Adding Smarts To Dumb Brushed Motors

See the original posting on Hackaday

A big part of the Hackaday Prize this year is robotics modules, and already we’ve seen a lot of projects adding intelligence to motors. Whether that’s current sensing, RPM feedback, PID control, or adding an encoder, motors are getting smart. Usually, though, we’re talking about fancy brushless motors or steppers. The humble DC brushed motor is again left out in the cold.

This project is aiming to fix that. It’s a smart motor driver for dumb DC brushed motors. You know, the motors you can buy for pennies. The motors that are the cheapest way to add movement to any …read more

Fortnite Battle Royale is getting a Playground mode, and other Week 9 rumors…

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Whether it’s through changes in the map itself or the introduction of new weapons like the Stink Bomb and the Thermal-Scoped AR, Fortnite Battle Royale continues to evolve with each passing week. So it’s no surprise that more changes are afoot for the world’s biggest video game. First and foremost, a new Playground mode will […]

New technique brings secrets out of old daguerreotypes

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Daguerreotypes – photos made with a process that used mercury vapors on an iodine-sensitized silvered plate – break down quite easily. The result is a fogged plate that that, more often that not, is completely ruined by time and mistreatment. However researchers at Western University have created a system that uses synchrotrons and “rapid-scanning micro-X-ray […]

Residents call police on black firefighter in uniform for doing his job while black

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Oakland firefighter Kevin Moore, who is black, was doing vegetation-management inspections, in full uniform, with a radio and identification, when residents became suspicious and called police. According to a supervisor, the fire department sends out pamphlets before the inspections, hosts community meetings, and does everything else they can to spread the word. If nobody is home, the law permits firefighters to conduct an outdoor inspection anyway. One day last month, a resident called the police about Moore and another sent the cops video of Moore ringing a doorbell to do an inspection. Then last week, it happened again. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

As Moore was finishing up, he said he turned around to find the resident outside near the front steps of the house, video-recording him on a cell phone.

“He kind of startled me,” Moore said. “He says, ‘Well, what are you doing here?’ I say, ‘We’re here doing our annual vegetation inspection.’ Then he asks for ID. I say no problem. He takes a picture of my ID and says I need to get a different one. I’ve had that ID for years. It’s kind of dark, and I’m more of a dark-skinned black guy, but you can still see me.”

Moore said he suggested that if the resident were still concerned, he could simply look out onto the street where “a big red fire engine is right there.”

photo: @OaklandFireLive

A Real Time Data Compression Technique

See the original posting on Hackaday

With more and more embedded systems being connected, sending state information from one machine to another has become more common. However, sending large packets of data around on the network can be bad both for bandwidth consumption and for power usage. Sure, if you are talking between two PCs connected with a gigabit LAN and powered from the wall, just shoot that 100 Kbyte packet across the network 10 times a second. But if you want to be more efficient, you may find this trick useful.

As a thought experiment, I’m going to posit a system that has a database …read more

Oculus’ VR television hub launches today on Oculus Go

See the original posting on The Verge

Oculus is officially launching Oculus TV, its dedicated hub for watching flatscreen video in virtual reality, on the standalone Oculus Go headset. Oculus TV was announced at last month’s F8 conference, and it ties together a lot of existing VR video options, highlighting Oculus’ attempts to emphasize non-gaming uses of VR. The free app features a virtual home theater with what Oculus claims is the equivalent of a 180-inch TV screen. It offers access to several streaming video services, including subscription-based platforms like Showtime and free web television services like Pluto TV as well as video from Oculus’ parent company Facebook.

You can already watch a lot of non-VR video on Oculus Go; Showtime, Netflix, and Hulu have standalone…

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This all-in-one smart desk has three screens and a built-in scanner

See the original posting on The Verge

Industrial manufacturing company Cemtrex has taken the idea of an all-in-one workstation to an entirely new level. Its sit / stand SmartDesk has everything from three monitors to a scanner built into a minimal setup that it says “combines and reimagines all the needs of a modern office.”

The desk has three 24-inch IPS touchscreen displays, which, combined, is a total of 72 inches. The company says that it uses a proprietary touch gesture system, so you can flip through images and documents with a wave of your hand. (Good luck if you spill something or break it.) They’re all connected to a Windows PC that’s powered by an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 and attached to the underside of the desk. There’s one USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 3.1…

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Amazing flying “dragon” robot that changes shape

See the original posting on Boing Boing

This is the Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON, aka DRAGON. Designed at the University of Tokyo, this modular bot can rearrange its shape, from an agile snake to a spiral to a flying “L” shape. From IEEE Spectrum:

What’s exciting, though, is why this robot was designed to transform in the first place. The video, which—spoiler alert—is actually a teaser for a 2018 IROS paper, shows the robot changing its shape in order to squeeze through a small gap, and we were told at ICRA that DRAGON is able to autonomously decide how to transform when given the constraints of the space it needs to pass through. There’s more potential here than just fitting through small spaces, though: The researchers conceptualize this robot as a sort of overactuated flying arm that can both form new shapes and use those shapes to interact with the world around it by manipulating objects. Eventually, DRAGON will wiggle through the air with as many as 12 interlinked modules, and it’ll use its two ends to pick up objects like a two-fingered gripper. And we can imagine DRAGON wrapping itself around stuff to move it, or using direct contact with the environment to do other exciting things.

Kickstarting a gorgeous, thoughtfully designed hardcover notebooks for RPG campaigns

See the original posting on Boing Boing

The Game Master’s Tome & Player’s Compendium are a pair of A5-sized, Moleskine-like notebook with custom interiors designed for RPG gamemasters and players, with 480 pages’ worth of hex maps, worldbuilding note sections, character sheets, quest-notes, etc; the stretch-goals include more pages, paper edging, endpaper art, and larger sizes.

Han Solo’s blaster sold for $550,000

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Han Solo’s blaster used in “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” sold for $550,000 at a Las Vegas auction on Saturday. Turns out that Ripley’s Believe It Or Not bought it. Believe it… or not. The prop was part of a collection sold off by the movie’s art director James L. Schoppe. From Rolling Stone:

Other items at Saturday’s auction included an original “Biker Scout Blaster” (sold for $90,000) and an Ewok prop axe ($11,000) from Return of the Jedi.

However, Han Solo’s blaster fell well short of the record for the priciest Star Wars item in the franchise’s auction history: In June 2017, an R2-D2 unit that was seen in numerous Star Wars films sold at auction for $2.76 million, over its $2 million pre-auction estimate.

Threads in Node 10.5.0: A Practical Introduction

See the original posting on DZone Python

This time around, we’re requesting the homepage for and, at the same time, sorting a randomly generated array of 1 million numbers. This is going to take a few seconds, so it’s perfect for us to show how well this behaves. We’re also going to measure the time it takes for the worker thread to perform the sorting and we’re going to send that value (along with the first sorted value) to the main thread, where we’ll display the results.A few days ago, version 10.5.0 of Node.js was released and one of the main features it contained was the addition of initial (and experimental) thread support.

This is interesting, especially coming from a language that’s always prided itself on not needing threads thanks to it’s fantastic async I/O. So why would we need threads in Node?

Pax’s latest weed vape got an update that kept me from getting too high

See the original posting on The Verge

The Pax Era, a design-heavy, rectangular cannabis vape that’s positioned as an alternative to the standard pen-battery-and-cartridge setup, didn’t sell me when it came out in January. It has proprietary cartridges with a selection of extracts from a curated group of vendors. That seems to counter the versatility that made the flagship Pax product (which can be used with any dry herb or concentrate) so appealing.

An app and firmware update was released last week, however, so that hand-holding pays off. A new feature called “session control” helps the user control dosage in a more precise way.

Instead of just choosing the temperature, users can pick from a selection of…

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Glenn Beck walks off CNN interview after being asked about layoffs at his company

See the original posting on Boing Boing

According to the Daily Beast, Right-wing goofball Glenn Beck’s media company is in serious financial trouble, but he doesn’t want to talk about it. This video begins with CNN’s Brian Stelter interviewing Beck about his support for Trump, and Beck is happy to scold Stetler by spouting hypocrisy and false equivalencies, but as soon as the subject of Beck’s ailing company is brought up, he has nothing to say.

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