Hackaday Links: March 13, 2022

As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, its repercussions are being felt far beyond the Eastern European theater. And perhaps nowhere is this felt more acutely than in the space launch industry, as Russia, at least until recently, was pretty much everyone’s drive to orbit. All that has now changed, at least temporarily, and has expanded to include the cessation of sales of rocket motors used in launch vehicles from other countries. In particular, Roscosmos has ended exports of the RD-180 engine used in the US Atlas V launch vehicle, along with the RD-181 thrusters found in the Antares rocket. The loss of these engines is perhaps more symbolic than practical, at least for the RD-180 – United Launch Alliance stopped selling launches on Atlas V last year and had secured the engines it needed for its 29 flights. booked in April . Still, there’s some irony that the Atlas V, which started out in the 1950s as an ICBM targeting the USSR, has lost its Russian-made engines.

Bad news for Jan Mrázek’s popular open-source parametric search engine, which makes JLCPCB’s component library easier to use. We wrote about it back in 2020 and things seemed to be going well until this week, when Jan received a takedown request for his service. When we first heard about this, we checked the application’s web page, which bore a large red banner containing the seemingly unpleasant accusations Jan had received, including the words “reptile” and “parasitic.” The banner is still there, but the text has changed to a more hopeful tone, noting that LCSC, the component supplier for JLC’s assembly service, objected to Jan’s way of retrieving component data, and that they are now collaborating on something that will make everyone happy. can be with you. Hope the service is back in action soon.

Good news everyone: Epson is getting into the 3D printer business. Eager to add another dimension to the world of planographic printing in which they have mostly worked, they have announced that they will be launching a direct extrusion printer soon. Aimed at the industrial market, the printer will use a “flat screw extruder,” which should be similar to what the company uses on its injection molding machines. We certainly weren’t aware that Epson was in the injection molding market, so it will be interesting to see if expertise there leads to innovation in 3D printing, especially if it spills over into the consumer print market. As long as they don’t try to DRM the pellets, of course.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but it turns out you can tell a lot about a person’s genetics just by looking at their face. At least that’s according to an AI startup called FDNA, which is making an app called “Face2Gene” that the company claims can identify 300 genetic disorders by analyzing photos of a person’s face. Some genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, leave easily recognizable facial features, but some changes are much more subtle and harder to spot. We had heard of cases where photos of toddlers on social media were used to diagnose retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the retina. But this is completely on another level.

And finally, working in an Amazon warehouse must be a tough job, and if some stories are to be believed, it borders on a horror show. But an Amazonian recently shared a video showing what it’s like to get stuck by his robot colleagues. The warehouse worker somehow managed to get trapped in a maze created by Amazon’s pods, which are piles of shelves containing merchandise that are moved across the warehouse floor by what amounts to robotic pallet jacks. Apparently, the robots know enough not to collide with their meat-based counterparts, but not enough not to trap them. To be fair, the human eventually found a way out, but it was a long search and it looks like another pod could have come into position to block the exit at any moment. You could see it as a terrifying example of a botched human-robot interaction, but we prefer to think of it as the robots giving their friend an unplanned break from the prying eyes of his supervisor.

This post Hackaday Links: March 13, 2022

was original published at “https://hackaday.com/2022/03/13/hackaday-links-march-13-2022/”