Silly hardware wishlist

Too simple for a project page & which may never happen.

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Replacing the TOSLINK on the ultimate amplifier with USB which can be captured.  It could finally be plugged into multiple computers instead of the 1 with the TOSLINK output.  There is an ancient STM32 discovery board which could be dropped in.

Something which can measure the duration of long delays down to the microsecond, but that might evolve into a super oscilloscope of some kind.  It would measure delays up to 1 second.  It would be USB controlled.  The mane problem with a super oscilloscope is the low I/O speed of a microcontroller & small memory buffer.  The best microcontroller would be limited to buffering maybe 1megbyte at 40Mhz.  Buffering over USB would be limited to 1.5Mhz.  It could capture long delays down to 1us.  

Capacitive multiplier for the preamp.

  • CPU fan fan

    lion mclionhead4 days ago 0 comments

    The ages old quest to turn old computer fans into a desk fan finally yielded some results.  Coroplastic was the mane evolution which allowed it.  Other innovations were a stand capable of adjusting tilt.  The mane advantage with this one was a junk microcontroller generating PWM for controlling the speed.  There was absolutely no other use for this 40 pin PIC from 20 years ago.  Most used fans don't have PWM support.  The PWM runs at 25khz & goes from 0 to 100% duty cycle.

    Grilles have to be ordered for any desk fan conversion.  They're currently at least $10 for 4.  You may also need a switch & pot, adding enough to the cost to make it more expensive than a purpose built desk fan.  Only after many years of buying junk desk fans was there enough motivation & belief that old CPU fans could work better than purpose built desk fans to justify the higher cost.

    For a given amount of noise & space, they do move more air than the Chinese versions.  CPU fans could be stacked into a tower.  With more noise, a smaller version putting out more airflow could be made.  Jet engine amounts of airflow in the smallest space could be achieved with quad copter motors.  That would best be fitted with CPU fan grilles.  

  • Paw crawler

    lion mclionhead02/15/2019 at 19:54 0 comments

    A robotic human paw which walked on its 5 fingers.  It would have no point, other than being extremely scary.

  • Floor cleaning sandals

    lion mclionhead01/13/2019 at 04:05 0 comments

    Sandals with some kind of reactive sole similar to magic erasers.  They would react very slowly to gradually clean large areas of floor as you walked.  The idea is heavily trafficked areas of carpet & linoleum always turn black.  The mane cause is rubber wearing off of black sandals.  The lion kingdom switched to tan sandals with some improvement, but surely if anything can be rubbed off a sandal, it could be a detergent of some kind which makes dirt particles in the carpet looser than the rubber particles in the sandal.  Then, the process would be the carpet rubbing dirt onto the sandal instead of the sandal rubbing dirt onto the carpet.

  • Rep counter

    lion mclionhead12/23/2018 at 05:31 0 comments

    With old age & senility, it gets harder to count reps.  There is of course the ages old

    counter from grumpy old school bus driver lore.  Maybe it was too rooted in grumpy bus driver lore.  It has really small digits which are hard to see in old age & it might not have enough tactile feedback.

    The next idea was to convert a board from the day job into a counter.  They have big displays.  It would need a haptic engine, also known as a vibrator in the days when the world was manely married.  The problem is it's not convenient to look at a paw while exercising.

    The next idea was a wireless button with haptic engine that incremented a counter on a phone or computer screen.  This would take a while to set up, every day.  

    Maybe another remote control with a haptic engine for Heroineclock II could be devised, to turn it into a giant counter.  It might also be good enough with some kind of sound effect.  You still have to carry something around & point it at the clock & you can't tell time while counting.

    A giant counter still sounds appealing, for some reason besides counting reps.  20 years ago, a national debt clock took only 13 digits.  Today, it takes 15 digits.  It could be used for cooking.

    To be completely free from looking at a paw, complex setup, carrying something around, & generating haptic feedback, you really need a machine vision program that detects poses.  There would be 1 pose to reset the counter.  Then, it would detect 2 poses from each exercise.  The number could still be displayed on another screen.

    It's surprising that for all the programs which now use only speech as user input, there is no significant marketing of pose detection.  There were a few quad copters which used poses, but they weren't widely marketed.

    Besides machine vision, there is strapping wireless accelerometers or the infamous mocap balls to the 4 legs.  This has an involved setup & wouldn't be easy to reset the counter with.

    There is source code for pose detection:

    It's based on a database of 3.6 million human poses that were captured with both mocap & video.  The neural network simply compares images to get the closest pose & looks up the corresponding mocap data.  It's very slow.  The mane emphasis is analyzing crowds.

    There's a pose estimator that works in a browser.

    An openCV implementation:

    A summary of pose estimators:

    It's come a long way since lions 1st studied it, 6 years ago, yet there is no pose estimator app for a phone.

    The holy grail seems to be openpose.  This is what all the tracking cameras & quad copters in the last year are using for tracking subjects.

    Counting exercise poses is much simpler than detecting the absolute position of each body part from a photo.  The neural network could probably be trained with a few reps of each exercise.  A stereo camera system might even be easier.    The kinekt did this before it was discontinued.

  • Ham radio

    lion mclionhead12/21/2018 at 08:31 0 comments

    The lion kingdom's mane interest in this has been extending wifi range by using radios other than 802.11 routers.  Phone GSM, 2G, 3G, LTE have proven very unreliable over the years & expensive.  The lion kingdom has sometimes wanted 50 mile range, but just 1000ft through buildings would be a breakthrough.  Encapsulating the data in PPP allows any radio to be used.  

    You can stick directional antennas on, use very low bitrates & use repeaters, but instead of spending your whole life trying to get longer range out of 1W ISM band radios, you could just get a license & use more power on other bands.  The mane problem is encryption is not allowed.  

    There is a page about extending wifi by using licensed bands & the encryption problem.

    The mane solutions would be not using the ISM bands & using highly randomized frequency hopping, perhaps with 2 synchronized random number generators.  It still doesn't explain if https is legal.  Interestingly, you have to transmit your ham radio call sign every 10 minutes.  

  • SDR radio telescope

    lion mclionhead12/19/2018 at 19:07 0 comments

    It's been a lifelong quest to find a practical use for ham radio.  There was the idea of listening to the space station.  There was trying to receive GOES satellite data, which the internet has proven to be extremely hard.  15 years ago, the lion kingdom made some astrophotography photos.  People have migrated to cities in the last 15 years.  If you have a job, the sky is now too bright to see anything anymore.  If you don't have a job, it's darker than it was 30 years ago.  It's darker in Illinois than it was 30 years ago while Calif* is much brighter.  The next frontier for those of us with jobs is radio photography.

    There are some previous radio telescope attempts:

    The amusing thing about this one was what a 25 year old of today found the most challenging, like converting dB to a greyscale value, averaging values, making a pan/tilt platform, drawing a happy face on it.  This was grade school, 30 years ago.

    All the amateur radio telescopes are basically surplus satellite TV dishes on pan/tilt platforms, with SDR receivers whacked on.  They measure the magnitude of carrier waves, but not modulation or phase.  The question is what lions would do differently to make a different picture.

  • Short circuit testing on the Mastech

    lion mclionhead12/14/2018 at 00:24 0 comments

    It was replaced by an Agilent for 2 years, but now it's back.  It suffered 2 problems: very imprecise settings & no short circuit test.  Its mane good points were very high power, easily restores its previous settings when turned on.  The Agilent ran into its 1A limit quite easily & required a complicated menu navigation to restore previous settings.  

    Short circuit switches instantly welded themselves closed.  The easiest solution ended up being bullet connectors.  They don't expose the + side like a knife switch would.  The male connector is naturally - although it might have been better as GND.  They make a nasty arc when testing 30V, but don't weld closed.  

    In a pinch, the bullet connectors could be a parallel output for the banana plugs. Lions have never needed more than 2 power supplies, though.

    It's a bad day when a power supply only has 0.1V precision, even then with a lot of nudging.  The current limit can't get any more precise than 0.3A on the left while the right has 0.1A precision.  

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Daniel Dunn wrote 4 days ago point

Have you heard of Yggdrasil? A network of solar powered mesh repeaters with commodity long range WiFi hotspots plus long range microwave links for the super long distances seems like it could be a great way to extend the range.

Organizations the size of ham clubs could probably set up 25km 100mbps links without too much difficulty if they had line of sight, and people who wanted to use them could do so via the public internet or via directional WiFi, all transparently, keeping the same IP no matter how you connect.

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