Bug Labs makes hardware modules that can be combined to create your own custom gadgets. They’ve just released what we consider the most useful module: BUGvonHippel. Unlike the previous single purpose modules, the BUGvoHippel is a universal interface. The bus features USB, power/ground, DAC/ADC, I2C, GPIO, SPI, serial, and more. BUG applications are written in Java using a custom IDE.
The $79 module is named after MIT professor Eric von Hippel, who wrote Democratizing Innovation. You can find an interview with him below.
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The fine folks at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) are demoing a new touchscreen system that may make small devices easier to use. An extension of their LucidTouch technology, NanoTouch has a small screen on the front and a touchpad on the back. Their test unit features a 2.4inch screen. The screen displays where the user’s finger is on the back touchpad as if the display was transparent. The user’s finger no longer obscures the screen surface, so it’s much easier to hit small buttons. In testing, researchers showed that targets just 1.8mm across were easy to hit. That’s much smaller than the iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard. Here’s a video demonstrating the new device.
RIM has decided to venture into the touchscreen phone market with the new BlackBerry Storm. Unlike other companies’ offerings, the Storm has a touchscreen that clicks when you press it. phoneWreck disassembled the Storm to see what magic was involved in the device. There’s not much too it, it’s just a big button. pW notes that the entire phone board is very compact mostly due to RIM using Qualcomm’s latest MSM7600 chip. Items like bluetooth, GPS, and USB are all included in the processor instead of appearing on the board as discrete components.
phoneWreck recently launched and promises many future teardowns. They’ll be adding to their archive which already includes the Motorola Krave and the venerable Nokia N95. We’ll definitely be watching for their future releases.
The Texas Advanced Computing Center has built one of the largest tiled displays ever. They arranged 75 30inch Dell displays in a 5×15 pattern. The overall the system has 36GB of graphics memory and 108GB of system memory. They intend on using the system to display very large data sets. If you think the size seems arbitrary, it is. They just happened to purchase five more monitors than the University of California San Diego.
Yesterday, Gizmodo published a roundup of wearable gadgets for people who “don’t mind looking like a tool”. It’s interesting to see what has been deemed commercially viable and put into mass production. The list covers HMDs, embedded WiFi detectors, integrated keyboards, tech jackets, speaker hats, and others. We thought you might find some inspiration from the list for your next project. In the past, we embedded a WiFi detector in a backpack strap for our Engadget how-to. The natural choice for wearable projects is the LilyPad Arduino which was featured most recently in the turn signal jacket.
The folks from bit-tech have done us a great service by tearing open the Eee PC 901. Under the keyboard is a large metal plate that acts as the processor’s heat sink. The 4GB SSD card is not soldered to the board this time around. There is some empty space labeled IDE3 and solder points that say 3GCard, which definitely deserve further investigation. The oddest thing they found was a button with no indication to its purpose. It looks like a good machine and we hope to see more Eee PC hacks in the future.
This is quickly becoming an unintentional “game controller Saturday”. We haven’t been covering the PSP much lately, so this is a treat. AcidMods forum member [Electro] put together a quick guide for adding two missing shoulder buttons to the PSP. The L2 and R2 buttons are used while playing Playstation 1 games and are usually mapped to directions on the joystick. This mod jumps the joystick’s contacts an relocates the buttons to the shoulders. The switches used in the post seem kind of bulky, but you’re free to use anything that fits.