This Weekly Roundup has a lot of fun projects (some of which are rather shocking). It was fun to search out these links and get a better understanding of things that people are doing in their home labs. I hope that you enjoy these. Please let me know in the comments if you have come across any neat or useful projects or products that should be highlighted here.
Daniel Eindhoven or the Netherlands has created a very neat, USB powered tesla coil. This device is small enough to fit on your desktop. The other advantage is that it is relatively low power. This allows the user to be able to interact with it safely and have fun sending out large showers of sparks.
It is interesting to see the increase in the variety of single board computers. The group at Banana PI has always come up with fun flavors of these little devices. This time the Pi Zero is being out-shined. The Banana PI device comes in the same form factor as the Raspberry Pi. Though, there is a cost increase between the two boards. The Raspberry Pi Zero costs $10 vs the $15 for the Banana PI device. For the extra $5 you get a 1GHz ARM7 quad core chip with DDR3 memory and Android support. The design is stated to be fully open source.
MikroElektronika has some of my favorite development kits. Their hardware has enjoyed a rapid increase in popularity over the last few years. Many new development kits from a variety of manufacturers are including a mikroBUS socket for click boards. This new kit features a Microchip (Atmel) Sam3X, ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller. The main feature is the Python programmability through the Zerynth Studio IDE. If you rather stick to more traditional C/C++ coding, the device is Arduino compatible as well.
Kumar Abhishek has created a standalone logic analyzer that has BeagleBoard heritage. It draws from the Beagle Logic cape used with the BeagleBoard Black. The Octavo Systems created a System-in-Package device that captures all the essential elements to create a BeagleBoard on a single chip. This combined with the impetus of the Hackaday Prize kicked this project into high gear. The board can sample 16 channels of data at a 100MS/s rate. I look forward to seeing where this project finishes in the Hackaday Prize Contests.
E-Paper displays are interesting. Their ability to retain an image even after power has been removed is a really neat feature. Until recently, they have not generally been available to hobbyists and hackers for a reasonable cost. Ben bought a Waveshare 4.2” display that was not initially set up for partial refresh. In fact, the vendor stated that this was not possible, but with a little bit of reverse engineering this is now possible. Check out his write up and video about the process.