Beginning right now, the 2021 Hackaday Prize challenges you to Reimagine Supportive Tech. Quite frankly, this is all about shortcuts to success. Can we make it easier for people to learn about science and technology? Can we break down some barriers that keep people from taking up DIY as a hobby (or way of life)? What can we do to build on the experience and skill of one another?
For instance, to get into building your own electronics, you need a huge dedicated electronics lab, right? Of course that’s nonsense, but we only know that because we’ve already been elbow-deep into soldering stations and vacuum tweezers. To the outsider, this looks like an unclimbable mountain. What if I told you that you could build electrics at any desk, and make it easy to store everything away in between hacking sessions? That sounds like a job for [M.Hehr’s] portable workbench & mini lab project. Here’s a blueprint that can take a beginner from zero to solder smoke while having fun along the way.
Adam Zeloof writes on Hackaday:
The vast majority of us are satisfied with a standard, base ten display for representing time. Fewer of us like to be a bit old-fashioned and use a dial with a couple of hands that indicate the time, modulo twelve. And an even smaller minority, with a true love for the esoteric, are a fan of binary readouts. Well, there’s a new time-telling game in town, and as far as we’re concerned it’s one of the best ones yet: resistor color codes.
The Ohm Clock is, as you may have guessed, a giant model of a resistor that uses its color bands to represent time. Each of the four bands represents a digit in the standard HH:MM representation of time, and for anybody well-versed in resistor codes this is sure to be a breeze to read. The clock itself was designed by [John Bradnam]. It’s body is 3D printed, with RGB LEDs to brightly illuminate each segment. The whole thing is controlled by an old favorite – an ATtiny, supported by a Real Time Clock (RTC) chip for accurate timekeeping.
The deadline for challenge #2 of the Hackaday Prize is next Monday, July 19th:
Enter one or more of this year’s challenges for the chance to win cash prizes and move on to the finals, where our panel of judges will decide on the grand prize winner! With $25,000 on the line, and numerous other opportunities to win, there’s no reason not to enter!
Ultimately though, the Hackaday Prize isn’t about winning money. It’s about creating impactful change through the kind of hardware innovation only our amazing community can provide.
Trying to solder an oddly shaped art PCB board? This 3D printed visa could help:
A regular vice is great if you want to clamp rectangular objects, but it can fall down a little with more complex shapes. Inspired by an ancient vise [Chris Borge] whipped up his own 3D-printed fractal clamping tool.
The inspiration for this one comes from the [Hand Tool Rescue] video that shows of the clever mechanism. The vice uses a series of interlocking parts that can freely articulate to grip the object of interest via several protruding fingers. In reproducing the design, [Chris] had some issues initially with the joints, but settling on a dovetail similar to that of the original metal vice which got things working nicely.
We asked you to rethink what displays can look like and you didn’t disappoint. From almost 150 entries the judges have winnowed the list down to ten projects which are awarded a $500 prize and will go on to the final round of the 2021 Hackaday Prize in October
In a world where there’s an HD (or better) display in every pocket, it is the oddball ideas that tend to turn heads. High on that list is a volumentric display that levitates a tiny foam ball on ultrasonic transducers to draw 3D color patterns before your eyes, or the volumetric display shown above that works with a sheet of film and motors. Or how about a take on a laser projected display that uses a phosphorescent screen so that the path of the laser persists, fading in time for the next infrequent update.
As you dive deeper into the world of electronics, a good oscilloscope quickly is an indispensable tool. However, for many use cases where you’re debugging low voltage, low speed circuits, that expensive oscilloscope is using only a fraction of its capabilities. As a minimalist alternative for these use cases [fhdm-dev] created Scoppy, a combination of firmware for the Raspberry Pi Pico and an Android app to create a functional oscilloscope.Read more on Hackaday…
[Kerry Wong] isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and is always more than willing to open things up and see what makes them tick. This time, he reviews and tears down the Topshak LW-3010EC programmable DC power supply, first putting the unit through its paces, then opens it up to see how it looks on the inside.
The Topshak LW-3010EC is in a family of reasonably economical power supplies made by a wide variety of manufacturers, which all share many of the same internals and basic construction. This one is both programmable as well as nice and compact, and [Kerry] compares and contrasts it with other power supplies in the same range as he tests the functions and checks over the internals.
Jenny List writes about an API for the global network of hackerspaces:
With so many hackerspaces in the world, it can be difficult to keep up with them all. It must certainly be a headache for the maintainers of hackerspace directories, with new arrivals as well as spaces sadly closing meaning that a directory can only be as current as its last update. For those of us who follow the world of hackerspaces professionally it’s a struggle to keep on top of them all, and we know there will always be that amazing project posted on a hackerspace website that will pass us by.
Here’s where SpaceAPI can help: by providing a standard JSON interface to the space properties. This holds not only all the static details such as location and contact details, but also the address of the space’s project repository, and most interestingly an indication of whether or not the space is open. The JSON can be a static file, but in many spaces it’s generated by the space itself depending on whether or not there is someone in it.
This is the final weekend to enter your display-related project in the 2021 Hackaday Prize. The good news is, pretty much anything that has a display on it fits the bill here.
The goal of the “Rethink Displays” challenge is to envision interesting ways to visualize data. How many times an hour do you reach for an unlock a smartphone just to get a small bit of data — current temperature, upcoming appointment, the next street to turn on, or how much time is left on your soufflé. There must be another way!
That’s where you come in! Show off us a clever way to convey meaning by choosing a display that makes sense for the type of data and power budget available. Maybe it’s an ePaper display that camouflages itself as wall art, a set of analog meters for the current weather, or a way to upcycle old displays to live on after their portable lives have ended.
This doesn’t need to be a final product. Ten entries will be selected to receive a $500 prize and move on to the final round at the end of October. So if you spend this weekend pulling together a proof of concept, and do a superb job of telling the story of what you’re building, you’ll be firmly in the running! Finalists will have plenty of time to work on completing the designs.
It’s pretty amazing how quickly light-emitting diodes went from physics lab curiosity to a mainstream commodity product made in the millions, if not billions. Everything about LEDs has gotten better, smaller, and cheaper over the years, going from an “any color you want as long as it’s red” phase to all the colors of the rainbow and beyond in a relatively short time. LEDs have worked their way into applications that just didn’t seem likely not that long ago, like architectural lighting, automotive applications, and even immense displays covering billboards, buildings, and sporting venues with multicolor, high-resolution displays.
Read more: LED Matrix Hack Chat