Fetch: World’s Largest Open-Source Ferrofluid Display

Applied Procrastination has created a 252 electromagnet-matrix that controls ferrofluid:

Screenshot from 2020-04-20 16-42-09

Fetch: A Ferrofluid Display

A student-project at the University of Oslo. We have designed and built a massive ferrofluid-display with 252 electromagnetic “pixels”. The display has a 12×21 resolution (the closest we could get to 16:9 on our budget), and is not DONE.

On Applied Procrastination we’ve shared all the details of this project and hope that it will inspire you to make something similar – or follow your own dream projects.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PFgVtzsXHM

Fetch: World’s Largest Open-Source Ferrofluid Display

iCE40 FPGA Board for the Raspberry Pi

Matthew Venn has created a FPGA dev board based on Lattice iCE40 8k for the Raspberry Pi.  The board uses our After Dark service which features clear solder mask on a black substrate:

board

FPGA dev board based on Lattice iCE40 8k

Aim

  • Make my first PCB with an FPGA
  • Keep it super simple and cheap
  • Configured by on-board FLASH or direct with a Raspberry Pi
  • 6 PMODs, 2 buttons, 2 LEDs, FLASH for configuration bitstreams.

What a Lattice iCE40 FPGA needs

  • A clock input. Has to be provided by an oscillator, it doesn’t have a crystal driver.
  • 1.2v core supply for the internal logic.
  • 2.5v non volatile memory supply. Can be provided via a voltage drop over a diode from 3.3v.
  • IO supply for the IO pins, different banks of IO can have different supplies. This design uses 3.3v for all banks.
  • Get configured over SPI interface. This can be done directly by a microcontroller or a computer, or the bitstream can be programmed into some FLASH, and the FPGA will read it at boot. If FLASH isn’t provided then the bitstream needs to be programmed at every power up or configuration reset.
  • Decoupling capacitors for each IO bank.

PCB

BOM

  • FPGA iCE40-HX4K-TQ144 (8k accessible with Icestorm tools)
  • 3.3v reg TLV73333PDBVT
  • 1.2v reg TLV73312PDBVT
  • 12MHz oscillator SIT2001BI-S2-33E-12.000000G
  • 16MB FLASH IS25LP016D-JBLE (optional).

Test

See the test program. This makes a nice pulsing effect on LED2, and LED1 is the slow PWM clock. The buttons increase or decrease pulsing speed.

make prog

Yosys and NextPNR are used to create the bitstream and then it’s copied to the Raspberry Pi specified by PI_ADDR in the Makefile.

Fomu-Flash is used to flash the SPI memory, or program the FPGA directly.

 

iCE40 FPGA Board for the Raspberry Pi

Neopixel Rotary Encoder

Here’s a neat rotary encoder with a ring of RGB Neopixel LEDs to indicate where its pointing:

2019-06-25T01_44_04.505Z-IMG_4368.

Neopixel Rotary Encoder

What is this?

This is a super-overkill rotary encoder. Not only does it encode in a rotary fashion, it also lights up! It includes a ring of 20 ultra bright and even more ultra tiny Neopixel LEDs. Ever have trouble deciding between different LED colors? Well here you don’t have to. Add this to your next project to give it a brilliant flare in whatever color, or combination of colors, you want.

What can I use it for?

I originally designed this to control digital effects in a guitar. Because the knob would potentially be mapped to several different controls, depending on the active effect, an ordinary potentiometer wouldn’t cut it. What if, for example, in one mode it was set to 50%, and in another it was set to 100%? Enter the LED ring. Now, whenever you change modes, the indicator can reflect the correct value.

But what can it actually do?

Anything! Assuming that ‘anything’ refers to reporting positions from a rotary encoder, acting as a pushbutton, or lighting up. The lights don’t do anything on your own, you need to include some code in your project that takes the encoder signal and does something with the lights. Thankfully, I already wrote that part for you! Here are a few examples of different modes I prepared for you, all of which are included in the example code.

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Neopixel Rotary Encoder

Open Source Hardware Certifications For March 2020

From Katherine Scott of OSHWA:

oshcmarch2020-03

Open Source Hardware Certifications For March 2020

It is time again for your monthly OSHWA Certification update. Our newly certified projects this month reflect the Coronavirus pandemic. These certification fall roughly into two groups, projects directly trying to address the pandemic, and organizations impacted by the pandemic using recent social distancing rules to catch up on the certification of existing products.

oshcmarch2020-01

A maker favorite that is finally able to show off its open hardware street cred is the BeagleBoard Black. The BeagleBoard Black is a workhorse single board computer that has been with us for a long time, and now it is finally certified open hardware. Just like the trinket this is a big win for open hardware, and allows down stream open hardware projects to become more open. In large engineering projects we often call these sorts of things systems of systems, and the fact that we are building open hardware systems of systems is a big win for the open hardware movement. I reached out to Jason Kridner, the co-founder of BeagleBoard.org about certifying the Beagle Board. I asked him about the motivations for certifying the BeagleBoard Black to which he responded, “Certification enables us to be clear that anyone can use our designs and make their own boards. It sets us apart from other small Linux computers and lets our values be known.”

Open Source Hardware Certifications For March 2020

Altium to KiCad converter

BeagleBone-Black-Altium-KiCad-e1586729430477

Around these parts we tend to be exponents of the KiCad lifestyle; what better way to design a PCBA than with free and open source tools that run anywhere? But there are still capabilities in commercial EDA packages that haven’t found their way into KiCad yet, so it may not always be the best tool for the job. Altium Designer is a popular non-libre option, but at up to tens of thousands of USD per seat it’s not always a good fit for users and businesses without a serious need.

It’s hard to find an exciting photo of a dialog box

What do you do as a KiCad user who encounters a design in Altium you’d like to work with? Well as of April 3rd 2020, [Thomas Pointhuber] has merged the beginnings of a native Altium importer into KiCad which looks to be slated for the 6.0 release. As [Thomas] himself points out in the patch submission, this is hardly the first time a 3rd party Altium importer has been published. His new work is a translation of the Perl plugin altium2kicad by [thesourcerer8]. And back in January another user left a comment with links to four other (non-KiCad) tools to handle Altium files.

If you’d like to try out this nifty new feature for yourself, CNX has a great walkthrough starting at building KiCad from source. As for documents to test against the classic BeagleBone Black sources seen above can be found at on GitHub. Head past the break to check out the very boring, but very exciting video of the importer at work, courtesy of [Thomas] himself. We can’t wait to give this a shot!

via Altium has its 2kicad Moment — Hackaday

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Hackaday: PCB Bring-Up Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, April 15 at noon Pacific for the PCB Bring-Up Hack Chat with Mihir Shah and Liam Cadigan!

The printed circuit design process is pretty unique among manufacturing processes. Chances are pretty good that except for possibly a breadboard prototype, the circuit that sits before you after coming back from assembly has only ever existed in EDA software or perhaps a circuit simulator. Sure, it’s supposed to work, but will it?

You can — and should — do some power-off testing of new boards, but at some point you’re going to have to flip the switch and see what happens. The PCB bring-up process needs to be approached carefully, lest debugging any problems that crop up become more difficult than need be. Mihir and Liam from inspectAR will discuss the bring-up process in depth, offering tips and tricks to make things go as smoothly as possible, as well as demonstrating how the inspectAR platform can fit into that process, especially with teams that are distributed across remote sites. If your board releases the Magic Smoke, you’ll want to know if it’s your design or an assembly issue, and an organized bring-up plan can be a big help.

Note: Liam will be doing a simulcast web demo of inspectAR via Zoom. ​

via PCB Bring-Up Hack Chat — Hackaday

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iCEBreaker FPGA: new video streams and new content

An update from our Dorkbot PDX friend, Piotr Esden:

iCEBreaker FPGA: new video streams and new content

iCEBreaker Production

As you read in our last update in November, we finished fulfilling the campaign, but that does not mean work on iCEBreaker has stopped. We keep producing iCEBreakers and Pmods to keep 1BitSquared US and 1BitSquared DE, as well as Crowd Supply and Mouser, stocked.

For those of you who are patiently waiting for your shipments, don’t worry. A package with additional inventory is going out to the Mouser warehouse today!

Continuing Work on iCEBreaker

We are continuing work on new examples and additional iCEBreaker hardware. If you are not following 1BitSquared or Piotr on Twitter, you might have missed some stuff that Piotr is working on. Since January, Piotr started streaming on Twitch on a fairly regular basis. You can follow him on Twitch and be notified every time he goes live. Piotr is also announcing upcoming streams at least a day in advance on Twitter as well as on the 1BitSquared Patreon page.

As a result of the Twitch streams, we’ve had a few interesting new developments for the iCEBreaker platform. A few weeks ago, we published Litex RISC-V SOC generation examples that you can find in the iCEBreaker GitHub Organization. Piotr gave a Twitch stream presentation about the build system and how to use it. You can watch the stream Archive on Twitchdiode.zone, and YouTube. This example gives you the foundation to create your own SOC for the iCEBreaker, start adding your custom hardware to the RISC-V core, and program it in C or Rust. We are also working on MicroPython and maybe even CircuitPython support in the not too distant future.

Upcoming Twitch Stream

Piotr has scheduled a Twitch Stream for Tuesday, April 13th, 2020 at noon PDT. He will be working on a new Pmod for the iCEBreaker that will allow us to connect NES or SNES controllers from two very popular 8-bit game entertainment systems. 😉 That same Pmod will also contain a stereo audio output. This Pmod together with a DVI output, LED Panel output or VGA output will be an ideal combination to recreate old or build new custom game consoles and a wide range of emulations, for entertainment, preservation, and education.

electronics-lets-play-stream

If you are curious when the stream will happen in your timezone you can either check on Twitch itself, as there is a countdown timer till the next stream below the video streaming window, or you can check timeanddate.com.

Keep Supporting our iCEBreaker work

If you like to see continuing work and content creation for the iCEBreaker platform, and you already have all the hardware you need, then consider supporting us through Patreon. We keep adding perks for Patrons, like KiCad panel templates and behind the scenes news. We have a few very generous supporters that make the Twitch streams possible, but any additional support is appreciated.

Stay in Touch

And don’t forget, the continuing development and support for iCEBreaker keeps on rolling on the 1BitSquared Discord server, and iCEBreaker forum! So join the fun and show off your iCEBreaker projects! 🙂

Stay safe and healthy,
Piotr and Danika

iCEBreaker FPGA: new video streams and new content

Three years of HardwareX: Where are they now?

After three years of online publications, HardwareX may have solidified itself as an academic journal for open-source hardware. We originally wrote about HardwareX back in 2016. At the time, HardwareX hadn’t even published its first issue and only begun soliciting manuscripts. Now after three years of publishing, six issues as of October 2019 (with the seventh scheduled for April 2020), and an impact factor of 4.33, it’s fair to say that Elsevier’s push into open-access publications is on a path to success.

To give you a bit of background, HardwareX aims to promote the reproducibility of scientific work by giving researchers an avenue to publish all the hardware and software hacks that often get buried in traditional manuscripts. The format of HardwareX articles is a bit different than most academic journals. HardwareX articles look more like project pages similar to Hackaday.io. (Maybe we inspired them a bit? Who knows.)

It’s a bold attempt on Elsevier’s part because although open-access is held as an ideal scenario for scientific work, such efforts often come under quite a bit of scrutiny in the academic community. Don’t ask us. We can’t relate.

Either way, we genuinely wish Elsevier all the best and will keep our eyes on HardwareX. Maybe some of our readers should consider publishing their projects in HardwareX.

via Three years of HardwareX: Where are they now? — Hackaday

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