[Ben Katz] designed the original MIT Mini Cheetah robot, which easily captured attention and imagination with its decidedly un-robotic movements and backflips. Not long after [Ben]’s masters thesis went online, clones of the actuators started to show up at overseas sellers, and a few months after that, clones of the whole robot. [Ben] recently had the opportunity to disassemble just such a clone by Dogotix and see what was inside.
Amusingly, one of the first things he noticed is that the “feet” are still just off-the-shelf squash balls, same as his original mini cheetah design. As for the rest of the leg, inside is a belt that goes past some tensioners, connecting the knee joint to an actuator in the shoulder.
It’s interesting to read [Ben]’s thoughts as he disassembles and photographs the unit, and you’ll have to read his post to catch them all. But in the meantime, why not take a moment to see how a neighbor’s curious sheep react to the robot in the video embedded below? The robot botches a backflip due to a low battery, but the sheep seem suitably impressed anyway.
A while back, I bought a cheap spectrum analyser via AliExpress. I come from the age when a spectrum analyser was an extremely expensive item with a built-in CRT display, so there’s still a minor thrill to buying one for a few tens of dollars even if it’s obvious to all and sundry that the march of technology has brought within reach the previously unattainable. My AliExpress spectrum analyser is a clone of a design that first appeared in a German amateur radio magazine, and in my review at the time I found it to be worth the small outlay but a bit deaf and wide compared to its more expensive brethren. Continue reading “Perhaps It’s Time To Talk About All Those Fakes And Clones”→
Anyone who’s ever played guitar to at least the skill level required to form a terrible garage band knows the names of the most legendary guitars. The driving sound of the Gibson Les Paul played by Jimmy Page, the upside-down and smooth Fender Stratocaster from Jimi Hendrix, or the twangy Rickenbacker made famous by George Harrison are all lusted-after models. The guitar that [Frank] really wanted was a Danelectro DC59 and since they’ve been steadily creeping up in price, he decided to build his own.
The body of the clone guitar is hollow and made from effectively scrap wood, in this case plywood. As the original guitars were in fact famous for using the least expensive materials possible, this makes it a great choice for a clone. [Frank] made the guitar using almost exclusively hand tools and glued everything together, but did use a few donor parts from a modern Stratocaster-type guitar. With most of the rough shape of the guitar finished, it was time to add the parts that make the guitar sound the way that a real Danelectro should: the lipstick-style pickups. He purchased these completely separately as they are the most important part to get right to emulate the tone and feel of the original.
With everything finally soldered and assembled, [Frank] got right to work recording a sample audio track which is included at the end of the video. It certainly sounds like the original to our untrained ears, and for around $100 it’s not a bad value either. If you’d like to see a guitar built from the ground up without using another as a clone, take a look at this build which brings a completely original guitar into existence, entirely from scratch.
If Nintendo is known for anything outside of their characters and admittedly top-notch video games, it’s being merciless to fans when it comes to using their intellectual property. They take legal action against people just for showing non-Nintendo hardware emulating games of theirs, and have even attempted to shut down the competitive scene for games like Super Smash Bros. To get away from the prying eyes of the Nintendo legal team extreme measures need to be taken — like building your Nintendo console clone behind the Iron Curtain.
[Marek Więcek] grew up in just such a place, so the only way to play Famicom (a.k.a NES) games was to use a clone system like this one circulating in the Eastern Bloc at the time called the Pegasus which could get the job done with some tinkering. [Marek] recently came across CPU and GPU chips from this clone console and got to work building his own. Using perf board and wire he was able to test the chips and confirm they functioned properly, but had a problem with the video memory that took him a while to track down and fix.
After that, he has essentially a fully-functional Famicom that can play any cartridge around. While we hope that living in Eastern Europe still puts him far enough away to avoid getting hassled by Nintendo, we can never be too sure. Unless, of course, you use this device which lets you emulate SNES games legally.
Some people would have just chalked this one up to bad luck and used the Tuya-supplied software to control their new lights, but not [konbaasiang]. Since the new chip was outwardly identical to the ESP8266, he decided to take the nuclear option and replace them with the genuine article. With a comfortable spot to work from and a nice microscope, he started on his desoldering journey.
Now it would have been nice if he could have just dropped in a real ESP-12F and called it a day, but naturally, it ended up being a bit more complex than that. The WB3L apparently doesn’t need external pull up and pull down resistors, but [konbaasiang] needed them for the swap to work. He could have come up with some kind of custom adapter PCB, but to keep things simple he decided to run a pair of through hole resistors across the top of the ESP-12F for GPIO 1/2, and use a gingerly placed SMD resistor to hold down GPIO 15.
Seed banks are facilities of great value to biodiversity and agriculture around the world. These facilities are used to house stocks of seeds of a wide variety, helping to maintain genetic diversity and avoid the permanent loss of various plant species. While there are some challenges, the basic requirements to run a simple seed bank are to keep a selection of seeds at low temperature and humidity to maximise their viable lifespan.
When it comes to animals, things become more difficult — one can’t simply plant an old seed in the ground and grow a fresh new meerkat, for example. Preservation of animal genetic material poses its own unique set of challenges — ones that the San Diego “Frozen Zoo” don’t shy away from. They’ve recently shown the viability of the program with the healthy birth of a ferret cloned from an animal that died in 1988.
“I don’t get mad when people rip me off. I actually think its kinda cool, because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” — Ben Heckendorn
For some “hacking things together” can mean heavily borrowing from other’s work in order to make a new, derivative work. Though longtime hardware hacker, Ben Heckendorn, didn’t expect one of his early SNES handheld projects to become the inspiration for a Famicom-style clone console. There have been a number of clone consoles available online for years, and all have been made to varying levels of build quality. The subject clone console in question is called the Easegmer 12-bit Retro Console, so [Ben] decided to record his teardown of the handheld borrowing from his original design. (Video, embedded below.)
The Easegmer handheld has a “surprising” list of features according to its packaging including: sports games, logic games, memoyr games, USB charger management, double power supply option, and dirunal double backlight option. All big (and slightly misspelled) promises though the most egregious claim has to be that, “No violent games, your child’s body and mind get full exercise.”. The statement may have a modicum of truth to it, except for the fact that game 84 of 220 is literally named “Violent”. Dunking aside, the handheld does feature a standard size rechargeable battery in addition to the option of powering the device with three AAA batteries. There’s even a “fun size” screwdriver and a few replacement screws included which is more than you can say for most modern electronics.
It has been almost twenty years after [Ben] originally published his SNES portable project on his website. So as a long awaited follow-up, [Ben] plans to make a “meta-portable”. This meta portable will start with the Adobe Illustrator files he kept from that SNES portable in 2001 and incorporate pieces of the Easegmer clone console. Thus spawning a new clone of the clone of his clone…or whatever that project ends up being its sure to be worth repeating.