Ingenious DIY Etch-A-Sketch digital camera

Martin Fitzpatrick built the Etch-A-Snap, a digital camera with an automated Pocket Etch-A-Sketch as its display on the back. Each photo takes between 15 minutes to one hour to be sketched. From Two Bit Arcade:

Photos are processed down to 240x144 pixel 1-bit (black & white) line drawings using Pillow and OpenCV and then translated into plotter commands by building a network graph representation with networkx. The Etch-A-Sketch wheels are driven by two 5V stepper motors mounted into a custom 3D printed frame. The Etch-A-Snap is entirely portable and powered by 4xAA batteries & 3x18650 LiPo cells.

Find links to the plans and code here: "Etch-A-Snap: The Raspberry Pi powered Etch-A-Sketch camera" (Two Bit Arcade)

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Clever app-controlled analog split-flap display for your home or office

Vestaboard is a clever app-controlled version of the old split-flap display that you'd see in train stations of yore. It's the same electromechanical analog display technology used in old flip alarm clocks, but with Vestaboard you change the text using your mobile device. Below is a demo of one of the display "bits" in motion and another video teaser of the full sign, measuring 37" x 21". You can pre-order one for $1800.

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Autonomous driving simulators may help reduce driverless anxiety

Visteon makes high-definition dashboard displays for instrument clusters, navigation panels, and entertainment systems. They also know the future is autonomous driving, and to help anxious customers get a sense of the technological possibilities, they are developing driving simulators that demonstrate manual vs. autonomous driving conditions. Read the rest

Watch this hypnotic soft mesh LED display

Alex Xiao's video of a flexible jellyfish-inspired LED configuration hints at the artistic possibilities for these programmable displays. Read the rest

Retina display only the beginning for high-res displays

Apple's definition of a "Retina Display"—the point at which pixels become indistinguishable to a person with normal vision—began at the iPhone 4S's 326 pixels per inch. Though already an iffy claim, it drifted down to 264 ppi with the new iPad. Now, with the slimline MacBook Pro, it's 220ppi. While high compared to most competing displays, it's simply not that hard to spot the dots. John Brownlee at Cult of Mac expands:

Apple uses Retina as a marketing term, and it’s a great one. But it also implies that there’s nowhere else to go from here when it comes to resolution, which simply isn’t true. Ten years from now, we will all own Macs, iPhones and iPads with screens so crisp, looking at the iPhone 4S or new MacBook Pro will be like looking at a 1024 x 768 CRT from 2002. And that’s something to be excited about.

To understand why there’s so much more to be done with display resolution, you need to understand how Steve Jobs came up with his initial “magic number” for Retina: in short, he based it on a person having 20/20 vision. Seems reasonable, because colloquially, 20/20 vision is synonymous with having perfect eyesight. The only problem? 20/20 isn’t perfect eyesight at all.

It's a great article not because it's a takedown, but because it explains just how fantastic things are about to get very soon.

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