The first 3D printed house in Saudi Arabia took only two days to complete. 3D printed houses have been popping up all around the world throughout 2018 and the Saudi Kingdom did not want to be left without its own
3D printing food: lab creates 3D food printer that cooks its prints with a laser
A researcher out of Columbia University created a 3D food printer that cooks its food with a laser. 3D printed food is spreading quickly, but most printed food objects have to go in an oven after they come out of the 3D printer to be cooked.
6-axis metal 3D printer developed by Portuguese and Norwegian collaboration
A new form of 6-axis 3D printing capable of producing large metal parts has come out of a collaboration between the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s R&D partner SINTEF.
KAIST & Harvard researchers 3D print shape-conformable batteries for wearables
A research group led by Professor Il-Doo Kim from the Department of Materials Science at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has successfully 3D printed custom-shaped batteries. As electronics continue to shrink
The link uses standard WiFi hardware in a slightly unusual way to create a digital data link that acts more like an analog system, with a preference for delivering low latency video and a graceful drop-off when signal quality gets poor. A Raspberry Pi Zero, Alfa NEH WiFi card, external antenna, battery, and a 3D printed enclosure result in a self-contained unit. Two are needed: one for each end of the link. One unit goes on the drone and interfaces to the flight controller, and the other is for the ground station.
A companion android app allows for just about any old Android phone to serve as video feed, on-screen display of telemetry data, and touchscreen interface.
The software is DroneBridge (GitHub repository) and it implements Wifibroadcast which uses WiFi radios, but without the usual WiFi functionality. A Raspberry Pi is the usual platform, but there’s also an ESP32 port. The software is capable of even more, but so far suits [GlytchTech]’s needs just fine, and he was able to refine his original Watch_Dogs-inspired hacking drone with it.
2018: As The Hardware World Turns
By Brian Benchoff
2018 is almost over, and we have another year in the dataset: an improbable number of celebrities died in 2016. The stock market is down, and everyone thinks a crash is coming. Journalists are being killed around the world. Fidget spinners aren’t cool anymore. Fortnite. Trade wars.
But not everything is terrible: Makerbot released a new printer and oddly no one complained. It was just accepted that it was an overpriced pile of suck. Elon Musk is having a great year, press and Joe Rogan notwithstanding, by launching a record number of rockets and shipping a record number of cars, and he built a subway that we’re not calling a subway. FPGA development is getting easier with new platforms and new boards. There is a vast untapped resource in 18650 cells just sitting on sidewalks in the form of scooters, and I’m going to keep mentioning this until someone actually builds a power wall out of scooters.
What we haven’t seen in 2018
When it comes to small, portable Linux devices, there hasn’t been a better year than 2016. That’s the year that brought us dozens of new, fun boards that would certainly be the future of embedded computing. Take a look at the Pine64, the first 64-bit Linux-based single board computer. OrangePi did something that can be described as ‘cattywampus’. Even Intel got in the game, but they forgot to write documentation.
How about 2018? Well, Raspberry Pi released the Pi 3 Model A+, but that’s really just a Pi 3 Model B with fewer parts. Other than that, there’s not much. 2018 did not see dozens of single board computers based on smartphone SOCs. C.H.I.P. died, which is great for anyone who has to type ‘C.H.I.P.’ frequently, less so for people who were counting on Open Linux modules that had complete register documentation.
What caused the development of tiny Linux SBCs to stall? The reasons for this range from companies waiting for next-generation SOCs to come out (doubtful), to the fact that people simply aren’t buying them. Could it be that the general public is realizing that a cheap ARM board with zero software support is a false economy? I highly doubt this is the case, but then again I have a very low opinion of people.
The RISC-V proposition has always been a weird one. Yes, it’s a big-O Open architecture for everything from microcontrollers to Systems on a Chip. But it’s just a design. You need fab houses cranking out silicon wafers with RISC-V chips on them. That’s expensive at first, but then the price starts to drop. It looks like 2019 is shaping up to be the year that everyone can get their hands on a RISC-V chip.
Graphics cards are affordable again
The markets are down 7% this year. Bitcoin is down slightly more.
At this time last year, a single Bitcoin was worth sixteen thousand dollars, USD. Now, it’s worth less than a quarter of that. Unlike earlier Bitcoin bubbles, the price has not corrected — this is a year-long bubble bursting. Those people who thought Bitcoin would be worth $500,000 USD by 2020 have some debts to pay off.
The Bitcoin price crash is having a few unintended consequences. Power companies in western Washington aren’t freaking out anymore because miners are turning their machines off. Bitmain, one of the largest suppliers of ASIC miners, is having trouble with TSMC. It’s almost unprofitable for anyone to mine Bitcoin, and nobody knows what will happen to the network when that happens. But there’s an upside: graphics cards are more affordable. A completely acceptable 1070Ti (perfect for Fortnite, the game of the year for 2018) has fallen from $650 to $450. We’re seeing fewer people pitching ‘blockchain solutions’ in the Hackaday tipline.
The lesson from the Bitcoin crash? If you ever get a time machine, buy some Bitcoin in 2009. Sell them in December, 2017. Put twenty Lamborghinis in your Lamborghini account. If you’re building a PC soon, put that money you’re saving on a graphics card into a nice power supply.
We’re finally turning our back on Facebook
This is a year that rocked Facebook. It started years ago when a Facebook app developer (no, not someone working for Facebook, this is a third party who wrote a Facebook ‘app’) gathered information on about 200,000 of his app’s users and eighty seven million of those app user’s friends. This data was sold to Cambridge Analytica, where the data was used in the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, and in the UK’s Brexit referendum.
What will 2019 hold for Facebook? I forsee the ‘un-cooling’ of Facebook. In 2006, you were cool if you had a Facebook. You could only have a Facebook if you had a college email address. It was an exclusive club. 2019 will be the year that you’re only cool if you don’t have a Facebook account. We’re looking at ‘I deleted my Facebook’ hipsterism. Everyone else is going to lose, though, because I deleted mine in 2009. I’m way cooler than you.
Red Star OS is the only Linux distro better than Hannah Montana Linux
This is becoming a thing because I’ve been doing it for five years. Hackaday’s North Korea readership plunged 50% this year. One person probably switched VPNs.
But on the whole, things are looking up for Hackaday. This year we published the most articles of any previous year. 2018 saw another year of the Hackaday Prize, where we awarded $250,000 to the most amazing projects on the Internet. The community is growing, and Hackaday is going gangbusters. We’ve gone to more events than we can count this year.
This has been a strange year. The market is falling, which means everyone thinks there’s going to be a crash, which probably means there won’t be. But things are looking up, and we’re looking forward to another year of hacks in 2019.
Top Secret Teardown Reveals Soviet Missile Secrets
By Al Williams
Technology has moved at such a furious pace that what would have been most secret military technology a few decades ago is now surplus on eBay. Case in point: [msylvain59] picked up a Soviet-era K-13 IR seeker used to guide air-to-air missiles to their targets. Inside is a mechanical gyroscope turning at over 4,000 RPM, a filter made of germanium to block visible light, and a photoresistor. It sobering to think you can get all of this in a few small packages these days, if not integrated into one IC.
Fitting on top of a missile, the device isn’t that large anyway, but it is nothing like what a modern device would look like. A complex set of electronics processes the signal and moves steering actuators that control fins and other controls to guide the missile’s flight. You can see a video of the device giving up its secrets, below.
It isn’t just the IR sensor that looks different from a modern design would. The actuators, the control logic — everything, really — we would do in a much easier way today. Of course, you’d still have to make sure the equipment met shock requirements of the launch, although perhaps not the impact. But if anything, that would be easier with fewer smaller components.
Honestly, we got winded just watching him remove the outer housing. Then there was plenty of potting material — probably to help with shock resistance and environmental requirements.
We will agree you probably won’t ever design an IR tracker for a warhead. If you did, it wouldn’t look at all like this. But it is illustrative to look at how designers made things work without the host of microcontrollers and miniature devices we have today.
If you want to understand more about how all gyros work, start here. We don’t know what the K-13 cost new, but we know this much less complex gyro cost about $15,000 in today’s dollars.