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2016

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Yoyogi National Gymnasium replaced the wooden floor with 400sqm of SEfl LED Video-flooring from Glux. (via rentGlux)

 

The B. League basketball games in Tokyo have kicked off with the first beginning with Alvark Tokyo against the Ryukyu Golden Kings at Tokyo’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium. The game itself is just like any pro basketball game, however the MVP in this case isn’t the best player but rather the court itself as the traditional wood planks have been replaced by LED display panels.

All of the sections of the court, including the center circle and free-throw lines are prominently displayed just like any regulation court but that is where the similarities end as graphics and animations are projected on the floor when something significant happens in the game.

 

For example- during the tip-off both team names encircle the center circle and explodes away during the jump. A successful 3-pointer will result in number 3 graphic and dunking results in an explosion and/or the player’s bio displayed on the court. What’s more, players can be tracked with tracer lines and circles that follow them as they traverse up and down the court.

 

 

The court itself is made up of 1,680 individual displays that are about 20-inches from edge to edge, measuring out at 400sqm. The panels are actually a product of China-based Glux who are known for their creative LED displays, which were prevalent for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics.

 

 

For the Yoyogi Gymnasium, Glux used their SEfl LED Video-flooring, which has a pixel density of up to 36,864 (dots/m2), a refresh rate of 1MHz and a contrast ratio of 2000: 1. Each panel is covered by a transparent PC ABS protective mask and is made using a strong waterproof carbon fiber frame, making it incredibly durable and able to withstand over 1,000 pounds and great for playing basketball on.

 

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Workers installing the SEfl LED flooring, which is done in the same fashion as some anti-static tile floors found in server rooms.

 

The LED flooring is installed in almost a similar fashion as some modular anti-static floor tiles found in server rooms, which uses aluminum floor beams to connect each panel while metal latches lock them in place, making it easy to switch out panels if problems arise. Each LCD panel also has its own power supply built in as well as a CAT6 port to interlock the panels together for use as massive single display or a ton of smaller ones, all of which can be controlled using a single laptop or PC.

 

As the video shows, the end result of putting together a bunch of LED floor panels is certainly impressive but I have to wonder if it interferes with the players. Blinding isn’t a problem as each LED display has a film over the ABS protective mask to subdue its brightness and glare but I can’t help wondering if they get motion sickness during animations.

 

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The Invader mixes an old school turntable with a embedded record

(Photo from Thud Rumble)

 

Hoping to do something similar to this with a Raspberry Pi, but in the meantime....

 

The art of DJing has been around since the late 70s. Over time the art form has evolved and adapted to new technology. Some find the use of computers in DJing an innovation; others see it as lazy and prefer the old school way. But both methods offer something different the other doesn't have. Isn't there a way to bring the best of both worlds together? A group of DJs may have answered the call with their latest turntable, The Invader, which features a mixer and an embedded computer.

 

The project is created by DJs Qbert, Yogafrog (Ritche Desuasido), Rich Johnson (DJ Hard Rich), and Killa-Jewel (Julie Fainer). They had the idea four years ago when their company, Thud Rumble, was having an open house and Rich Johnson expressed his desire to make a mixing machine for them. The dream is now a reality. Showing off prototypes at Intel's IDF keynote, The Invader looks like an old school mixer with a touchscreen display running Windows 10. The turntables run on the company's own Traktor mixing software, but any DJ app that runs on Microsoft's OS will work.

 

The prototypes are pretty tall, but the company wants to make it no taller than two centimeters so it'll easily slip inside a backpack. The turntable has standard features found on most mixing board, like faders in the middle of the board and volume controls for each deck above. There are also eight buttons along the side a DJ can set up to play different cuts in a song. The board runs on Intel i5 and i7 processors, if you couldn't guess, and comes with additional HDMI for video mixing. Currently, there's no soundcard, but the company are working with Native Instruments for a future audio interface.

 

The Invader is still in the early phase of development and the creators are looking to add more features. The printed circuit board needs to be finalized along with the standard audio ports. These ports allow you to switch to phono so you can scratch actual vinyl. The Invader also gives you some customization choices from laser-etching options to choice of rubber or old school arcade buttons for video game enthusiasts. So what is the price for this new turntable? It'll be priced at $1,699. It sounds like a lot, but compared it to the Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 mixer for Serato, which costs the same without the built-in computer. The Invader will ship at the end of the year.

 

This turntable is an innovative way to mix the old school with the new. And best of all, it lets you have the best of both world without having to lug around a laptop. Macbooks may be light, but why risk bringing all that data around with you? The Invader gives you everything you need in this all-in-one turntable. But this doesn't mean it could pose some problems. For one, most DJs use mixers provided by venues. Some may not have an issue with bringing their own mixer, but others may not want to do so. Also, with a laptop you have instant access to your songs and mixes. With this turntable you may have to move your songs to the embedded computer. Hopefully, the songs will be easily accessible. Either way, it's a new way to think about an artform as old as Djing.

 

 

 


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Ecad.io lets users convert their ECAD files into MCAD files online, such as this Arduino Uno 3D schematic. (via ecad.io)

 

If you’re looking for a quick and simple way to convert your ECAD files into MCAD, you may want to check out ecad.io (now part of the Autodesk empire). What’s more, users can view and manipulate the models in 3D as well as modify those models in a limited fashion i.e. hiding unwanted objects and changing-out simple components. Once the 3D model manipulation is complete, it can then be downloaded in several different formats for use on most MCAD systems.

 

Ecad.io was actually designed by the creators of CADSoft and wanted a simplistic system for engineers that wouldn’t break the bank, didn’t take forever to install and didn’t require a Ph.D. to use. Their intention was to make the data-language bridge between ECAD and MCAD as simple and straightforward as possible over a web-based platform using desktop or online CAD tools.

 

 

Ecad.io is capable of reading/writing in a number of different formats in order to be compatible with a number of different ECAD and MCAD systems. As it stands now, ecad.io reads IDF 2/3 ECAD interchange formats as well as the IPC-2581 format and Cadsoft Eagle files. As far as writing goes, it uses STEP and IGES 3D data exchange file formats, allowing different format files to flow back and forth with relative ease.

 

It is also compatible with most every CAD system on the planet, including CadSoft Eagle, A host of Mentor suites (BroadStation, Expedition, etc.), SolidWorks and PTC Creo just to name a few. A complete list of systems can be found here (https://www.ecad.io/Resources/Systems). As far as features go, ecad.io has a simplified built-in component library and simple tools to help position them on the 3D model. If users need a specific component that is not listed in the library, it will then offer a suitable replacement based on the original components name, size and type. Of course, users can always substitute their own if they prefer and even save them in ecad.io’s library for future use.

 

Security for ecad.io isn’t the best in the world, but it is effective as far as online browser-based platforms go. Is anything online truly secure? Once a model is uploaded, the platform extracts the necessary data from the shape of the PCB and component layout from the file and then deletes it. The board’s data is then compressed and encrypted before being stored for later use. The user can also delete that data file if the need arises.

 

Is ecad.io an end-all conversion and manipulation tool for producing ECAD/MCAD models? No and it was never meant to be but it can come in handy, especially when subtle model adjustments and conversions need to be done quickly and remotely. Since it’s browser-based, you can use it anywhere, making it a versatile tool to keep handy when away from home.

 

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Researchers used a rapid-deposition process to attach an aligned array of carbon nanotubes on a 1-inch X 1-inch substrate. (via WISC)

 

Materials engineers from the University of Wisconsin have finally developed a process that turns carbon nanotubes into resistors that can outperform traditional silicon or even gallium-based transistors. How much faster are they compared to silicon- 1.9-times faster to be exact, making them a viable candidate for batteries with longer life, faster Wi-Fi and faster processors.

 

Scientists have been trying for years to replace silicon with carbon but some issues were holding them back, most notably getting pure nanotubes with limited defects and putting them in a structured order. Without those, their performance is limited, disrupting their semiconducting properties- essentially underperforming when compared to using traditional materials. To get the near-perfect nanotubes separated from the subpar tubes, the engineers turned to a solution of polymers to sort-out the imperfect (metallic) tubes, leaving only high-quality carbon semiconducting tubes. The engineers then baked the arrays in a vacuum to get rid of the polymers insulating layer between the nanotubes and the resistor’s electrodes.

 

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To get the nanotubes in alignment and parallel on a wafer, the engineers used a process called floating evaporative self-assembly.

 

Another problem the engineers needed to tackle was getting the nanotubes in perfect alignment with equal spacing deposited on a substrate. To do this, the team turned to a process known as floating evaporative self-assembly (FESA), which is done by dropping the nanotube solution in a water bath and then vertically dunking the substrate in and out of the bath, This process causes the tubes to self-align with equal spacing when the nanotube solution evaporates.

 

With that issue out of the way, the engineers then proceeded to turn the nanotubes into a functioning transistor by first coating the new wafer with a PMMA resist (polymeric material) and then patterned using electro-beam lithography. After that process, the unwanted or defective material is etched away from the wafer. Acetone is then used to clear away the rest of the PMMA material and then palladium contacts are added to the nanotubes resulting in a FET (field Effect Transistor.

 

Don’t expect to see these new nanotube transistors in mobile devices or PCs anytime soon however, as there are many refinements they must undergo before they can be mass-produced, including scaling up the manufacturing process and adapting them to current silicon-based geometries. Still, it will not be that far off before these issues are resolved, making the future look that much brighter and faster.

 

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HTML’s virtual drum machines are now available for free on all popular browsers. It, Arduino, and littleBits new drum and synth kits make music making easier than ever.

 

This is a hobby like interest for me - synthesizers and drum machines. Mainly, I am fascinated with them due to the plethora of SBCs I could use to recreate the sound. Or rather, how do I use SBCs to recreate them. Here is some 808 news for you…

 

If you were thinking of forking over $600 for a drum kit, think again. HTML just released a virtual version of its 808 and 5 Drum Machine via web browser, and it’s free! If it’s a hands-on drum machine you require, consider building your own with littleBits and Arduino. The io-808 is a virtual TR-808 based on the HTML-808 and HTML5 Drum Machine. The interface features all the great controls and functionality of a real drum machine, online. Best yet, it’s free and the quality is intended to match the sound of a physical 808 via Web Audio API.

 

It’s not perfect, but for free you’ll get to toy around to see if you really need the upgraded infrastructure to record your own rendition of Back-to-Back in your basement. Most of us don’t. But if you do require a kit, consider littleBits and Arduino DIY projects before dishing out your hard-earned money.

 

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For $159, the littleBits Synth Kit makes all electronic music possible. You can build your own electronic instruments, including a DIY keytar (like a guitar, mostly), drum kit, soundboard, mixer, synthesizer, and more. And if you get bored with one design, simply break it down and move onto the next project. The kit even includes an invention booklet with 36 step-by-step ideas for ‘professional grade’ tools. Building with littleBits is child’s play.

 

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And for the true DIYer out there, you can build your own 80s-themed drum machine with spare parts. If you have an extra Arduino board and some spare littleBits parts lying around, you already have all the parts you need.

 

The Arduino Lo-fi Beat Box is your key to 80s beats. The demo kit features 16 TR-808-like beats, with up to eight instruments per pattern. You can adjust the tempo from 60 BPM to 188 BPM, and even code in your own waveforms, drum kits, and patterns. Mono waveforms are 22,050Hz and 8-bit signed for lo-fi grunge tunes you love. 

 

Making music has never been so easy. Bookmark these project, or go build your own.

 

Then again... nothing sound quite like an eight oh eight!

 

 

 

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In honor of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Analogue and 8bitdo created the Retro Receiver – a Bluetooth receiver that allows the original Nintendo console to work seamlessly with modern Bluetooth controllers. (via 8bitdo)

 

I am writing about this with an ulterior motive. I wanted to make something like this for the arcade project I had - using a Pi Zero. First, we explore what now exists... and what can be done from here. Is this merely emulating a serial connection?

 

I want you to try to remember something. Remember the scent of homemade meatloaf entering in wisps from the crack of the kitchen door. You are seated several feet from your family’s huge, tube television, glued to the hard wooden floors because the cord of your original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) controller didn’t reach all the way to the velour coach. But you didn’t care. You sat happily on the floor, shooting ducks and rescuing Princess Peach. Ah, the good old days.

 

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What if I told you the days of sitting directly in front of your 1985 Nintendo system were over? What if you discovered your favorite gaming console now supports wireless controllers? “Can it be?” you ask. It can, and it is, thanks to the Retro Receiver.

 

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The development of the Retro Receiver was a joint effort between Analogue and 8bitdo, and allows the NES to connect with just about any compatible wireless controller over Bluetooth, including the Dual Shock ¾, Wii U Pro and Wiimote. And while it may seem odd the vintage console is still getting new accessories some 30 years after its release date (was 1985 really that long ago?), the original Nintendo is still popular. And if the console still works, why not introduce new features for the favorite classic?

 

The Retro Receiver features an on-board CPU and Flash memory chip, and even allows for firmware upgrades. And while it was created primarily for classic gaming, the device also supports Windows/PC, OS X, PS 3, iOS, and Android gaming.

 

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If you’re a big retro gamer, you can score some retro Bluetooth Nintendo controllers through 8bitdo, but any Bluetooth controller will do.

 

The Retro Receiver is on sale now through Play Asia for $19.99. But... the Pi Zero is only $5.00... Wireless Atari, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast awaits!

 

How can we do this?

 

 

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