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Hardware

Open Source Haptics Kit Aims to Democratize Force Feedback

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Hardware
OSS

quick terminology dive: a spacial haptic device is a physical manipulator that enables exploration of a virtual space through force feedback. A user grips the “manipulandum” (the handle) and moves it within the work area defined by the physical design of the device. Spacial Haptic Devices have been around for years and serve as excellent tools for telling their users (surgeons) what something (tumor) “feels like.”

In our case, this haptic device is a two-link, two-joint system grounded on a base station and providing force feedback with servo motors and tensioned wire ropes. The manipulator itself supports 3-degree-of-freedom movement of the end-effector (translations, but no rotations) which is tracked with encoders placed on all joints. To enable feedback, joints are engaged with cable-drive transmissions.

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BeagleBone SBC beefs up Lego Mindstorms EV3

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Linux
Hardware

An “EVB” Kickstarter project replaces the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot’s ARM9 brick with a BeagleBone Black, adding performance, expandability, and sensors.

When Lego added a Linux-based “Brick” computer to its modular, open source Lego Mindstorms robot platform, we were psyched, but were also somewhat disappointed it was only a modest ARM9-based device. Now, a startup called Fatcatlab has found Kickstarter success with an EVB computer you can use in place of the Brick that is designed to plug in a BeagleBone Black for a much faster 1GHz Cortex-A8 experience.

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5 favorite Raspberry Pi and Arduino projects

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Linux
Hardware
OSS

It has never been a better time to understand the components that fit together to make the hardware we use work. To do that, lets look at my five favorite open hardware projects.

First, what do I mean by open hardware? I mean that the components that make up a device are available for the user to see. No secret formulas. The ingredients are completely transparent, and if you chose, you can source the raw parts and assemble them yourself. You can also learn from the process of assembly and with a team spirit share any problems encountered, then improving the formula of the device. For example, you could suggest better parts or improve the code to make it run faster.

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Gen-2 SmartThings hub migrates to Linux

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Linux
Hardware

SmartThings debuted a 2nd generation home automation hub that moves to Linux, and adds new sensors, battery backup, optional cellular, and premium services.

Prior to Samsung’s acquisition of SmartThings last August, the company told us its next-generation home automation hub would likely move from an embedded RTOS (real-time operating system) to Linux. A SmartThings rep now tells us the newly announced second-generation SmartThings Hub does indeed run Linux. Not so surprisingly, consider the Samsung acquisition, the rep also said “We will be moving to Tizen over time.”

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Arduino Open Source Robot Educational Development Board (video)

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Hardware
OSS

Ari Alvarez has created a new Arduino open source robot development board which he has designed to be used by managers, developers and hobbyists or to provide an educational platform to teach robotics and electronics.

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This Microsoft Surface lookalike runs a productive version of Android instead

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Android
Hardware

At first glance on the CES show floor, the Remix Ultra-Tablet seems like a cheap Surface knock-off. It has a two-stage kickstand similar to that of the Surface Pro 2—albeit one that feels flimsier than Microsoft’s model—and a magnetic keyboard cover with traveling keys and a felt material over the trackpad.

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Intel Compute Stick runs Windows and Linux, fits in your pocket

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Linux
Hardware

A few months back, I got a breathless email from an Intel PR rep due to some confusion over a little Chinese-made HDMI PC. Now we know why: Intel was stealthily getting ready to launch one of their own.

This tiny black stick emblazoned with the “Intel inside” logo is Intel’s Compute Stick. This device isn’t like the Dell Cloud Connect dongle that they took to CES last year, nor is it a copy of Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter. It’s a full PC, capable of running both Linux and Windows, and it’s set to go on sale in the very near future.

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Atom PC – Future PC

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

It’s got enough computing power, graphics power and memory to be useful for all the kinds of tasks folks use a smartphone or tablet but it’s definitely a desktop-PC form factor. It has the instant supply of Android apps and the usability of a GNU/Linux desktop all in one package.

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Coreboot Ported To Another Lenovo ThinkPad

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Hardware
OSS

While Coreboot is most commonly used by Google Chromebooks, an increasing number of Lenovo ThinkPad laptops are becoming compatible with Coreboot for initializing and booting the system with open-source software.

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The best Android phones of 2014

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Android
Hardware

This last year has been a big one for Android. Displays have started moving beyond 1080p, devices keep getting bigger, and Android 5.0 brings the most fundamental change the platform has seen in a very long time. Some of the phones that were released in 2014 were huge successes, and other fell short of expectations, but which one was the best? That depends on how you frame the question, so let’s split it up a few different ways and find out.

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From the Editors: You’ve come a long way, Linux

This month, as we do every March, we reported on the Who Writes Linux report from the Linux Foundation. Usually, this is a fairly rote affair: Red Hat and Intel contribute tons of code, Greg Kroah-Hartman does a ton of the work, and we learn about some small firm somewhere that’s cranking out kernel code disproportionate to its size. Read more

SteamOS A Linux Distribution For Gaming


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SteamOS is a Debian Linux kernel-based operating system in development by Valve Corporation designed to be the primary operating system for the Steam Machine game consoles. It was initially released on December 13, 2013, alongside the start of end-user beta testing of Steam Machines.
 

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Understanding The Linux Kernel's BPF In-Kernel Virtual Machine

BPF continues marching forward as a universal, in-kernel virtual machine for the Linux kernel. The Berkeley Packet Filter was originally designed for network packet filtering but has since been extended as eBPF to support other non-network subsystems via the bpf syscall. Here's some more details on this in-kernel virtual machine. Alexei Starovoitov presented at last month's Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Santa Rosa about BPF as an in-kernel virtual machine. The slides have been published for those wishing to learn more about its state and capabilities. Read more