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Showing posts from June, 2016

Practical Project 1: Magic Mirror Hardware

Returning again to the Magic Mirror, it's time to add more hardware functionality.  Let's give the mirror a camera and a microphone so we can use gestures and voice for input to better control the magic mirror.

First some notes about soldering.  What is solder?  Solder is conductive metal that establishes a joint between two electrical devices whereby one gives electrons the ability to travel through the path of least resistance being a path through the solder.  Solder, when hot, turns into a liquid metal that is easy to work with and turns back into solid metal as it quickly cools down.  You can pick up solder along with a soldering station from your local electronics store. Note that Solder does create toxic fumes and should only be worked with in a well ventilated environment.  To create a joint, heat the pad and the wire one wishes to attach to the pad, then introduce the solder to the pad.  The heat will draw the solder into a liquid form on the pad and secure a joint wit…

Vulkan Part 2

This year's Google IO had a lot of wonderful gems for Embedded Development including a release of the official Vulkan support libraries.  Those libraries require Android N and only on one of three specific devices:
Nexus 6pNexus 5xNexus Player In order to target the larger market, we're going to continue using Qualcomm's released Vulkan API and enable targeting any Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or 821 device such as the very popular Samsung Note 5 and Samsung S7.  I'll also make the important note that both of these devices are among the current generation able to work in the Oculus Gear VR device.  That important note opens the intriguing possibility of doing Virtual Reality work in Vulkan to give much needed performance improvements. Now that we have our motivation intact for using Qualcomm's Vulkan API, there is something very useful about Google's Vulkan effort that we can take advantage of the SPIR-V compiler (shaderc) included in the NDK in our project as well a…