The Robots Were Coming! The Robots Were Coming!

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The recent influx of home assistants proves that everything old is new again. If we told you about a life-sized robot that was self-charging, had a map of your home for navigation, and responded to voice commands, you’d assume we were going to point you to a Kickstarter or a new product release. Instead, we will point you to this post about a robot marketed in 1985.

You have to put all this in context. In 1985 the personal computer was practically a solution in search of a problem. Back then it was wildly popular to predict that every home …read more

Rolling Old School with Copy Protection from the 1980s

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Oh, for the old days when sailing the seas of piracy was as simple as hooking a couple of VCRs together with a dubbing cable. Sure, the video quality degraded with each generation, but it was so bad to start out with that not paying $25 for a copy of “Ghostbusters” was a value proposition. But then came The Man with all his “rules” and “laws” about not stealing, and suddenly tapes weren’t so easy to copy.

If you’ve ever wondered how copy protection worked in pre-digital media, wonder no more. [Technology Connections] has done a nice primer on one …read more

Magic Mirror Tirelessly Indulges Children’s Curiousity

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[pepelepoisson]’s Miroir Magique (“Magic Mirror”) is an interesting take on the smart mirror concept; it’s intended to be a playful, interactive learning tool for kids who are at an age where language and interactivity are deeply interesting to them, but whose ceaseless demands for examples of spelling and writing can be equally exhausting. Inspiration came from his own five-year-old, who can neither read nor write but nevertheless has a bottomless fascination with the writing and spelling of words, phrases, and numbers.

The magic is all in the simple interface. Magic Mirror waits for activation (a simple pass of the hand …read more

GameCube cult classic Killer7 is coming to PC this fall

See the original posting on The Verge

Killer7, one of the weirdest games ever to see release on a Nintendo platform, is getting remastered for PC this year. NIS America will be publishing the surreal cel-shaded blood-letting Resident Evil-on-rails multi-character global-conspiracy noir adventure on Steam in the fall.

If you’ve never played Killer7, you’ve never played anything like Killer7. The game has a unique control scheme that takes your character through the environment on predetermined paths, switching to first-person mode to shoot enemies and collect their blood to level up. You play a guy in a wheelchair who’s able to transform into one of seven assassins at will, taking on their various attributes to solve puzzles. I’m not even going to begin to try to explain the…

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Vintage Organ Donates Parts for Two New Instruments

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It’s often hard to know what to do with a classic bit of electronics that’s taking up far too much of the living room for its own good. But when the thing in question is an electronic organ from the 1970s, the answer couldn’t be clearer: dissect it for its good parts and create two new instruments with them.

Judging by [Charlie Williams]’ blog posts on his Viscount Project, he’s been at this since at least 2014. The offending organ, from which the project gets its name, is a Viscount Bahia from the 1970s that had seen better days, apparently …read more

RCA TV Gets New Life As Interactive Atltvhead

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TVs are usually something you sit and passively watch. Not so for [Nate Damen’s] interactive, wearable TV head project, aka Atltvhead. If you’re walking around Atlanta, Georgia and you see him walking around with a TV where his head should be, introduce yourself! Or sign into Twitch chat and take control of what’s being displayed on the LEDs which he’s attached to the screen. Besides being wearable technology, it’s also meant to be an interactive art piece.

For this, his third version, the TV is a 1960’s RCA Victor Portable Television. You can see some of the TVs he found …read more

Review: Cult of the Machine at the de Young

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Let’s flash back to the Machine Age, the period in American history that gave us the assembly line, the first nonstop transcontinental flight, regular radio broadcasts, and the first robot capable of performing more than 20 movements. These technological advancements inspired a style of art called Precisionism, popularized by big names like Georgia O’Keefe, Charles Sheeler […]

A Nicely Crafted POV Lightsaber

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We need to have a talk. As tough a pill as it is to swallow, we have to face that fact that some of the technology promised to us by Hollywood writers and prop makers just isn’t going to come true. We’re never going to have a flux capacitor, actual hoverboards aren’t a real thing, and nobody is going to have sword fights with laser beams.

But just because we can’t have real versions of these devices doesn’t mean we can’t make our own prop versions with a few value-added features, like this cool persistence-of-vision lightsaber. [Luni], better known around …read more

Summer is here, and I want a smart air conditioner

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It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US, which also marks the unofficial start of summer (at least in my book). And summer means sweltering heat from which there is but one relief: it’s the cool, refreshing breeze from an air conditioner. And while there’s nothing exactly wrong with my current, window-mounted AC unit (which I got in college in exchange for a six-pack of beer in what might be the best trade I’ve ever made), after making the switch over to smart lights in my room, I can’t help but want a smart air conditioner.

Most of this just stems from pure laziness. I’ll admit that I was, for years, skeptical about the value of smart lightbulbs, right up until I bought a set on a deal and discovered the unparalleled joy in being able…

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Thirty Flights of Loving shows how little we still know about the language of games

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It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

It’s easy to forget how young video games are. In a lot of ways, we’re still learning what the best practices and techniques are for telling a story in a game; there can be conflicts when you try to weave together a specific authored narrative with an audience that expects to have agency in the experience. As such, a lot of games pull techniques from film, another visual medium that shares a lot of similarities in how a story can be conveyed. Two prime examples of this are Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving, which a…

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“Watch Dogs” Inspired Hacking Drone Takes Flight

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They say that life imitates art, which in modern parlance basically means if you see something cool in a video game, movie or TV show, you might be inclined to try and build your own version. Naturally, such things generally come in the form of simple props, perhaps with the occasional embedded LED or noise making circuit. It’s not as if you can really build a phaser from Star Trek or a phone booth that’s bigger on the inside.

But after seeing the hacking quadcopter featured in the video game Watch Dogs 2, [Glytch] was inspired to start work …read more

Everything coming to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now in June

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This weekend, Solo is in theaters, giving audiences their latest adventure inside the Star Wars universe. But there’s a lot more to film and TV than just space operas. In June, streaming services will be adding a plethora of new titles to their respective lineups.

Netflix is leaning into its selection of Marvel titles, including the second season of Luke Cage, the hilarious Thor: Ragnarok, and the latest season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only that, but the service is also adding Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. (Yeah, we know what we said about space operas, but c’mon — it’s Star Wars.) The two-hour series finale to Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s Sense8 is coming in June, as is The Break with Michelle Wolf, and the second seasons…

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Holograms, campfire horror stories, and OK Go: the best VR and AR from the Tribeca Film Festival

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Virtual reality hasn’t changed the world the way its creators hoped — at least, not yet. But it’s gotten a lot of traction in a slightly unexpected place: film festivals. At last month’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, curators featured nearly three dozen virtual and augmented reality experiences across three different tracks: a cinematic 360-degree video screening program, a “virtual arcade” with a variety of interactive and cinematic projects, and the long-running Storyscapes program that features ambitious virtual / physical installations.

Some of these projects will remain festival installations, but others are coming to home VR headsets. I got to see almost everything at this year’s Tribeca Immersive program, so here’s my…

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Power tool company Makita sells a coffee machine

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Once again, the future has been unevenly distributed: Makita’s coffee machine was available in Japan years ago. I can’t wait to have one of these in my kitchen. Asahi Shimbun writes:

Makita’s first coffee maker went on sale in 2015. It gained in popularity because the same types of batteries as its power tools also work in the coffee machine.

The new model can make a maximum of 5.3 cups of coffee on one charge, from a dedicated coffee pack as well as instant coffee. It weighs 1.5 kilograms.

The new coffee maker is sold at home center and other locations, costing 11,900 yen ($111.40) excluding tax. The battery charger and battery are sold separately.

MAKITA Rechargeable Coffee Maker CM501DZ [Amazon]

A Li-Ion Booster Pack, Done Right

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We’re all used to battery booster packs containing a Li-ion or Li-poly cell and a little inverter circuit, they are a standard part of 21st century daily survival for those moments when smartphone battery lives don’t perform as advertised. But how many of us have considered what goes into them, and further how many of us have sought to produce the best one possible rather than a unit built at the lowest price?

It’s a course [Peter6960] has followed, producing a PCB that sits on the back of an 18650 cell holder. It follows the work of [GreatScott] in particular …read more

A Classy SDR Chip, Decapped

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If you are a regular searcher for exotic parts among the virtual pages of semiconductor supplies catalogs, you will have probably noticed that for a given function it is most often the part bearing the Analog Devices logo that is the most interesting. It may have more functionality, perhaps it will be of a higher specification, and it will certainly have a much higher price. [Zeptobars] has decapped and analyzed an AD chip that holds all three of those honors, the AD9361 SDR transceiver.

It’s placed under a slightly inflammatory title, “when microchips are more profitable than drugs“, …read more

Web Caching Strategy

See the original posting on DZone Python

I am currently designing a high performant IoT solution for one of my clients. This system is also going to expose internal APIs to their clients so that they can build their systems/apps on top of it.

There will be web applications which means they will be consuming near-static/dynamic endpoints serving the data requirements. To reduce latency and enhance scalability, HTTP caching is one of the techniques I am proposing. In this article, I am going through some of the known terminologies which all of us think about while designing such systems.

DIY Submersible Aims for Low Cost, Ease of Operation

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If you’re like us, a body of water is a source of wonder and awe. The wonder comes from imagining what lies hidden below the surface, and the awe is from the fear of trying to find out and becoming one of those submerged objects on a permanent basis. So if you want to explore the depths in relative comfort and safety, a DIY remotely operated underwater vehicle might be the thing you need to build.

Most ROV builds these days seem to follow more or less similar designs, which is probably because they all share project goals similar to …read more

A Oscilloscope For The Nuclear Age

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Here at Hackaday, we’re suckers for vintage instruments. More than one of our staffers has a bench adorned with devices spanning many decades, and there’s nothing more we like reading about that excursions into the more interesting or unusual examples. So when a Tweet comes our way talking about a very special oscilloscope, of course we have to take a look! The Tektronix 519 from 1962 has a 1GHz bandwidth, and [Timothy Koeth] has two of them in his collection. His description may be a year or two old, but this is the kind of device for which the up-to-the-minute …read more

Disaster Area Communications With Cloud Gateways

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2017, in case you don’t remember, was a terrible year for the Caribbean and Gulf coast. Hurricane Maria tore Puerto Rico apart, Harvey flooded Houston, Irma destroyed the Florida Keys, and we still haven’t heard anything from Saint Martin. There is, obviously, a problem to be solved here, and that problem is communications. Amateur radio only gets you so far, but for their Hackaday Prize entry, [Inventive Prototypes] is building an emergency communication system that anyone can use. It only needs a clear view of the sky, and you can use it to send SMS messages. It’s the PR-Holonet, and …read more

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