One of the problems when 3D printing is the cost of filament. Especially since you tend to improve designs incrementally and end up with lots of intermediate step test prints that you need to scrap.
The Filabot team wants to change this. They want to enable you to take your scrap plastic and turn it into filament again. They also want to let you take your plastic items in your home and turn them into filament. Basically, they want to let you make your own filament from whatever you have laying around.
Earlier we wrote of an OS for FPGAs. Today, we turn our attention for a real-time operating system for TI microcontrollers: TI-RTOS. The good part: it is a complete RTOS with support for USB, TCP/IP and FAT filesystems. The less good part: the license limits the OS to be used for TI devices.
The PICnDuino is an open source hardware platform with dual micro controllers. It is compatible with both Arduino and Amicus18 – a PIC based board inspired by the Arduino. This means that you can play with both the Arduino through the usual C-inspired sketch language, and the PIC through the Amicus BASIC language.
To be more specific, the board is carries an Atmel Atmega 238P and a PIC18F25K20. Four user-controllable LEDs, 44 I/O pins sporting digital, analog, SPI, I2C, PWM, IRQs and USART. Just like the original boards, the board is powered and interfaced over USB, so it is easy to bring along and hack with.
The price? Just over 15 EUR (AU$19), including worldwide shipping. And it comes in multiple colours!
We recently wrote about BORPH, a Linux version that could launch hardware processes on configurable hardware systems, i.e. FPGAs. The question that always pops up is what kind of process you would like to run in hardware. By pure coincidence, Secworks released a great example yesterday.
They have a great article (in Swedish, Google Translated here), describing the problem and the need in detail. But to summarize, the problem is hash functions. Hash functions ideally convert a linear time look-up to a constant time problem. That is, unless you have a hash sum collision, i.e. two key values generating the same hash value.
The bad and the smart guys know this and they can bring down powerful web servers by generating hash collisions for the trivial hashing functions commonly used today. The answer to this threat is more complex hashing functions, but they require more number crunching power from the servers. To improve performance here, Secworks has implemented a SipHash algorithm using Verilog so that you can run it in configurable hardware. They have released the source on Gitorious as siphash_core. The result – a faster way to generate hashes through an algorithm that makes it as hard to cause collisions on purpose as it would be to read an encrypted mail (it is based on similar maths).
BORPH is an operating system designed for FPGA-based hardwares. It is basically a Linux kernel that is able to spawn what is known as hardware processes, thus executing in hardware.
The develoment is done at Berkley, and the name of the OS, BORPH, reads Berkley Operating System for ReProgrammable Hardware. For more information, either visit the project wiki, or the offical website.
Do you have a need for speed? Or just a need to run a couple of motors? If you combine that need with a TI LaunchPad, the Motor Driver Booster Pack from Longhorn Engineer might be just for you. It is open hardware, so the full Eagle sources can be downloaded.
What you get is a dual H-bridge motor driver, capable of driving 2A per motor at 2.7-10.8V. The logic voltage is 3.3V, so perfect for common ARM boards, but requires a level conversion to be used with the ever so popular Arduino.