We’ve gotten used to seeing “meta clocks,” clocks that use an array of analog clock faces and piece together characters using the hands of the clocks. They’re very clever, and we always like to see them, especially when they come with detailed build instructions like this one does.

What’s also nice about [Erich Styger]’s “MetaClockClock” display is the twist on the original concept. Where most clock-of-clocks depend on the contrast between the hands and the faces of the analog movements, [Erich] added light to the mix. Hidden inside the bezel of each clock is a strip of RGB LEDs; coupled with the clear acrylic hands of the clock, which act as light pipes, each clock can contribute different shapes of different colors to the display. Each clock is built around a dual-shaft stepper motor of the kind used in car dashboard gauges; the motors each live on a custom PCB, while the LEDs are mounted on a ring-shaped PCB of their own. Twenty-four of the clocks are mounted in a very nice walnut panel, which works really well with the light-pipe hands. The video below shows just some of the display possibilities.

[Erich] has documented his build process in extreme detail, and has all the design files up on GitHub. We won’t say that recreating his build will be easy — there are a lot of skills needed here, from electronics to woodworking — but at least all the information is there. We think this is a beautiful upgrade to [Erich]’s earlier version, and we’d love to see more of these built.

Continue reading “Clock-of-Clocks Adds Light-Pipe Hands For Beauty And Function”

In the world of homebrew synthesizers, there are plenty of noiseboxes and grooveboxes that make all kinds of wacky and wild noises. However, common projects like the Auduino and Atari Punk Console are often limited in that they can’t readily be programmed to play multiple notes or any sort of discernable rhythm. [Nick Poole] changes this with his Auduino step sequencer build.

The build takes the Auduino grain synthesizer, and modifies it by adding a step sequencer. This is possible as the Auduino code, which runs on the old-school ATMEGA-based Arduinos, is incredibly fast, leaving plenty of processing time for extra features to be added. [Nick] adds eight LEDs and eight buttons to the build, allowing the user to select one of eight steps to modify. Then, the sound parameters for the step can be altered with the standard Auduino controls. This lets the user quickly and easily build up 8-step melodies, something that was previously impossible with the Auduino.

It’s a fun build, and one that makes a great intro into the world of DIY synth builds. The techniques learned here will serve any aspiring maker well if they dive further into the world of modular synthesis and associated arcana. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Homebrew Grain Synth Has A Rad Step Sequencer”

Over the years we’ve brought you many examples in this series showing you technologies that were once mighty. The most entertaining though are the technological dead ends, ideas which once seemed as though they might be the Next Big Thing, but with hindsight are so impractical or downright useless as to elicit amazement that they ever saw the light of day.

Today’s subject is just such a technology, and it was a serious product with the backing of some of the largest technology companies in multiple countries from the late 1980s into the early ’90s. CT2 was one of the first all-digital mobile phone networks available to the public, so why has it disappeared without trace?

Continue reading “Retrotechtacular: CT2, When Receiving Mobile Phone Calls Wasn’t A Priority”

Hackaday editors Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys cover a great week of hardware hacking. We saw a fault-injection attack that used an electric flyswatter and hand-wound coil to twiddle bits inside of an AVR micro. Focus-stacking is what you want when using a microscope to image circuit boards and there’s a hack for the Eakins cameras that makes it automatic. In our “can’t miss articles” we riff on how to cool off cities in a warming climate, and then gaze with quiet admiration at what the Unicode standard has accomplished. But when it comes to head-spinning hacks, you can’t beat the reverse-engineering efforts being shown off with the rack-mount box that made the Weather Channel awesome back in the 80’s and 90’s.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

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Continue reading “Hackaday Podcast 110: One Unicode To Rule Them, Hacking Focus Stacking, Virtual Typing, And Zombie Weather Channel”

We are big fans of POV displays, particularly ones that move into 3D. To do so, they need to move even faster than their 2D cousins. [danfoisy] built a volumetric display that doesn’t move LEDs or any other digital display through space, or project light onto a moving surface. All that moves here is a bead of styrofoam and does so at up to 1 meter per second. Having low mass certainly helps when trying to hit the brakes, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

danfoisy vdatp 3d simulation

[danfoisy] and son built an acoustic levitator kit from [PhysicsGirl] which inspired the youngster’s science fair project on sound. See the video by [PhysicsGirl] for an explanation of levitation in a standing wave. [danfoisy] happened upon a paper in the Journal Nature about a volumetric display that expanded this one-dimensional standing wave into three dimensions. The paper described using a phased array of ultrasonic transducers, each with a 40 kHz waveform.

After reading the paper and determining how to recreate the experiment, [danfoisy] built a 2D simulation and then another in 3D to validate the approach. We are impressed with the level of physics and programming on display, and that the same code carried through to the build.

[danfoisy] didn’t stop with the simulations, designing and building control boards for each 100 x 100 grid of transducers. Each grid is driven by 2 Intel Cyclone FPGAs and all are fed 3D shapes by a Raspberry Pi Zero W. The volume of the display is 100 mm x 100 mm x 145mm and the positioning of the foam ball is accurate down to .01 mm though currently there is considerable distortion in the positioning.

Check out the video after the break to see the process of simulating, designing, and testing the display. There are a number of tips along the way, including how to test for the polarity of the transducers and the use of a Python script to place the grids of transducers and drivers in KiCad.

danfoisy vdatp schematic  danfoisy vdatp board layout

Continue reading “Surf’s Up, A Styrofoam Ball Rides The Waves To Create A Volumetric Display”

Google has been working on mitigations for the Spectre attack, and has made available a Proof of Concept that you can run in your browser right now. Spectre is one of the issues that kicked off the entire series of speculative execution vulnerabilities and fixes. What Google has demonstrated is that the Spectre attack can actually be pulled off in Javascript, right in the browser. Spectre is limited to reading memory allocated to the same process, and modern browsers have implemented measures like site isolation, which puts each site in a separate, sandboxed process.

These security features don’t mean that there is no practical dangers from Spectre. There are a handful of ways an attacker can run Javascript on another site, from something as simple as an interactive advertisement, to a cross-site scripting injection. Google has produced features and guidance to mitigate those dangers.

Via Bleeping Computer. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Spectre In The Browser, Be Careful What You Clone, And Hackintosh”

The Dreamcast is a somewhat forgotten console today, but for a shining minute in the late 1990s, it was possible to believe Sega were still in the fight. Regardless, their hardware lives on, lovingly preserved by collectors and enthusiasts. [Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale] is one such enthusiast, and set about interfacing the old console’s controllers to an Arduino.

Initial work involved getting the Arduino (presumably a basic 16 Mhz Uno) to read the controller’s buttons, and spitting the data out over serial. The Dreamcast’s Maple bus is fast, which presented some challenges, but it was simple enough. [Nicholas] then moved on to interfacing the VMU, the Dreamcast’s fancy controller-mounted memory card. After initial attempts were shaky and unstable, he redoubled his efforts. Research indicated that the VMU can vary the speed of the bus when it’s in control, so he updated his code to suit. It’s full of great hacks, like connecting the Dreamcast’s two data pins to four input pins on the Arduino, to save a handful of cycles by not having to shift incoming data.

The work is a great read for anyone into assembly-level optimisation of interfaces, as well as proper use of limited resources. Obviously, it’s easy to just throw a faster, more expensive microcontroller at the problem, but then nobody would have learned anything. We’ve featured a great many Dreamcast hacks over the years; [Nicholas]’s work here builds upon [Dmitry]’s work in 2017. We can’t wait to see what comes next out of the underground Sega hacking scene!