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.

  • Scooter desk

    lion mclionhead08/15/2019 at 20:53 0 comments

    Got to thinking about a scooter that transformed into a standing desk, but could fit in a form factor right in front of you. It would be supported by your legs or something.  A strap could also go around the lion's hip, minimizing the base it required.

    The laptop could be fastened to the top without having a full table.  There are already scooters with castor wheels extending from the deck, allowing them to stand upright.  It's kind of ridiculous for a 2 wheeled vehicle to have 2 extra wheels just for standing up.  

    1 idea is for the handlebars to form the table.  This would require the original handle to extend above the deck & make it top heavy.  Another idea is for the handlebars to form the base.  The handle would fold against the deck & the extension above would be entirely carbon fiber.  

    The mane problem is if the laptop is attached to the scooter, tipping over would destroy it.

    This is still not as ideal as a wearable computer.

  • Adjusting focus on a gopro

    lion mclionhead07/13/2019 at 21:22 0 comments

    Years after the gopro 4 arrived, its nearsightedness became a real problem when recording the piano.  The low keys were sharp while the high keys were blurry.  It wasn't even known to be nearsighted until long after its eclipse duty.  

    This method works on a 4, but it's 1 time only.  It chews up the plastic.  You can probably leave the inner ring attached, to have more plastic to chew.  A 2.5 mm turn got the high keys in focus & the low keys only barely softer.  Selfies definitely won't be as sharp.

    While the lion kingdom got a 7 for its super smooth stabilization, it still uses the 4 for the gimbal & dual cam shots.  The 7 requires a robot to get cinematic stabilization but is sharp from end to end.

  • Remote camera for rocket launches

    lion mclionhead06/17/2019 at 00:28 0 comments

    The lion kingdom was quite disappointed when, after years of seeing photos of rocket launches, the mundane methods of making those photos were revealed.  There's no cameralion next to the launchpad squeezing off spectacular shots while the smoke blows by.  There's no specialized rocket photographing robot.

    They're ordinary DSLR's with sound triggers, enclosed in tupperware containers.  Usually, there's not even a rocket on the pad.  They're carefully aimed at landmarks, to guess where the rocket will be.  They're mounted on tripods secured with tent posts & waterproofed.  The setup is done hours before the launch, when nothing is happening.  It's a very boring process.

    The mane problem with this is the cameras can't start until the engine noise starts.  They can't get video of the engines starting.   They can't follow the rocket upward.  Attempts to get audio have failed because of the weatherproofing.

    The lion kingdom has always thought the best solution is to apply dashcam software to a DSLR.  It should record in a loop, then save everything from 1 minute before the sound trigger.  The mane reason this will never be provided in a DSLR is the European tax on anything that can record more than 30 minutes of video.  Any solution needs to get the file boundaries when the rocket is known to not be lifting off.  

  • Adhesive moisturiser

    lion mclionhead06/11/2019 at 16:32 0 comments

    Lions used moisturizing cream for playing piano for 30 years.  Too much & it makes the keys very slippery.  Too little & cracking skin is the result.  Get it just right & it makes the keys grip more.  What if there was no guesswork & adhesion was added to make a cream that let pianists grip the keys more.  It could make more money than actually playing music.  A grippy moisturizing cream has long been a goal of the industry, but it's incompatible with the oil used to moisturize.

  • The flat skateboard

    lion mclionhead05/23/2019 at 04:27 0 comments

    A skateboard  which folded into a 1/2" thickness & small enough form factor to fit in a backpack.  The key lions realized was to make the wheels out of 1/4" slices.  The easiest solution is fully disassembling it into parts no thicker than 1/4".  Making it fully collapsible without disassembly wouldn't be possible.

    Another idea was just making wheels 1/4" in diameter.  Instead of a board which floated off the ground like the movies, what about a board which stuck right against the ground.  It would look like a snowboard, but skiing on pavement.  Instead of 4 wheels, it would have many wheels.  They would individually brake & be on pivots to allow steering.

  • CPU fan fan

    lion mclionhead03/15/2019 at 03:45 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.  

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Daniel Dunn wrote 03/15/2019 at 08:10 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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