Hackaday x Tindie Meetup in Dublin this Friday

Hackaday and Tindie are coming to Dublin at the end of this week. Join us on Friday night as we host a meetup in the company of our friends at TOG hackerspace. Please RSVP to tell us you’re coming.

This is a Bring-a-Hack style event, so come out for a casual meetup and bring a project to show off. It’s a great way to get conversation started and often the most amazing projects are the ones whose creators imagine them to be inconsequential. Keep them to a manageable size though, space may be at a premium.

We’ll supply beverages and light snacks to oil the wheels, and Hackaday Editors [Mike Szczys] and [Jenny List], Tindie Product Manager [Jasmie Brackett], and SupplyFrame Product Manager [Sophi Kravitz] will be on hand. It doesn’t matter what it is you’ve got to show us, whatever you have we’d love to see it. Thank you to TOG for opening their doors to this event!

Saturday is the Hackaday Dublin Unconference!

Act fast to grab one of the last five tickets to the Hackaday Dublin Unconference this Saturday. All tickets have been sold out, but a few people who had a ticket but are now unable to attend were nice enough to return them so that someone else may take their place. Everyone one who attends should be ready to give a 7-minute talk on what they’re excited about right now. We can’t get through everyone in one day so don’t worry if public speaking mortifies you (but still come prepared). We’ll do our best to get through a ton of presenters. We’ll have food and drink on hand and head to the pub afterward for those still standing that evening! Need proof that this is not to be missed? We did it in London last September and it was epic!

This is Hackaday’s first visit en masse to the Irish capital, and we’re looking forward to correcting that oversight and meeting the masses of our Irish readership. Thanks to the generous support of DesignSpark, the innovation arm of RS Components and the exclusive sponsor of the event, we hare happy to offer Hackaday Dublin Unconference free of charge to all who attend.

We’re excited about what will come from this weekend and are looking forward to it. See you soon!

Bone Conduction Skull Radio

There are many ways to take an electrical audio signal and turn it into something you can hear. Moving coil speakers, plasma domes, electrostatic speakers, piezo horns, the list goes on. Last week at the Electromagnetic Field festival in the UK, we encountered another we hadn’t experienced directly before. Bite on a brass rod (sheathed in a drinking straw for hygiene), hear music.

The TOG Skull Radio demo box
The TOG Skull Radio demo box

This was Skull Radio, a bone conduction speaker courtesy of [Tdr], one of our friends from TOG hackerspace in Dublin, and its simplicity hid a rather surprising performance. A small DC motor has its shaft connected to a piece of rod, and a small audio power amplifier drives the motor. Nothing is audible until you bite on the rod, and then you can hear the music. The bones of your skull are conducting it directly to your inner ear, without an airborne sound wave in sight.

The resulting experience is a sonic cathedral from lips of etherial sibilance, a wider soft palate soundstage broadened by a tongue of bass and masticated by a driving treble overlaid with a toothy resonance before spitting out a dynamic oral texture. You’ll go back to your hi-fi after listening to [Tdr]’s Skull Radio, but you’ll know you’ll never equal its unique sound.

(If you are not the kind of audiophile who spends $1000 on a USB cable, the last paragraph means you bite on it, you hear music, and it sounds not quite as bad as you might expect.)

This isn’t the first bone conduction project we’ve featured here, we’ve seen a Bluetooth speaker and at least one set of headphones, but our favorite is probably this covert radio.

Taming A Variac With A Thermistor

The folks at TOG, Dublin Hackerspace, have a large variac. A variac is a useful device for testing some fault conditions with AC mains powered equipment, it allows an operator to dial in any AC output voltage between zero, and in the case of TOG’s variac, 250V.

Their problem was with such a magnificent device capable of handling nearly 3KW, it presented an inductive load with a huge inrush current at power-on that would always take out the circuit breakers. Breakers come with different surge current handling capabilities, evidently their building is fitted with the domestic rather than the industrial variants.

Their solution was a simple one, they fitted an NTC surge limiter in series with the variac input. This is a thermistor whose resistance falls with temperature. Thus on start-up it presented an extra 12 ohm load which was enough to keep the breaker happy, but soon dropped to a resistance which left the variac with enough juice.

This is a simple fix to a problem that has faced more than one hackerspace whose imperfect lodgings are wired to domestic-grade spec. In a way it ties in neatly with our recent feature on mains safety; making the transformer no longer a pain to use means that it is more likely to be used when it is needed.

Via: TOG, Dublin Hackerspace.