Category Archives: Hackaday Columns

Friday Hack Chat: Hacking Voice Assistants

The future of consumer electronics is electronic voice assistants, at least that’s what the manufacturers are telling us. Everything from Alexas to Google Homes to Siris are invading our lives, and if predictions hold, your next new car might just have a voice assistant in it. It’s just a good thing we have enough samples of Majel Barrett’s voice for a quality virtual assistant.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking all about voice interfaces. There are hundreds of Alexa and Google Home hacks around, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. What else can …read more

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Posted in alexa, google home, Hack Chat, Hackaday Columns, siri, voice assistant | Leave a comment

Putting More Tech Into More Hands: The Robin Hoods of Hackaday Prize

Many different projects started with the same thought: “That’s really expensive… I wonder if I could build my own for less.” Success is rewarded with satisfaction on top of the money saved, but true hacker heroes share their work so that others can build their own as well. We are happy to recognize such generosity with the Hackaday Prize [Robinhood] achievement.

Achievements are a new addition to our Hackaday Prize, running in parallel with our existing judging and rewards process. Achievements are a way for us to shower recognition and fame upon creators who demonstrate what we appreciate from our …read more

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Posted in 2018 Hackaday Prize, 3d printer, air pressure, AMS, cnc, CNC router, CNC woodworking, conveyor belt, conveyor belt printer, Hackaday Columns, infinite build volume printer, maslow, photospectrometer, plywood, pressure sensitive, pressure sensor, reflectance, reflectance sensor, reprap, scara, solar lantern, spectrometer, The Hackaday Prize, wooden CNC router, woodworking | Leave a comment

Rocket Bullets: The Flame and Fizzle of the Gyrojet

In the 1950’s and 60’s, the world had rocket fever. Humankind was taking its first steps into space and had sights on the moon. Kids could build rockets at the kitchen table and launch them in the schoolyard. On the darker side, the arms race was well underway with the US and USSR trying to close the fictional missile gap.

All around the world, engineers were trying to do new things with rockets. Among these were Robert Mainhardt and Arthur T. Biehl, who thought rockets could be useful as small arms. Together they formed MBA (short for Mainhardt and Biehl …read more

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Posted in bullet, classic hacks, Gyrojet, Hackaday Columns, history, Less-Lethal, Original Art, rocket bullets | Leave a comment

Hackaday Links: July 8, 2018

Software-defined radio has been around for years, but it’s only recently that it’s been accessible to those of us who don’t have tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment in their lab. Here’s a new book from Analog Devices that gives you the lowdown on software-defined radio. It’s heavy on MATLAB and components from Analog, but it’s still a solid foundation for SDR.

Do you like cyberpunk? Do you like stories about rebellious people overthrowing the system? How about androids? Do you like androids? Here’s a Kickstarter that’s tying all of that together. Neptune Frost is (will be?) a …read more

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Posted in analog, Asteroid Day, cyberpunk, Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links, journal, kickstarter, retropie, sdr, software-defined radio | Leave a comment

Wrangling RC Servos Becoming a Hassle? Try Serial Bus Servos!

When we need actuators for a project, a servo from the remote-control hobby world is a popular solution. Though as the number of servos go up, keeping their wires neat and managing their control signals become a challenge. Once we start running more servos than we have fingers and toes, it’s worth considering the serial bus variety. Today we’ll go over what they are and examine three products on the market.

Our Friend the RC Servo

Remote control hobby servos are remarkable little devices. Each one is a self-contained closed-loop actuator, available across a wide spectrum of price and torque. …read more

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Posted in continuous rotation servo, Hackaday Columns, hobby servo, how-to, rc servo, robots hacks, serial, serial control, serial interface, servo control, servo motor | Leave a comment

Hackaday Journal Completes First Review Process, Seeks More Submissions

Congratulations and thank you go to Theodore Yapo for authoring the first paper to complete the peer review process for the Hackaday Journal. You can read the standalone paper here; it will be included in the first volume of the Hackaday Journal officially released later this year.

The Hackaday Journal is an open access, peer reviewed journal that seeks to ensure hard-won domain knowledge is preserved and made available for the benefit of all. Before jumping into Ted’s topic, please take a moment to consider submitting your own paper for the journal.

Paper Submissions Wanted

We have other submissions in …read more

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Posted in Hackaday Columns, Hackaday Journal, HJWYDK, leakage, news, Scalar Network Analyzer, SNA, vector network analyzer, vna | Leave a comment

Calculus and a Calculator

Earlier this year, [Dan Maloney] went inside mechanical calculators. Being the practical sort, [Dan] jumped right into the Pascaline invented by Blaise Pascal. It couldn’t multiply or divide. He then went into the arithmometer, which is arguably the first commercially successful mechanical calculator with four functions. That was around 1821 or so. But [Dan] mentions it used a Leibniz wheel. I thought, “Leibniz? He’s the calculus guy, right? He died in 1716.” So I knew there had to be at least a century of backstory to get to the arithmometer. Having a rainy day ahead, I decided to find out …read more

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Posted in Hackaday Columns, history, Leibniz Wheel, mechanical calculator | Leave a comment

Video Quick-Bit: The Things That Move Robots

Magenta Strongheart returns for a look at some of the coolest robotic entries from this year’s Hackaday Prize. Each of these answered the challenge for modular designs that will help supercharge new robot projects.

We think that cheap and abundant motor designs are poised to revolutionize robotics and several of the entries thought along those same lines. [Masahiro Mizuno] came up with a great 3D printed servo design based around a 6mm DC motor. Also in this ballpark, a team of two — Giovanni Leal and Jonathan Diaz — used 3D printing to turn some tiny metallic servos into linear …read more

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Posted in 2018 Hackaday Prize, Hackaday Columns, Hackaday Prize Update, Robotics Module, robots hacks, The Hackaday Prize, video quick-bit | Leave a comment

Spy Tech: How an Apollo Capsule Landed in Michigan after a Layover in the USSR

There’s an Apollo module on display in Michigan and its cold-war backstory is even more interesting than its space program origins.

Everyone who visits the Van Andel Museum Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan is sure to see the Apollo Command Module flanking the front entrance. Right now it’s being used as a different kind of capsule: as time capsule they’ll open in 2076 (the American tricentennial). If you look close though, this isn’t an actual Command Module but what they call a “boilerplate.”

Technically, these were mass simulators made cheaply for certain tests and training purposes. A full spacecraft costs …read more

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Posted in apollo, Hackaday Columns, history, moon race, nasa, soviet, Soviet spies, space | Leave a comment

Hackaday Links: July 1, 2018

Remember when computer mice didn’t have scroll wheels? The greatest mouse of all time, the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0, is back in production. This mouse was released in 2003, before the popularity of ‘gaming’ mice from the likes of Razer, and at the time it was the standard mouse for RTS and FPS professional gamers. After producing a few million of these mice, the molds died or the sensors were out of stock, Microsoft stopped shipping the Intellimouse Explorer 3.0, and the ones that were out in the wild slowly died. Now this fantastic mouse is back, and it’s only …read more

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Posted in Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links, Intellimouse, microsoft, pebble, rebble, steam, ultralight | Leave a comment