Hacking a rotary phone into a recorder and playback machine


Rotary X turns an old-school device into a modern-day question and answer machine.


For you youngsters out there, touch tone phones were an interesting piece of technology that used a rotary dial to create a certain number of on-off pulses. This told the phone company what phone number you, literally, dialed. Though this technology was phased out beginning in the 1960s, these resilient devices could still be found many years later. They can also be purchased and turned into something else. As Maker Lizzy Brooks puts it, “Like a lot of analog technology, rotary phones operate with a series of high/low switches that can easily be wired into an Arduino for programming adventures.”

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In this case, Brooks is referring to her Rotary X question and answer machine. The guts of this phone are hooked up to an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) which interfaces with a hidden PC to state questions and record responses, controlled by the pulses generated by the rotary dial. Or, as the video below puts it, it’s “magic.”

In addition to wiring the dial and hook switch up to the Arduino, Brooks had to create a new electromagnet for the ringer by simply wrapping insulated wire around the bolt that held the orignal magnet. The microphone and speaker in the phone’s headset were replaced with a microphone scavenged from an earbud set, and a headphone speaker. Brooks notes that, although she used a PC, one could probably use an Arduino audio shield and forgo the PC altogether.

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Looking ahead, the Maker is also hoping to add a sensor so it can ring whenever someone approaches, and to connect to the Internet so that it can react to various API data (like ring as you receive a tweet).

If you’d like to try something like this yourself, the Rotary X Arduino and Processing files are available online, and more info on wiring these old phones can be found on Andrew Stella’s “audio_maelstrom” blog.

 

Atmel launches the industry’s first hardware interface library for TLS stacks used in IoT edge node apps


The new HW-TLS platform provides an interface between software TLS packages and the ATECC508A cryptographic co-processor.


With the rise of the Internet of Things, security has become a pressing topic because autonomous remote devices are now routinely connecting to wireless networks to form complex smart device and cloud-service ecosystems. As a result, autonomous IoT gadgets constitute a significant part of those networks and must be able to authenticate themselves to the network resources to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem. In addition, these remote, resource-constrained clients must be able to perform this authentication using minimal processing, memory and power.

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Cognizant of this, Atmel has launched the industry’s first hardware interface library for TLS stacks used in Internet of Things edge node applications. Hardening is a method used for reducing security risks to a system by applying additional hardware security layers and eliminating vulnerable software. This new Hardware-TLS (HW-TLS) platform provides an API that allows TLS packages to utilize hardware key storage and cryptographic acceleration even in resource constrained edge node designs. HW-TLS is a comprehensive solution pre-loaded with unique keys and certificates designed to eliminate the complexities of generating secure keys in the manufacturing supply chain.

OpenSSL is a general-purpose cryptography library that provides an open source implementation of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and TLS protocols. wolfSSL is a cryptography library that provides lightweight, portable security solutions with a focus on speed and size. Atmel’s new ATECC508A-OpenSSL and ATECC508A-wolfSSL are available for immediate download at their respective software distribution repositories, offering seamless adoption of more secure elements without disruption to the developer workflow.

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Secure hardening for both OpenSSL and wolfSSL is made possible with HW-TLS which enables those TLS software packages to interface seamlessly with the ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication co-processor. This IC provides protected key storage as well as hardware acceleration of Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) cipher suites including mutual authentication (ECDSA) and Diffie-Hellman key agreement (ECDH). As such, HW-TLS allows developers to substantially harden Transport Layer Security (TLS), enhancing security for IoT ecosystems.

When used together, HW-TLS and the ATECC508A let even extremely small, low-cost IoT nodes implement strong cryptographic security. All private keys, certificates and other sensitive security data used for authentication are stored in secure hardware and protected against software, hardware and back-door attacks. Beyond that, the integrated ECC accelerators in the ATECC508A offload cryptographic code and math from the MCU allowing even a low-end processor to perform strong authentication.

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“Everyone with an interest in IoT security should be excited about Atmel HW-TLS with wolfSSL,” explains Larry Stefonic, wolfSSL CEO. “The combination of our secure software and Atmel’s new chips brings TLS performance and security to a level unrivaled in the industry. Atmel’s HW-TLS platform also makes it easier than ever for developers to incorporate truly hardened security into our TLS stack.”

Traditionally, TLS performed authentication and stored private keys in software. However, Atmel’s latest platform closes the vulnerability gap in this arrangement by offloading the crucial key management responsibility to dedicated, tamper-resistant secure elements such as the ATECCC508A crypto engine. What’s more, the intensive crypto algorithms are processed in the CryptoAuthentication device, offloading the MCU on the remote devices and enabling the IoT edge node to authenticate to the cloud without a user-perceptible delay. Furthermore, Atmel Hardware-TLS comes as a complete platform pre-loaded with unique keys and certificates for eliminating the complexities of adding secure keys to each device in a manufacturing supply chain.

“With more and more remote devices being connected to the cloud every day in the era of the IoT, it becomes increasingly critical to ensure these devices are not vulnerable to attack,” adds Nicolas Schieli, Senior Director of Atmel’s Secure Products Group. “Such devices can be entirely secure only when they are hardware secure, meaning the ‘secret’ keys are stored in a separate hardware unit. We are excited to bring this innovation to market, enabling device manufacturers that need to connect to the cloud to take advantage of hardware security.”

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The Hardware-TLS complements Atmel Certified-ID, a seamless and secure keys provisioning platform for assigning trusted identities to devices joining the IoT.

Play GIFs and videos from your phone on this Bluetooth LED display


Magic Pixel is an innovative, small form-factor digital sign that can display animations, scrolling texts and video from your PC or Mac.


If you’re looking for a new way to display art or information, Magic Pixel may be the thing you’re looking for. Magic Pixel is a Bluetooth LED display that can stream animations, scrolling text and video from your smartphone and computer.

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Whether you’re in need of signage or want eye-popping wall art, Magic Pixel will definitely attract attention. This thin panel supports 16.7 million colors, showing any imagery of your choice at high luminosity. Magic Pixel was created by a UK-based team of electronics aficionados, led by founder Jozef Gubo. Magic Pixel is their solution to displaying effective and dynamic visualizations.

Magic Pixel has various supported functions. Videos and animations in .GIF format can be streamed over USB 2.0 using a PC or Mac, or by inserting a microSD card into the panel. The accompanying mobile app allows for editable scrolling text display via Bluetooth, making it a useful addition to any store front for displaying advertisements or information. Users can adjust the text position, scrolling type, speed and direction, text size, color and font from a mobile device. Magic Pixel can also be used for fun as statement art, or be used practically to illuminate a space. Its creators used the Magic Pixel as a backlight for an aquarium by loading an animation of the deep sea onto the microSD card and placing the panel behind the tank.

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At the core of Magic Pixel is an ARM Cortex-M4 MCU clocked at 120MHz, which enables the device to run a 64 x 48 pixel display at a refresh rate of 120Hz. Magic Pixel’s control card contains a module supporting Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, USB 2.0 for computer connection, a microSD card slot, buttons for some of the functions as well as a 16-pin connector for the LED panels.

Magic Pixel is available in two sizes. The smaller model has a resolution of 64 x 32 pixels, and it measures 25.2” by 12.6”. The bigger model has a resolution of 64 x 48 pixels, and it measures 25.2” by 18.9″. Both versions feature a thin profile, and are only 1.2″ thick. Intrigued? Head over to Magic Pixel’s Kickstarter page, where Jozef and the team are currently seeking $21,450. Delivery is expected as early as May 2016.

Build your own 3D-printed Halo energy sword


This Halo replica features Bluetooth-controlled NeoPixels.


If you’re a fan of Halo, at some point you’ve probably thought that having an energy sword would be a good idea. For better or worse, you can’t obtain one of these weapons (yet), but the Ruiz Brothers at Adafruit have come up with the next best thing: a 3D-printed replica that uses programmable LED strips to make it glow.

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These strips are controlled by an Adafruit Feather 32U4 Bluefruit LE (ATmega32U4), enabling them to be programmed for excellent effects, like changing colors and powering on the lights in a sort of slow powerup pattern. Since this Feather has Bluetooth capability, the sword can even be controlled with a smartphone with no physical access to the board.

Besides Bluetooth, another neat feature of the Feather is that it has a battery charging circuit built-in. This allows the sword’s 2000mAh lithium-ion battery to be charged without adding any additional hardware. A switch is, however, added to turn the unit off when the owner isn’t busy pretending to pwn noobz with it.

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The blades are printed with transparent PLA, and the sword, including the handle, is made in 20 sections attached together with super glue. Despite its 34-inch blade, it impressively weighs under one pound.

If this all seems a little familiar, you might recall either of the Ruiz brothers’ Daft Punk helmet builds — you can find more info on Thomas’ helmet replica here.

Blast some tunes on this colorful speaker


An RGB LED strip driver adds some colorful effects to this DIY sound system.


A friend of Philip Verbeek, Guus Boonen, has created an totally awesome handmade sound system comprised of a few speakers, an amplifier circuit, a Bluetooth module and a charger module with accu, all housed inside a custom case with a handle on top for portability.

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During the build process, Boonen had come up with the idea to also include an RGB LED strip driver, paving the way for some pretty cool effects. This board, which was specially designed by Verbeek, features a rotary encoder and an ATtiny85 at its core. What really makes this driver special, though, is the inclusion of the rotary encoder with an integrated tact switch. This not only makes all kinds of new user interfaces possible, but enables precise control of the LEDs.

A panel in the back allows a user to adjust the light color and brightness, as well as turn the speaker on/off. Aside from that, the system is powered and charged via AC, and is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and an audio jack.

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As Verbeek explains, “The custom driver includes two modes. Mode 1 is where you can set the color. When pressing the tact switch in the rotary encoder, you will go to mode 2 where you can set the brightness level of the RGB LEDs. When holding the tact switch for two seconds, the LEDs will go off in a nice fade animation.”

With every touch of the push button (which is built into the rotary encoder), the variables are saved in the memory. This way, whenever the device is powered on and off again, the driver will revert back to where a user left it. Intrigued? You can check out the entire project here, or see it in action below!

Alcohoot Edge is a palm-sized, Bluetooth-enabled breathalyzer


This mobile breathalyzer will call you an Uber or find some food nearby when you’re drunk.


Chances are, at some point, many of you have been out with friends throwing back a couple of drinks and found yourself unsure as to whether or not you were sober enough to get behind a wheel. Before having to summon an uber, what if there was a convenient way to detect your blood alcohol levels right there on the spot, eliminating any possibility of bad judgment? Now there is, thanks to Vertisense.

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The New York City-based startup has developed the Alcohoot Edge, a mobile device for monitoring your alcohol consumption at home or while out and about. It works like any other standard breathalyzer, employing the same advanced technologies as law enforcement. The unit combines a platinum electrochemical fuel cell along with an active breath sampling system that includes a 15-second timer ensuring the most accurate BAC reading to encourage smarter and more responsible decisions.

To get started, users simply blow into the Alcohoot Edge to instantly measure their breath receiving instant and accurate feedback on their BAC level in their body. The portable tracker is powered by a lithium-ion battery and is rechargeable via USB. Need to share with friends? Germaphobes fear not, the Alcohoot Edge comes with replaceable mouthpieces.

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Alcohoot Edge is more than just a gadget, however, it’s a complete monitoring system. The palm-sized breathalyzer will communicate over Bluetooth with its accompanying app to offer users with an insightful way to stay on track with their alcohol consumption. Through morning quizzes answered by the user, the app performs qualitative analysis to algorithmically predict optimal alcohol consumption levels, seamlessly keeping tabs on user behavior. It also contains a Smartline Line that provides users with trends in their alcohol consumption, and is supported by both Apple Health and Google Fit.

What’s more, the Alcohoot Edge has a few tricks up its sleeve to keep you out of harm’s way. The app can puts ride-sharing services one touch away so you can get home easily without taking any risks, and using your GPS location, can even map out a list of local restaurants so you can soak up some of the booze with greasy food.

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Ready to become a more responsible drinker? The Alcohoot Edge is there to help. Head over to its Indiegogo campaign, where the Vertisense crew is currently seeking $25,000. Delivery is slated for August 2016.

21 smart crowdfunding campaigns you may want to back this week


Every Friday, we take a look at some of the smartest, most innovative projects that caught our attention on Kickstarter and Indiegogo over the last seven days. 


Rook

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This is the world’s first in-home drone that you can fly from anywhere in the world. Eighty Nine Robotics has flown right by its $20,000 goal on Indiegogo.

Sinclair Vega+

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This handheld console has an LCD screen, a microSD card slot and comes with 1,000 licensed ZX Spectrum games. Retro Computers has already doubled its £100,000 goal on Indiegogo.

T8

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This wearable instrument enables you to record, perform and remix from anywhere. Remidi is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Kamibot

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This programmable paper robot teaches kids how to code. 3.14 is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Alcohoot Edge

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This palm-sized, Bluetooth-equipped breathalyzer uses police-grade breath sensor technology to accurately track and measure your blood alcohol levels. Vertisense is currently seeking $25,000 on Indiegogo.

Sondors THIN Electric Bike

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This lightweight, speedy and affordable electric bicycle boasts a sleek aluminum frame and revolutionary battery technology. Sondors has well surpassed its goal of $100,000 on Indiegogo.

Sense

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This system interoperates with your smart home devices, and automatically adapts to your needs over time by learning from your preferences and habits. Silk Labs is currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter.

Monument

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This gadget stores and automatically organizes your photos by time, location and faces. Monument Labs has hit its $60,000 goal on Kickstarter.

K Kit

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This small, customizable and seven-piece connected home system can be controlled from your smartphone. Konke is currently seeking $100,000 on Indiegogo.

NexDock

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This versatile 14-inch monitor with a built-in battery and Bluetooth keyboard transforms your Windows 10 smartphone, mini PC and tablet into a laptop. NexDock is currently seeking $300,000 on Indiegogo.

Magic Pixel

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This small digital sign can display animations, scrolling texts and video from your PC and Mac. Magic Pixel is currently seeking $21,450 on Kickstarter.

Flipaw

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This smart dog collar interacts with sensors around your house to let you know what your pet is doing. Pierre Moens is currently seeking $55,085 on Kickstarter.

HOT Band

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This strap adds private calling capabilities to your Apple, Pebble or any other watch. PHTL is currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter.

recSMART

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This smart social dashcam allows you to capture, save and share moments from the road. RoadEyes is currently seeking $111,392 on Kickstarter.

OpenKey

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This device removes the hassle of remembering passwords and serves as a universal two-factor authentication platform that can replace multiple hardware tokens and apps. Tim Steiner just reached its $10,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Splitsecnd

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This portable plug-and-play gadget provides crash response, 24/7 emergency assistance and GPS tracking in any vehicle. Splitsecnd is currently seeking $25,000 on Kickstarter.

AniFit

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This wearable for dogs gives personalized health advice for your furry companion. AniFit is currently seeking $30,000 on Kickstarter.

PlantSitter

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This portable unit makes sure your plants stay alive, no matter how exotic and demanding they are. MiGrow is currently seeking $60,000 on Kickstarter.

FDL-1

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This 3D-printed, web-enabled and fully-automatic foam dart launcher is perfect for Makers. Jesse Kovarovics is currently seeking $15,000 on Kickstarter.

Hydra-Light PL500

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This LED personal lantern works by adding water and a little ordinary table salt for instant light and DC charging power. HydraLight is currently seeking $25,000 on Kickstarter.

Camemory

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This pair of smart glasses allow you to record videos, snap pictures and pair to your phone with defined gestures. Shawn Chen is currently seeking $5,000 on Kickstarter.

Did you happen to miss last week’s notable campaigns? If so, you can check them out here.

Digital audio recording “you” with quality and ease


Instamic wants to do for microphones what the GoPro did for cameras. 


Many analog years ago, digital recorded audio won the popularity contest. Nowadays, whether it’s from your mobile phone, infotainment system or personal audio device, every sound you hear is from digitally encoded bits.

Digital audio has eliminated all of the analog audio’s distortions and noise-related problems. Quite simply, people are shaped and drawn to recorded audio, ranging from music producers, to creative artist, to the everyday consumer. It’s in these moments for the user, high-quality audio conveys clarity in the recording moments. In today’s user interfaces, from media and podcasts to tablets, many whizzing bits are streaming a world of information including audio — readily available at every reach of a finger or ear.

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More and more, we are seeing the prolific expansion and seamless integration of the stack. What does this all mean, though? Screen time now captivates us, while voice recognition and audio are blended into the user pathways of UX. Spurring from technology, we see popular apps like Evernote and iOS/Android natively adopting audio recording right within its inherent interface. These apps are taking in the voice user input to also drive UX — cleverly weaving experience, intention, outcome, commenting and moments.

Almost every sound you hear coming out of a speaker is digitally sampled and encoded.  Moment upon moment of keynotes stored are recorded more, albeit in the format of video or audio, we are seeing an increasing number of unique use cases to why one would want to capture a particular moment. These moments offer an on-demand periscope — referencing a historic timeline of ripples in our experience, memory, and journey through work, life, play, and what matters most to us.

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For much of our pleasures, sound is always in digital — whether it’s on your smartphone, computer, radio, television, home theater or in a concert hall. Today, across many electronic devices, audio recording is integral transition to many advanced features applied toward enhancing old ways of doing things. Just take a look at visual voicemail, and how recording voicemails took the next leap once UX and advance playback was offered. Visual and digital voice recording meshed with non-linear play, took voice playback to the next level. I’d go so far as to point out that most people never hear analog recordings anymore.

Unless you’re a musician, or live with one, virtually all the music you hear live or recorded is digital. We now see the integration of audio and voice recording into all forms of day-to-day activity. Audio with depth is helping bring back some of those analog qualities where the shape and length of a sound wave can be more defined by bit depth and bit sampling rate. With these 24-bit audio embedded designs and digital audio recordings, we can also achieve better sound quality more akin to what our ear can register and decode, help bringing forth the finer granular details of high fidelity. But it’s not all about just emitting fidelity via the digital audio recording. The use cases and need to record audio, albeit ourselves or surrounding interactions, is helpful for many use cases (musician during creative process, senior suffering stages of memory loss, students seeking catalog of lectures, author recalling and commenting wiring plots during writing process, etc.)lectures and applications for audio recording
Why does bit depth matter, you ask? Bit depth refers to the number of bits you have when a device is capturing audio. Below is a graph showing a series of levels in how bit depth works. There are 65,536 possible levels for 16-bit audio. As for 24-bit, there are 16,777,216 levels. Now, let’s see how the depth is explained. The capturing of audio can be sliced in partitions at any moment in time such as shown in this  graph. To move to higher resolution in audio, every bit added counts toward greater resolution. The deeper the bit depth, the number of levels stack greater audio information, layering richer context to the profile of the audio being recorded. Altogether, what’s said describes a segment of audio frozen in a single slice or moment of time.

The second integral “high quality” factor is called sample rate. Together, bit depth and sample rate complete the higher resolution audio model. The sample rate represents the number of times your audio is measured or “sampled” per second. The typical standard for CDs, the sample rate is 44.1 kHz or 44,100 slices every second.
bit depth and sample rate explained

Digital audio eliminated all of analog audio’s distortions and noise-related problems. In that sense digital is “perfect.” When analog recordings are copied, there are significant generation-to-generation losses, added distortion and noise; digital-to-digital copies are perfect clones. Some recording engineers believe digital doesn’t have a sound per se, and that it’s a completely transparent recording medium. Analog, with its distortions, noise and speed variations imparts its own sound. Arguably, perfect, it is not. This is why high resolution in audio paired with the best form factor and ease and usability go hand in hand.

As to whether digital composes sounds with better quality than analog, that’s merely a moot point. Digital audio recording and its very nature of having the ability to slice into segments and layer, then import into other applications and change into enhanced or analyzed into wave forms has been remarkable and pivotal for many industries. In fact, we now see results of digital audio having a significant impact when having the ability to vector to angular and distinct wave form shapes as to help identify voices and interpret intelligent voice recognition. These encoding factors coupled with deep learning programmatic layers are ushering in a new era of digital interpretation and digital recognition.Instamic-every-day-use
Despite such a proposal of questionable technical and audible merits, founder of Instamic Michelle Baggio apparently moved ahead with the idea and recently launched a well-funded Indiegogo campaign for a new audio and player designed to revive factors of instant usability and simplicity that has been squeezed out of digital recording. Thoughts and experience can now be easily captured or reduced to a series of moments, but it is in this very reason for being captured that one can traverse thoughts by memorable experience to episode, so we as users can stitch what’s most meaningful to formulate a mosaic of audio recordings to help serve a purpose.  Whether it’s for applications in medical, academics, business, music or film, the list goes on and on… even a victim of memory impairment can find good use for Instamic.

Instamic isn’t just an ordinary microphone. It happens to be the smartest, smallest and most affordable digital audio recorder that is also easy to operate, combining usability with the smartphone. It attained over 2,500+ backers and crowdfunding exceeding 539% its original campaign goal. With that many backers and goals funded beyond expectations, there are good market/application factors yielding wider acceptance and adoption of more and more of these audio recording tools. Instamic can function as the day-to-day voice logging tool of choice.go-pro-likeness-recording-revolution
We have now leaped into the “Recording Revolution.” GoPro had an effect on the video revolution, opening up a periscope and view into so many never before seen vantage points. Previously, only a number of people had access to seeing. Adventures and passions of people, shared from around the world into showcases for all to experience what they had seen. Giving an eagle’s eye into the experience of many, providing a viewport into those that would never have seen amazing video capture. The recording revolution is upon us and will grow. Instamic is a mic build and made for everyone. Not only is this recording device at 24-bit, the sample rate matches industry high resolution standards at 96khz sample rate. That’s right, based on the aforementioned bit sampling description, that puts the recording at high resolution of 96,000 slices of audio sampled per second.

Instamic Pro and Instamic

Instamic records at 96khz/24-bit, having both mono and dual-mono while its Pro version even boasts stereo recording. This simple but advance digital recorder features omnidirectional polar pattern. Omnidirectional polar pattern records and performs ideally based on its small form factor. A peek inside reveals the architecture of quickly including minimal-phase digital filtering, zero-feedback circuitry, one of the “best sounding” DAC -nabled chips available with dual 2Msps, 12-bit DAC and analog comparator, and an all-discrete output buffer.

Instamic has the ideal form factor — it’s tiny and can be virtually attached to anything. As a standalone recorder, given the right price and origin of this idea, it can very well replace conventional handheld and lavaliere microphones. Packed with mounting options (magnet, velcro and tape) and a quick release clip, the super portable gadget can register hours of 48khz/24-bit sound in mono and dual mono mode, as well as in stereo quality with its Pro variant. A built-in, rechargeable battery allows for roughly four hours of uncompressed audio recording, with duration varying slightly depending on charge time, temperature and storage conditions.

Instamic has a frequency response of 50 to 18,000Hz. Try doing this with current smartphones or other devices, and batteries will drain quick. Then, recording is sensitive having a frequency response of 50 to 18,000Hz. Instamic crams big recording power into a small form factor which is highly usable because it can be tucked into anything. Simplicity seems to always rule the day especially when it comes to electronic devices looking to shape or better the way we do things in a day to day basis. What the GoPro did for cameras, this gadget wants to do for microphones.

What the GoPro did for cameras, this gadget wants to do for microphones

Given its compact design and minimal setup, Instamic is the perfect accessory for filmmakers, journalists and musicians as they will no longer need to lug around all that bulky, obtrusive equipment. Eliminating the need for cables, the wearable unit connects to its accompanying app over Bluetooth and enables users to control it remotely within a 30-foot radius, as well as simultaneously record with multiple Instamics. What’s more, the mic has been designed with the latest Atmel | SMART SAM 70S MCU, comprising 2GB to 8GB internal memory.

Turning on the pocket-sized device requires a single tap of its logo, while another touch will begin the recording. From there, Instamic will automatically adjust the gain on its own in the first 10 seconds and will ensure that it remains at the optimal level. Tap and hold again for a second and it will stop. If paired with a smartphone, Instamic can also be controlled through its app. When a user needs to transfer a recording to their desktop, its microUSB charging port doubles as the file transfer system. Instamic comes in two models: Pro and Go. The Pro version’s waterproof, black shell makes it a suitable instrument for indoor filming sets, darker environments and even in five feet of water. Meanwhile, the splash-resistant, white Instamic exterior of the Go can remain inconspicuous in most bright, day-lit settings. Both can camouflage easily with custom design covers and handle the most windy conditions wearing Instamic Windshield.Easy USB Charging and 4 hour use and recording
How is this being done inside? Intrigued? You can head over to its Indiegogo page to delve a bit deeper. This Bay Area-based startup has already met its crowdfunding goals and now quickly developing their products with the Atmel SMART | SAM S70, a high-performance ARM Cortex-M7 core-based MCU running up to 300MHz. The MCU comes with analog capability, fitting 12-bit ADCs of up to 24 channels with analog front end, offering offset error correction and gain control, as well as hardware averaging up to 16-bit resolution. SAM S70 also includes 2-channel, 2Msps, 12-bit DAC.

But that’s not all. It’s combined with high-capacity memory with up to 2MB Flash and 384kB SRAM and DSP encoding capabilities (DSP functionality that can be further grown into its roadmap). DSP features can be broadly extended well into its product roadmap. Even more is to happen, inclusive in the roadmap is the SAM S70 MCU doing the encoding and decoding of the audio signals, enhanced with its ability to process deterministic code execution and truly expand on the stereo quality functionality packed with Omnidirectional polar pattern, providing the best quality mapping and single processing for an mcu, outputting workhorse processing power of an MPU.  This 32-bit ARM Cortex M7 processor also features a floating point unit (FPU).  Now with quality mapped to bit depth and bit sampling, the number crunching math required to compute an enormous layers of bits is astounding

The FPU further bolsters high quality audio by executing float point processing to render audio temporarily in a 32 bit floating point format. The recorders will render audio temporarily while the extra bits are added onto the file after recording to allow generous headroom for audio mathematics in the digital domain in memory.  Before the file is output it will go through the 24 bit converters. “Floating point” scales the decimal point in a calculation and processing even more so. Furthermore, having 32 rather than 24 registers for calculations is going to render increasingly accurate result. With strings of only 24 numbers, it would be theoretically impossible to allow for other extensive calculations. Yet, when the data hits the 24-bit converter 8 bits are “truncated” or cut off.  The said mathematical result is simply more accurate and as a result, we get high resolution output of the audio.

Instamic’s MEMS microphones offer a breakthrough innovation in sound sensing. Having sound recorded with an omnidirectional microphone response (similar to sound studio environments) is generally considered to be a perfect sphere in three dimensions. The smallest diameter gives the best omni-directional characteristics at high frequencies. Yes, indeed there’s always something new to learn. This is the compelling reason that makes the MEMS microphone the best mmni-directional microphone. Industry wise, MEMS microphones are entering new application areas such as voice-enabled gaming, automotive voice systems, acoustic sensors for industry and security applications, and medical telemetry. What was once unthinkable early on, the unique construction of the MEMs microphone combined with performance and form factor make it all possible.

Instamic Pro Features and Functionality

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MEMS Microphone Specifications

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Recorder Specifications

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Frequency Response Specifications

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Comparison Specifications

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Comparisons at Scale

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Once again, Instamic originally stems from the well-funded pool of contributing patrons. The community has supported and validated this product’s potential for an ideal application to market fit. With this said, the demand is real. Shoot for the stars, right? Powered by Atmel’s latest Cortex-M7, Instamic is looking to become a household name when it comes to capturing high-quality sound anywhere, at anytime, on anything.

The Linux Foundation is building an RTOS for the Internet of Things


The Zephyr Project will offer a modular, connected operating system to support IoT devices.


The Linux Foundation recently introduced the Zephyr Projectan open source collaborative effort that hopes to build a real-time operating system (RTOS) for the Internet of Things. Announced just days before Embedded World 2016, the project is looking to bring vendors and developers together under a single OS which could make the development of connected devices a simpler, less expensive process.

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Industrial and consumer IoT devices require software that is scalable, secure and enables seamless connectivity. Developers also need the ability to innovate on top of a highly modular platform that easily integrates with embedded devices regardless of architecture.

While Linux has proven to be a wildly successful operating system for embedded development, some smart gadgets require an RTOS that addresses the very smallest memory footprints. This complements real-time Linux, which excels at data acquisition systems, manufacturing plants and other time-sensitive instruments and machines that provide the critical infrastructure for some of the world’s most complex computing systems.

If all goes to plan, the Zephyr Project has the potential to become a significant step in creating an established ecosystem in which vendors subscribe to the same basic communication protocols and security settings.

With modularity and security in mind, the Zephyr Project provides the freedom to use the RTOS as is or to tailor a solution. The initiative’s focus on security includes plans for a dedicated working group and a delegated security maintainer. Broad communications and networking support is also addressed and will initially include Bluetooth, BLE and IEEE 802.15.4, with more to follow.

The Zephyr Project aims to incorporate input from the open source and embedded developer communities and to encourage collaboration on the RTOS. Additionally, this project will include powerful developer tools to help advance the Zephyr RTOS as a best-in-breed embedded technology for IoT. To start, the following platforms will initially be supported:

  • Arduino Due (Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 MCU)
  • Arduino 101
  • Intel Galileo Gen 2
  • NXP FRDM-K64F Freedom board (ARM Cortex-M4 MCU)

Intrigued? Head over to the Zephyr Project’s official site to learn more.

The Vega+ puts a ZX Spectrum and 1,000 licensed games in your pocket


The iconic ‘80s gaming console is being reborn as a handheld device.


If you grew up in the ‘80s, you’re going to love this news: Sir Clive Sinclair and Retro Computers are bringing the powers of the ZX Spectrum into the palm of your hand with the fully-mobile Vega+.

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This gadget is a blend of the original, iconic gaming machine and last year’s ZX Spectrum Vega home console. Unlike its predecessors, though, the latest iteration is equipped with an LCD screen, a built-in microSD card slot and 1,000 licensed games. On top of that, the Vega+’s software enables you to run pretty much all of the 14,000-plus Spectrum titles from back in the day.

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You’ll notice that the Vega+ bids farewell to the keyboard for an integrated LCD display, along with simple fingertip controls that you’ve grown accustomed to with other handheld gaming devices. There’s a D-pad on the left as well as a series of buttons on the right. In addition to the its SD slot, the unit comes with a charging port, USB and an A/V output jack so you hook it up to your TV if you want to throw some classics up on a bigger screen.

Ready to spark some nostalgia and bring you favorite ‘80s games with you on your morning commute? Head over to the Vega+’s Indiegogo campaign, where Sir Clive Sinclair and the Retro Computers crew have already blown right by their