With a long history of nearly universal hate for their products, you’d think printer manufacturers would by now have found ways to back off from the policies that only seem to keep aggravating customers. But rather than make it a financially wiser decision to throw out a printer and buy a new one than to buy new ink cartridges or toners, manufacturers keep coming up with new and devious ways to piss customers off. Case in point: Hewlett-Packard now seems to be bricking printers with third-party ink cartridges. Reports from users say that a new error message has popped up on screens of printers with non-HP cartridges installed warning that further use of the printer has been blocked. Previously, printers just warned about potential quality issues from non-HP consumables, but now they’re essentially bricked until you cough up the money for legit HP cartridges. Users who have contacted HP support say that they were told the change occurred because of a recent firmware update sent to the printer, so that’s comforting.
Front Door Keys Hidden In Plain Sight
If there’s one thing about managing a bunch of keys, whether they’re for RSA, SSH, or a car, it’s that large amounts of them can be a hassle. In fact, anything that makes life even a little bit simpler is a concept we often see projects built on to of, and keys are no different. This project, for example, eliminates the need to consciously carry a house key around by hiding it in a piece of jewelry.
This project sprang from [Maxime]’s previous project, which allowed the front door to be unlocked with a smartphone or tablet. This isn’t much better than carrying a key, since the valuable piece of electronics must be toted along in place of one. Instead, this build eschews the smartphone for a ring which can be worn and used to unlock the door with the wave of a hand. The ring contains an RFID which is read by an antenna that’s monitored by a Wemos D1 Mini. When it sees the ring, a set of servos unlocks the door.
The entire device is mounted on the front of the door about where a peephole would normally be, with the mechanical actuators on the inside. It seems just as secure (if not more so) than carrying around a metal key, and we also appreciate the aesthetic of circuit boards shown off in this way, rather than hidden inside an enclosure. It’s an interesting build that reminds us of some other unique ways of unlocking a door.
Becky Stern, David Cranor, And A CT Scanner Vs The Oura Ring
If you wonder how it’s possible to fit a fitness tracker into a ring, well, you’re not alone. [Becky Stern] sent one off to get CT scanned, went at it with a rotary tool, and then she made a video about it with [David Cranor]. (Video embedded below.)
While it’s super cool that you can do a teardown without tearing anything down these days — thanks to the CT scan — most of the analysis is done on a cut-up version of the thing through a normal stereo microscope. Still, the ability to then flip over to a 3D CT scan of the thing is nice.
We absolutely concur with [Becky] and [David] that it’s astounding how much was fit into very little space. Somewhere along the way, [David] muses that the electrical, mechanical, and software design teams must have all worked tightly together on this project to pull it off, and it shows. All along, there’s a nice running dialog on how you know what you’re looking at when tearing at a new device, and it’s nice to look over their shoulders.
Then there’s the bit where [Becky] shows you what a lithium-ion battery pack looks like when you cut it in half. She says it was already mostly discharged, and she didn’t burst into flames. But take it easy out there! (Also, make sure you take your hot xylene out on the patio.)
X-ray machines are of course just the coolest thing when doing a teardown. We’ve seen them used from fixing multimeters to simply looking at servo motors.
Continue reading “Becky Stern, David Cranor, And A CT Scanner Vs The Oura Ring”
Hackaday Links: June 6, 2021
There are a bunch of newly minted millionaires this week, after it was announced that Stack OverFlow would be acquired for $1.8 billion by European tech investment firm Prosus. While not exactly a household name, Prosus is a big player in the Chinese tech scene, where it has about a 30% stake in Chinese internet company Tencent. They trimmed their holdings in the company a bit recently, raising $15 billion in cash, which we assume will be used to fund the SO purchase. As with all such changes, there’s considerable angst out in the community about how this could impact everyone’s favorite coding help site. The SO leadership are all adamant that nothing will change, but only time will tell.
Hackaday Links: November 15, 2020
Now that we drive around cars that are more like mobile data centers than simple transportation, there’s a wealth of data to be harvested when the inevitable crashes occur. After a recent Tesla crash on a California highway, a security researcher got a hold of the car’s “black box” and extracted some terrifying insights into just how bad a car crash can be. The interesting bit is the view of the crash from the Tesla’s forward-facing cameras with object detection overlays. Putting aside the fact that the driver of this car was accelerating up to the moment it rear-ended the hapless Honda with a closing speed of 63 MPH (101 km/h), the update speeds on the bounding boxes and lane sensing are incredible. The author of the article uses this as an object lesson in why Level 2 self-driving is a bad idea, and while I agree with that premise, the fact that self-driving had been disabled 40 seconds before the driver plowed into the Honda seems to make that argument moot. Tech or not, someone this unskilled or impaired was going to have an accident eventually, and it was just bad luck for the other driver.
Last week I shared a link to Scan the World, an effort to 3D-scan and preserve culturally significant artifacts and create a virtual museum. Shortly after the article ran we got an email from Elisa at Scan the World announcing their “Unlocking Lockdown” competition, which encourages people to scan cultural artifacts and treasures directly from their home. You may not have a Ming Dynasty vase or a Grecian urn on display in your parlor, but you’ve probably got family heirlooms, knick-knacks, and other tchotchkes that should be preserved. Take a look around and scan something for posterity. And I want to thank Elisa for the link to the Pompeiian bread that I mentioned.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)has been running an interesting challenge for the last couple of years: The Subterranean (SubT) Challenge. The goal is to discover new ways to operate autonomously below the surface of the Earth, whether for mining, search and rescue, or warfare applications. They’ve been running different circuits to simulate various underground environments, with the most recent circuit being a cave course back in October. On Tuesday November 17, DARPA will webcast the competition, which features 16 teams and their autonomous search for artifacts in a virtual cave. It could make for interesting viewing.
If underground adventures don’t do it for you, how about going upstairs? LeoLabs, a California-based company that specializes in providing information about satellites, has a fascinating visualization of the planet’s satellite constellation. It’s sort of Google Earth but with the details focused on low-earth orbit. You can fly around the planet and watch the satellites whiz by or even pick out the hundreds of spent upper-stage rockets still up there. You can lock onto a specific satellite, watch for near-misses, or even turn on a layer for space debris, which honestly just turns the display into a purple miasma of orbiting junk. The best bit, though, is the easily discerned samba-lines of newly launched Starlink satellites.
A doorbell used to be a pretty simple device, but like many things, they’ve taken on added complexity. And danger, it appears, as Amazon Ring doorbell users are reporting their new gadgets going up in flame upon installation. The problem stems from installers confusing the screws supplied with the unit. The longer wood screws are intended to mount the device to the wall, while a shorter security screw secures the battery cover. Mix the two up for whatever reason, and the sharp point of the mounting screw can find the LiPo battery within, with predictable results.
And finally, it may be the shittiest of shitty robots: a monstrous robotic wolf intended to scare away wild bears. It seems the Japanese town of Takikawa has been having a problem with bears lately, so they deployed a pair of these improbable looking creatures to protect themselves. It’s hard to say what’s the best feature: the flashing LED eyes, the strobe light tail, the fact that the whole thing floats in the air atop a pole. Whatever it is, it seems to work on bears, which is probably good enough. Take a look in the video below the break.
Self-Glowing Ring Is Its Own Battery
LED jewelry has always been a popular part of the maker community. Oftentimes, coin cells are used as a compact source of power, or wires are run to discreet hidden battery packs. [OguzC3] went another route, however, creating a glowing ring which works as its own battery.
The design will be familiar to those who have done high-school experiments on basic batteries. An aluminium pipe forms the inner surface of the ring, which is then wrapped in a layer of newspaper. A copper outer ring is then placed outside. When soaked in a salt water solution, this forms a basic battery. The voltage output is only around 0.5 volts, so a joule thief circuit is built into the ring to step this up high enough to drive an LED. [OguzC3] reports that the ring lasts several hours at a time, and only needs a quick rinse in fresh salty water to recharge.
It’s a creative concept, and the final piece looks like a magical object from the world of fantasy. It would make a great addition to any cosplay, and we’re sure the technique could be adapted to other accoutrements, too. A similar experiment done in a more extreme way is this electric car charged via lemons. If you’ve got your own battery chemistry project cooking up at home, be sure to let us know!
Magic Acrylic Makes This Ring Stand Out
LEDs look great no matter how you use them, but sometimes you want to hide them from direct view. [Charlyn] found a great way to do that, using a special material designed just for the purpose.
[Charlyn] built a ring as a piece of fashion jewelry, hooking up a Gemma M0 microcontroller to a Neopixel Jewel, which packs 7 individual LEDs. The hardware is secreted away inside an enclosure featuring both 3D-printed and lasercut parts.
Rather than openly show off the electronics, it’s all hidden away inside. Instead, a piece of black Chemcast LED acrylic is used, which allows LED light to shine through, while otherwise appearing opaque. Those interested in learning more can check out the product details on the manufacturer site.
It’s a great way to make a subtle costume piece that only reveals its flashier side when you so decide. We’ve seen badges use similar techniques on PCBs to great effect, too. Video after the break.