It’s interesting what you see when you train a black light on everyday objects. We strongly suggest not doing this in a hotel room, but if you shine UV light on, say, a printed circuit board, you might see what [Sam Ettinger] did, which led him to build these cool low-profile seven-segment fluorescent PCB displays.
As it turns out, at least some FR-4 PCBs fluoresce under UV light, giving off a ghostly blue-green glow. Seeing the possibilities, [Sam] designed a PCB with cutouts in the copper and solder mask in the shape of a traditional seven-segment display. The backside of the PCB has pads for UV LEDs and current-limiting resistors, which shine through the board and induce the segments to glow. Through-slots between the segments keep light from one segment from bleeding over into the next; while [Sam] left the slots unfilled, they could easily be filled with solder. The fluorescent property of FR-4, and therefore the brightness and tint of the segments, seems to vary by board thickness and PCB manufacturer, but it looks like most PCBs will show pretty good results.
With the 2021 Hackaday Remoticon fast approaching, we’ve been hard at work crafting a schedule filled with thought-provoking presentations from knowledgeable speakers; precisely what you’ve come to expect from one of our events, virtual or otherwise. We’ve already announced that Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) astrophysicist Keith Thorne will be presenting a literally out-of-this-world keynote on the incredible engineering it takes to detect gravitational waves with the highest precision interferometers ever devised, but that’s only the beginning.
To make doubly sure we’ll be able to pack every available minute of our second Remoticon with fascinating content, we’ve decided to extend the deadline on talk proposals for a few more days to see what the late-bloomers can bring to the table. If you’ve ever wanted to present at a Hackaday event, but couldn’t swing the trip to Pasadena or Belgrade, this is your chance to take the stage virtually and show off what you’re passionate about.
In the meantime, we’ve churned through enough of the early proposals to let slip the first four talks that we’ll be beaming out between November 19th and 20th. There is plenty more to announce over the coming weeks, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what we’ve got in store for our global audience of hardware hackers. So grab your Remoticon ticket right now!
Tomorrow, Friday, October 15th, Alicia Gibb and Javier Serrano from OSHWA will join Helen Leigh on the CrowdSupply Teardown live stream:
Crowd Supply’s Helen Leigh chats with Alicia Gibb, hardware hacker and open source hardware advocate, and Javier Serrano, who leads a team of electronics designers and Linux kernel developers at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.
Join them as they discuss open hardware best practices, open source hardware movements around the world and the importance of open hardware for open science.
October is Open Hardware Month! Celebrate by certifying a hardware project as open source. In addition, OSHWA provides resources on how to host small, local events (if it’s safe) about open source hardware.
The BREAD 2040 from Oak Dev Tech is now on sale for only $6.76:
What is it?
BREAD 2040 is a compact and breadboard friendly development board which features the Raspberry Pi RP2040, a NeoPixel compatible SK6812mini, Reset button, and all GPIO and SWD pins broken out in an easily breadboard able design. No weird pins on the ends! This board is also CircuitPython compatible meaning you can develop your projects faster with python.
Why did you make it?
The BREAD2040 was designed in an inspirational burst of energy while watching the CircuitPython Day Adafruit Board Tour.
What makes it special?
The BREAD 2040 takes an old fashion approach to this design, keeping in mind bread board friendliness as well as providing modern USB style plugs with the USB Type-C connector.
The semiconductor shortage has curtailed the choices available to designers and caused some inventive solutions to be found, but the one used by [djzc] is probably the most inventive we’ve yet seen. The footprint trap, when a board is designed for one footprint but shortages mean the part is only available in another, has caught out many an engineer this year. In this case an FTDI chip had been designed with a PCB footprint for a QFN package when the only chip to be found was a QFP from a breakout board.
For those unfamiliar with semiconductor packaging, a QFN and QFP share a very similar epoxy package, but the QFN has its pins on the underside flush with the epoxy and the QFP has them splayed out sideways. A QFP is relatively straightforward to hand-solder so it’s likely we’ll have seen more of them than QFNs on these pages.
There is no chance for a QFP to be soldered directly to a QFN footprint, so what’s to be done? The solution is an extremely inventive one, a two-PCB sandwich bridging the two. A lower PCB is made of thick material and mirrors the QFN footprint above the level of the surrounding components, while the upper one has the QFN on its lower side and a QFP on its upper. When they are joined together they form an inverted top-hat structure with a QFN footprint below and a QFP footprint on top. Difficult to solder in place, but the result is a QFP footprint to which the chip can be attached. We like it, it’s much more elegant than elite dead-bug soldering!
jkiv designed a variety of Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4) carrier boards designed with specific applications in mind.
The designs are shared on GitHub along with a “template” boards from which application-specific boards can be quickly derived:
The judges’ ballots are in and we’re proud to present the ten winners of the fourth round of the 2021 Hackaday Prize. We love robots, and it’s obvious that you do too! The number and range of projects submitted this year were overwhelming.
No robotics round is complete without a robot arm, and while a few of them were in the finals, we especially liked CM6, which really pulled out all the stops. This is research-grade robotics on a not-quite-student budget, featuring custom compliant mechanisms so that it can play well with its fleshy companions.
With six degrees of freedom, and six motors, the drivetrain budget can quickly get out of hand on builds like these, so we’re especially happy to see custom, open, brushless-motor driver boards used to reduce the cost of admission. Even if you’re not going to make a 100% faithful CM6 clone, you’ll learn a lot just from going through the build. Oh, and did we mention it has a software stack?
The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is looking for 4 new people to join the board of directors. The nominee form is for self-nominations only. Please fill out the nominee form (deactivated 11:59PM ET on Oct. 12) to become a nominee or forward the link to someone you want to nominate.
The purpose of the form is to tell voting members why the nominee wants to serve on the OSHWA board. OSHWA will publish the nominees and their answers on Oct 14th. Board members hold a 2-year position. Board responsibilities include fundraising, promoting OSHWA, advising on goals and direction, and carry out compliance with the organizations purposes and bylaws. Board members must follow the Code of Conduct. Please see the OSHWA board member agreement to get a sense of the responsibilities. Board members are expected to spend 5-10 hours of time per month on OSHWA. Nominees can submit questions to [email protected] Nominations will be open until Oct. 12th.
Member voting will take place October 19th to 26th according to the election policy.
Want to vote in the election? Become an OSHWA member!
The final entry round of the Hackaday Prize begins today, and the theme is… anything! While we’ve guided you through work-from-home, robots, displays, and supportive devices, there are countless great ideas that don’t fit in those boxes. So for this round, just show us what you got!
Entering the Reactive Wildcard round is easy. Publish a page about your project over on Hackaday.io and use the left sidebar “Submit-to” menu on that page to add it to the Hackaday prize. The point is to build a better future, and we can’t wait to see what you think that looks like. Need some inspiration? Check out the four challenge update videos below to see what others have been entering so far this year.
What’s at stake here? Ten entries in this round will each receive a cash prize of $500 and move onto the final round. There, they content with finalist from the other four rounds for the $25,000 Grand Prize, and four other top prizes. There is also the geek cred of making the finals, a priceless achievement, even if we do say so ourselves.