Hackaday Invades The FLOSS Weekly Podcast

Regular Hackaday readers will know that we’re big supporters of free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) around these parts. There’s an excellent chance you are too, as so many of the incredible projects you send our way make it a habit to share their innermost details, from firmware source code to the OpenSCAD files that generate its 3D printed components. So when our recently minted Editor in Chief [Elliot Williams] was invited to join This Week in Tech’s FLOSS Weekly podcast, he jumped at the chance to represent our little corner of the Internet to the wider world of open source aficionados. (Ed: The final version is now live!  How did we get episode 666?!)

Hosted by [Doc Searls], FLOSS Weekly is known for its in-depth interviews with “the most interesting and important people in the Open Source and Free Software community”, so we hope the incursion by hacker rabble such as ourselves doesn’t taint their brand too much.

It’s live streamed every Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern / 9:30 AM Pacific / 17:30 UTC, which means that by the time this post hits the main page of the site, you’ve still got time to tune in. For those of you with gainful employment who can’t slack off for an hour or so in the middle of the workweek, the recorded version will be available afterwards for your time-shifted viewing and or listening pleasure.

[Elliot] will be joined by Hackaday writer and regular co-host of FLOSS Weekly [Jonathan Bennett], making this something of a Jolly Wrencher double-feature. [Jonathan] has been providing readers with a regular peek into the other type of hacking with his fantastic This Week in Security column, and is himself a devout FOSS supporter with a particular passion for GNU/Linux. We’re excited to listen in as the trio riffs on open source at the crossroads of hardware and software, not just because it promises to be an entertaining bit of programming, but because it’s a great opportunity to introduce the world of Hackaday to the wider open source audience.

Hamster Trades Crypto Better Than You

The inner machinations of the mind of cryptocurrency markets are an enigma. Even traditional stock markets often seem to behave at random, to the point that several economists seriously suggest that various non-human animals might outperform one market or another just by random chance alone. The classic example is a monkey picking stocks at random, but in the modern world the hamster [Mr Goxx] actively trades crypto from inside his hamster cage.

[Mr Goxx]’s home comprises a normal apartment and a separate office where he can make his trades. The office contains an “intention wheel” where he can run in order to select a currency to trade, and two tunnels that [Mr Goxx] can use to declare his intention to buy or sell the currency he selected with the wheel. The wheel is connected to an Arduino Nano with an optical encoder, and the Nano also detects the hamster’s presence in the “buy” or “sell” tunnel and lights up status LEDs when he wants to execute a trade. The Nano also communicates with an intricate Java program which overlays information on the live video feed and also executes the trades in real life with real money.

Live updates are sent directly both on Twitter and Reddit, besides the live Twitch stream of [Mr Goxx] we linked above. The stream only shows his office and not his apartment, and he’s mostly active at night (Berlin time). But we can’t wait for his random walks to yield long-term results which can be analyzed for years to come. In the meantime we’ll see if others have been able to make any profits in crypto with any less-random methods.

From Software To Tindie Hack Chat With Brian Lough

Join us Wednesday at noon Pacific time for the From Software to Tindie Hack Chat!

Brian Lough has followed a roundabout but probably not unusual route to the hardware hacking scene. Educated in Electronic and Computer Engineering, Brian is a software developer by trade who became enamored of Arduino development when the ESP8266 hit the market. He realized the microcontrollers such as these offered incredible capabilities on the cheap, and the bug bit him.

Since then, Brian has fully embraced the hardware hacking way, going so far as to live stream complete builds in a sort of collaborative “hack-along” with his viewers. He’s also turned a few of his builds into legitimate products, selling them on his Tindie store and even going so far as to automate testing before shipping to catch errors and improve quality.

Please join us for this Hack Chat, where we’ll discuss:

  • How software hacking leads to hardware hacking;
  • The creative process and how live streaming helps or hinders it;
  • The implications of going from project to product; and
  • What sorts of new projects might we see soon?

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Supercon Is Sold Out, Join Us On The Live Streams And Chat Rooms

Over the weekend, the last available tickets to the Hackaday Superconference vanished. This will be the fullest, most exciting, hack-packed Supercon ever.

We’ve always had a stunning slate of speakers. It’s hard to objectively say we will top previous years, but yes this collection of talks is an insane concentration of hardware speakers that tops anything we’ve seen before. You can’t look at the schedule without feeling an electric jolt of excitement. The good news is you can still get in on those talks. Bookmark this Hackaday Superconference Live-Stream which begins at 10 am PDT on Saturday, November 3rd.

Of course, talks are only one component of Supercon. The secret sauce has always been the people at the con. If you’re not joining us, we still need you to take part. There is a conference chat on Hackaday.io and all are welcome. Pop in and visit with people at the con, and others around the globe who wish they could have made it in person.

Make sure you’re on the live stream Saturday evening to watch as the Grand Prize is presented on stage during the Hackaday Prize Ceremony. Follow along throughout the weekend on social media with the #Supercon tag. Pop into the chat and ask for updates on badge hacking, the SMD Soldering Challenge, and all of the other shenanigans that make Supercon super. We look forward to seeing hundreds of you in Pasadena starting this Friday, and thousands of you online through out the weekend!

Play A Claw Machine From Your Armchair

Have you ever been seduced by a claw machine in an arcade, only to have your hopes of a cuddly toy dashed as it fails to hang onto your choice? Then you’re in luck, because now you can play to your heart’s content online. [Ryan Walmsley] wants you to control his Raspberry Pi-driven claw machine.

Hardware-wise he’s replaced the original 8052 microcontroller and relay control with the Pi and a custom H-bridge PCB. We particularly light the warning: “Highish voltage”, and we feel it should appear more often. There is some code in his GitHub repository, but we suspect it doesn’t have everything.

We had a lot of fun digging into the documentation on this one. From his initial thoughts through some prototyping and a board failure, to the launch of the online version and finally a run-down of how it all works, he’s got it covered.

Sadly the machine itself isn’t online all the time, it seems to be only online when [Ryan] is at home, so if you live on the other side of the world from his British base you may be out of luck. Fortunately though his previous live streams are online, so you can see it in action on a past outing below the break.

Of course what kind of swag do you load up in a claw machine like this one? On his Twitter feed we’ve seen tests of the aliens from Toy Story (who start their existence in a claw machine so quite fitting). The majority of items show in is recorded games — now numbering over 2000 — have been our beloved companion cube.

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Brain Controlled Tracked Robot

[Imetomi] found himself salvaging a camera from a broken drone when he decided to use it in a new project, a tracked robot with a live video feed from the mounted camera.

… I had a cheap Chinese drone that was broken, but its camera seemed to be operating and when I took apart my drone I found a small WiFi chip with a video transmitter. I (decided) that I will use this little circuit for a project and I started to buy and salvage the parts.

Being a tracked robot, it can negotiate most types of terrain and climb hills up to 40 degrees. It is powered by two 18650 lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 2600 mAh and the remote control is based on the HC-12 serial communication module. You can control it with a joystick and watch the camera’s live-stream in a virtual reality glass. That’s pretty neat but it’s not all.

[Imetomi] also used a hacked Nacomimi Brainwave Toy to make a brain controlled version of his robot. The brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. To actually control it the operator has to focus on the right hand to move right, focus on the left hand to move left, blink to move forward and blink again to stop. There is also an ultrasonic sensor to help navigation so the robot doesn’t bump into things. It’s not very precise but you can always build the joystick version or, even better, make a version with both controls.

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[CNLohr] Reverses Vive, Valve Engineers Play Along

[CNLohr] needs no introduction around these parts. He’s pulled off a few really epic hacks. Recently, he’s set his sights on writing a simple, easy to extend library to work with the HTC Vive VR controller equipment, and in particular the Watchman controller.

There’s been a lot of previous work on the device, so [Charles] wasn’t starting from scratch, and he live-streamed his work, allowing others to play along. In the process, two engineers who actually worked on the hardware in question, [Alan Yates] and [Ben Jackson], stopped by and gave some oblique hints and “warmer-cooler” guidance. A much-condensed version is up on YouTube (and embedded below). In the links, you’ll find code and the live streams in their original glory, if you want to see what went down blow by blow. Code and more docs are in this Gist.

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