Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hackaday Links: April 29, 2012

Hackaday Links: April 29, 2012:

New desktop wallpaper for you

[McMonster] found a great pair of blog posts (1, 2) showing what ancient ICs look like without their casing. Since these were CERDIP packages (two ceramic plates glued together) they were exceptionally easy to take apart leaving the entire chip intact. Pages are in Polish, but there’s a Google Translate button on the sidebar

Cheap and easy Arduino wi-fi

Quick quiz: what’s the easiest way to get data onto an Arduino wirelessly? XBees? GSM modules? Nope, just get a wireless router and an Ethernet shield. The Ethernet module only cost [Doss] $20, and we’re sure Hackaday readers have a spare wireless router around somewhere.

You people are awesome. 

[Valentin] made a night vision monocular from an old VHS camcorder, a small spy camera, and a handful of infrared LEDs. Here’s a video of [Valentin]‘s build in action.

Filed under: Hackaday links

Hacking the trampofoil to be pedal powered

Hacking the trampofoil to be pedal powered:

We’ve seen a few different versions of the “trampofoil” before. That’s the contraption that utilizes a hydrofoil and human power to scoot you across the water above the surface. It is somewhat difficult to explain, so just check out the first video after the break to see how the original works.
Today, we stumbled upon a cool video where someone is attempting to make a pedal powered one instead. Their first prototype, shown above is literally just a trampofoil with an added seat and pedal powered prop. They did manage to take it a step further though and came up with a second prototype that has a better designed hydrofoil as well as using a bike frame for the main structure. This looks really fun as you can see in the second video below.

Filed under: transportation hacks

Zen rock garden table uses magnets and sand

Zen rock garden table uses magnets and sand:

[Nick] is working on a prototype of a coffee table sand plotter that draws patterns in sand a lot like a zen rock garden.
[Nick]‘s zen rock garden uses a magnet to draw a ball bearing across the sand in interesting patterns. The build uses 3D printed gears and laser cut parts to rotate the table around and move the magnet along a radius of the circle. During the first test of the prototype, the ball bearing jerked around but this problem was solved by adding a piece of foam under the sand. Power is supplied through a slip ring in the base, and the table is controlled through Bluetooth.
Speaking of magnet-and-ball-bearing zen coffee tables, we ran across this video of a more professional-looking prototype that was the basis for a successful Kickstarter campaign. Like [Nick]‘s prototype, the entire build relies on magnets and a ball bearing to move sand around in patterns. Because this zen table uses an XY axis instead of [Nick]‘s polar setup, drawing logos is a lot easier math-wise, lthough it doesn’t look quite as cool as a circular rock garden.
After the break you can see these zen rock garden coffee tables in action.

Filed under: cnc hacks

DIY night vision monocle

posted Oct 2nd 2010 12:00pm by 
filed under: digital cameras hacks 
This interesting mashup shows it’s easy to make your own night vision goggles. It makes use of just a few parts; the viewfinder from an old camcorder, a low-light security camera module, and a collection of infrared LEDs.
The low-light camera is capable of detecting infrared light, which is invisible to our eyes. If you shine the right IR LEDs on an object, they will cast enough light for the camera to clearly view the objects around you. The camcorder viewfinder is nothing more than a compact way to display what the camera sees. This would be easy to accomplish with a wearable display. It is also beneficial to have a large IR light source so you may consider modifying that giant LED flashlight you’ve been meaning to build so that it operates in the infrared wavelengths.
This project comes from the same source as the Laser Microphone we looked in on last month. Just like that one, there’s plenty of extra information about this build. There’s suggestions for choosing and focusing a light source. This includes using lasers as the source, and binoculars for long-range viewing.

Laser so easy to build anyone can burn their eyes out

Laser so easy to build anyone can burn their eyes out:

The boys over at North Street Labs built a handheld burning laser and made it look super simple. Well it’s not. We don’t think it’s hard either, but the only reason it looks so easy is because they really know what they’re doing.
The first step was to source the best parts for the application. They’re using a handheld flashlight body which is small but still leaves plenty of room for the components. Next they ordered a quality lens made for the wavelength of the diode, as well as a prefab driver board.
Now the real build starts. They hit the metal lathe and machined a housing for the diode out of some aluminum stock. To marry the parts together they applied some thermal paste, and used a wrench socket to protect the diode from the pressure the vice jaws exert. It slid into place and the whole thing fits perfectly in the flashlight housing. The project wouldn’t be complete without video proof of it burning stuff. You’ll find that after the break.

Filed under: laser hacks

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Working at Valve

By: Jeff       Via: TheMightyOhm
Working at Valve:
Yes, the things you have heard are true. After four glorious years of freelancing and working on fun open source hardware projects, I am going full-time again.
In June, I will be joining the hardware team at Valve.

Yes, Jeri works there. No, she is not my boss (or anyone else’s, more on that later).
On my last visit to Valve, I got a copy of the brand new Handbook for New Employees. This handbook outlines what it’s like to work at Valve.
Valve Handbook
If you read the handbook, you will discover that working at Valve is quite a bit different than working at other software or hardware companies.
Perhaps most significantly, Valve is a completely flat organization – there are no managers. (And by flat I don’t mean simple, or boring, because it is certainly neither of these things.)
Valve Handbook
No one, not even Gabe, can tell you what to do or what projects to work on.
So how does anything get done? Simple:
Valve Handbook
Interested in working at Valve? The handbook also talks a bit about the sorts of things that Valve looks for in the hiring process. I found this diagram particularly interesting:
Valve Handbook
Valve looks for people who are experts in their field but also generalists. (Jack of all trades, master of one?) This applies across all disciplines.
(Does this sound like you? If you are interested in working on hardware in an amazing work environment, surrounded by other super-talented people, I highly recommend that you contact Valve.)
The handbook contains lots of other good information for new and prospective employees. Unfortunately, it’s not available for download (yet), so you’ll have to come visit and beg for/borrow/steal a copy. (In the mean time, there are a few more scans here.)
As for me, I need to start packing. Wish me luck.
Update: LambdaGeneration just posted a link to the complete handbook.