(umi'n no kuni)

Tiny Phone: Unihertz Atom

In 2018, the term "small phone" has come to mean 5" where in the 2000s a big phone was 3". Currently, one of the few 2.5" phones is the Jelly by Unihertz, which will get a ruggedized version named Atom presumably end of of 2018.

Debian Phone: Librem 5

The Librem (11, 13, 15) notebook line by Purism is expanded by a PureOS (Debian base) phone, the Librem 5, presumably in early 2019, currently starting devkit production. After OpenMoko (2007) and BQ Aquaris (2014, with Ubuntu Touch), it will be interesting to see how the Librem 5 fares.

Undersea Cables

An Imgurian provides some section photos of submarine communication aka undersea cables, at least half a meter in diameter. Protected by stranded steel and an outer and inner layer of water-resistant polyethylene (plastic).

Input Device: Five Rings on the Tap Keyboard

Slashgear and The Verge report on the Tap Keyboard, five cable-connected rings that allow one-handed text input and mousing by analysing your hand movements via accelerometer. Connects by bluetooth, no Linux though. Costs 200 EUR.

Phantom V2640 Camera: 2000x2000px @ 6000fps

Peta Pixel, DP review and Image Sensors World report on the cutting edge in high-speed cameras: The Phantom V2640 can do 2000x2000 px at 6000 fps and HD at 11000 fps, in color. Excessive lighting is a prerequisite.

Logo, Scratch, Doodle: Visual Programming for Kids

Slashgear reports on a Google Doodle reminiscent of Logo (1967) [wiki] and Scratch (2002) [wiki], visual programming languages designed for kids prior to achieving reading comprehension. Another visual variant is Alice (1994) [wiki] which focuses on 3d animation.

Build Your Own Keyboard

An Imgurian built his own split keyboard. Cherry keycaps and an USB controller like the Teensy can be bought, and you need to do the wiring yourself. Commercial variants include the KeyMouse where both sides are also a mouse (500 EUR) and the ErgoDox which gives your thumb more to do [review] (300 EUR). Would be nice to add a RollerBar replacement, as built by Judy of the Woods.

Book Scanner with 4 pages/second

Imgur showcases the BFS-Auto book scanner by Uni Tokyo, Japan, a research prototype capable of 4 pages/second (video). Uses a slow-moving cylinder to release pages quickly, laser scanner+stereo cameras for realtime page form recognition (and undeforming), and finally optical character recognition (OCR).

Light through Fiber Optics

Holding a laser pointer to the end of a fiber optic cable nicely shows the total internal reflection producing a sine wave, which can travel around curves in the cable, illustrated by Imgur. Howstuffworks and Explainthatstuff have more details.

960fps Bridge Camera: Sony RX10-IV

PetaPixel reports on the bridge (i.e. non-changeable lens) camera RX10 by Sony, with the lens being a wide 24mm at minimum and a pretty zoomy 600mm at maximum. Comes with up to 960 fps video and a tracking auto-focus that is targetted at sport events. However, its 13mm width image sensor does not capture as much light as APS-C with 23mm or full frame with 35mm.

Project Tango 2017

PetaPixel and TheVerge report on the state of Project Tango, an active light depth sensor (infrared structured light) for phones. Apparently, Qualcomm produces new off-the-shelf components. Previous phones with Tango were the Lenovo Phab2 Pro (2016) and the Asus Zenfone AR (2017).

DuoCopter: Drone with 2 Rotors

Hackaday and Heise [de] report on the DuoCopter, a drone with one-blade rotors that control the speed per revolution, allowing e.g. a left strafe by accelerating the rotor while on the left side and deccelerating on the right side. As a consequence, only two rotors are needed for navigation.

Windows Network Tools

When on Windows, network analysis tools do not come with the system, but SysInternals and Nirsoft have handy little executables, including TcpView (like tcptrack), BluetootView, CurrPorts and SmartSniff (like WireShark).

C++/Assembler Explorer

The godbolt Compiler Explorer is a web form to write C++ (and other, rarer languages) source in, to see how the compiled result looks like in assembler. Useful in discussions about the efficiency of language features.

Notebook: Yoga 900 ISK

My computer circus now includes a 13" Yoga 900 ISK (not ISK2, those have RAID mode only, which requires a BIOS update before installing Linux). Keyboard includes programmer-friendly Pos1/End/PgUpDown keys, 3200x2000 touch screen requires 150% scaling and runs on Intel HD 520 GPU, USB Type C port (which includes DisplayPort) is 3.0 only, which means 5/10Gps and 10/100W power. The hinge is nice, and Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial runs well enough.

HTC Vive: Lighthouse Tracking

Road to VR points to a Oliver Kreylos analysis of the HTC Vive (VR headset), in particular its tracking: Two lasers at diagonal ends of the room emit vertical and horizontal laser lines at 60Hz, and photodiodes all around the VR headset use the known timing to calculate the head position and orientation at 120Hz. GizModo has an intro. Compared to Oculus Rift and Playstation VR which have light emitters on the headset and an optical tracker in front of the user, this system can "look" in all directions at once, improving accuracy.