TI PCM5102A DAC and TI TPA6130A2 headphone amp for audio. A slider on the side of the device allows you to switch it between mass storage mode and programming mode for the ESP32.

Since this device packs a little more horsepower and connectivity than the original iPods, things like listening to Spotify are doable once assembled, instead of having to completely rebuild the device. Speaking of building, there are only renders on the GitHub, so we’re not sure if this project has made the jump IRL yet. With more people concerned about the distractions of smartphones, maybe this renaissance of open PMPs will lead to a new golden age of music on the go?

Miss the halcyon days of the iPod? They’re easier to hack now than ever, and if you really want to go old school, how about a podcast on a floppy?

A Handheld Hackintosh, But So Much More

As handheld computing has solidified alongside everything else into the mobile phone, it’s sad that the once promising idea of a general purpose machine in the palm of the hand has taken a turn into the dumbed-down walled-garden offered by smartphone vendors. There was a time when it seemed that a real computer might be a common miniaturized accessory, but while it’s not really come to pass, at least [iketsj] has taken a stab at it. His handheld Hackintosh runs MacOS on a miniature scale, and looks rather nice.

At its heart is the LattePanda Alpha x86 single board computer, with a small custom expansion boardĀ  for a couple of buttons, a USB hub, a small keyboard, and a display. These parts are all mounted to a baseboard with metal stand-offs, and the power is sourced from a single USB-C socket at the bottom edge. What makes it more extraordinary is that it’s not the first handheld Hackintosh from this maker, the previous one being significantly bigger.

On one hand then, this is home-built PC like any other, assembled from off-the-shelf-parts. But on the other it’s far from normal, for despite its simplicity it forms a very usable small form factor device. The Akruvia Una keyboard uses tactile switches so maybe it’s not the machine to type your thesis on, but other than that it makes a great little machine for MacOS, Linux, or Windows. We like it, and we think you will too when you see the video below the break.

Continue reading “A Handheld Hackintosh, But So Much More”

The Best Kind Of Handheld Gaming Is Homemade

[CNCDan] previously dabbled with Raspberry Pi CM4-powered gaming handhelds but was itching for something more powerful. Starting in May 2023, he embarked on building an Intel NUC7i5BNK-powered handheld dubbed NucDeck.

As he goes over the feature list, it sounds like a commercially available console. A 1024 x 600 screen provides a good balance of fidelity and performance. Stereo-chambered speakers provide good front-facing sound. Two thumbsticks with gyro aim assist, two hall effect triggers, and many buttons round out the input. Depending on the mode, the Raspberry Pi Pico provides input as it can emulate a mouse and keyboard or a more traditional gamepad. A small OLED screen shows battery status, input mode, and other options. This all fits on four custom PCBs, communicating over I2C. 6000 mAh of battery allows for a decent three hours of run time for simpler emulators and closer to an hour for more modern games.

The whole design is geared around easily obtainable parts, and the files are open-source and on GitHub with PDFs and detailed build instructions. We see plenty of gorgeous builds here on Hackaday, but everything from the gorgeous translucent case to the build instructions screams how much time and love has been put into this. Of course, we’ve seen some exciting hacks with the steam deck (such as this one emulating a printer), so we can only imagine what sort of things you can do once you add any new hardware features you’d like.

Continue reading “The Best Kind Of Handheld Gaming Is Homemade”

Wolfenstein 3D Clone Makes Arduboy Debut

The 8-bit Arduboy isn’t exactly a powerhouse by modern gaming standards, or even really by old school standards for that matter. But for the talented developers that produce software for the system, that’s just part of the challenge. To date the monochromatic handheld has seen miniaturized takes on many well-known games, with several taxing the hardware beyond what most would have assumed possible.

But the latest entry into this catalog of improbable software, WolfenduinoFX, is easily the most technically impressive. As the name implies, this is a “demake” of 1992’s iconicĀ Wolfenstein 3D. It features 10 levels based on the original game’s shareware release, with the enemies, weapons, and even secret rooms lovingly recreated for the Arduboy’s 128 x 64 OLED display.

Arduboy FX Mod-Chip

Now, those of you who have experience working with the ATMega32u4 microcontroller at the heart of the Arduboy might think this is impossible…and you’d be right. The only way developer [James Howard] was able to pull this feat off was by leveraging the extended flash memory offered by the Arduboy FX.

This upgrade, which was developed in conjunction with the community, allows the handheld to hold hundreds of games by loading them from an SPI flash chip. For WolfenduinoFX, that flash chip is used to hold graphical assets for the game that would otherwise be too large to fit on the MCU alone.

When we looked at the Arduboy FX back in 2021, it was clearly a must-have upgrade, so it’s no wonder that the newest version of the handheld has the capability built-in. Now that games are actually requiring the expanded flash to function, it seems we’ve officially entered into a new era for the quirky little handheld that [Kevin Bates] first sent our way nearly a decade ago. Long live the Arduboy!

Continue reading Wolfenstein 3D Clone Makes Arduboy Debut”

A Look At All The Badge Hacks Of Supercon 2023

For those of you who’ve had the opportunity to join us in Pasadena for Supercon, you’ll know it’s a wild ride from start to finish. Singling out a single moment as our favorite is pretty much impossible, but certainly the Sunday Badge Hacking Ceremony has to rank up there. It’s the culmination of ~78 hours of intense hardware and software hacking, and that’s not even counting the pre-show work that attendees often put into their creations. Every year, without fail, this community manages to pull off badge hacks that are beyond anything we could have imagined — and we’re the ones who made the thing in the first place.

Unfortunately, in the mad rush, we’ve never had a chance to actually photograph the hacked badges and share them with the Hackaday readers. This year, at the urging of some of the badge hackers themselves, we were able to throw together a suitable overhead light at the last minute and actually snapped shots of each badge after it was presented to the audience.

The resulting images, sorted by badge hacking category, are below. While some proved difficult to photograph, especially with an impromptu setup, we’re happy to at least have a complete record of this year’s creations. Hopefully we’ll be able to improve on our technique for 2024 and beyond. If yours shows up, or if you’d like to share your appreciation, sound off in the comments below!

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Meshtastic And Owntracks To Kick Your Google Habit

I have an admission to make. I have a Google addiction. Not the normal addiction — I have a problem with Google Maps, and the timeline feature. I know, I’m giving my location data to Google, who does who-knows-what-all with it. But it’s convenient to have an easy way to share location with my wife, and very useful to track my business related travel for each month. What we could really use is a self-hosted, open source system to track locations and display location history. And for bonus points, let’s include some extra features, like the ability to track vehicles, kids, and pets that aren’t carrying a dedicated Internet connection.

You can read the title — you know where we’re going with this. We’re setting up an Owntracks service, and then tying it to Meshtastic for off-Internet usability. The backbone that makes this work is MQTT, a network message bus that has really found its niche in the Home Assistant project among others. It’s a simple protocol, where clients send brief messages labeled by topic, and can also subscribe to specific topics. For this little endeavor we’ll use the Mosquito MQTT broker.

One of the nice things about MQTT is that the messages are all text strings, and often take the form of JSON. When trying to get two applications to talking using a shared MQTT server, there may need to be a bit of translation. One application may label a field latitude, and the other shortens it to lat. The glue code to put these together is often known as an MQTT translator, or sometimes an MQTT bridge. This is a program that listens to a given topic, ingests each message, and sends it back to the MQTT server in a different format and topic name.

The last piece is Owntracks, which has a recorder project, which pulls locations from the MQTT server, and stores it locally. Then there’s Owntracks Frontend, which is a much nicer user interface, with some nice features like viewing movement a day at a time. Continue reading “Meshtastic And Owntracks To Kick Your Google Habit”

Hackaday Prize 2023: An Anti-Tremor Handle, With No Electronics

Many of us will have seen the various active assistive devices which have appeared over the last few years to help people with a hand tremor. Probably the best known was a fork with a set of servos and an accelerometer, that kept the end of the utensil steady despite the owner’s hand movements. It’s a field which has the potential to help many people, but it’s undeniable that such technology comes with a cost.

What if the same effect could be achieved passively, without all those electronics? It’s something [Jacob] is investigating with his mechanical anti-tremor cup handle. It’s a university project completed as part of his studies so it’s very much a work-in-progress which if we’re being fair isn’t quite there yet, but we think the potential in this idea of bringing a useful assistive device at least bears further attention.

The write-up is available as a Norwegian PDF file so takes a little bit of Google Translate cut and pasting for an Anglophone. Sadly due to what must be report format requirements set by the university it’s long on procedure and shorter on engineering calculations than we’d like, but there’s an attempt to calculate the properties of the helical springs in each of the joints to match the likely forces. Our intuition is that the design as shown would require significantly more mass on the end of it than that of the mug and beverage alone to achieve some form of stability, but despite that as we said it’s an interesting enough idea that it deserves more thought.

Hand tremor assistive devices have appeared more than once on these pages before, here’s one for soldering that enlists the aid of a camera gimbal.