Hackaday Links: March 10, 2019

Do you like hamburgers? Everyone likes hamburgers. Inspired by a phone you could buy at Spencers in 1991, [Love Hulten] built a Game Burger Advance. The guts are a Raspberry Pi Zero, a standard LCD display and what appears to be a USB control pad. The fabrication is where this one really goes crazy. It’s a significant amount of laser-cut plywood or MDF stacked together into a laminate then sanded and painted to look like a hamburger. Actually, it’s a cheeseburger, but we don’t deal with the prescriptivist view of linguistics and Wendy’s doesn’t sell hamburgers, they sell cheeseburgers without cheese. Hamburgers are not cheeseburgers without cheese but I digress… Just be glad this links post isn’t me going off for two thousand words talking about language and cheeseburgers.

If you have a 2012 MacBook Pro, congratulations, you have one of the last good laptops Apple will ever build. [Docatl] over on Reddit has one of these fine machines, but found it was overheating. This Genius did what anyone would do — drilled some vents in the bottom of the laptop. The results are impressive, with stock temperatures climbing to 80º C when rendering video, and the post-drilled temps cooling down to a balmy 65º.

Here’s a Kickstarter for you. It’s an Arduino Zero in a narrow DIP-16 package, albeit with a USB connector hanging over the outline of a normal DIP-16 footprint. The specs are an ATSAMD21 Cortex-M0+ running at 48 MHz, 256kB of Flash, 32k of RAM, and an integrated bootloader.

Ha ha Tim Cook changed his name to Tim Square because Apple users are squares amirite?

We’re not going to get into a discussion about mental health or anything here, but TheFlightChannel just published a flight sim reenactment of the SeaTac Dash-8 Horizon Air incident from last summer. This video is absolutely fantastic.

The Sipeed K210 is a chip you should know about. It’s a RISC-V microcontroller that’s right up there with the fastest, most powerful STM32 chips, but it’s RISC-V and it costs eight dollars. Also, it has neural networks, because. We first heard about this chip as a preorder on Taobao (?!), but now it’s getting a slightly more official release. Seeed is working on a Raspberry Pi Hat for this chip, and they want your input. Right now we’re looking at two versions, one with WiFi and one without, and both can either work with a Raspberry Pi or as a standalone board. They have the basic layout, but they’d like to know what features the community would want.

Hackaday Links: March 3, 2019

In this week’s edition of, ‘why you should care that Behringer is cloning a bunch of vintage synths’, I present to you this amazing monstrosity. Yes, it’s a vertical video of a synthesizer without any sound. Never change, Reddit. A bit of explanation: this is four Behringer Model Ds (effectively clones of the Moog Minimoog, the Behringer version is called the ‘Boog’) stacked in a wooden case. They are connected to a MIDI keyboard ‘with Arduinos’ that split up the notes to each individual Boog. This is going to sound amazing and it’s one gigantic wall of twelve oscillators and it only cost $800 this is nuts.

Tuesday is Fastnacht day. Fill your face with fried dough.

The biggest news this week is the release of a ‘folding’ phone. This phone is expensive at about $3000 list, but keep in mind this is a flagship phone, one that defines fashion, and an obvious feature that will eventually be adopted by lower-cost models. Who knows what they’ll think of next.

It’s a new Project Binky! This time, we’re looking at cutting holes in the oil sump, patching those holes, cutting more holes in an oil sump, patching those holes, wiring up a dashcam, and putting in what is probably the third or fourth radiator so far.

Here’s a Kickstarter for new Nixie tubes. It’s a ZIN18, which I guess means an IN18, a tube with a 40mm tall set of numbers. This is the king of Nixie clocks, and one tube will run you about $100. Nah, you can also get new Nixies here.

The Sipeed K210 is a RISC-V chip with built-in neural networks. Why should you care? Because it’s RISC-V. It’s also pretty fast, reportedly 5 times as fast as the ESP32. This is a 3D rendering test of the K210, with all the relevant code on the Github.

I’m not sure if everyone is aware of this, but here’s the best way to desolder through-hole parts. Heat the solder joint up and whack it against a table. It never fails. Hitting things is the best way to make them do what you want.

New Part Day: A RISC-V CPU For Eight Dollars

RISC-V is the new hotness, and companies are churning out code and announcements, but little actual hardware. Eventually, we’re going to get to the point where RISC-V microcontrollers and SoCs cost just a few bucks. This day might be here, with Seeed’s Sipeed MAix modules. it’s a RISC-V chip you can buy right now, the bare module costs eight US dollars, there are several modules, and it has ‘AI’.

Those of you following the developments in the RISC-V world may say this chip looks familiar. You’re right; last October, a seller on Taobao opened up preorders for the Sipeed M1 K210 chip, a chip with neural networks. Cool, we can ignore some buzzwords if it means new chips. Seeed has been busy these last few months, and they’re now selling modules, dev boards, and peripherals that include a camera, mic array, and displays. It’s here now, and you can buy one. If it seems a little weird for Seeed Studios to get their hands on this, remember: the ESP8266 just showed up on their web site one day a few years ago. Look where we are with that now.

The big deal here is the Sipeed MAix-I module with WiFi, sold out because it costs nine bucks. Inside this module is a Kendryte K210 RISC-V CPU with 8MB of on-chip SRAM and a 400MHz clock. This chip is also loaded up with a Neural Network Processor, an Audio Processor with support for eight microphones, and a ‘Field Programmable IO array’, which sounds like it’s a crossbar on the 48 GPIOs on the chip. Details and documentation are obviously lacking.

In addition to a chip that’s currently out of stock, we also have the same chip as above, without WiFi, for a dollar less. It’ll probably be out of stock by the time you read this. There’s a ‘Go Suit’ that puts one of these chips in an enclosure with a camera and display, and there’s a microphone array add-on. There’s a binocular camera module if you want to play around with depth sensing.

The first time we heard of this chip, it was just a preorder on Taobao. It told us two things: RISC-V chips are coming sooner than we expected, and you can do preorders on Taobao. Seeed has a history of bringing interesting chips to the wider world, and if you want a RISC-V chip right now, here you go. Just be sure to tell us what you did with it.