We always love when people take the trouble to show information in new, creative ways — after all, there’s a reason that r/dataisbeautiful exists. But we were particularly taken by this version of the periodic table of the elements, distorted to represent the relative abundance on Earth of the 90 elements that make up almost everything. The table is also color-coded to indicate basically how fast we’re using each element relative to its abundance. The chart also indicates which elements are “conflict resources,” basically stuff people fight over, and which elements go into making smartphones. That last bit we thought was incomplete; we’d have sworn at least some boron would be somewhere in a phone. Still, it’s an interesting way to look at the elements, and reminds us of another way to enumerate the elements.
It’s wildfire season in the western part of North America again, and while this year hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as last year — so far — there’s still a lot of activity in our neck of the woods. And wouldn’t you know it, some people seem to feel like a wildfire is a perfect time to put up a drone. It hardly seems necessary to say that this is A Really Bad Idea™, but for some reason, people still keep doing it. Don’t misunderstand — we absolutely get how cool it is to see firefighting aircraft do their thing. The skill these pilots show as they maneuver their planes, which are sometimes as large as passenger jets, within a hundred meters of the treetops is breathtaking. But operating a drone in the same airspace is just stupid. Not only is it likely to get you in trouble with the law, but there’s a fair chance that the people whose property and lives are being saved by these heroic pilots won’t look kindly on your antics.
Continue reading “Hackaday Links: September 18, 2022” →
Meet [Tanner]. [Tanner] is a hacker who also appreciates the security of their home while they’re out of town. After doing some research about home security, they found that it doesn’t take much to keep a house from being broken into. It’s true that truly determined burglars might be more difficult to avoid. But, for the opportunistic types who don’t like having their appendages treated like a chew toy or their face on the local news, the steaks are lowered. All it might take is a security camera or two, or a big barking dog to send them on their way. Rather than running to the local animal shelter, [Tanner] used parts that were already sitting around to create a solution to the problem: A computer vision triggered virtual dog.
Continue reading “CV Based Barking Dog Keeps Home Secure, Doesn’t Need Walking” →
When you’re lucky enough to have a dog in your life, you tend to overlook some of the more one-sided aspects of the relationship. While you are severely restrained with regard to where you eliminate your waste, your furry friend is free to roam the yard and dispense his or her nuggets pretty much at will, and fully expect you to follow along on cleanup duty. See what we did there?
And so dog people sometimes rebel at this lopsided power structure, by leaving the cleanup till later — often much, much later, when locating the offending piles can be a bit difficult. So naturally, we now have this poop-shooting laser turret to helpfully guide you through your backyard cleanup sessions. It comes to us from [Caleb Olson], who leveraged his recent poop-posture monitor as the source of data for where exactly in the yard each deposit is located. To point them out, he attached a laser pointer to a cheap robot arm, and used OpenCV to help line up the bright green spot on each poop.
But wait, there’s more. [Caleb]’s code also optimizes his poop patrol route, minimizing the amount of pesky walking he has to do to visit each pile. And, the same pose estimation algorithm that watches the adorable [Twinkie] make her deposits keeps track of which ones [Caleb] stoops by, removing each from the worklist in turn. So now instead of having a dog control his life, he’s got a dog and a computer running the show. Perfect.
We joke, because poop, but really, this is a pretty neat exercise in machine learning. It does seem like the robot arm was bit overkill, though — we’d have thought a simple two-servo turret would have been pretty easy to whip up.
Continue reading “Point Out Pup’s Packages With This Poop-Shooting Laser” →
When we write about drone stories from the United Kingdom, they often have a slightly depressing air to them as we relate tales of unverified air proximity reports closing airports or bungled official investigations that would make the Keystone Kops look like competent professionals.
But here’s a drone story from this rainswept isle sure to put a smile on the face of multirotor enthusiasts worldwide, as Denmead Drone Search And Rescue, an organisation who locate missing pets using drones, enticed lost dog Millie from a soon-to-be-engulfed tidal mudflat by the simple expedient of dangling a sausage from a drone for the mutt to follow (Facebook).
Lest you believe that Hackaday have lost their marbles and this isn’t worthy of our normal high standards, let us remind you that this is not our first flying sausage story. Behind the cute-puppy and flying meat product jokes though, there’s a serious side. Drones have received such a bad press over recent years that a good news story concerning them is rare indeed, and this one has garnered significant coverage in the general media. Maybe it’s too late to reverse some of the reputational damage from the Gatwick fiasco, but at this point any such coverage is good news.
For anyone wondering what lies behind this, let us take you back to Christmas 2018.
If there’s one demographic that has benefited from people being stuck at home during Covid lockdowns, it would be dogs. Having their humans around 24/7 meant more belly rubs, more table scraps, and more attention. Of course, for many dogs, especially those who found their homes during quarantine, this has led to attachment issues as their human counterparts have begin to return to work and school.
[Clairette] has had a particularly difficult time adapting to her friends leaving every day, but thankfully her human [Nathaniel Felleke] was able to come up with a clever solution. He trained a TinyML neural net to detect when she barked and used and Arduino to play a sound byte to sooth her. The sound bytes in question are recordings of [Nathaniel]’s mom either praising or scolding [Clairette], and as you can see from the video below, they seem to work quite well. To train the network, [Nathaniel] worked with several datasets to avoid overfitting, including one he created himself using actual recordings of barks and ambient sounds within his own house. He used Eon Tuner, a tool by Edge Impulse, to help find the best model to use and perform the training. He uploaded the trained network to an Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense running Mbed OS, and a second Arduino handled playing sound bytes via an Adafruit Music Maker Featherwing.
While machine learning may sound like a bit of an extreme solution to curb your dog’s barking, it’s certainly innovative, and even appears to have been successful. Paired with this web-connected treat dispenser, you could keep a dog entertained for hours.
Continue reading “Machine Learning Shushes Stressed Dogs” →
The average garden dog will play fetch long beyond the average human’s endurance. If you want to keep your dog exercised without hurting your pitching arm, [brankly’s] automatic dog ball launcher might just be what you need.
The design is straightforward. The 3D printed housing features a large funnel into which a ball can be dropped. A servo then holds the ball while a pair of rollers are spun up by brushed DC motors. After two seconds, the servo releases the ball towards the rollers which launch the ball out of the machine. A Raspberry Pi Pico runs the show, controlling the timing of the ball launch and varying the motor speed to change the distance the ball is launched on each firing.
Files are available on Thingiverse for those eager to build their own. If you’re good, you might even be able to train your dog to drop the ball in themselves. We’ve seen similar builds before, too! Video after the break.
Continue reading “Build A Dog Ball Launcher That Kinda Looks Like A Dog” →
Our canine partners are fortunately not affected by the current global pandemic, but it turns out there are other dangers that might necessitate them to wearing masks: Foxtail seeds. After getting a $400 vet bill for extracting a foxtail from his dog, [Hildeguard]’s ear, [Amos Dudley] decided to take the threat seriously and made her a form-fitting 3D printed mask.
The only commercial solution [Amos] could find was the “OutFox Field Guard”, which is a $50 vinyl-coated mesh bag that covers the dog’s entire head. It had the unfortunate side effects of causing some other dogs to try and rip it off and does not allow easy access to the mouth for treats or balls. [Hilde]’s custom mask was designed in CAD after creating a rough 3D scan of her head with an iPhone app. The bottom is open to allow [Hilde] to freely use her mouth, while the nose and ears holes are covered with mesh. Custom heat-formed polycarbonate lenses cover the eye holes. The mask itself was printed using Draft resin, and the inside was padded with a thin layer of foam. It might also be possible to create a silicone version using a 3D-printed mold. The top features an integrated GoPro mount, and we can’t help but wonder what other electronic upgrades could be fitted to this sci-fi-looking mask.
In the field, the mask worked well and did not seem to bother [Hilde]. Unfortunately, it did not solve the problem of other dogs trying to rip it off at the park, so for the moment [Amos] is only using it for more solitary activities like hiking.
It doesn’t look like [Amos] is struggling in that department, but if you need some help burning of your dog’s energy, you can always built them a 3D printed automatic ball launcher.