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Comment: Re:Combat isn't about guts. (Score 1) 230

by femto (#42892165) Attached to: New Medal Designed To Honor Cyber Soldiers

> ...when the enemy begins targeting them directly

And at that point, the civilian population will realise what a really bad idea drone warfare is. It's all rosy whilst running an unequal contest, blowing up a bunch of Taliban with little ability to fight back. If an enemy with the ability to fight back is engaged, bombs will start falling on the drone pilots, and the civilian population will realise that drone warfare has turned them into human shields.

Comment: Re:Not vision (Score 4, Informative) 52

by femto (#41186887) Attached to: Bionic Eye Lets Blind Woman Experience Vision

The background to this project is that a newly elected government held a big "vox poluli" talk fest called 2020, which was to lay out a "big vision" for Australia. A result was the announcement of $50 million funding for a bionic eye project. It's entirely possible that there is an element of "gung ho" about it in that a large chunk of money was laid down for a project that made politicians look good and was easy for the public to understand.

Having said that, there are some pretty smart people involved. As an Australian taxpayer, I'd hope that they are aware for the problems you raise and, given the grandness of the project, would plan on addressing such tough, tough problems. Given your area of expertise, maybe you should contact them? There might be some pretty exciting work to be done in collaboration?

Comment: Re:Not vision (Score 1) 52

by femto (#41186815) Attached to: Bionic Eye Lets Blind Woman Experience Vision
In the final version, they plan on having an external camera, and stimulating the optical nerve. Presumably this bypasses the retina (or are the retina and optical nerve the same thing? I'm no expert.) Does this sound feasible? The background to this project is that it builds on previous work in Australia, on cochlea implants.
Australia

+ - Australia to get Total Information Awareness->

Submitted by femto
femto (459605) writes "Australia's spy agencies are demanding that they be allowed to store the Internet and phone traffic of every Australian for two years, and have full access to social media websites. Objections can be lodged by email. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is conducting a review, and only a deluge of objection to its Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation will stop this proposal from becoming law."
Link to Original Source

Comment: It was commercialised (Score 3, Interesting) 175

by femto (#40193417) Attached to: Is Australia's CSIRO a Patent Troll?
By a company called Radiata, bought by Cisco in 2000. Radiata was a spin off from a Macquarie University/CSIRO research collaboration, founded by the research leaders at Macquarie University (Skellern and Weste). Here's a picture of the MU/CSIRO protype, taken around 1996. I know this because I (and 3 others) designed and built the pictured prototype.

Comment: Re:Kindle DX (Score 1) 134

by femto (#38054992) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Building an Assistive Reading Device?

What about a head mounted display or virtual reality goggles? These would allow a huge image to be formed, without the need for a bulky display. If you want to DIY, such a beast could probably be built with an ipod/kindle/... and a few lenses (from binoculars or a View-Master?)

Getting really funky, there also seem to be people experimenting with drawing images directly on the retina of Macular Degeneration patients. Not recommended for DIY!

Comment: Re:Does 'hardware' extend to FPGAs and the like (Score 2) 103

by femto (#37903806) Attached to: Open Hardware Journal

VHDL Cookbook is a good, though dated, intro.

Use ghdl to learn vhdl, without the need to have hardware, as it compiles VHDL to an executable. Icarus is similar, but for Verilog. gEDA has good tools, including the gtkwave waveform viewer. Combined, ghdl, Icarus and gtkwave are a pretty useful simulation suite. You can go a long way with simulation, since the normal design flow is to get the system 100% using simulation, then as a last step program the FPGA with maximal probability of it just working. As Bruce said, the actual partition, place and route tools are proprietary and specific to each FPGA vendor, and a google search will come up with a number of cheap FPGA boards.

Keep an eye on left field though. There is a convergence in progress between desktop CPU's, GPU's, parallel systems and FPGAs (which can be seen as an array of massively parallel simple processors). One day all I wrote may be obsolete and you will be able to program your FPGA in CUDA, or whatever results when mainstream programming figures out how to handle parallel systems properly.

Comment: Re:Does 'hardware' extend to FPGAs and the like (Score 1) 103

by femto (#37903800) Attached to: Open Hardware Journal

VHDL Cookbook is a good, though dated, intro.

Use ghdl to learn vhdl, without the need to have hardware, as it compiles VHDL to an executable. Icarus is similar, but for Verilog. gEDA has good tools, including the gtkwave waveform viewer. Combined, ghdl, Icarus and gtkwave are a pretty useful simulation suite. You can go a long way with simulation, since the normal design flow is to get the system 100% using simulation, then as a last step program the FPGA with maximal probability of it just working. As Bruce said, the actual partition, place and route tools are proprietary and specific to each FPGA vendor, and a google search will come up with a number of cheap FPGA boards.

Keep an eye on left field though. There is a convergence in progress between desktop CPU's, GPU's, parallel systems and FPGAs (which can be seen as an array of massively parallel simple processors). One day all I wrote may be obsolete and you will be able to program your FPGA in CUDA, or whatever results when mainstream programming figures out how to handle parallel systems properly.

Comment: Re:Fab lab network (Score 1) 103

by femto (#37902706) Attached to: Open Hardware Journal

>Yes, we definitely want to stimulate a new movement, and put both thought and experience into it.

I'm keen. Is the current action concentrated in any one spot, or distributed around the net?

My gut feeling is that given the activity of the last couple of years the "new movement" already exists. If what already exists was focused, documented and disseminated, there would be a substantial body of work. (IMO) What is needed is a distribution mechanism/platform: an opencollector on sterioids; a Debian for hardware.

There's also the question of whether open hardware is a new movement or a progression of the free software movement, in which case we don't create a Debian for hardware, but extend Debian to include hardware.

To the systems programmer, users and applications serve only to provide a test load.

Working...