As smartphones become more ubiquitous in society, they are being used in plenty of ways not imaginable even ten or fifteen years ago. Using its sensors to gather LIDAR information, its GPS to get directions, its microphone to instantly translate languages, or even use its WiFi and cellular radios to establish a wireless hotspot are all things which would have taken specialized hardware not more than two decades ago. The latest disruption may be in microscopy, as this build demonstrates a microscope that would otherwise be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The microscope is a specialized device known as a fluorescence microscope, which uses a light source to excite fluorescent molecules in a sample which can illuminate structures that would otherwise be invisible under a regular microscope. For this build, the light is provided by readily-available LED lighting as well as optical filters typically used in stage lighting, as well as a garden-variety smartphone. With these techniques a microscope can be produced for around $50 USD that has 10 µm resolution.
Apple has been busy adding new features to its smartphone and smartwatch offerings. Its new iPhone 14 and Apple Watch 8 now feature a safety system that contacts emergency services in the event the user is in a automobile accident.
As with so many new technologies though, the feature has fallen afoul of the law of unintended consequences. Reports are that the “crash detection system” is falsely triggering on rollercoasters and in other strange circumstances. Let’s take a look at how these systems work, and why this might be happening.
While it might seem like mobile phones are special devices, both in their ease of use and in their ubiquity in the modern culture, they are essentially nothing more than small form-factor computers with an extra radio and a few specific pieces of software to run. In theory, as long as you can find that software (and you pay for a service plan of some sort) you can get any computer to work as a phone. So naturally, the Raspberry Pi was turned into one.
[asherdundas], the phone’s creator, actually found a prior build based around the Raspberry Pi before starting this one. The problem was that it was built nearly a decade ago, and hadn’t been updated since. This build brings some modernization to the antiquated Pi phone, and starts with a 3D printed case. It also houses a touchscreen and a GSM antenna to connect to the cell network. With some other odds and ends, like a speaker and microphone, plus a battery and the software to tie it all together, a modern functional Raspberry Pi phone was created, with some extra details available on the project page.
The phone has the expected features — including calling, texting, and even a camera. A small WiFi USB dongle allows it to connect to the Internet too, allowing it to do all of the internet browsing a modern smartphone might want to do. The only thing that it might be pretty difficult to do is install Android apps, and although there are ways to get Android apps working in Linux, it’s not always strictly necessary to have this functionality.
Obviously, with many national grids relying on fossil fuels for a large part of their generation, most of us are already charging our phones with fossil fuels to some degree. However, the aim here was to do so more directly, without incurring transmission losses from the long runs through the power grid. Continue reading “Powering A Cellphone With Gasoline”→
The idea is simple. The project video notes that conductive tape can be placed on a multitouch touchscreen, allowing touches to be read at a remote location. Taking this concept further, BackTrack works by creating a 2D matrix on the back of the phone, and connecting this matrix to a series of pads in a row on the front touchscreen. Then, touches on the back touchpad can be read by the existing touchscreen on the front screen. Continue reading “Turning The Back Of Your Phone Into A Touchpad”→
DOOM was first released for MS-DOS, and is one of the pillar titles of the broader first-person-shooter genre. It’s also become a bit of a meme for being ported to any and every weird platform under the sun. Now, a group of developers in Costa Rica have found a way to flip that joke around – by porting an old mobile DOOM game back to the PC.
The game in question is DOOM RPG, made for BREW and Java-compatible phones in 2005. A group named GEC.inc has taken that game and ported it to Windows, outlining their work on the Doomworld forums. As with many such projects, the port is freely available, but doesn’t include the raw game files themselves due to copyright. You’ll have to find the gamedata yourself, and combine it with the files the group published on the forum to get it to work on a modern PC.
For those that have missed the turn-based role playing game based in the DOOM universe (Doomiverse?), today is a good day. No longer must you pine for your ancient, crusty Java smartphone of yesteryear. Now you can play the game on a less awful platform, and listen to the unique and compelling MIDI-esque soundtrack.
Needless to say, the views we get through modern lenses are a lot more realistic. So how did we get from simple magnifying systems to the complex lens systems we see today? We start with a quick journey through the history of the camera and the lens, and we’ll end up with the cutting edge in lens design for smartphone cameras and VR headsets.