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Submission + - Hands-On with Nvidia's New Card-Size 'SuperComputer' (

szczys writes: Computer vision and machine learning have been tied to high-horsepower stationary machines. Nvidia's new credit-card-sized Jeston TX1 should bring a lot more processing power to embedded systems and is looking make these processor-heavy tasks portable. Brian Benchoff got his hands on one of the first review copies of the hardware and put it to the test. His take is that it's been designed to be driven very hard and lives up to they most of the hype Nvidia has been throwing around. It does currently require a carrier board but the connector can be source by experienced hardware designers and could be a viable choice for better autonomous systems.

Submission + - The Tamagochi Singularity Made Real: Infinite Tamagochi Living on the Internet (

szczys writes: Everyone loves Tamagochi, little electronic keychains spawned in the 90's let you raise your digital pets. Some time ago, XKCD made a quip about an internet based matrix of thousands of these digital entities. That quip is now a reality thanks to elite hardware hacker Jeroen Domburg (aka Sprite_TM). In his recent talk called The Tamagochi Singularity at the Hackaday SuperConference he revealed that he had built an infinite network of virtual Tamagochi by implementing the original hardware as a virtual machine. This included developing AI to keep them happy, and developing a protocol to emulate their IR interactions. But he went even further, hacking an original keychain to use wirelessly as a console which can look in on any of the virtual Tamagochi living on his underground network. This full-stack process is unparalleled in just about every facet: complexity, speed of implementation, awesome factor, and will surely spark legions of other Tamagochi Matrices.

Submission + - Understanding a 2,000 year old Greek computer (

szczys writes: We attribute great thinking to ancient Greece. This is exemplified by the Antikythera Mechanism. Fragments of the mechanism were found in a shipwreck first discovered in 1900 and visited by researchers several times over the next century. It is believed to be a method of tracking the calendar and is the first known example of what are now common-yet-complicated engineering mechanisms like the differential gear. A few working reproductions have been produced and make it clear that whomever designed this had an advanced understanding of complex gear ratios and their ability to track the passage of time and celestial bodies.

Submission + - Voltera V-One PCB Printer Hands-On Review (

szczys writes: Eric Evenchick was one of the first backers of the Voltera V-One PCB Printer and just received the 6th device shipped so far. He ran it through its paces and published a review that gives it a positive rating.

The hardware uses conductive ink to print traces on FR4 substrate. The board is then flipped upside down and the traces baked on the machine to make them robust. Next the printer dispenses solder paste and the same heating method is used to reflow after components are placed by hand.

Submission + - Structural Engineer Destroys the Fallacies of Bridge Destruction (

szczys writes: Suspension bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge are favorite victims for movie makers but are almost always shown to perform in violation of the laws of physics. Structural Engineer Alex Weinberg couldn't stay silent any longer. He covers how bridge collapses in several major films should have looked. The biggest offender? Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.

Submission + - Adding Eye Control to Wheelchairs of Quadrupelegics ( 1

szczys writes: The inventor of the Eyedriveomatic has ALS. This prevents him from controlling his electric wheelchair, but it didn't prevent him from teaming up with two other people (one also a quadriplegic) to design a way around the limitation.

Eyegaze hardware is what lets people speak through a computer using only their eyes. Eyedrivomatic is an open source project that uses common materials to connect the Eyegaze to the joystick of the wheelchair without altering the chair (which is rented equipment in most cases). A 3D printed gimbal is strapped over the existing joystick, but does not prevent it from still being used normally by caregivers. The gimbal's servo motors actuate the joystick with commands from the Eyegaze.

Submission + - Hedy Lamarr's Spread-Spectrum Engineering in Your Cellphone (

szczys writes: Hedy Lamarr is a household name for the wrong reason. Her name is known as a Hollywood actress, but her legacy is in your pocket and reaches far more people than her movies. She was a brilliant thinker who plied her skills during World War II, developing technology that could help to win the war. Her patent wasn't used at the time, but is a foundation of spread-spectrum which is used in the radio modules of your cellphone: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and others. This frequency hopping concept sat unused for decades before being added to the most ubiquitous of wireless connectivity methods. Bravo Hedy!

Submission + - Getting Started with GNU Radio (

An anonymous reader writes: Software Defined Radio must be hard to create, right? Tools like GNU Radio and GNU Radio Companion make it much easier to build radios that can tune AM, FM, and even many digital modes. Of course, you need some kind of radio hardware, right? Not exactly. Hackaday has one of their video hands on tutorials about how to use GNU Radio with no extra hardware (or, optionally, a sound card that you probably already have). The catch? Well, you can't do real radio that way, but you can learn the basics and do audio DSP. The next installment promises to use some real SDR hardware and build an actual radio. But if you ever wanted to see if it was worth buying SDR hardware, this is a good way to see how you like working with GNU Radio before you spend any money.

Comment Typing versus Reading (Score 2) 304

I think he's right about the mnemonics being easier to type. They're generally on dominant fingers and you use letters constantly (not so much with pipe, ampersand, great and less than). That being said, I do think the capitalization should be saved for constants, and scanning code with your eyes proves the symbology easier to pick out. Symbols are better.

Submission + - Fingerprints are Unhashable making fingers weaker than passwords (

szczys writes: Fingerprints aren't secure since you leave them on almost everything you touch. Many people won't realize that fingerprints can be captured and reproduced from casual photographs. It's actually worse than that. The very method with which fingerprints are stored is much weaker than passwords. Fingerprints cannot be hashed. By their very nature, each read of your fingerprint will be a little different which breaks the hashing method. They can only be stored using encryption which requires the same master password each time a new print read is compared to the stored key — a much weaker method than salted hashes which opens these credentials up to theft and brute forcing.

Submission + - Finally. A Working JetPack (

szczys writes: The future of transportation has arrived in the form of a JetPack. Strap on the JB-9, stand in one place, and pump up the throttle for vertical takeoff. The demo from JetPack Aviation just appeared yesterday and shows a test pilot taking off on the banks of a pond and hovering over the water with ease. You get about 10 minutes of flight and can top out at around 100 MPH. The company boasts the ability to cruise at 10,000+ feet of altitude but that number seems dubious considering the flight-time limitations.

Submission + - Slide Rules Were Like Cellphones: Everyone Had One and the Cooler the Better ( 1

szczys writes: Slide Rules and Pocket Protectors are the go-to items when making fun of old-time geeks. Forget the pocket protectors. Slide Rules were the first personal computers and a status symbol akin to what cellphones are today. Of course the general public wasn't attached to them, but engineers were. Before electronic calculators came around, everyone who needed to do some serious math owned Slide Rules. Stunningly easy to use and extremely effective, they have tick-marks placed on a logarithmic scale which makes complex multiplication, division, powers, etc. into visual calculations instead of mental ones.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb