The single-board computer market is flooded with Raspberry Pi clones that boast of being faster, cheaper, or with more ports. However, many of these clones use processors from lower-end brands like RockChip and Mediatek. A new competitor, the ThunderBERRY5, is set to shake things up by using a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, the same brand found in many popular brand phones, tablets, and Arm-powered laptops. What exactly is the ThunderBERRY5, can it be used with the same HATs as the Raspberry Pi, and when will the ThunderBERRY5 be released?
Top Stories This Week
Hardware Business News
Tasty CHIPS – New MEC Program To Expand US Prototyping Capabilities Gains Steam
The Department of Defense is expected to announce up to nine sites for the Microelectronics Commons (MEC) program, part of the CHIPS Act, sometime in July this year. The MEC hubs aim to provide prototyping capabilities for a range of critical technologies, including quantum information science, and help bridge the gap between POC projects and capacity production. The resulting hubs will be open to academia and industry to help bolster US and DOD capabilities in prototyping key technologies. What is the gap that the MEC hubs aim to address, How will the MEC program help bridge this gap, and Who is eligible to participate in the MEC hubs?x
Built Robotics Launches Fully Autonomous Solar Piling System
Built Robotics has launched the world’s first fully autonomous solar piling system, the RPD 35, that can construct utility-scale solar foundations up to five times faster than traditional methods, with the ability to install over 300 piles per day. The system is designed to combine all the steps of the piling process into one package, using advanced sensors like RTK GPS and Built’s construction AI software, which works with a custom pile cartridge system. What are the benefits of the RPD 35, how does it work, and, how will it transform the solar industry?
Rapid Prototyping And Fabrication Space OriginLabs To Open During Startup Week
Penn State University has launched a new rapid prototyping and fabrication space, called OriginLabs, which will allow users to design, prototype, and test potential solutions for their startups or ideas. The facility, located in downtown State College, Pennsylvania, offers a breadth of materials and methodologies for production, with dedicated lab spaces including woodworking, metalworking, surfacing, welding, digital fabrication, and additive manufacturing. While the space offers free services, including equipment training, skill-building workshops, and one-on-one consultations, a paid maker space membership option is available for those who want hands-on experience with lab equipment and tools. What are the benefits of OriginLabs for entrepreneurs and inventors, how does it facilitate turning research discoveries into valuable products and services, and how can this initiative impact economic development and job creation?
Is It Only Chinese-Made CCTV Equipment That Poses A Security Risk?
The proliferation of CCTV cameras around the world has led to concerns over the security and privacy of citizens, especially given the fact that many of these cameras are manufactured by Chinese state-owned companies. The US and UK governments have expressed concern over possible security leaks, with the UK advising against using Chinese-made CCTV equipment in government establishments dealing with sensitive information. However, it is not only Chinese-manufactured equipment that could pose a security risk. CCTV cameras can be vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks, and many operators do not take the necessary steps to secure their systems. Are Chinese-made CCTV cameras a security risk, how vulnerable are CCTV cameras to hacking and cyberattacks, and what can be done to ensure the security of CCTV systems?
Hardware Engineering News
Google Uncovers 18 Severe Security Vulnerabilities In Samsung Exynos Chips
Google’s Project Zero team has brought attention to a set of severe security flaws found in Samsung’s Exynos chips. The 18 zero-day vulnerabilities affect a wide range of Android smartphones from Samsung, Vivo, Google, wearables using the Exynos W920 chipset, and vehicles equipped with the Exynos Auto T5123 chipset. Four of these flaws can be exploited remotely, without requiring any user interaction, making it possible for a threat actor to compromise a phone at the baseband level. What are the risks posed by these vulnerabilities, which devices are affected, and how can manufacturers improve the security of their devices to prevent such vulnerabilities from occurring in the future?
First Ever Wearable Sensor Detects And Monitors Muscle Atrophy
Muscle atrophy, the reduction in skeletal muscle mass and strength, can occur due to various reasons such as ageing, degenerative diseases, and muscle disuse, but detecting and tracking muscle atrophy using MRI scans can be both expensive and time-consuming. However, researchers at The Ohio State University have developed the first-ever wearable sensor using conductive “e-threads” that can detect and track muscle atrophy. This breakthrough could offer an alternative to frequent MRI monitoring and help people suffering from muscle atrophy. What is the wearable sensor made of, how did the researchers validate their research, and what are the next significant moves for the researchers in terms of combining the sensor with other health monitoring devices?
College Students Built A Satellite With AA Batteries And A $20 Microprocessor
As the cost of launching a satellite into orbit remains prohibitively high for many, space exploration and utilization have been limited to a select few. However, a team of students and researchers at Brown University may have just made significant strides in solving this problem. Their bread loaf-sized cubesat, named SBUDNIC, was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for just $10,000 and has an estimated lifespan of just five years. The microsat was constructed primarily using off-the-shelf components, making it the first of its kind to be made almost entirely from materials not specifically designed for space travel. What other benefits could be gained from shortening satellite lifespans, how can this technology be scaled up for larger satellites, and what other innovative solutions might emerge from low-cost, accessible space technology?
Hardware R&D News
New 3D-Printable Sensors Detect Rotation
3D printing has revolutionized rapid prototyping of mechanical parts, but adding electronic functionality to prototypes still involves adding off-the-shelf components after printing. However, a team of engineers from MIT has developed a way to 3D print sensors that can detect the rotation angle, speed, and direction of mechanical joints. These sensors rely on capacitance, which is a material composite’s ability to store an electric charge, and the design of the sensor consists of a base plate with three capacitive sensing pads printed with conductive filament, and a rotating part with a single patch of conductive material. By monitoring the relative capacitance of each of the three pads, the software can determine the position of the rotating part, allowing the sensors to be used for control knobs and joint angle measurement in robots. How can these 3D-printed sensors speed up development, keep costs down, and introduce more design flexibility, what materials are needed to print these sensors, and how can these sensors be used to simplify mechanical designs and reduce part counts?
Scientists Develop ‘StarCrete’ For Construction Buildings On Other Worlds
Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed a new material called StarCrete that could revolutionize construction on the Moon and Mars. Made from a combination of potato starch, salt, and extra-terrestrial dust, StarCrete is twice as strong as traditional concrete and offers a greener alternative for construction on Earth as it can be made at lower temperatures and with less energy. The material’s compressive strength was tested and found to be 91 megapascals (MPa) for moon dust and 72 MPa for simulated Martian soil, compared to ordinary concrete’s 32 MPa strength. What is StarCrete made of, what are the potential applications of StarCrete, and how does it compare to traditional concrete?
Open-Source Hardware News
It’s A 486 Computer, On A Breadboard
When it comes to building computer systems on breadboards or stripboards, the most popular processors are usually 8-bit chips like the 6502 or Z80. However, FoxTech is challenging this norm by using a 1990-era 32-bit desktop CPU, the 80486DX. In a surprising move, FoxTech found that the architecture of the chip is very accessible and can be interfaced with in a similar way to earlier chips, and this has led to the creation of a breadboard computer, with the eventual aim of having a simple but fully functional system. So, how does the 32-bit 486 handle its interfacing and what logic is needed to decode its 32-bit bus into an 8-bit bus, how does this project differ from traditional breadboard computer builds, and what other unexpected technologies could be repurposed for this type of project in the future?