High-end Headphones Fixed with High-end CNC Machine

Warranty? We don’t need no stinking warranty! We’re hackers, and if you have access to a multi-million dollar CNC machine and 3D CAM software, you mill your own headphone replacement parts rather than accept a free handout from a manufacturer.

The headphones in question, Grado SR325s, are hand-built, high-end audiophile headphones, but [Huibert van Egmond] found that the gimbal holding the cups to the headband were loosening and falling out. He replicated the design of the original gimbal in CAM, generated the numeric code, and let his enormous Bridgeport milling machine loose on a big block of aluminum. The part was drilled and tapped on a small knee-mill, cut free from the backing material on a lathe, and bead-blasted to remove milling marks. A quick coat of spray paint – we’d have preferred powder coating or anodization – and the part was ready to go back on the headphones.

Sure, it’s overkill, but when you’ve got the tools, why not? And even a DIY CNC router could probably turn out a part like this – a lot slower, to be sure, but it’s still plausible.

Filed under: misc hacks

High-end Headphones Fixed with High-end CNC Machine

Warranty? We don’t need no stinking warranty! We’re hackers, and if you have access to a multi-million dollar CNC machine and 3D CAM software, you mill your own headphone replacement parts rather than accept a free handout from a manufacturer.

The headphones in question, Grado SR325s, are hand-built, high-end audiophile headphones, but [Huibert van Egmond] found that the gimbal holding the cups to the headband were loosening and falling out. He replicated the design of the original gimbal in CAM, generated the numeric code, and let his enormous Bridgeport milling machine loose on a big block of aluminum. The part was drilled and tapped on a small knee-mill, cut free from the backing material on a lathe, and bead-blasted to remove milling marks. A quick coat of spray paint – we’d have preferred powder coating or anodization – and the part was ready to go back on the headphones.

Sure, it’s overkill, but when you’ve got the tools, why not? And even a DIY CNC router could probably turn out a part like this – a lot slower, to be sure, but it’s still plausible.

Filed under: misc hacks

Tricking Duck Hunt to See A Modern LCD TV as CRT

A must-have peripheral for games consoles of the 1980s and 1990s was the light gun. A lens and photo cell mounted in a gun-like plastic case, the console could calculate where on the screen it was pointing when its trigger was pressed by flashing the screen white and sensing the timing at which the on-screen flying spot triggered the photo cell.

Unfortunately light gun games hail from the era of CRT TVs, they do not work with modern LCDs as my colleague [Will Sweatman] eloquently illustrated late last year. Whereas a CRT displayed the dot on its screen in perfect synchronization with the console output, an LCD captures a whole frame, processes it and displays it in one go. All timing is lost, and the console can no longer sense position.

[Charlie] has attacked this problem with some more recent technology and a bit of lateral thinking, and has successfully brought light gun games back to life. He senses where the gun is pointing using a Wiimote with its sensor bar on top of the TV through a Raspberry Pi, and feeds the positional information to an Arduino. He then takes the video signal from the console and strips out its sync pulses which also go to the Arduino. Knowing both position and timing, the Arduino can then flash a white LED stuck to the end of the light gun barrel at the exact moment that part of the CRT would have been lit up, and as far as the game is concerned it has received the input it is expecting.

He explains the timing problem and his solution in the video below the break. He then shows us gameplay on a wide variety of consoles from the era using the device. More information and his code can be found on his GitHub repository.

We’ve featured [Charlie]’s work in the retro gaming field before, with his HDMI mod for a Neo Geo MVS. Console light guns have made a lot of appearances on these pages, a recent one was this video synthesiser but it’s this burning laser mod that most children of the 1980s would have given anything to own.

Filed under: nintendo hacks, nintendo wii hacks

Tricking Duck Hunt to See A Modern LCD TV as CRT

A must-have peripheral for games consoles of the 1980s and 1990s was the light gun. A lens and photo cell mounted in a gun-like plastic case, the console could calculate where on the screen it was pointing when its trigger was pressed by flashing the screen white and sensing the timing at which the on-screen flying spot triggered the photo cell.

Unfortunately light gun games hail from the era of CRT TVs, they do not work with modern LCDs as my colleague [Will Sweatman] eloquently illustrated late last year. Whereas a CRT displayed the dot on its screen in perfect synchronization with the console output, an LCD captures a whole frame, processes it and displays it in one go. All timing is lost, and the console can no longer sense position.

[Charlie] has attacked this problem with some more recent technology and a bit of lateral thinking, and has successfully brought light gun games back to life. He senses where the gun is pointing using a Wiimote with its sensor bar on top of the TV through a Raspberry Pi, and feeds the positional information to an Arduino. He then takes the video signal from the console and strips out its sync pulses which also go to the Arduino. Knowing both position and timing, the Arduino can then flash a white LED stuck to the end of the light gun barrel at the exact moment that part of the CRT would have been lit up, and as far as the game is concerned it has received the input it is expecting.

He explains the timing problem and his solution in the video below the break. He then shows us gameplay on a wide variety of consoles from the era using the device. More information and his code can be found on his GitHub repository.

We’ve featured [Charlie]’s work in the retro gaming field before, with his HDMI mod for a Neo Geo MVS. Console light guns have made a lot of appearances on these pages, a recent one was this video synthesiser but it’s this burning laser mod that most children of the 1980s would have given anything to own.

Filed under: nintendo hacks, nintendo wii hacks

Four Of Our Favorite Hardware Talks

The Hackaday SuperConference is the greatest gathering of hardware hackers on the planet. Last year at the SuperCon, we saw talks on building systems from scratch, creating new and interesting uses for technology, and bringing those electronic bits to market. What are we talking about? Here are four of the best talks from last year’s Hackaday SuperConference:

[Shanni Prutchi] is an ECE student at Rowan University, and has already published papers on radio astronomy and metrology. Her provides an overview of building her own source of quantum entangled photons and how these photons can be used. Quantum Key Distribution is possible on a small-scale, and not just in the realm of university optics labs.

The best conference talk I’ve ever seen came from [sprite_tm] last year. He created a Matrix of Tamagotchis. Tamagotchis — those loveable digital pets living in an embedded system — are really just computer code, after all, and after reverse engineering the Tamagotchi itself, he emulated several on a server, giving them the ability to communicate with each other and even have children. The best part? [sprite]’s Matrix isn’t a weird almost-perpetual motion machine demanded by studio execs.

Building one of something is easy, but building a thousand is a million times harder. This is the problem of manufacturing electronics, and no one covered it better than [Zach Fredin] and his talk on pilot scale production. The first step of manufacturing is always the hardest, and for [Zach] that was pilot scale production. In the talk, [Zack] gave a few tips like always springing for a stencil, where to get boards manufactured, and the ins and outs of EDA software.

Haptic interfaces are the next frontier. Eventually, we’re all going to be wearing our computers, and [Neil Movva]’s talk on haptic technology was the state of the art in interfaces based on touch. He had some hardware to demo at the conference, demonstrating how different vibrations can feel like different textures. It’s weird, and at the forefront of technology.

We Want You To Speak At This Year’s Supercon

These are just a few examples of the best talks from last year’s Superconference. They’re the cream of the crop, but it’s a new year and we’re looking for the latest and greatest from the Hackaday community. We know we have the most technically literate, adept, and knowledgeable hardware community out there, and we want to showcase that knowledge. Send in your proposal now and share your knowledge with the Hackaday community.

The 2016 Hackaday Superconference is happening on November 5th and 6th, in Pasadena, California. View all the talks from 2015, get excited, and get your proposal submitted!

Filed under: cons, Hackaday Columns, roundup

Four Of Our Favorite Hardware Talks

The Hackaday SuperConference is the greatest gathering of hardware hackers on the planet. Last year at the SuperCon, we saw talks on building systems from scratch, creating new and interesting uses for technology, and bringing those electronic bits to market. What are we talking about? Here are four of the best talks from last year’s Hackaday SuperConference:

[Shanni Prutchi] is an ECE student at Rowan University, and has already published papers on radio astronomy and metrology. Her provides an overview of building her own source of quantum entangled photons and how these photons can be used. Quantum Key Distribution is possible on a small-scale, and not just in the realm of university optics labs.

The best conference talk I’ve ever seen came from [sprite_tm] last year. He created a Matrix of Tamagotchis. Tamagotchis — those loveable digital pets living in an embedded system — are really just computer code, after all, and after reverse engineering the Tamagotchi itself, he emulated several on a server, giving them the ability to communicate with each other and even have children. The best part? [sprite]’s Matrix isn’t a weird almost-perpetual motion machine demanded by studio execs.

Building one of something is easy, but building a thousand is a million times harder. This is the problem of manufacturing electronics, and no one covered it better than [Zach Fredin] and his talk on pilot scale production. The first step of manufacturing is always the hardest, and for [Zach] that was pilot scale production. In the talk, [Zack] gave a few tips like always springing for a stencil, where to get boards manufactured, and the ins and outs of EDA software.

Haptic interfaces are the next frontier. Eventually, we’re all going to be wearing our computers, and [Neil Movva]’s talk on haptic technology was the state of the art in interfaces based on touch. He had some hardware to demo at the conference, demonstrating how different vibrations can feel like different textures. It’s weird, and at the forefront of technology.

We Want You To Speak At This Year’s Supercon

These are just a few examples of the best talks from last year’s Superconference. They’re the cream of the crop, but it’s a new year and we’re looking for the latest and greatest from the Hackaday community. We know we have the most technically literate, adept, and knowledgeable hardware community out there, and we want to showcase that knowledge. Send in your proposal now and share your knowledge with the Hackaday community.

The 2016 Hackaday Superconference is happening on November 5th and 6th, in Pasadena, California. View all the talks from 2015, get excited, and get your proposal submitted!

Filed under: cons, Hackaday Columns, roundup

Shell Game

A lot of us spend a lot of time switching between Windows and Linux. Now that platforms like the Raspberry Pi are popular, that number is probably increasing every day. While I run Linux on nearly everything I own (with the exception of a laptop), my work computers mostly run Windows. The laptop is on Windows, too, because I got tired of trying to get all the fancy rotation sensors and pen features working properly under Linux.

What I hate most about Windows is how hard is it to see what’s going on under the hood. My HP laptop works with a cheap Dell active stylus. Sort of. It is great except around the screen edges where it goes wild. Calibration never works. On Linux, I could drill down to the lowest levels of the OS if I were so inclined. With Windows, it is just tough.

War is Shell

One place where Linux always used to have an advantage over DOS and Windows was the shell. There are lots of variations available under Linux, but bash seems to be the current pick for most people. If you want more power, you can move to some alternatives, but even bash is pretty powerful if you learn how to use it and have the right external programs (if you don’t believe it, check out this web server).

In the old DOS days, some of us went to 4DOS which was nice, but no bash (and apparently morphed into the Windows Take Command Console software. I’ve seen a few people use things like Rexx as a shell under DOS or Windows, but it has always been a small minority.

Windows Power

Microsoft finally addressed the shortcomings of its default command interpreter, first introducing Windows Scripting Host to allow Javascript and VBScript batch files. Eventually, this was supplanted by Monad which later became known as the Windows PowerShell.

In addition to running programs, the PowerShell can use functions and cmdlets (programs made to interact with the shell). While it isn’t compatible with a traditional Linux shell, it has similar powers and many people–especially system administrators–make heavy use of it to automate tasks.

Shell Shock

Two things have recently happened that surprised me. First, Microsoft made bash available (and other Linux executables) for Windows 10 as a native application (you can find the detailed install directions online). The surprise isn’t that this is possible. I’ve used Cygwin and UWIN to have a very full-featured Linux environment under Windows for years (and did the same with MKS under DOS). The surprise was that Microsoft would “cross the streams” and officially support a Linux/Unix tool on Windows. Sure, NT used to have a crippled POSIX subsystem, but it
wasn’t practical. This appears to be a genuine attempt to put the shell on Windows (which, again, is only remarkable because it is Microsoft doing it).

The second piece of news that surprised me is that you can now get PowerShell for Linux or OS/X. I’m not sure how many Linux users will rush out for a .NET tool, but it is one more way to make the systems more alike which is nice when you use both.

Decisions, Decisions…

So now you have several options for using Linux and Windows without going crazy switching between the two:

  • Run Linux and put Windows in a virtual machine
  • Run Windows and put Linux in a virtual machine
  • Use bash everywhere (using Cygwin or the Microsoft product)
  • Use PowerShell everywhere

If you just can’t stand to take software from Microsoft, you could check out PASH, which is essentially a rewrite of PowerShell using Mono. I’m not sure how much momentum it will retain now that Microsoft is supporting something so similar.

If you do want to learn more about PowerShell, the Wikipedia article on it has a nice table that relates PowerShell to cmd.exe to Linux shell. There’s also a video, you can watch below.

Thanks to [rogeorge] for the tip about PowerShell.

Filed under: Hackaday Columns, rants

Shell Game

A lot of us spend a lot of time switching between Windows and Linux. Now that platforms like the Raspberry Pi are popular, that number is probably increasing every day. While I run Linux on nearly everything I own (with the exception of a laptop), my work computers mostly run Windows. The laptop is on Windows, too, because I got tired of trying to get all the fancy rotation sensors and pen features working properly under Linux.

What I hate most about Windows is how hard is it to see what’s going on under the hood. My HP laptop works with a cheap Dell active stylus. Sort of. It is great except around the screen edges where it goes wild. Calibration never works. On Linux, I could drill down to the lowest levels of the OS if I were so inclined. With Windows, it is just tough.

War is Shell

One place where Linux always used to have an advantage over DOS and Windows was the shell. There are lots of variations available under Linux, but bash seems to be the current pick for most people. If you want more power, you can move to some alternatives, but even bash is pretty powerful if you learn how to use it and have the right external programs (if you don’t believe it, check out this web server).

In the old DOS days, some of us went to 4DOS which was nice, but no bash (and apparently morphed into the Windows Take Command Console software. I’ve seen a few people use things like Rexx as a shell under DOS or Windows, but it has always been a small minority.

Windows Power

Microsoft finally addressed the shortcomings of its default command interpreter, first introducing Windows Scripting Host to allow Javascript and VBScript batch files. Eventually, this was supplanted by Monad which later became known as the Windows PowerShell.

In addition to running programs, the PowerShell can use functions and cmdlets (programs made to interact with the shell). While it isn’t compatible with a traditional Linux shell, it has similar powers and many people–especially system administrators–make heavy use of it to automate tasks.

Shell Shock

Two things have recently happened that surprised me. First, Microsoft made bash available (and other Linux executables) for Windows 10 as a native application (you can find the detailed install directions online). The surprise isn’t that this is possible. I’ve used Cygwin and UWIN to have a very full-featured Linux environment under Windows for years (and did the same with MKS under DOS). The surprise was that Microsoft would “cross the streams” and officially support a Linux/Unix tool on Windows. Sure, NT used to have a crippled POSIX subsystem, but it
wasn’t practical. This appears to be a genuine attempt to put the shell on Windows (which, again, is only remarkable because it is Microsoft doing it).

The second piece of news that surprised me is that you can now get PowerShell for Linux or OS/X. I’m not sure how many Linux users will rush out for a .NET tool, but it is one more way to make the systems more alike which is nice when you use both.

Decisions, Decisions…

So now you have several options for using Linux and Windows without going crazy switching between the two:

  • Run Linux and put Windows in a virtual machine
  • Run Windows and put Linux in a virtual machine
  • Use bash everywhere (using Cygwin or the Microsoft product)
  • Use PowerShell everywhere

If you just can’t stand to take software from Microsoft, you could check out PASH, which is essentially a rewrite of PowerShell using Mono. I’m not sure how much momentum it will retain now that Microsoft is supporting something so similar.

If you do want to learn more about PowerShell, the Wikipedia article on it has a nice table that relates PowerShell to cmd.exe to Linux shell. There’s also a video, you can watch below.

Thanks to [rogeorge] for the tip about PowerShell.

Filed under: Hackaday Columns, rants

Citizen Scientist Radio Astronomy (and More): No Hardware Required

We sometimes look back fondly on the old days where you could–it seems–pretty easily invent or discover something new. It probably didn’t seem so easy then, but there was a time when working out how to make a voltage divider or a capacitor was a big deal. Today–with a few notable exceptions–big discoveries require big science and big equipment and, of course, big budgets. This probably isn’t unique to our field, either. After all, [Clyde Tombaugh] discovered Pluto with a 13-inch telescope. But that was in 1930. Today, it would be fairly hard to find something new with a telescope of that size.

However, there are ways you can contribute to large-scale research. It is old news that projects let you share your computers with SETI and protein folding experiments. But that isn’t as satisfying as doing something personally. That’s where Zooniverse comes in. They host a variety of scientific projects that collect lots of data and they need the best computers in the world to crunch the data. In case you haven’t noticed, the best computers in the world are still human brains (at least, for the moment).

Their latest project is Radio Meteor Zoo. The data source for this project is BRAMS (Belgian Radio Meteor Stations). The network produces a huge amount of readings every day showing meteor echoes. Detecting shapes and trends in the data is a difficult task for computers, especially during peak activity such as during meteor showers. However, it is easy enough for humans.

There are many other Zooniverse projects if that one doesn’t fit your fancy. You can search for comets and supernova, study animal behavior, help transcribe documents from Shakespeare’s contemporaries, or study weather patterns from old ship’s logs. You won’t get paid (or charged, either) but you’ll be helping science and maybe learn something, too. The typical project gives you some form of training and relies on many people evaluating the same data to ensure the quality of the results is good.

You can find a video about an older Zooniverse project, below. In that one, you classify shapes of distant galaxies. Don’t get us wrong, though. There’s still independent citizen scientists out there. We have even covered a few of the more notable specimens. These are great projects to spur the interest of a budding young scientist, or rekindle the scientific spirit in us old timers. Would probably make a fair classroom project, too.

Filed under: news

Citizen Scientist Radio Astronomy (and More): No Hardware Required

We sometimes look back fondly on the old days where you could–it seems–pretty easily invent or discover something new. It probably didn’t seem so easy then, but there was a time when working out how to make a voltage divider or a capacitor was a big deal. Today–with a few notable exceptions–big discoveries require big science and big equipment and, of course, big budgets. This probably isn’t unique to our field, either. After all, [Clyde Tombaugh] discovered Pluto with a 13-inch telescope. But that was in 1930. Today, it would be fairly hard to find something new with a telescope of that size.

However, there are ways you can contribute to large-scale research. It is old news that projects let you share your computers with SETI and protein folding experiments. But that isn’t as satisfying as doing something personally. That’s where Zooniverse comes in. They host a variety of scientific projects that collect lots of data and they need the best computers in the world to crunch the data. In case you haven’t noticed, the best computers in the world are still human brains (at least, for the moment).

Their latest project is Radio Meteor Zoo. The data source for this project is BRAMS (Belgian Radio Meteor Stations). The network produces a huge amount of readings every day showing meteor echoes. Detecting shapes and trends in the data is a difficult task for computers, especially during peak activity such as during meteor showers. However, it is easy enough for humans.

There are many other Zooniverse projects if that one doesn’t fit your fancy. You can search for comets and supernova, study animal behavior, help transcribe documents from Shakespeare’s contemporaries, or study weather patterns from old ship’s logs. You won’t get paid (or charged, either) but you’ll be helping science and maybe learn something, too. The typical project gives you some form of training and relies on many people evaluating the same data to ensure the quality of the results is good.

You can find a video about an older Zooniverse project, below. In that one, you classify shapes of distant galaxies. Don’t get us wrong, though. There’s still independent citizen scientists out there. We have even covered a few of the more notable specimens. These are great projects to spur the interest of a budding young scientist, or rekindle the scientific spirit in us old timers. Would probably make a fair classroom project, too.

Filed under: news