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Embedded above is a short segment produced by Make about one of our most fundamental circuit components: the resistor. Although brief at just five minutes, it covers resistor basics and the historical development of Ohm’s law.
Over the years bicycle design has changed. Materials were upgraded as technology advanced, and accumulated knowledge helped bicycle builders make improvements along the way. But deep analysis with the intent to make meaningful improvements has not been widely embraced. Reasearchers at UC Davis are looking to expand into this frontier by letting the bicycle tell us how it can be improved. This is one of the test bikes they’ve been working on, which is mainly aimed at data harvesting. They’re hoping to find some real improvements based mostly on how the machine can get out of the rider’s way as much as possible. The thought here is that the rider’s body makes up 80-90% of the volume of the vehicle and should be accommodated in every way possible.
Sure, this could be a case of trying to build a better mouse trap. But listening to the discussion in the video after the break really drives home the complex issues of stability and locomotion that go into these seemingly simple vehicles. We’re going to guess the final recommendations will not involve making the bike five times taller.
With many modern cars coming equipped with an array of ultrasonic sensors mounted in the bumpers, it stands to reason that many junk yards have them too. [jimk3038] points out that, unless they’re crushed, they’re probably good. The list of features on these is pretty long, including being short proof, water proof, EMF proof and fast. These tough little suckers can be used in a multitude of projects and can have a range of roughly 2 meters. [jimk3038] documents in great detail how to use these things as well as offering some sample code to get you started. Why didn’t we think of this?
[larspontoppidan] has an extremely cheap DVD player. It doesn’t work too bad for movies and he liked using it as a CD player. The only problem is the idiotic front panel: a play button that points left, a stop button that points right. Who does that? Lars decided to use an ATMega48 to fix the ridiculous buttons and to interpret commands from his Technics remote. The MCU takes the input from the buttons or remote and then issues the correct IR sequence for the DVD player. He’s got a detailed write up and even covers the initial decoding of IR commands from the original remote. Lars throws in a silly Apple style “breathing” LED hack as well.
[King Tuna]‘s Hacking EVDO was a popular talk. Things are really just starting on this front. Now that some of the newer cards have unlocked firmware (probably thanks to the need for sofware update EVDO revisions), It’s now possible to edit the firmware. With the door open, people can start mucking around with ESN’s and we’ll probably see some ESN duplication exploits soon.