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.

  • 3D printing wishlist

    lion mclionhead09/05/2020 at 03:22 0 comments

    With a 3D printer finally in the lion kingdom, it's time for a wishlist.

    F-35 nozzle ✓

    Hotshoe for microphone ✓

    PC board pliers for etching  wide boards. ✓

    Gopro mount for carbon fiber rod

    FD to EOS RF extension tube.  Using a 50mm as a macro is the only practical use of an FD lens.

    Gopro mount with servo panning

    binaural microphone with ear shapes

    Fan enclosure

    Starlink router replica

    Miniature server rack for raspberry pi's

    Silent, waterproof RC car with belt drive

    Waterproof, ambidextrous RC car remote control.

    SpaceX logo stencil

    Audio gear enclosures which allow modular attachment of the raspberry pi to the preamp & other sources.

    Equatorial mount

    EOS RF mount for microscope.

    Enclosures for the camera remote controls.

    Decent headset microphone which costs less than

    Robotic dog

    Starship cutaway dollhouse

  • Starlink router replica

    lion mclionhead08/28/2020 at 00:29 0 comments

    When searching for an enclosure for a raspberry pi, the idea came.

    It was based on dimensions in the FCC filing & the top secret unboxing video that was obliterated.

    The cables actually emerge in the same place as shown in the video.  It actually solves the problem of elevating the wifi antenna, routing the cables & takes the least space, but it gets quite hot even with the clockspeed limited to 700Mhz & has trouble standing up without a massive counterweight.  A 3D printer would make a much better enclosure that looks like the real thing, but by the time lions have a 3D printer, it'll be easier just to get a real Starlink router.

    Helas, the raspberry pi gets over 60C in the enclosure, so the lion kingdom has to keep it open.  The model B 3+ also crashes when its ethernet is driven at full capacity.

    The problem is the transmit buffer in the lan78xx driver locks up.  The workaround is to use the traffic shaper to limit bandwidth.  The failure bandwidth is determined by CPU load, so it could still crash if the CPU is maxed out.  Another workaround is to use a USB network card.

    The PI has never had much quality control.  It's always been a toy people try out & throw away or a teaching tool that runs maybe a tower of hanoi problem.  If they use it as router, it's way below its capacity.  The model B 1.0 never could run full CPU clockspeed without crashing.  The zero W was sort of a high point, but it didn't have ethernet & was prone to having its wifi chip break.

  • Working teddy bear from A.I.

    lion mclionhead08/25/2020 at 18:10 0 comments

    This video reminded the lion kingdom of how much it wanted a real version of the teddy bear from the movie.  The lion kingdom's copy of A.I. doesn't show any of Savage's models.  It cuts directly from the copter entering the water to the copter entering Coney island.

    We're a lot closer today than when the lion kingdom saw the movie in 2004.  Maybe the real bear could implement 1 of the worthless digital assistants from 5 years ago with some random body movements.  Maybe it could use real cameras to do real eye tracking.  The other body movements would be canned to go along with certain phrases & sounds it heard.  

    When digital assistants were big, 5 years ago, there were actually many robot toys which tried to be a kind of biological front end.

    Then, there were creepy prosthetic heads.

    How did we ever live through the 2015's?

    There was a Teddy Ruxpin revival a few years ago.  LCD screens enabled somewhat expressive eyes without a lot of money.  Only the mouth moved.  For some reason, biomorphic limbs & the ability to walk never made it into teddy bears, only plastic toys. 

    The lion kingdom got a $50 femisapien long ago.  It could walk on carpet with some enhancements.  That could theoretically be the basis of a teddy bear or at least a toy wookie.  The lion kingdom believes if robot startups shifted to animating plush animal toys instead of the plastic toys they've made for the last 30 years, they might get a lot more acceptance.  The fur coat on its own is most of the value in a toy, while the intelligent movement is the extra feature which makes them choose the robot over a competitor.

  • wifi audio from the CP33

    lion mclionhead08/03/2020 at 22:54 0 comments

    Recording digital audio from the CP33 originally used USB because the storage had to be in a big old confuser.  That is a real pain.  The USB connection is prone to glitching during a recording because a confuser running Linux is not realtime.  It requires a cable to hang out of the case.

    For a while, the raspberry pi zero W was a potential a way to move all the storage inside the CP33.  Sound could be recorded on an SD card & transferred using wifi.  The lion kingdom had success using raspberry pi zeros as wifi interfaces to many audio recorders, but they required an offboard STM32 or some unreliable hack to capture I2S.  They also required devoting 8GB of the SD card to an operating system.  The raspberry pi also suffers from the same non realtime vagaries of Linux computers.  Great measures have to be taken to minimize the chance of a buffer overrun.

    Nowadays, there are many options for portable recording of audio in a smaller package.  The mane requirements are a brain, SD card, I2S, DAC, & wifi.  They could make the audio recorders a lot smaller. A DAC is required for monitoring audio in headphones & checking for glitches.  It could also do realtime effects like reverb, compression.

    The ESP32 has 2 * I2S, 2 * 8 bit DAC, wifi, but no integrated SD card slot. The SD card still has to be fenegled on. 

    The arduino offerings all require extra boards for wifi & SD cards.

    The mane problem is lions don't play the CP33 a lot, so it may never be used.

    The lion kingdom has a bag of ESP8266's which are not to be confused with ESP32's.  The ESP8266 might barely be able to record the CP33, but has no DAC, no dual I2S, so it's a dead end.  

  • Sending luggage as a separate flight

    lion mclionhead07/14/2020 at 22:48 0 comments

    Not a project lions can do on their own, but it occurred to the lion kingdom long ago that most of the space on modern airplanes is consumed by the luggage.  The overhead bins also seem to have grown as the number of passengers has increased & they need more & more stuff.  It's pure unscientific opinion, since airlines also charge a lot more for luggage & seem to have reduced the carryon size.

    Lions have long wondered if it would be more effective to ship the luggage on separate flights.  They already do that sometimes, leading to very long delays in baggage claim.  If it became normal, perhaps the scheduling could be closer.

  • ghost detector

    lion mclionhead07/10/2020 at 03:30 0 comments

    The Sam & Colby ghost hunting videos & the public euphoria for miracle worker Joe Biden got the lion kingdom interested in paranormal investigations, manely building the K2 ghost hunting meter featured on TV. They have been taken apart but not precisely reverse engineered.

    The skeptics aren't saying there aren't any ghosts. They're saying the tool is a ripoff. None of the guys debunking EMF meters has ever reverse engineered a meter or given out a schematic. They all labeled a common LM324 op amp as an EMF sensor. It's not an EMF sensor. It's an op-amp.  The K2 meter probably uses a common inductor to detect changes in EMF.

    They all complain that the K2 meter has a narrow bandwidth at 60Hz, measures only 1 axis, & is susceptible to interference. In paranormal investigations & politics, we can live with susceptibility to interference if it means the chance of detecting any sign of life.

    The lion kingdom has all the parts required to make an EMF meter that goes from DC to 50Hz, measures on 3 axes & has 3mG precision. The K2 meter advertises 1.5mG precision.

    Since ghosts are all of biological origin, they probably generate very low frequency EMF below 50Hz & very faint signals around 1mG. The lion EMF meter would have data logging & an LCD panel showing the waveform.

    The fact that no-one makes an EMF meter using the required components shows how seriously they're taking ghost hunting.  It may be that the meter has to use inferior components & be directional to look like it's doing anything at all.

    There's also using the tried & true compass in a phone.  The precision of this compass isn't given, but it's much worse than 1mG on the goo tubes.  No-one really knows what frequency range, flux density, charge density a ghost communicates on.  It's obvious that guys who design ghost hunting equipment know nothing about physics.  Ghost hunting is still based on rituals from the middle ages, when no-one knew how to count.  

    The Sam & Colby videos get more disappointing over time.  You eventually realize the video glitches are fake because they look nothing like real glitches from a Canon DSLR.  There's editing right before objects appear to move.  If some of it's obviously fake, it's all fake & just entertainment.  

    The lion kingdom spent its childhood trying to prove the existence of ghosts, but never did anything happen.  

  • Rigol as a front end for a PC based oscilloscope

    lion mclionhead06/16/2020 at 18:48 0 comments

    The lion kingdom's obsolete Rigol is hardly ever used & not used even to its 20 year old potential, but the desire has come & gone to give it a PC interface in order to add newer features.  Past wishes have been a higher resolution waveform, a persistent waveform.  

    The latest desire came from Dave: a way to manually specify the sample rate & buffer size.  Digital scopes have adhered to the traditional analog interface by hiding all the digital aspects behind a traditional time scale when in fact they really need to allow the user to change buffer sizes & sample rates.  Whether to use a double buffer to increase the waveform update rate should also be user configurable.

    There are existing programs which allow replacing the front panel with UART commands, but not completely replace the waveform display with a PC.

    There is the official ultrascope program for Windows, which is incredibly slow & doesn't provide any enhancement beyond the physical interface.

    The serial protocol over USB might be too slow to update the waveform fast enough.

    A game changer would be a paw pedal for the start/stop button.  It's been done years ago, but to this day isn't a standard feature.

  • DSLR webcam

    lion mclionhead04/30/2020 at 17:40 0 comments

    Notes on capturing video from a DSLR through USB:

    Modern DSLR's can provide live video through USB, but they don't expose it as a /dev/video device.

    gphoto2 --stdout --capture-movie

    There is a new kernel module for converting any video source into a /dev/video device: v4l2loopback

    The USB option is artificially limited in resolution to 1024x576.  DSLR's can also provide live video through HDMI,  but it's expensive.  

    Of course, no 8 year old lion cameras are supported.  We live in a time when a camera from 12 years ago takes still photos just as good as a camera from today & a camera from 8 years ago takes video just as good as today.  The only limitation is Japan's extreme resistance to supporting standards like USB & bluetooth.  Even then, they artificially cripple it.

    Lions are definitely split between spending the money on capturing HDMI & buying a new DSLR to get 1024x576 USB video.  1 way or another, a new DSLR is coming.  HDMI capture is optional & would have no purpose after the 1 time they're doing a lot of videoconferencing.  The DSLR would aid that 1 time & continue to have a purpose.  Day jobs are not moving towards remote work, in the long term.

  • Automated incense burner

    lion mclionhead04/26/2020 at 08:07 0 comments

    In another moment of inspiration from Clive's odd ebay purchases.

    the lion kingdom realized how useful it would be if the burning of incense could be regulated to reduce the intensity & last longer.  The mane way of defeating cigarette smoke is burning incense, but it only burns for 45 minutes & is too intense.  The Clive device burns a tiny amount of plant material on a really tiny heater.  It has some regulation to burn with a duty cycle & blow the smoke out.  It doesn't get hot enough for the flame to be self sustaining.  After a few puffs, it has to be manually reloaded.  

    So what the lion kingdom needs is something that burns incense in small increments, without creating a sustained flame.  Incense sticks are the cheapest form & lions suspect they would be the easiest to load.  The machine would advance a stick into a heating chamber.  The heating chamber would have a resistive heating element that pulsed on & incinerated the end of the stick.  The ash would drop to an ash collector below the chamber & the smoke would rise through an outlet on top. 

    The trick is getting the right temperature to not sustain the flame.  The stick advancer would just apply a constant force to the stick or maybe rely on gravity.  A quick test with the soldering iron shows incense starts burning at 300C, but the pressure on the stick causes it to form a carbon interface against the soldering iron.  The carbon interface keeps it from advancing any further.  So any automated system would require pulverizing the incense & feeding in segments.  

    Knowing when the segments had completely burned would be a problem.  A timer would waste unburned incense.  Some kind of odor sensor would be required.

    Then of course, the ashes would have to not stick to the heater.  A very consistent incense feedstock would be required, guaranteed to burn completely in a certain time, & guaranteed to release from the heater with gravity alone.

    Besides Clive's discovery, there are car incense burners which are just tiny hotplates.  They would be a starting point for the heating element.  This might be a useful application of lasers, to avoid the need to clean the heater.  That narrows it down to just detecting the completion of burning.

    Another idea is to base it on a CNC mill.  A rotary tool can grind or cut off a segment of incense stick, on top of the heating element.  Then, another tool can clean off the heating element.  The simplest method is a laser that travels down the stick & incinerates a bit at a time.  The stick could be on a rotating platform & the laser could heat a single point, like a hot dog.

  • LED wallpaper for a dumpy apartment

    lion mclionhead04/25/2020 at 04:10 0 comments

    The lion kingdom finally discovered the Mandalorian was shot without green screens, but with a giant LED screen surrounding the entire set.  

    Theoretically, it's the largest deployment of the technique, hence why they hyped it so much.  The LED screen projected a synthetic set, rendered in realtime according to the camera position. 

    Traditional chromakeying has gotten incremental improvements, over the last 100 years.  It's quite clear that no matter how good chromakeying got, it was never perfect.  Lighting it evenly & making sure it didn't bleed through the actors was always hard.  Then, there were various algorithms to blend the edges with the background.

    The LED screen solves those problems.  It still has limitations, like having to always be slightly out of focus to avoid moire.  There's also not enough room on a set to use long lenses, but chromakeying had the same problem.  Another problem is it can't do 3D easily, but fortunately 3D fell out of style again, just like it did 70 years ago.  The only way it could do 3D is by swapping eyes every other frame.  That would be pretty disruptive for the actors.

    The next logical step is replacing walls of tiny apartments with LED screens showing virtual worlds.  Lions long dreamed of such a thing, starting with a giant computer screen that they would sit in the middle of.  The LED walls would initially show stationary scenes with some animation.  Eventually, they would track the lions in the room to adjust the parallax based on viewing position, the same as a modern ipad background. 

    Even without an independent projection for each eye, the 3D effect is quite convincing on an ipad.  Have yet to see the accelerometer animation done on a large TV, let alone a wall.  Theoretically, the eye spacing is so small compared to a landscape, the 3D effect is manely conveyed by viewer position rather than eye spacing.

    Not having to actually buy a house in a location to virtually live in the location could have a tangible impact on housing prices & thereby cause more government stimulus packages.

    The price of LED screens would have to come way down from current levels.  It could be done today by tiling small screens & living with the borders.  The screens are still bulky enough to significantly reduce the square footage of the apartment.

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Starhawk wrote 04/25/2020 at 05:37 point

Seems relevant -->


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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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