Hackaday Prize Entry: Inexpensive Emergency Button

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I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. We all remember it, and we all know what product we’re talking about. Now, with cheap microcontrollers, ubiquitous WiFi, and wearable electronics, there must be a simpler solution. [Jean Paradedel]’s emergency button project is designed to replace those wearable emergency buttons, which usually include an expensive call center plan.

[Jean]’s button is based off an ESP8266 module, which sends an email to a care provider if a button is pressed. The whole thing is powered by a CR2032 watch battery and the device’s case was 3D printed. The interface is simple — …read more

A night at the museum for grown-ups

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There is a specific hill in Argentina where several young dinosaurs died centuries apart. Millions of years later, I am looking at the 122-foot remains of one of them in the middle of the night.

The skeleton cast of the largest dinosaur ever discovered spans an entire room in the American Museum of Natural History, the head poking out one door and the tail out the other. In the dark, with only the bones illuminated, the scale is truly striking.

Such moments are a perk of what I told everyone was an “adult sleepover” and what the AMNH more carefully named its Sleepovers for Grown-ups. The $350 tickets are pricey, but includes dinner, complete access, tours, two shows, and getting to sleep under a gigantic blue whale. It’s also 21-plus,…

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This mobile game lets you snoop through a lost phone

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Developer Accidental Queens is returning to its spin on modern voyeurism with a followup to mobile game A Normal Lost Phone. But though Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story follows many of the same rules as its predecessor — the entire game is played on a smartphone that mirrors the one in your hand — many of its improvements are a direct reaction to backlash from the previous title.

In Another Lost Phone, players assume the role of a person who’s picked up a wayward phone. Inside, they’ll find a slew of texts, emails, and photos that act as breadcrumbs to the game’s greater mystery: what happened to Laura, and why she seems to have gone missing. It’s the same premise as A Normal Lost Phone, but the game’s developers say they’ve taken…

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Twitter is testing a Twitter Lite Android app in the Philippines

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Earlier this year, Twitter introduced a new version of its mobile site that it calls Twitter Lite. It’s specifically designed to be used in parts of the world with limited connectivity, and it uses less data to help with load times. The company is now testing a Twitter Lite Android app in the Philippines.

Like the mobile site, the app will use less data, and will be useful in places where internet access is slower. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch that the app is just an experiment, and that it’s not sure if it’ll test the app in other markets. The company noted that the Philippines represents a good place to test such a product, because it has “slow mobile networks and expensive data plans, while mobile devices with…

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A Thoughtful Variety of Projects and Failures

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Our friends at [The Thought Emporium] have been bringing us delightful projects but not all of them warrant a full-fledged video. What does anyone with a bevy of small but worthy projects do? They put them all together like so many mismatched LEGO blocks. Grab Bag #1 is the start of a semi-monthly video series which presents the smaller projects happening behind the scenes of [The Thought Emporium]’s usual video presentations.

Solar eclipse? There are two because the first was only enough to whet [The Thought Emporium]’s appetite. Ionic lifters? Learn about the favorite transformer around the shop and see …read more

Watch Star Trek: Discovery’s fantastic main title sequence

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Ahead of its debut tonight, CBS has released the main title sequence for Star Trek: Discovery. While the show has had a bit of a rocky production, the opening credits are really fantastic.

Discovery’s title sequence start out looking like rough design plans and x-rays, which then blend into planets, starships, gadgets, and eyes, looking as though it fits in the style of True Detective or The Expanse, rather than that of a traditional Star Trek show. It’s a cool, modern take on the opening titles sequence, something that often feels neglected in this day and age of streaming television.

The sequence also comes with a theme song composed by Jeff Russo that calls back to that of the original, familiar theme of the original show. But it…

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I remember ‘Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor’

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As a kid, I never understood Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor.

This is what I remember:

Not long after Moby Dick ate Ahab and smashed the Pequod, he learned to relax. Like majorly chill out! In this confounding series, a kinder and gentler Moby befriends two nautically enthusiastic kids named something like Tub and Tug, then he fights lame sea creatures.

Incidentally, there is another kid who lived a long time ago named Tor! Tor acts like a helpful kid on ONE and only ONE occasion but is so helpful that an old dude gives him a magic log. It is fun, it is magic, it is wood.

Like a teenager, Tor immediately loses the manual before his pet dinosaur can even ask him what the scenario is! Evidently, the magic log turns Tor from a puny kid into a flying adult with a horned helmet. Additionally, said log converts Tor’s pet dinosaur into a flying, fire-breathing pet dinosaur. Use those log powers for good!

I’m pretty sure this cartoon was a complete waste of time.

Michelin wants to reinvent the wheel for the driverless age

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They’re completely airless, last virtually forever, and could be the perfect tire for our autonomous future. Michelin, the 128-year-old tire manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, recently unveiled a 3D-printed tire concept that it says could be the ideal ride for self-driving cars. It just needs to figure out how to actually manufacture them first.

Dubbed “Vision,” these spidery, psychedelic-looking sponges are printed from bio-sourced and biodegradable materials, including natural rubber, bamboo, paper, tin cans, wood, electronic and plastic waste, hay, tire chips, used metals, cloth, cardboard, molasses, and orange zest.

While it may sound like Michelin is…

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These 3D lamps made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs

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The force might be an intangible spiritual power, but it is definitely strong with these Star Wars 3D Illusion Lamps. They’re available in the Boing Boing Store right now.

These lamps are made from custom-fabricated LEDs that can assume any 3D-wireframe form, with several classic Star Wars ships and characters available. For the truly rebellious, a Millennium Falcon is an awe-inspiring piece. If you relate more to the humble droids, pick up an R2D2 or BB-8 model. And if respecting absolute power is your prerogative, choose from the Death Star, a TIE Fighter, a Storm Trooper, or Darth Vader’s iconic helmet.

Each light glows in several different colors and has a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours, so you can enjoy these brilliant decorations for years to come. You can pick up a Star Wars 3D Illusion Lamp here for $49.

Datalogger uses ESP32 and ESP8266 Low Power Modes

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[G6EJD] wanted to design a low power datalogger and decided to look at the power consumption of an ESP32 versus an ESP8266. You can see the video results below.

Of course, anytime someone does a power test, you have to wonder if there were any tricks or changes that would have made a big difference. However, the relative data is interesting (even though you could posit situations where even those results would be misleading). You should watch the videos, but the bottom line was a 3000 mAh battery provided 315 days of run time for the ESP8266 and 213 days …read more

Anna and the Apocalypse is everything the words “Scottish Christmas zombie musical” imply

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Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

There are two kinds of people in the world: people who hear the words “Scottish Christmas zombie musical comedy” and start scouring the internet for showtimes, and people who hear those words, roll their eyes, and mutter about the ridiculous extremes of mash-up culture. The latter group will want to skip Anna and the Apocalypse, which is exactly as advertised: a low-budget, high-energy independent musical comedy made in Scotland, and centering on how a group of angsty high-schoolers on the cusp of graduation deal with a sudden outbreak of living-deadism.

The…

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The Startup Alley from this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco

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 At TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco we always have a huge and varied array of companies presenting.
Here’s a taster of the Startup Alley from this year, featuring companies from many of the pavilions at the event. Enjoy!
Health and BioTech Pavillion
Korea Pavillion
Germany Pavilion
Hardware Pavillion
IOT Pavilion
UK and Brussels Pavilion
AR/VR Pavillion Read More

Netflix’s 1922 is a reminder of what Stephen King does best

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Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

2017 has been a banner year for Stephen King adaptations, but the batting average hasn’t been so hot. It is easily the best of the bunch: in spite of its “more, and then much more” aesthetic, hit it big with audiences, and is now reportedly the highest-grossing horror film of all time. The Dark Tower, on the other hand, was a confused, generic would-be series-launcher, and Spike TV’s The Mist and the Audience Network’s Mr. Mercedes series have both been accused of stretching out their stories until their energies get lost along the way.

That criticism…

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Giant D20 Is A Critical Hit in More Ways than One

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[Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson] is a member of the NYC Resistor hackerspace and an avid fan of a D&D themed improv theatre called The Campaign. To show his appreciation, he decided to gift them a Christmas present: a giant D20. The original plan called for integrated LEDs to burst alight on a critical hit or miss, or let out pulses if it landed on another face. Cool, right? Well, easier said than done.

[Vejdemo-Johansson] figured a circle of 4 tilt sensors mounted on the one and twenty face would be enough to detect critical rolls. If any of the switches were tilted …read more

Game Boy Advance Hiding In a Medical Device

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It turns out that medical manufacturers also do hacking once in a while. [JanHenrikH] recently tweeted a photo of an ECG-Trigger-Unit that he’d opened up. Inside he found that the LCD screen was that of a Game Boy Advance (GBA) and the reason he could tell was that the screen’s original case was still there, complete with GAME BOY ADVANCE SP written on it.

In the manufacturer’s defense, this device was likely made around the year 2000 when gaming products were some of the best sources for high speed, high quality, small LCD displays.  This design document for a portable …read more

Giving a 4k Webcam Special Eyes

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It’s a problem as old as photography: your camera is only as good as your lens. As cameras shrink, so do lenses, and so do the options for upgrading to a better lens. And forget about switching to a different focal length or aperture — it’s often just not an option. Unless you make it an option by adding a CS lens mount to a high-end webcam.

We’ll stipulate that at 4k resolution and packed with all sorts of goodies, the Logitech Brio Pro is a heck of a nice camera. And the lens isn’t bad either, as you’d hope …read more

Parsing HTML: Selecting the Right Library (Part 1)

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HTML is a markup language with a simple structure. It would be quite easy to build a parser for HTML with a parser generator. Actually, you may not even need to do that if you choose a popular parser generator, like ANTLR. That is because there are already available grammars ready to be used.

HTML is so popular that there is even a better option: using a library. It is easier to use and usually provides more features, such as a way to create an HTML document or support easy navigation through the parsed document. For example, usually, it comes with a CSS/jQuery-like selector to find nodes according to their position in the hierarchy.

Playing Mario on an Oscilliscope

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Any display can be connected to a microcontroller and used as a display if you know the protocol to use and have enough power in your micro. Sometimes, an odd display is used just “because it’s there.” This seems to be the case for Reddit user [phckopper], who has used a STM32 and a PS2 joystick to play a version of a Mario game on an oscilloscope.

There’s not many technical details but [phckopper] lets us know that the rendering is done using the SPI on the STM, transferred via DMA, which is synchronized to two saw-tooth waves that are …read more

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