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C.H.I.P. vs Pi Zero: Which Sub-$10 Computer Is Better? ( 113

Make Magazine weighs in on a issue that's suddenly relevant in a world where less thn $10 can buy a new, (nominally) complete computer. Which one makes most sense? Both the $9 C.H.I.P and the newest, stripped-down Raspberry Pi model have plusses and minuses, but to make either one actually useful takes some additional hardware; at their low prices, it's not surprising that neither one comes with so much as a case. The two make different trade-offs, despite being just a few dollars apart in ticket price. C.H.I.P. comes with built-in storage that rPi lacks, for instance, but the newest Pi, like its forebears, has built in HDMI output. Make's upshot? The cost of owning either a C.H.I.P. or a Pi is a bit more money than the retail cost of the boards. Peripherals such as a power cable, keyboard, mouse, and monitor are necessary to accomplish any computer task on either of the devices. But it turns out the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero costs significantly more to operate than the Next Thing Co. C.H.I.P.
Hardware Hacking

Raspberry Pi Unveils New $5 Mini-computer 230

An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled the Pi Zero, a new $5 mini-computer, Thursday morning. The board is the smallest Raspberry Pi yet, containing the first-gen Raspberry Pi's BCM2835 chip (safely overclocked to 1GHz) and 512MB RAM. The latest issue of The Magpi will include a free Raspberry Pi Zero and hits U.K. newsstands Thursday. The announcement came just a few days before the highly anticipated C.H.I.P. $9 mini-computer goes on sale to the public. puddingebola writes: How can they achieve this price, you may ask? "Its 40-pin GPIO header has identical pinouts, although the pads on the circuit board are "unpopulated," meaning you'll have to solder on your own connector. The same goes for the composite video output: The connection is available, but if you need a socket, you must solder it yourself." Dude, go to Radio Shack. Some relevant specs besides those mentioned above, from the blog post linked:
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • "Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm"

New submitter graffitiwriter adds a note that the newest Pi has "already been turned into a retro gaming console. It turns out the Pi Zero is more than capable of running Retro Pie and other emulators, and even has a video output that lets you play games on an old CRT TV."


Hospitals Can 3D Print a Patient's Vasculature For Aneurysm Pre-Op Practice ( 21

Lucas123 writes: University of Buffalo physicians and researchers from two institutes working with 3D printer maker Stratasys have successfully 3D-printed anatomically correct models of patients' vascular systems — from their femoral artery to their brain — in order to test various surgical techniques prior to an actual operation. The new 3D printed models not only precisely replicate blood vessels' geometry, but the texture and tissue tension, allowing surgeons a realistic preoperative experience when using catheterization techniques. The printed models are also being used by physicians in training.

Australian State Bans Possession of Blueprints For 3D Printing Firearms ( 311

angry tapir writes: Possessing files that can be used to 3D print firearms will soon be illegal in the Australian state of New South Wales after new legislation, passed last week by state parliament, comes into effect. Possessing files for 3D printing guns will be punishable by up to 14 years in prison. The provisions "are targeted at criminals who think they can steal or modify firearms or manufacture firearms from 3D blueprints," NSW's justice minister, Troy Grant, said when introducing the bill in the state's lower house on 27 October. "Those who think they can skirt the law will find themselves facing some of the toughest penalties for firearms offences in this country," Grant said.
Hardware Hacking

Hands-On With the Voltera V-One PCB Printer ( 37

szczys writes: Eric Evenchick was one of the first backers of the Voltera V-One PCB Printer and just received the 6th device shipped so far. He ran it through its paces and published a review that gives it a positive rating. The hardware uses conductive ink to print traces on FR4 substrate. The board is then flipped upside down and the traces baked on the machine to make them robust. Next the printer dispenses solder paste and the same heating method is used to reflow after components are placed by hand.

3D Printed Objects Found Toxic To Fish Embryos ( 108

itwbennett writes: Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found that the parts of two common types of 3D printers are toxic to zebrafish embryos. The researchers made this discovery accidentally when a graduate student whose work involves developing tools for studying zebrafish embryos "noticed that zebrafish embryos die after exposure to parts from the 3-D printer." According to the report, "While the embryos exposed to parts from the plastic-melting printer had slightly decreased average survival rates compared to control embryos, the embryos exposed to parts from the liquid-resin printer had significantly decreased survival rates, with more than half of the embryos dead by day three and all dead by day seven. And of the few zebrafish embryos that hatched after exposure to parts from the liquid-resin printer, 100 percent of the hatchlings had developmental abnormalities."
Christmas Cheer

Slashdot Asks: Notes For Next Hallowe'en? 151

There are 364 more shopping days until next year's Hallowe'en. But while this year's is still fresh in the memory, I'd like to start gathering ideas for next year in the hopes of actually making my neighborhood worthwhile as a trick-or-treating destination, specifically for fun projects to actually give my yard a haunted-house feel. (For the second time in three years, there were zero candy-seekers, and I'd like to convince my neighbors to make the whole block more decorated and spooky, even if we never get all Alek Komarnitsky.) Did you create an animatronic zombie for your yard? Glowing eyes to appear from behind the bushes? Poltergist-style rising graves to frighten the children? Remote-controlled candy dispensers? If you used any kind of complex haunt technology at home, what things worked and what didn't? (I hear too many stories about fog machines leaking to make them sound like a good idea.)

Official, Customized Raspberry Pi Versions Coming Soon ( 93

DeviceGuru writes: The immensely popular Raspberry Pi will soon be offered in customized versions, through an exclusive arrangement between Raspberry Pi Trading and Element14. According to the companies' announcement, Element14 will provide design and manufacturing services to OEM customers to create 'bespoke designs' based upon the Raspberry Pi technology platform. That's weird U.K. English for saying that contracts for creating customized Raspberry Pi SBCs will entail substantial NRE fees and 3,000 to 5,000 unit orders, depending on the nature of the customization. The tweaked Pi's are likely to have revised board layouts, additional or alternative functions, interfaces, connectors, and memory configurations, and more. A handful of unsanctioned Raspberry Pi knock-offs have already appeared over the past couple of years, including various Orange Pi and Banana Pi flavors, which certainly didn't involve any 'bespeaking.' More info is at Element14's CustomPi page.

3D Printing Soft Body Parts: a Hard Problem That Just Got Easier ( 19

sciencehabit writes: Humans are squishy. That's a problem for researchers trying to construct artificial tissues and organs, and one that two separate teams of engineers may have just solved. Using a dish of goo the consistency of mayonnaise as a supporting 'bath,' a team led by biomedical engineer Adam Feinberg at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, can now print 3D biological materials that don't collapse under their own weight as they form—a difficulty that has long stood in the way of printing soft body parts (abstract). Once printed, the structures are stiff enough to support themselves, and they can be retrieved by melting away the supportive goo. The other team, from the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, has a similar system for printing (abstract), but without the slick trick of the melting goo.

Hands-On With the Fairphone 2 Modular Android Smartphone ( 107

An anonymous reader writes: In just a couple of months, the world's first consumer-ready modular smartphone will start shipping. It's called the Fairphone 2, and it will run Android 5.1. Ars Technica got hands-on time with the device, and they say it works surprisingly well. It's a bit thicker than most modern phones, but that's the trade-off for being able to swap out components. "The smartphone consists of seven major building blocks: the back cover, removable battery, display assembly, main chassis, receiver module, rear camera module, and speaker module. Positioned this way, the components that break most often, like the screen, are isolated for better repairability. In addition to swappable blocks, you can even change things inside the modules: for example, a mic or a speaker. They are press-fit, not glued, and can be extracted with simple tools."

Assembly and disassembly is pretty straightforward, as well: "The modules are held together by Phillips screws marked with blue circles. All screws are the same, so you won't have to remember which one goes where. It's quite hard to make a mistake in the assembling process, however Fairphone promises to release additional manuals and video instructions in collaboration with iFixit." The company also thinks it's important to get the phone's materials and components from ethical sources.


3D-Printed Teeth Can Kill 99% of Dental Bacteria ( 120

An anonymous reader writes: A research group in the Netherlands has developed a new plastic resin that can destroy most dental bacteria when used for the creation of dental appliances via 3D-printing. The process involves embedding antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts inside extant dental resin polymers. Since the salts are positively charged, these disrupt negatively-charged bacterial membranes. The process is also being mooted for use in the creation of knee arthroplasties, and in the manufacture of children's toys and food packaging.

Nurses Use Makerspace To Invent Custom Health Care Solutions ( 50

New submitter wd5gnr writes: University of Texas Medical Branch and an MIT initiative have joined forces to create the first maker space in a hospital. Often nurses see things that would make their jobs easier or a patient's care better and now they can create custom solutions to those problems. They aim to spread this to other hospitals and form a community of medical makers.

Mythbusters Ending After Next Season ( 187

An anonymous reader writes: Entertainment Weekly is just one of many reporting that next season will be the last for the long-running show Mythbusters. EW reports: "The pioneering reality series, one of cable's longest-running shows, will stage its final gonzo experiment during next year's 14th season after 248 episodes and 2,950 experiments. But there is some upside: Stars Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman have secretly known the end was coming all year and have been crafting an explosive final run for the seven-time Emmy-nominated series. 'It was my greatest fear that Mythbusters would just stop and we wouldn't be able to do proper final episodes,' Savage tells EW. 'So whether it's myths about human behavior or car stories or explosion stories, we tried to find the most awesome example of each category and build on our past history.'"

NASA Picks Winners For 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Design Contest ( 65

schwit1 writes: NASA has picked the three winners in a design contest for 3D-printed habitats that could help future astronauts live on Mars. The $25,000 first prize in NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition went to Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office for the 'Mars Ice House' design, which looks like a translucent, smooth-edged pyramid. That pyramid would be built of Martian ice and serve as a radiation shield, protecting the lander habitat and gardens inside it, team members said. The Mars Ice House's ribbed interiors and exteriors glow with diurnally determined hues at various times of sol (Martian day). In one illustration from the team's proposal, the outer shell is washed in Mars’ inky blue sunset, and in another it looks like it was dipped in the tea-tinged pink of the high noon on Mars.
United States

'Clock Kid' Ahmed Mohamed and His Family To Leave US, Move To Qatar 621

theodp writes: The curious case of Ahmed Mohamed, the 9th grader who was cuffed for scaring school officials with what turned out to be a repackaged digital clock, has taken yet another twist with news on Tuesday that the 'Clock Kid' and his family will move to Qatar. Less than 24 hours after Ahmed met President Obama at the White House, the family issued a news release saying, "After careful consideration of all the generous offers received, we would like to announce that we have accepted a kind offer from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) for Ahmed to join the prestigious QF Young Innovators Program, which reflects the organization's on-going dedication to empowering young people and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity." Prior to the announcement, some in the press sensed something was amiss when the President seemed to give Ahmed the cold shoulder on Monday after personally inviting Ahmed to the White House for "Astronomy Night." Last month, Ahmed enjoyed a decidedly warmer welcome at Google, where he was literally put front and center before the Google Science Fair winners (including Grand Prize winner Olivia Hallisey, who came up with a novel way to detect Ebola), and enjoyed a meet-and-greet with Sergey Brin.

Guy Creates Handheld Railgun With a 3D-Printer ( 276

turkeydance writes: Using a combination of 3D printing and widely available components, David Wirth built a functioning handheld railgun that houses six capacitors and delivers more than 1,800 joules of energy per shot. So far he has tested the gun using metal rods made of graphite, aluminum and copper-coated tungsten. David has shot projectiles at over 250 meters per second in tests.

Teaching Kids Engineering By Building Cartoon Tech ( 33

szczys writes: If you're struggling to get your kids interested in electronics or other types of engineering, this is the way. Start young and focus on something they're already fascinated with. The two brothers in this article are really into the PBS cartoon Wild Kratts. There's a handheld communications device called a Creaturepod on the show. With the help of mom and dad the family built a working version of the fictional hardware. Of course having Joe Grand, a well-known professional computer engineer, as the patriarch was key in this story. But the roadmap is there for this to be replicated.

"E-mailable" House Snaps Together Without Nails ( 127

MikeChino writes: Your next house could snap together like a jigsaw puzzle without the use of any power tools. Clemson University students designed and built Indigo Pine, a carbon-neutral house that exists largely as a set of digital files that can be e-mailed to a wood shop anywhere in the world, CNC cut, and then assembled on-site in a matter of days. “Indigo Pine has global application,” says the Clemson team. “Because the house exists largely as a set of digital files, the plans can be sent anywhere in the world, constructed using local materials, adapted to the site, and influenced by local culture.”
Hardware Hacking

Desktop Turing-Welchman Bombe Build 69

An anonymous reader writes: I completed a months long project to build my own version of the Turing-Welchman Bombe. My machine uses a Raspberry Pi2 and an Arduino to drive stepper motors to turn the three output indicator drums and to drive an LCD display, to work like the indicator unit on the real Bombe. Everything was custom made by me at home. The unit is built to reflect the style of the real Bombe at Bletchley Park and to run in a similar way but as a portable, desktop sized unit. To demonstrate it I use the same Weather Report Menu as used at BP to demonstrate their real Bombe. The entire build was painstakingly documented over many months but the link given shows an overview and a film of the completed machine in action.

Advance In Super/Ultra Capacitor Tech: High Voltage and High Capacity 147

fyngyrz writes: Ultracaps offer significantly faster charge and discharge rates as well as considerably longer life than batteries. Where they have uniformly fallen short is in the amount of energy they can store as compared to a battery, and also the engineering backflips required to get higher voltages (which is the key to higher energy storage because the energy stored in a cap scales with the square of the cap's voltage, whereas doubling the cap's actual capacitance only doubles the energy, or in other words, the energy increase is linear.) This new development addresses these shortcomings all at once: considerably higher voltage, smaller size, higher capacitance, and to top it off, utilizes less corrosive internals. The best news of all: This new technology looks to be easy, even trivial, to manufacture, and uses inexpensive materials — and that is something neither batteries or previous types of ultracaps have been able to claim. After the debacle of EEStor's claims and failure to meet them for so long, and the somewhat related very slow advance of other ultracap technology, it's difficult not to be cynical. But if you read TFA (yes, I know, but perhaps you'll do it anyway) you may decide some optimism might actually be called for.