OpenMoko: Ten Years After

See the original posting on Slashdot

Michael Lauer, member of the core team at OpenMoko, a project that sought to create a family of open source mobile phones — which included the hardware specs and the Linux-based OS — has shared the inside story of what the project wanted to do and why it failed. From his blog post: For the 10th anniversary since the legendary OpenMoko announcement at the “Open Source in Mobile” (7th of November 2006 in Amsterdam), I’ve been meaning to write an anthology or — as Paul Fertser suggested on #openmoko-cdevel — an obituary. I’ve been thinking about objectively describing the motivation, the momentum, how it all began and — sadly — ended. I did even plan to include interviews with Sean, Harald, Werner, and some of the other veterans. But as with oh so many projects of (too) wide scope this would probably never be completed. As November 2016 passed without any progress, I decided to do something different instead. Something way more limited in scope, but something I can actually finish. My subjective view of the project, my participation, and what I think is left behind: My story, as OpenMoko employee #2. On top of that you will see a bunch of previously unreleased photos (bear with me, I’m not a good photographer and the camera sucked as well). [….] Right now my main occupation is writing software for Apple’s platforms — and while it’s nice to work on apps using a massive set of luxury frameworks and APIs, you’re locked and sandboxed within the software layers Apple allows you. I’d love to be able to work on an open source Linux-based middleware again. However, the sad truth is that it looks like there is no business case anymore for a truly open platform based on custom-designed hardware, since people refuse to spend extra money for tweakability, freedom, and security. Despite us living in times where privacy is massively endangered.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A Flexible Sensor That Moves With You

See the original posting on Hackaday

If you have a project in mind that requires some sort of gesture input or precise movements, it might become a nettlesome problem to tackle. Fear this obstacle no longer: a team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard have designed a novel way to make wearable sensors that can stretch and contort with the body’s natural movements.

The way they work is ingenious. Layers of silicone are sandwiched between two lengths of silver-plated conductive fabric forming — by some approximation — a capacitance sensor. While the total surface area doesn’t change when the sensor is stretched …read more

Nixie Tachometer Displays in Style

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Nixietach II is a feature-rich tachomoter [Jeff LaBundy] built for his 1971 Ford LTD. It displays RPM with an error rate of only 0.03 RPM at 1,000 RPM

The latest iteration of a long-running project, [Jeff] approached it with three goals: the tachometer had to be self-contained and easy to install, the enclosure had to be of reasonable size, and it had to include new and exciting features over the first two versions.

The finished project consists of an enclosure mounted under the dash with a sensor box in the engine bay connected to the ignition coil. He can also …read more

Tesla Model 3 event, in photos

See the original posting on The Verge

Last night electric car-maker Tesla hosted a Model 3 “handoff” event for employees at its factory in Fremont, California, giving 30 select employees production-ready vehicles ahead of the car’s official launch in … well, we’re still not quite sure when. Around 2,000 employees, along with press and other guests, gathered at the evening event to hear Tesla chief executive Elon Musk share more details about the long-awaited vehicle, which is Tesla’s first mass-market electric vehicle.

The night was Muskian (Musky? Musk-like? Quintessential Musk?): a few minutes past nine o’clock, Musk rolled up on stage in a signature red Model 3, talked about the challenges of mass-producing such a vehicle, showed the audience a chart to underscore the…

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Nixie Tachometer Displays in Style

See the original posting on Hackaday

Nixietach II is a feature-rich tachomoter [Jeff LaBundy] built for his 1971 Ford LTD. It displays RPM with an error rate of only 0.03 RPM at 1,000 RPM

The latest iteration of a long-running project, [Jeff] approached it with three goals: the tachometer had to be self-contained and easy to install, the enclosure had to be of reasonable size, and it had to include new and exciting features over the first two versions.

The finished project consists of an enclosure mounted under the dash with a sensor box in the engine bay connected to the ignition coil. He can also …read more

A Flexible Sensor That Moves With You

See the original posting on Hackaday

If you have a project in mind that requires some sort of gesture input or precise movements, it might become a nettlesome problem to tackle. Fear this obstacle no longer: a team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard have designed a novel way to make wearable sensors that can stretch and contort with the body’s natural movements.

The way they work is ingenious. Layers of silicone are sandwiched between two lengths of silver-plated conductive fabric forming — by some approximation — a capacitance sensor. While the total surface area doesn’t change when the sensor is stretched …read more

Your smartphone is the key for the Tesla Model 3

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 The Tesla Model 3 is unique in a lot of ways, but one of the more interesting is its use of your smartphone as the only key – there’s not fob, even, let alone an ignition for a traditional key. The vehicle uses the Tesla app on your smartphone to communicate your identity, unlock the vehicle, and know when it’s ready to start and turn off. The Model 3 uses Bluetooth LE to talk… Read More

Stealing Joules From An Aluminium-Air Battery

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While batteries are cheap and readily obtainable today, sometimes it’s still fun to mess around with their less-common manifestations. Experimenting with a few configurations, Hackaday.io user [will.stevens] has assembled an aluminium-air battery and combined it with a joule thief to light an LED.

To build the air battery, soak an activated charcoal puck — from a water filter, for example — in salt-saturated water while you cut the base off an aluminium can. A circle of tissue paper — also saturated with the salt water — is pressed between the bare charcoal disk and the can, taking care not to …read more

Quick Hack Cleans Data from Sump Pump

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Nobody likes to monitor things as much as a hacker, even mundane things like sump pumps. And hackers love clean data too, so when [Felix]’s sump pump water level data was made useless by a new pump controller, he just knew he had to hack the controller to clean up his data.

Monitoring a sump pump might seem extreme, but as a system that often protects against catastrophic damage, the responsible homeowner strives to take care of it. [Felix] goes a bit further than the average homeowner, though, with an ultrasonic sensor to continually measure the water level in the …read more

Fail of the Week: Good Prosthetic Hand Design Goes Bad

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Is this a case of a good design gone wrong in the build phase? Or is this DIY prosthetic arm a poor design from the get-go? Either way, [Will Donaldson] needs some feedback, and Hackaday is just the right place for that.

Up front, we’ll say kudos to [Will] for having the guts to post a build that’s less than successful. And we’ll stipulate that when it comes to fully articulated prosthetic hands, it’s easy to fail. His design is ambitious, with an opposable thumb, fingers with three phalanges each, a ball and socket wrist, and internal servos driving everything. …read more

Fail of the Week: Good Prosthetic Hand Design Goes Bad

See the original posting on Hackaday

Is this a case of a good design gone wrong in the build phase? Or is this DIY prosthetic arm a poor design from the get-go? Either way, [Will Donaldson] needs some feedback, and Hackaday is just the right place for that.

Up front, we’ll say kudos to [Will] for having the guts to post a build that’s less than successful. And we’ll stipulate that when it comes to fully articulated prosthetic hands, it’s easy to fail. His design is ambitious, with an opposable thumb, fingers with three phalanges each, a ball and socket wrist, and internal servos driving everything. …read more

Tesla Model 3 first drive: this is the car that Elon Musk promised

See the original posting on The Verge

I felt like I was driving in an Eames chair. That was my first impression as I climbed into the driver’s seat of the Tesla Model 3 at the Fremont Factory on Friday afternoon. It took a moment to orient myself — no gauges, no speedometer, no airplane cockpit cues. Instead, one continuous smooth line between myself and the road ahead, offset by natural, unfinished wood. The premium model of the Model 3 caught me off guard. After hearing so much hype about this car, I was surprised that my first reaction was a profound sense of delight. It wasn’t bland, nor sterile, nor cheap feeling. Here was something different. Here was an exercise in minimalism. Here was the car Elon Musk promised to make 14 years ago.

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The Tesla Model 3 interior doesn’t look like any car you’ve ever seen

See the original posting on The Verge

Tesla finally delivered the first 30 units of the Model 3 this past evening, and now that the production version of the company’s mass-market electric car is out in the wild, one key detail has finally been confirmed: the interior is going to look unlike anything else on the market. There’s one 15-inch, bezel-free, horizontally-oriented touchscreen panel — and that’s it. No instrument cluster, no heads-up display. The rest of what’s in front of you is just a smooth dashboard and a the windshield.

CEO Elon Musk had warned as much on Twitter since last year’s initial unveiling that the interior of the production version of the Model 3 would look as spartan as the prototype. And he has been steadfast in his confidence that people will like…

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Here’s what it’s like to drive the Tesla Model 3

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 handover event, I got to drive one – a black version with the Premium Upgrade Package. Not for long mind you: I drove it around Tesla’s Fremont factory in an extended loop on city streets, but I still got to test its mettle on some relatively long, unbroken stretches of road, push the accelerator and throw it around corners. Again, this is just… Read More

Everything you want to know about the Tesla Model 3

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 The Tesla Model 3 is now a known quantity – we have information about the different kit options available at launch, as well as interior and exterior measurements, and car performance and cabin comforts. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the whole point was to make car that is “the best car, hands down,” for “anything close to the same cost,” and it makes a strong… Read More

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