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Humanizing Industrial Robots By Sticking A Jibo On Top May 25, 2019

A great many robots exist in our modern world, and the vast majority of them are highly specialized machines. They do a job, and they do it well, but they don’t have much of a personality. [Guilherme Martins] was working on a fun project to build a robot arm that could create chocolate artworks, but […]

Humanizing Industrial Robots By Sticking A Jibo On Top

A great many robots exist in our modern world, and the vast majority of them are highly specialized machines. They do a job, and they do it well, but they don’t have much of a personality. [Guilherme Martins] was working on a fun project to build a robot arm that could create chocolate artworks, but it needed something to humanize it a bit more. Thankfully, Jibo was there to lend a hand.

For the uninitiated, Jibo was a companion robot produced by a startup company that later folded. Relying on the cloud meant that when the money ran out and the servers switched off, Jibo was essentially dead. [Guilherme] managed to salvage one of these units, however, and gave it a new life.

With the dead company unable to provide an SDK, the entire brains of the robot were replaced with a LattePanda, which is a Windows 10 single-board computer with an integrated Arduino microcontroller. This was combined with a series of Phidgets motor drivers to control all of Jibo’s joints, and with some Unity software to provide the charming expressions on the original screen.

With the Jibo body mounted upon the robot arm, a simple chocolate-decorating robot now has a personality. The robot can wave to humans, and emote as it goes about its day. It’s an interesting feature to add to a project, and one that certainly makes it more fun. We’ve seen projects tackle similar subject matter before, attempting to build friendly robot pets as companions. Video after the break.

Humanizing Industrial Robots By Sticking A Jibo On Top
Source: HackADay

A Laser Aiming Module for First Person Hacking

You’ve perhaps noticed that [Jeremy Cook]  is rather prolific on YouTube, regularly putting out videos on his latest and greatest creations. He wanted to add a head-mounted GoPro to his video production bag of tricks, but found it was a little trickier than expected to get the camera to point where he was actually looking. The solution? A 3D printed laser “sight” for the GoPro that let’s him zero it in while creating videos.

The idea here is very simple: put a small laser module on the same mount as the GoPro itself so you’ll have a handy red dot showing more or less where the camera is looking. The position of the red dot relative to the center-point of the camera’s field of view is going to vary slightly with range, but with something like a GoPro that’s shooting a very wide area to begin with, it’s not really a problem in practice.

Sounds like a good idea, but won’t that leave a weird red dot in all the videos? [Jeremy] is already ahead of you there, and added a small push button switch to the front of the module so he can quickly and easily turn the laser on and off. The idea is that he turns the laser on, gets the dot roughly where he wants the camera pointed, and then turns it back off.

[Jeremy] has put the STL files for the single-piece 3D printed module up on his GitHub for anyone who might find them useful. Besides the printed part, you just need to provide a suitably sized 3.7 V LiPo battery and the laser diode itself. If you need to find a good supply of cheap lasers, you might want to check the clearance rack at the big box store.

A Laser Aiming Module for First Person Hacking
Source: HackADay

Poland has filed a complaint against the European Union’s copyright directive

Poland has officially challenged the European Union’s recently-approved controversial copyright directive, according to Reuters, saying that the legislation would bring unwanted censorship. The country filed its complaint yesterday with the the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski said that the “system may result in adopting regulations that are analogous to preventive censorship, which is forbidden not only in the Polish constitution but also in the EU treaties.” Polish MPs predominantly rejected the measure (Two abstentions, eight for, 33 against, six no-votes, and two missing) when it was voted on.

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Poland has filed a complaint against the European Union’s copyright directive
Source: New feed

Stolen NSA hacking tool now victimizing US cities, report says – CNET

The EternalBlue hacking exploit, already used in the infamous WannaCry and NotPetya attacks, has now surfaced in the NSA’s own backyard, says The New York Times. Stolen NSA hacking tool now victimizing US cities, report says – CNET
Source: CNet

Little Lamp To Learn Longer Leaps

Reinforcement learning is a subset of machine learning where the machine is scored on their performance (“evaluation function”). Over the course of a training session, behavior that improved final score is positively reinforced gradually building towards an optimal solution. [Dheera Venkatraman] thought it would be fun to use reinforcement learning for making a little robot lamp move. But before that can happen, he had to build the hardware and prove its basic functionality with a manual test script.

Inspired by the hopping logo of Pixar Animation Studios, this particular form of locomotion has a few counterparts in the natural world. But hoppers of the natural world don’t take the shape of a Luxo lamp, making this project an interesting challenge. [Dheera] published all of his OpenSCAD files for this 3D-printed lamp so others could join in the fun. Inside the lamp head is a LED ring to illuminate where we expect a light bulb, while also leaving room in the center for a camera. Mechanical articulation servos are driven by a PCA9685 I2C PWM driver board, and he has written and released code to interface such boards with Robot Operating System (ROS) orchestrating our lamp’s features. This completes the underlying hardware components and associated software foundations for this robot lamp.

Once all the parts have been printed, electronics wired, and everything assembled, [Dheera] hacked together a simple “Hello World” script to verify his mechanical design is good enough to get started. The video embedded after the break was taken at OSH Park’s Bring-A-Hack afterparty to Maker Faire Bay Area 2019. This motion sequence was frantically hand-coded in 15 minutes, but these tentative baby hops will serve as a great baseline. Future hopping performance of control algorithms trained by reinforcement learning will show how far this lamp has grown from this humble “Hello World” hop.

[Dheera] had previously created the shadow clock and is no stranger to ROS, having created the ROS topic text visualization tool for debugging. We will be watching to see how robot Luxo will evolve, hopefully it doesn’t find a way to cheat! Want to play with reinforcement learning, but prefer wheeled robots? Here are a few options.

Little Lamp To Learn Longer Leaps
Source: HackADay

An astronomer captured SpaceX’s recently-launched StarLink satellites on video

Earlier this week, SpaceX successfully launched its first 60 StarLink satellites into orbit around the Earth. An amateur astronomer in the Netherlands caught sight of them orbiting Earth after deployment, and captured the scene on video.

Astronomer Dr. Marco Langbroek noted on his blog that he calculated where the satellites would be orbiting, and waited with his camera. The result is a spectacular one: a string of bright dots flying across the sky, prompting some people to report that they saw UFOs.

Langbroek shot the video with a “WATEC 902H low-light-level surveillance camera, equipped with a Canon FD 1.8/50 mm lens,” and counted at least 56 distinct objects. He noted that the “train” will make 2-3 passes each night, and will…

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An astronomer captured SpaceX’s recently-launched StarLink satellites on video
Source: New feed

Try a 'Sonic' Instead of a G&T or Highball This Summer

If you browse the mixers at a high-end grocery or spirits store these days you’re bound to find an assortment of tonic waters. My personal favorite is Fever Tree’s Elderflower tonic, Try it, it’s fantastic. Tonics can be great to help bring out the flavor of the spirit that you’re drinking, but they can also sometimes…

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Try a 'Sonic' Instead of a G&T or Highball This Summer
Source: Life Hacker

The best grill sales for Memorial Day 2019 – CNET

Nobody beats our meat-cooker deals. The best grill sales for Memorial Day 2019 – CNET
Source: CNet

Hackers used a tool developed by the NSA to attack Baltimore’s computer systems

Since May 7th, the Baltimore’s city government has been dealing with a ransomware attack that has shut down everything from its email to the systems that allow residents to pay water bills, purchase homes, and other services. According to a report in The New York Times, the tool that has crippled the city is a National Security Agency creation called EternalBlue, which has been used in other high-profile cyberattacks.

According to security experts, hackers used EternalBlue, which exploits a vulnerability in certain versions of Microsoft’s Windows XP and Vista systems, allowing an external party to execute remote commands on their target. The tool was leaked by hacking group The ShadowBrokers in April 2017, and within a day, Microsoft…

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Hackers used a tool developed by the NSA to attack Baltimore’s computer systems
Source: New feed

The best Memorial Day mattress sales – CNET

Save, then sleep. The best Memorial Day mattress sales – CNET
Source: CNet

Alexa announcements feature now works on every Alexa-compatible device

Last year, Amazon rolled a new announcements feature for Echo devices, and later expanded it to Alexa-compatible Sonos speakers. Now, the feature can be used across all of the devices that utilize Alexa.

The feature essentially allows you to turn your Echo devices into an intercom system, and initially rolled out to the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Spot. Users send out their announcement by saying “Alexa announce that / tell everyone / broadcast…”, and their message gets pushed out to all of the devices in your home network at the same time.

Amazon says that Announcements is “available for certified Alexa built-in products to implement and new ones that pass the provided self-tests and certification.” Now, the…

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Alexa announcements feature now works on every Alexa-compatible device
Source: New feed

Alien and I both hatched in 1979. Now I'm watching the movie, finally – CNET

Ridley Scott’s landmark monster film from 40 years ago holds up, but its ship could use a new operating system. Alien and I both hatched in 1979. Now I'm watching the movie, finally – CNET
Source: CNet

One-Legged Robot Does the Hop

At first, we thought this robot was like a rabbit until we realized rabbits have a 300% bonus in the leg department. SALTO — a robot from [Justin Yim], [Eric Wang], and [Ronald Fearing] only has one leg but gets around quite well hopping from place to place. If you can’t picture it, the video below will make it very obvious.

According to the paper about SALTO, existing hopping robots require external sensors and often are tethered. SALTO is self-contained. The robot weighs a tenth of a kilogram and takes its name from the word saltatorial (adapted for leaping ) which itself comes from the Latin saltare which means to jump or leap.

The robot considers itself in four distinct modes: stance is when it is standing on the ground, liftoff is when it is launching itself, flight is in the air, and touchdown is when it reconnects with the ground. Balancing the robot during stance is old hat, of course. But upon liftoff, the robot computes an error term for the velocity and uses that to compute a correction value. The robot has a tail and two small propellers to control its attitude.

At the start, the robot balances on three points: its toe, its rear ankle, and one end of its tail. Using gyros, it is able to set initial values. It then stands up in different poses and uses the thrusters to zero out any roll and pitch.

We were not far into the video before we wondered if the beastie could climb stairs. It can’t. According to the authors say that estimate errors mean the foot can move up to a half meter away from where you wanted it to land. However, they believe future versions will have improved estimation that would let it climb stairs, leap over furniture or other obstacles, and handle a variety of terrain. We only hope they print the poor thing a kangaroo body.

Jumping robot always brings back our nightmares of Atlas breaking down our bedroom door. He has no problem with stairs. We’ve also seen a prototype lunar rover that can jump over things, even though that’s not its primary mode of locomotion.

One-Legged Robot Does the Hop
Source: HackADay

A laptop filled with six of the world’s most dangerous viruses is on sale for more than $1 million

Some of the world’s greatest artworks are known for their elaborate backstory or complex history, but not many are actively dangerous to those who own them. ‘The Persistence of Chaos’ might be an exception. Created by internet artist Guo O Dong, this piece of art is an ordinary laptop filled with six of the world’s most dangerous pieces of malware. It’s perfectly safe — as long you don’t connect to your Wi-Fi or plug in a USB.

Speaking to The Verge, artist Guo O Dong says the intention behind the laptop was to make physical the abstract threats posed by the digital world.

“We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd,” says Guo….

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A laptop filled with six of the world’s most dangerous viruses is on sale for more than million
Source: New feed

Alien is 40, and still terrifying. Shame about the sequels – CNET

Four decades after it burst from screens, we celebrate Ridley Scott’s peerless sci-fi horror hybrid. Alien is 40, and still terrifying. Shame about the sequels – CNET
Source: CNet

Facebook begins telling users who try to share distorted Nancy Pelosi video that it’s fake

Earlier this week, an altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caught fire on Facebook, and despite being faked, the platform has so far declined to remove it. However, it has now chosen to notify users who attempt to share the clip that it is faked.

“Once the video was fact checked as false, we dramatically reduced its distribution,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge. “Speed is critical to this system, and we continue to improve our response. People who see the video in feed, try to share it from feed, or already shared it are alerted that it’s false.”

The new menu pops up when a user taps the share button, notifying them that there has been new reporting on the video. “Before you share this content, you might want to know that…

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Facebook begins telling users who try to share distorted Nancy Pelosi video that it’s fake
Source: New feed

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc

American cities are being hijacked with an N.S.A. cyberweapon that has already done billions of dollars in damage overseas. The N.S.A. will say nothing. In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc
Source: NY Times Tech

View Definitions and Pronunciations For Words While You Read Websites With This Extension

Even the most avid readers among us occasionally run into words that we don’t quite know the meaning of. My typical move, in that case, is to copy/paste the word into Google in another tab and see what comes up. This week I came across a Chrome extension that cuts out the middle man (or middle tab in this case) and…

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View Definitions and Pronunciations For Words While You Read Websites With This Extension
Source: Life Hacker

Why the future of US data regulation must come from Congress


As of May 2019, over 20 US states have introduced bills seeking to regulate data privacy, data security, or some combination of the two. While many of these bills agree in spirit (i.e. privacy good, data collection and usage bad), the various bills are decidedly more divergent as to how to accomplish these objectives. With the states locked in an arms race to one-up each other on being the most privacy protective, the end result over the next four to five years could be a patchwork of state regulations resulting in not only a compliance nightmare for companies, but also…

This story continues at The Next Web

Why the future of US data regulation must come from Congress
Source: The Next Web

11 new trailers you should watch this week

There’s a really fine balance between over explaining magical/mythical/sci-fi parts of a story, and leaving things too undefined for viewers to understand. I think it’s great when films live in that ambiguous in between, letting us imagine out some amount of specifics on our own, but a movie needs to provide the right guidance to let that happen.

I watched The Wailing a couple weeks ago, and I feel like it misses that mark while trying to create a fascinating, intricate, symbolism-laden world. I still loved the movie — it’s a very dark and very funny crime drama that becomes increasingly and fascinatingly mythical as the story goes on, and it caps things off with a climactic shot that I still can’t get out of my head. (For those who’ve…

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11 new trailers you should watch this week
Source: New feed

Netflix will release three mini-Black Mirror episodes on its Latin America YouTube channel

Black Mirror’s fifth season will return to Netflix with three new episodes on June 5th, and to promote the return of the series, it will release a trio of extremely short episodes on its América Latina YouTube channel.

The three Little Black Mirror episodes will feature several YouTube stars from Latin America, according to Variety. Netflix approached the YouTubers ( Maia Mitchell, Rudy Mancuso, Juanpa Zurita, Lele Pons, Anwar Jibawi, Hannah Stocking, Jeff Wittek, Delaney Glazer and Alesso), to “create their own takes on Black Mirror. The episodes will be released on May 26th, June 2nd, and June 6th on the channel.

The next season of Black Mirror comes after Netflix released an interactive entry in the series, Bandersnatch. This new…

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Netflix will release three mini-Black Mirror episodes on its Latin America YouTube channel
Source: New feed

The few places where you can still buy a Huawei phone in the US

In many regions around the world, Huawei phones are easy to come by. They’re sold through carriers, and available in stores. That’s not the case in the US, where Huawei does not officially sell its devices and no carriers offer them. If those things aren’t a deterrent, you’ll likely have to go online to buy one, and even then, the list of retailers that stock Huawei-made devices, including its Honor phones, is shrinking as a result of the US federal government’s recent action against Huawei.

The Microsoft Store and Walmart have recently stopped selling Huawei devices, and Adorama, a smaller operation, recently delisted them from showing up via search in its online store. More sites will likely follow suit, either by hiding or completely…

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The few places where you can still buy a Huawei phone in the US
Source: New feed

Saturday's Best Deals: Timbuk2, Lawn Care Essentials, Twelve South's AirFly, and More

Baggu’s Memorial Day Sale, PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells, and discounts at Joe’s New Balance Outlet lead off Saturday’s best deals.

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Saturday's Best Deals: Timbuk2, Lawn Care Essentials, Twelve South's AirFly, and More
Source: Life Hacker

Build A Sheet Metal Brake With No Welding Required

Sometimes, there’s a job to be done and the required tools don’t fall easily to hand. [Bob] found himself in just such a position, needing to get some window flashing made up despite lacking a sheet metal break. After waiting far too long for someone else to do the job, [Bob] elected to simply make the tools and do it himself instead (Youtube link, embedded below).

The project came about simply because [Bob] needed to bend 42″ sections of flashing, and couldn’t find a decent deal on a sheet metal brake above 36″ wide. The build starts with some angle iron and simple hinges, bolted together to form a basic brake design. With some rectangular hollow section bolted on for handles, the brake is then clamped to the bench and is ready for action.

It’s a build that any experienced hacker could whip up in an afternoon and be pumping out basic sheet metal parts by sundown, and requires no welding to boot. To learn more about bending sheet metal, check out our primer on the subject. Video after the break.

 

Build A Sheet Metal Brake With No Welding Required
Source: HackADay

Waste Tide is a chilling sci-fi novel about class war and trash in near-future China

In Chinese science fiction author Chen Qiufan’s debut novel Waste Tide, a young woman finds herself transformed and stuck in the midst of a vicious power struggle between factions in the polluted, fictitious Silicon Isle in Guiyu, China. It’s a near-future science fiction thriller that feels pressingly relevant in 2019, about the pressures that advanced capitalism and technology exert on the most vulnerable people on Earth.

Silicon Isle is a dump — literally. It’s where the world drops off all of its electronic waste for recycling, which is handled by generations of workers who are too poor to leave. Everything from cell phones to robots to mechanical sex toys are sorted out here, and the entire region is steeped in poisonous waste…

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Waste Tide is a chilling sci-fi novel about class war and trash in near-future China
Source: New feed

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