Wireless Ring Light For SMD Microscope

See the original posting on Hackaday

When [Felix Rusu], maker of the popular Moteino boards which started life as wireless Arduino compatibles, says he’s made a wireless ring light for his SMD microscope, we redirect our keystrokes to have a look. Of course, it’s a bit of wordplay on his part. What he’s done is made a new ring light which uses a battery instead of having annoying wires go to a wall wart. That’s important for someone who spends so much time hunched over the microscope. Oh, and he’s built the ring light on a rather nice looking SMD board.

The board offers a few …read more

How to Install TypeScript and Node.js: TypeScript Tutorial for Beginners

See the original posting on DZone Python

TypeScript is an open-source programming language, developed and maintained by Microsoft, and hosted on GitHub. TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript and can be used to develop JavaScript applications for both client-side and server-side.

This post will cover how to install Node.js and then proceed with installation of TypeScript using the Node Package Manager.

Reverse-Engineering Brains, One Neuron At A Time

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Most posts here are electrical or mechanical, with a few scattered hacks from other fields. Those who also keep up with advances in biomedical research may have noticed certain areas are starting to parallel the electronics we know. [Dr. Rajib Shubert] is in one such field, and picked up on the commonality as well. He thought it’d be interesting to bridge the two worlds by explaining his research using analogies familiar to the Hackaday audience. (Video also embedded below.)

He laid the foundation with a little background, establishing that we’ve been able to see individual static neurons for a while …read more

DDL-4 Is A Visually Pleasing Modular CPU

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Today’s CPUs are so advanced that they might as well be indistinguishable from magic, right? Wrong! Fundamentally, modern CPUs can be understood logically like any other technology, it’s just that they’re very fast, very small, and very complex, which makes it hard to get to grips with their inner workings. We’ve come a long way from the dawn of the home computer in the 80s, but what if there was something even simpler again, built in such a way as to be easily understandable? Enter the DDL-4-CPU, courtesy of [Dave’s Dev Lab].

The DDL-4 is a project to build a …read more

DEXTER Has the Precision To Get The Job Done

See the original posting on Hackaday

Robotic arms – they’re useful, a key part of our modern manufacturing economy, and can also be charming under the right circumstances. But above all, they are prized for being able to undertake complex tasks repeatedly and in a highly precise manner. Delivering on all counts is DEXTER, an open-source 5-axis robotic arm with incredible precision.

DEXTER is built out of 3D printed parts, combined with off-the-shelf carbon fiber sections to add strength. Control is through five NEMA 17 stepper motors which are connected to harmonic drives to step the output down at a ratio of 52:1. Each motor is …read more

Fortnite players are mad after being killed during the epic rocket launch

See the original posting on The Verge

This afternoon, Epic Games unveiled its latest in-game event in Fortnite: a rocket launch that appears to have opened up a dimensional rift. The launch was a one-time event that saw thousands of players logging into the game to watch what would happen. While many people took in the spectacular sight, some people missed out when they were killed mid-event.

Now in its fourth season, Fortnite has exploded in popularity, which my colleague Nick Statt chalks up to its continually updated story in its vast shared world. Epic Games has conducted big, Earth-shattering events before, and in recent weeks, teased a mysterious event with a countdown that got fans excited to take part in.

This sort of one-time event feels special, because it gives…

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Massive New ‘Salesforce Tower’ Light Sculpture: AI, Ubuntu, Fog, and a MacBook

See the original posting on Slashdot

The new tallest building on the San Francisco skyline — and the tallest building in America west of the Mississippi — includes a nine-story electronic sculpture that’s been called the tallest piece of public art on Earth. It uses 11,000 LED bulbs reflected off the tower-topping aluminum panels — each pixel created by a set of red, green, blue and white lights controlled by 8-bit PIC microcontrollers. “On a clear night, the show is visible for 30 miles,” reports IEEE Spectrum.

Slashdot reader Tekla Perry shares their article about “the technology involved in the light show at the top of Salesforce Tower. Electrical engineer and artist Jim Campbell explains it all — and how the window-washer problem stumped him for nearly a year.”
“[O]n the 62nd floor, a central PC-based computer runs Ubuntu Linux, sending instructions to a communications control system that splits the data and sends it at 11 Mbit to the 32 enclosures using a custom communications protocol… We will capture images throughout the day, sending them to Amazon’s cloud, and run some algorithms designed to identify visual interesting-ness. For example, at its simplest, when we look at the sky, if it’s all blue, it’s boring, if it’s all white, it’s boring, if it has white and blue it is likely to be interesting. We’ll chose the best half hour of the day at each camera, based on movement and color, to display….”

And finally, when the main display shuts down late at night, another system designed by Campbell will kick in. In this static display, a set of 36 white LEDs will create a three-dimensional constellation of lights that will look like stars. “It’s quieter, it has a random aspect to it,” he says.

“Since construction started, the tower has emerged as an icon of the new San Francisco — techie, ambitious, perhaps a little grandiose,” writes the New Yorker, capturing the moment when Campbell finally unveiled his four-year project — while fighting stomach flu and a chest cold, on a night which turned out to be prohibitively foggy. The executive vice-president of Boston Properties told him cheerily, “Jim! Look on the brighter side. We’ve got every night for the rest of our lives.”

“There was a long silence from the people on the terrace. The fog was thick. At last, someone exclaimed, ‘Woo-hoo!,’ and a volley of cheers followed.” Although the colors they were seeing came from the celebratory fireworks and not from Jim’s light sculpture.
Are there any San Francisco-area Slashdotters who want to weigh in on the Salesforce Tower?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Disney’s flying robot stunt double can pose just like a superhero

See the original posting on The Verge

One of Disney’s new prototype animatronic robots takes to the air.

If you were going to bet on which technology might soon do the work of a stuntman, you’d probably guess CGI. It turns out robots have a shot, too — robots built by Disney.

A new report from TechCrunch lays out the advances the company has made in the field of animatronics. These are the lifelike, usually static robots, designed to entertain the crowds at Disney theme parks and resorts. Think of the grog-swilling pirates carousing in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, or the recently unveiled Na’vi in the new Pandora: The World of Avatar attraction.

But a new breed of animatronics are pushing the limits of robot engineering. Following the company’s Stickman project, Disney’s engineers are now building humanoid robots designed to take…

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Fortnite’s rocket launch created a spectacular dimensional rift in the sky

See the original posting on The Verge

After days of teasing something big, Fortnite’s much-hyped rocket event finally arrived today. Unlike previous ceremonies, this occasion only happens once: if you weren’t in-game when it happened, you missed out on your chance to experience it. Fortunately, we strapped in and saw everything unfold first-hand.

An hour before the festivities, Fortnite’s island started gearing up for launch by animating the super villain lair near in-game location Snobby Shores that contained the rocket:

As launch time drew near, the game’s players started logging-in en-masse,…

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The mobile airbag may be coming to save your phone

See the original posting on The Verge

People drop and break their smartphones all the time, but a German engineering student named Philip Frenzel may have the solution to save everyone some time, money, and unneeded stress. Spotted by DesignBoom, Frenzel has created the mobile airbag, a case that senses when your phone is in free fall and releases metal prongs to protect it from damage.

A student at Aalen University in Germany, Frenzel won an award from the German Mechatronics Society with the mobile airbag, and expects to launch the device on Kickstarter next month along with Peter Mayer, another student at the university, according to the German publication Preview Online.

If this product — or a similar one like it, with an…

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Sonar in Your Hand

See the original posting on Hackaday

Sonar measures distance by emitting a sound and clocking how long it takes the sound to travel. This works in any medium capable of transmitting sound such as water, air, or in the case of FingerPing, flesh and bone. FingerPing is a project at Georgia Tech headed by [Cheng Zhang] which measures hand position by sending soundwaves through the thumb and measuring the time on four different receivers. These readings tell which bones the sound travels through and allow the device to figure out where the thumb is touching. Hand positions like this include American Sign Language one through ten. …read more

8 new trailers you should watch this week

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The second season of Westworld wrapped up last weekend, and I still find the show as infuriating and fascinating as ever. I think Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff is spot on here with how he contrasts the series to Lost — Westworld is all puzzle, no characters; so there’s a lot more riding on the puzzle being really good.

What’s frustrating is that, this season’s Ghost Nation episode “Kiksuya” showed just how strong of a show Westworld can be when it hones in on its characters and tells deeper, more complex (and coherent) stories about its world. I know it doesn’t want to do that — it’s more interested in twists and turns. And at this point, I’m not even sure that I want it to either.

The oddest thing about Westworld is that it’s so much more than…

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Drake’s Scorpion breaks Apple Music’s single-day streaming record with over 170 million streams

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Drake has destroyed his own single-day streaming record on Apple Music, with his fifth album Scorpion pulling in more than 170 million streams in its first 24 hours, the company tells The Verge. More Life, Drake’s last project, held the previous record with 89.9 million streams in its first day. Apple says Scorpion now holds both the US and global streaming records for the service.

Apple Music was in full promo mode for the release, inserting Drake easter eggs into Siri, and launching a site that lets you make your own Scorpion album cover art with personal photos. The service has long dominated when it comes to first-week streams of major hip hop albums, despite having around 120 million less users than Spotify.

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The best Fourth of July tech deals from Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Walmart, and more

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Next Wednesday is July Fourth, one of the few summer holidays with decent sales. Whether you’re planning a huge barbecue or just taking the day to enjoy a rare weekday off from work, you may want to take some time to check out the tech deals happening around Independence Day this year.

Retailers like Amazon, eBay, HP, and more are running sales on everything from smartwatches to 4K TVs. Most Fourth of July deals run through next weekend.


Not officially a Fourth of July sale, Amazon is running discounts on several tech products including their smart speaker, the Amazon Tap.

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Gyrotourbillion Blesses The Eyes, Hard to Say

See the original posting on Hackaday

Clock movements are beautifully complex things. Made up of gears and springs, they’re designed to tick away and keep accurate time. Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of the universe, various sources of error tend to creep in – things like temperature changes, mechanical shocks, and so on. In the quest for ever better timekeeping, watchmakers decided to try and rotate the entire escapement and balance wheel to counteract the changing effect of gravity as the watch changed position in regular use.

They’re mechanical works of art, to be sure, and until recently, reserved for only the finest and most luxurious …read more

Paul Tremblay’s apocalyptic novel The Cabin at the End of the World is a parents’ worst nightmare

See the original posting on The Verge

Over the last couple of years, Paul Tremblay has consistently written some of the scariest stories that I’ve picked up. In A Head Full of Ghosts, a blue-collar Boston family contends with the abnormal behavior of their teenage daughter, who may or may not be possessed by a demon. In Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, a boy goes missing, and his mother begins to think that she’s seeing his ghost. In his latest novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, Tremblay spins out another terrifying story, turning the standard home invasion horror plot on its head.

The Cabin at the End of the World plays out at a break-neck pace, with its events taking place over the course of one frightening day. We’re introduced to a seven-year-old girl named Wen,…

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The BBC Computer Literacy Project From The 1980s Is Yours To Browse

See the original posting on Hackaday

In the early 1980s there was growing public awareness that the microcomputer revolution would have a significant effect on everybody’s lives, and there was a brief period in which anything remotely connected with a computer attracted an air of glamour and sophistication. Broadcasters wanted to get in on the act, and produced glowing documentaries on the new technology, enthusiastically crystal-ball-gazing as they did so.

In the UK, the public service BBC broadcaster produced a brace of series’ over the decade probing all corners of the subject as part of the same Computer Literacy Project that gave us Acorn’s BBC Micro, …read more

The hottest investors at The Europas, & your specially discounted ticket

See the original posting on TechCrunch

In partnership with TechCrunch, The Europas Conference & Awards, features smaller breakout sessions on key subjects for startups, followed by a glittering awards show for the hottest startups in Europe, based on voting by expert judges and the industry itself. Plus loads of networking opportunities with investors, and the super-fun Pitch Rolette pitch competition. Just some […]

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