A desktop CNC

othermillAs 3D printing becomes popularized, the opposite, milling (i.e. removing instead of adding material) is trying to reach the same tipping point. Over at kickstarter, the Othermill has achieved funding.

Milling opens the possibilities of working with a wider set of materials. It also makes it possible to create custom PCBs in a snap. No more chemicals and manual drilling. As the technology is similar to that of 3D printing, a large part of the needed work is already out there – electronics, g-code interpreters, etc.

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Rhombus-Tech is a CIC company working on various hardwares for running open source software. They are involved in a number of interesting projects, one of them being the KDE tablet. Their site makes an interesting read and they carry lots of information.

For instance, they make a computer module based on the Allwinner A10.

The Allwinner A10 CPU has been developed in, and is sold in, the People’s Republic of China. Its mass-volume price is around $7, yet it is a 400-pin highly feature-rich 1.2ghz ARM Cortex A8 with a MALI400 GPU. It has the distinction of having the highest bang-per-buck ratio of any SoC available at the time of writing, by quite a margin.

Based on this, they are also looking at a laptop project, a game console project and how to use the A10 in education.

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The people behind lowpowerlab has come up with a nice solution to switching your Raspeberry Pi on and off. Using a microcontroller and letting it communicate with the Pi over GPIO, the power supply is kept in sync with the Pi. All is explained in the video below.

Via hackaday.

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Machine Code for Beginners

The great Introduction to Machine Code for Beginners by Lisa Watts and Mike Wharton from 1983 is available online.

This book is a simple, step-by-step guide to learning to program in machine code. Machine code is the code in which the computer does all its work and programs written in machine code runs much faster and take up less memory space than programs in BASIC. A machine code program, though, is much more difficult to write and less easy to understand than a program in BASIC.

I remember reading this as a kid, so I presume that it was translated into Swedish. Still, a colourful introduction to how the machine thinks. I’ll show it to my daughter this weekend.

Via BoingBoing.

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Arduino from the Command Line

Feeling limited by the Arduino IDE? What to avoid writing linked scripts by hand? Try Ino.

Ino may replace Arduino IDE UI if you prefer to work with command line and an editor of your choice or if you want to integrate Arduino build process to 3-rd party IDE.

Ino is based on make to perform builds. However Makefiles are generated automatically and you’ll never see them if you don’t want to.

Sounds like the best of two worlds to me!

via SparkFun.

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Raspberry Pi Camera Available

The Raspberry Pi Foundation just announced the availability of the long awaited camera board.

The camera boards are now available for order! You can buy one fromRS Components or from Premier Farnell/Element14. We’ve been very grateful for your patience as we’ve tweaked and refined things; it’d have been good to get the camera board out to you last month, but we wanted your experience to be as good as possible, and we’ve been working on the software right up until last night.

For such a small device, this has been an enormous project, and a year-long effort for everybody involved. We’re pretty proud of it: we hope you like it!

For the curious minded, there is a small video demonstrating how to get it started.

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ESD Safety

Or, you can read up on Wikipedia.

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LEGO runs Linux

GyroBoyOldest CES news of the year, but I’m just very happy to hear that the next generation of Lego MindStorm will run Linux!

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Capacative Touch

Adafruit is a great resource for may electronic projects. One of my favorite parts is their focus on wearable electronics. Gizmos with LEDs and speakers have been around for a while. You can even get them from Thinkgeek. However, capacitive touch with conductive fabric opens possibilities.

I’m not sure if this ever will become mainstream. But imagine having sensors for vitals integrated in your t-shirt. Monitoring pulse, breathing, etc without any clumsy sensors. This, coupled with movement-based power generation, I’m sure we will see more and more in the future.

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NES in an FPGA

megaman_fpgaFPGAs are a fascinating piece of technology. Gaming can also fascinate. Merging the two in a retro recreation of a the classical NES means that I have to write about it.

Ludde (from Gothenburg, just as myself) built a NES inside a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA as a project over Christmas. The system drives a VGA output and emulates the CPU, PPU and APU, i.e. processing, graphics and audio units. Conveniently enough, the controllers are hooked up via USB, so you do not have to dig out the originals.

Via hackaday.

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