Category Archives: Aggregated

Free PCB Sunday: Pick your PCB

via Dangerous Prototypes

BP-600x373

We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype. Our PCBs are made through Seeed Studio’s Fusion board service. This week two random commenters will get a coupon code for the free PCB drawer tomorrow morning. Pick your own PCB. You get unlimited free PCBs now – finish one and we’ll send you another! Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • Be sure to use a real e-mail in the address field so we can contact you with the coupon.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.
  • PCBs are scrap and have no value, due to limited supply it is not possible to replace a board lost in the post

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App note: Safety considerations and layout recommendations for digital isolators

via Dangerous Prototypes

an_silabs_AN583

Application note from Silicon Labs about end user safety against high voltage shock that are designed together with digital isolators. Link here (PDF)

This application note details the creepage and clearance requirements of an isolator type component, such as a digital isolator, used to provide protection from electric shock. It also details layout recommendations to enhance a design’s robustness and ensure compliance with end safety standards.

Ask Hackaday: Why Did Modular Smart Phones Fail?

via hardware – Hackaday

Remember all the talk about modular smart phones? They sounded amazing! instead of upgrading your phone you would just upgrade the parts a bit like a computer but more simplistic. Well it seems modular phones are dead (video, embedded below) even after a lot of major phone manufacturers were jumping on the bandwagon. Even Google got on-board with Google Ara which was subsequently cancelled. LG released the G5 but it didn’t fare too well. The Moto Z from Motorola seemed to suffer from the same lack of interest. The buzz was there when the concept of these modular phones was announced, and people were genuinely exited about the possibilities. What went wrong?

For a start people expect their phones to have everything on board already, whether it be cameras, GPS, WiFi, high-capacity batteries or high-resolution screens. Consumers expect these things to come as standard. Why would they go out and buy a module when other phones on the market already have these things?

Sure you could get some weird and wonderful modules like extra loud speakers or perhaps a projector, but the demand for these items was small. And because these extras are already available as separate accessories not locked down to one device, it was a non starter from the beginning.

When we did our user studies. What we found is that most users don’t care about modularizing the core functions. They expect them all to be there, to always work and to be consistent. — Lead engineer Project Ara

The hackability of these phones would have been interesting to say the least, had they come to the mainstream. It just seems the public want thin sleek aluminum phones that they treat more as a status symbol than anything else. Modular phones have to be more bulky to accommodate the power/data rails and magnets for the modules, so they’ll lose out in pocketability. Still, we hope the idea is revisited in the future and not left on the scrap-heap of obsolescence.

Would you buy a modular smart phone? Even if it is bigger or more expensive? Is that really why they failed?


Filed under: Ask Hackaday, Hackaday Columns, hardware

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

via Dangerous Prototypes

BP

Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes to two random commenters. The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder . More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • We’ll contact you via Facebook with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month, please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

Teenage Maker builds his own Arduino drone

via Arduino Blog

When most people decide they’re going to build a quadcopter, they likely go to their favorite online retailer or hobby shop, and get the correct parts to connect together.

17-year-old Maker Nikodem Bartnik instead decided to customize things further, programming an Arduino to act as his flight controller, and constructing a transmitter (or “pilot” as he refers to it) from scratch. Finally, he attempted to 3D print the frame, but after some difficulty chose to just buy one.

The rest of the electronics consisted of four motors, four ESCs, some propellers, two nRF24L01 radio modules, an MPU-6050, a LiPo battery, and a bunch of other small components. You can see more of Bartnik’s project over on Instructables, as well as check out “Ludwik” (named partially as a nod to Nikodem’s friend “lukmar”) flying quite nicely in the video below.

Lift: Millimeter-level finger tracking with Arduino and light sensors

via Dangerous Prototypes

Millimeter-level finger tracking

Researchers at the UC Irvine and the FX Palo Alto Laboratory present Lift, a visible light-enabled finger tracking:

By projecting encoded visible patterns onto an object’s surface (e.g. paper, display, or table), and localizing the user’s fingers with light sensors, Lift offers users a richer interactive space than the device’s existing interfaces. Additionally, everyday objects can be augmented by attaching sensor units onto their surface to accept multi-touch gesture input. We also present two applications as a proof of concept. Finally, results from our experiments indicate that Lift can localize ten fingers simultaneously with accuracy of 0.9 mm and 1.8 mm on two axes respectively and an average refresh rate of 84 Hz with 16.7ms delay on WiFi and 12ms delay on serial, making gesture recognition on noninstrumented objects possible.

More details in the team’s published paper (PDF!).