hamster_nz writes: By now you have come across Arduino, the popular Open Source micro-controller platform. Did you ever think it would be great if hardware was open to the transistor level, not just the chip level? If so Crowd Supply is running the project for you!
With a completely open ISA and no license fees for the CPU design, the RISC-V architecture is well positioned to take the crown as the 'go to' design for anybody needing a 32-bit in their silicon, and Open-V are crowd-sourcing their funding for an initial manufacturing run of 70,000 chips, offering options from a single chip to a seat in the design review process.
This project is shaping up to be milestone for the coming Open Source Silicon revolution, and they are literally offering a seat at the table. Even if you don't end up backing the project, it makes for very interesting reading.
hamster_nz writes: Picture something in your mind's eye — maybe a face of a loved one. Mozilla founder Blake Ross can't — and nor can I. When I close my eyes and all I see is the dark inside of my eyelids — apparently most of you don't, and can 'see' mental images of anything you think of!
Although talked about in the late 1880s but has remained largely unstudied until the last year it has been given the name — 'Aphantasia'. I guess that explains my love of non-fiction and technology... and my complete apathy towards Lord of the Rings.
I wonder if it is common among Slashdot readers? Does not requiring a 'mental canvas' have any implication for machine learning and AI?
hamster_nz writes: A fellow Kiwi is attempting to crowdfund a world-wide network of Open Source Software Defined Radio receivers. Once in place this will allow anybody anywhere in the world to scan the 0 to 30MHz RF spectrum from the comfort of their HTML-5 web browser. Built on top of the Beaglebone, the "KiwiSDR" RF board also includes a GPS receiver front-end, which will allow timing between receivers to be correlated, giving a lot of options for projects, like: long baseline interferometry and lightning detection. Prototypes are already deployed, and I've been RXing in Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.
hamster_nz writes: Over at The Register there is talk of Intel's new Xeon/FPGA hybrid chips. Looks to be compelling:
There's evidence the company may be right. Earlier this week Microsoft announced a scheme named "Catapult". With this system, the company added FPGAs to over 1,600 servers used by its Bing search engine and, in doing so, had almost doubled throughput while only increasing power consumption by ten per cent.
hamster_nz writes: Hot topics for the maker community are things such as embedded vision, bitcoin mining, autonomous vehicle control, Arduino, Open Hardware, software defined radio, small ARM/Linux boards and reconfigurable computing, A current Kickstarter project, LOGi FPGA,is touching all these bases, Funding has been reached after just a day, and Kicktraq currently has it projected to reach over $133,000.
As a long time FPGA enthusiast I'm very interested to see what will happen when a thousand keen users get togeather to explore programmable logic.
hamster_nz writes: "The folks over at GadgetFactory (who specialise in open source FPGA development boards) have just released an add-on board, allowing first timers to explore digital logic without lifting a soldering iron. So if you ever wanted to have a breadboard with half a million logic gates on it, now is the time to get started.
You can even fit the entire hardware of 80s arcade games into them using Papilio Arcade."
hamster_nz writes: "I've been exploring binary division for implementing in an FPGA, and have discovered that division on my (cheap) AMD P320 laptop is slow, really slow. So slow that for 16 bit unsigned integers (commonly used in graphics and data acquisition) division can be done faster in C! one some tests it is over 60% faster to not use the '/' operator. Check it out..."
hamster_nz writes: Once you have worked in a dozen programming languages things become much "same stuff, different day", but recently I've done two things that have given me insights into programming. While experimenting with VHDL on a Nexys2 FGPA development board I developed a deeper understanding of loops and state machines, and when I porting TinyBasic from 68000 Assembler to an Arduino micro-controller I learnt a lot about the nature of the stack based paradigm that pervades programming — 'gotos' are truely useful. What projects have others undertook which revealed programming insights?
hamster_nz writes: I've played with Orbiter a while and managed to fly and dock with the ISS, but was left wondering just how hard can space travel really be.
Then I stumbled onto an equivalent of the Space Shuttle's Owners Manual. It looks to be very hard!
Great geek reading — just remember to use the switch on panel O8 to turn the right seat/center console lights off when you finish.