- Our Guest this week is Kwabena Agyeman who runs OpenMV (Figure 1).
- The OpenMV project is about creating low-cost, extensible, Python-powered, machine vision modules and aims at becoming the “Arduino of Machine Vision” (Figure 2).
- Parker is using an OpenMV camera for the first iteration of the Semi-Automatic Inspection Machine.
- The great thing about Open Source is that you can fix bugs.
- OpenMV started as a Kickstarter.
- The original OV2640 Omni Vision camera sensor was discontinued and gray market parts where found but didn’t work. Replaced with the OV7725.
- KeySniffer sniffs cheap wireless keyboard protocols. We should take a page from BSG and go all wired to prevent Cylon infiltration.
- Facebook has a new Area 404 Hardware division. Could see some interesting hardware come out of this? Possibly similar to Bell Labs of ole?
Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro theme!
About The Hosts
Parker Dillmann is MacroFab's Co-Founder, and Lead ECE with backgrounds in Embedded System Design, and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. He also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas.
Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Host 1 00:09
Hi, I'm your guest Quabbin Ultraman with macro fabs engineering podcast.
Host 1 00:16
I think it's recording right,
Host 3 00:17
It is recording.
Host 1 00:18
There we go. That's the intro. And we are your hosts, Parker
Host 3 00:22
Dolan and Steven cray.
Host 1 00:23
There we go. Welcome. Yeah. So we have one of our first customers of macro fab, right? Open V,
Host 3 00:33
You want to tell us a little bit about yourself, Kevin?
Host 1 00:35
Yeah. So open. NV is a company that's dedicated pretty much to developing a small image sensor board that's programmable. That makes computer vision easy for hobbyist and students. And hopefully in the future, we're going to be a supplier of computer vision systems to commercial enterprises. But right now, it's just hobbyists and students.
Host 1 00:56
Yeah. And it was a Kickstarter project, right? Yep.
Host 1 00:59
It was a Kickstarter project, we raised $100,000. And we sell them to a few icebergs during that time and talk about those.
Host 3 01:08
Well, actually, real quick, can you give a quick description of machine machine vision and maybe some applications of it?
Host 1 01:15
Yeah. So the open MV cam can be used for a lot of different things. Right now. For example, if you want to track colored balls and objects, it's can easily be used for that. And you can actuate motors on with that. We can also do facial recognition, facial tracking, not facial recognition just yet. We can connect to the internet with the board. You can also do things like optical flow, to detect movement with the camera, and we have motion detection through the frame differencing. Finally, you can also take him JPEG videos and gifs with it.
Host 1 01:50
So we typically do that first as we kind of jump right into the technical stuff. But could you just like explain, I've actually a little bit more about yourself, like maybe before OpenCV. Okay, and then actually, like, how did you get into open NV? Yeah,
Host 1 02:04
So I'm a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, I got a master's and bachelor's in electrical and computer engineering. Back in CMU, I was working on a project called the CMU cam four. And during this project, I more or less developed a machine vision board that can just do color tracking, it was able to track colors at 160 by 120, at 30 FPS locked, it did that job very well, but didn't really do anything else. During my time in school, we managed to sell 1500 units, which was you know, nice. And make any money off it really but you know, through various licensing deals, I've more or less got nothing but whatever. So, you know, we, it was a nice project, I really enjoyed it. Computer Vision is a fun topic, because there's just so many things you can do. There's always some kind of new application around the corner, there's always something new you can implement. It's not like a windy sensor where you've implemented maybe three or four functions. And that's really all you need. With computer vision. There's so much stuff you can do. And it's so fun to work with. And so the open MV cam, I got into this project, pretty much by I guess I was bored. In between projects, I wanted something to work on.
Host 1 03:18
That's how engineering projects start.
Host 1 03:21
So I hooked up this gas canister to this flame and got this flame thrower.
Host 3 03:28
Full businesses start with I was born.
Host 1 03:32
Yeah, pretty much necessity Mother of Invention anyway. Yeah, so I went and found open NV online, it was still a a Hackaday project back then. But it was the most start Hackaday project that I made it kind of easy to find is my search on Hackaday. For cool stuff, it was right up there at the top. And I got in touch with Abraham, the creator of the open MV cam, and we became partners. And I've just been running the company now and making sure that's going to market and it's going to be a strong product.
Host 3 04:06
So it looks like
Host 1 04:07
Actually it's kind of an interesting way to get into a project is like, usually it's it's you, I guess I guess you were you looking for a computer vision project that you know, get into or is it just like any project to get your fingers?
Host 1 04:23
You know, computer vision, okay. I mean, yeah, pretty much computer vision, I, I wouldn't have just I mean, the intersection of stuff I'd like to do involves mainly firmware programming and IDE development, which is what I'm doing on this. And if it didn't have those, I wouldn't really be interested because I'm not really I don't have the setup at home to get my hands dirty with doing a lot of hardware work. I really want to stay more in the software realm. And so this kind of was a nice intersection of exactly what I
Host 3 04:50
Wanted. Sure. Well, and the the hardware kind of existed in its pre form when you jumped on board, right?
Host 1 04:57
Yeah, yeah. So I jumped on board after OpenAM V had been already successful via the Kickstarter, some opportunists. I'm not gonna join a product that hasn't, you know, done anything successful. But you know, there were still a lot of room to grow with open and V. And I have a clear vision for what we can do in the future to really bring out all the the power of this potential this product. Yeah,
Host 3 05:18
Yeah. So above and beyond just the hardware open MP has a full IDE that allows you to run a slew of programs on it, right?
Host 1 05:27
Yeah, yeah. So the the board is programmable, more or less, you can load up Python scripts onto it. And then it runs those Python scripts, we actually use something called micro Python, which is more or less a python three interpreter that runs on a microcontroller doesn't have a lot of heap space, not a lot of stack. But you can run very simple non recursive Python programs with a lot of lines of code, we can actually have multiple files, and the machine will actually open up separate files pretty much and interpret those. At the compile the compilation is actually done before the file runs. So it's quite fast. But yeah, no, we have now we have an IDE, which lets you write code and click a Run button. And it'll your script immediately runs as a frame buffer rebuild, to see the image output. And we also have a histogram view. So you can see the color distributions. This is super useful if you want to do color tracking, because you can just select Object, and it'll tell you exactly what color bounds you need to track to select to keep it in lock. So yes, um, we got that in place. And there's also a whole bunch of other features of the open MV cam,
Host 1 06:29
It's actually, we're going to be using one of the opening V cams. For the prototype, same machine, which our listeners know about the semi automatic inspection machine that we're designing at macro fab. The first prototype is going to use an open MV cam. So Oh,
Host 1 06:47
Wow, that sounds great. I hope the quality isn't too bad. There's a lot of work to do on the software and firmware, but we're going to be getting to a point where the product is really solid by the end of the year.
Host 1 06:58
Yeah, it's, it's, it's not going to be doing a lot of computation stuff in the first version, basically, all I needed to do is find the a fiducial. So it'll be like, you know, a copper dot. And then we'll find the location and then compute the offset between the center of the camera and and that dot. And then that's basically all the computer vision is going to be doing.
Host 1 07:20
Oh, yeah. So we have the ability to do that. There's something called templates. Okay, basically, template matching, you give the open MV cam a picture of what you want to find. And then it will search the image and find the exact position where that picture is, you have
Host 1 07:33
Written all my code for me. Yep.
Host 3 07:35
See, in my opinion, I think this is where the the magic secret sauce lies, is in the fact that you, you buy one of these open MV devices. It's not like a single unit that just does its one task, you can specify it to do whatever you need it to do in your application in your machine.
Host 1 07:53
Oh, yeah. And that's the whole, that's the beauty of it. Also, it's open source. So you know, if our firmware does have bugs, you can help fix it, which ad will. You can also edit the code, like it's very easy to add new functionality. If you want a feature that we don't have, you can write it in C and get it on there. If you want to share it, that'd be great, too.
Host 1 08:12
I really wanted to become the slogan for open source software. If there's a bug, you can fix it.
Host 1 08:21
No, that's super powerful.
Host 1 08:23
You know what? That's the title of this. Yeah, you can you can fix.
Host 1 08:27
Terrible when you're doing software development, and you using some closed library? And you know, oh, wow, there's an obvious problem here. I can't do anything to fix it. No, I can work around it. Okay. I spend five weeks just designing every conceivable workaround. I finally found one of them. That doesn't fail. In every ex user case scenario. Yeah, yeah. Versus Oh, I just, I see what the bug is. I'll just go fix that one line. I'm done. Yeah, it's, it's beautiful.
Host 3 08:54
This just popped into my mind, it's perfect. That we need to update the logo for open source, where it's just it follows around the circle of the geared looking logo, and it says you can fix it yourself.
Host 1 09:06
That's perfect. That's perfect. All right, little back on track is so open NV was a Kickstarter project. Yep. And it definitely did have some problems. Oh, yeah. And then the initial manufacturing that that we did at macro fram, and it actually made the the open MV Kickstarter made the Hackaday fail the week for having BGA problems. They actually had a really in depth article about BGA reflow problems basically in that article.
Host 1 09:36
Yep. So the problem came from we use this thing called the OVI. 2640 was the old OmniVision camera, and it was created back in 2006. And so it's 2016 or 2015. We're building this so it's a very old time, but I mean, the performance it had a the ability to take JPEG images it had JPEG compressor in hardware on the chip. and this was huge because we have to do JPEG, JPEG compression in software on the camera. And this really takes a lot of clock cycles. So when it was when we had JPEG compression on the chip on the camera chip itself, this really helped out our ability to take huge images like 1600 by by 1200 pixels. Now, the problem with this old chip though, was apparently they were actually sourced by desoldering, the camera from old camera module besar, desoldering, the camera I see from old cameras, and then packaging them up to look new, and then selling them to poor saps like us.
Host 1 10:37
Yeah, yeah, we actually, we, we actually contacted the company. I can't remember the company's name OmniVision. On the vision. Yeah, we contacted them trying to get these chips from them. And they're like, don't use that it's out. It's obsolete. And we're like, Well, how do we get these cameras? And then we finally found the source on. I think it was Alibaba. So yeah, that Aliexpress AliExpress. And yeah, they were secondhand. Yeah, but you didn't
Host 1 11:03
Think they would be an operational but that's the reality is when you buy these cameras like that, you don't have quality assurance there. And then the problem was the prototype of this camera, and we developed a lot of things around it. So we wanted to use it, and we had all this momentum behind it. And you know, it, when we tried to go to manufacturing with it, it just, it just failed us terribly. In particular, the problem was the BGA connections on the bottom of the camera wouldn't solder you had the leads are basically useless. They were such poor quality that you get this thing called a head and pillow effect where the solder wouldn't actually touch the ball. It would it would form around it, but you'd have a layer of silicon dioxide. That'd be in between and that would just prevent any electrical communication so it would look like it's soldered. It have a physical connection like it's solder but no electrical connection. Yeah,
Host 1 11:57
Yeah, they were. They had a corrosion on the oxide layer on the on the, on the 10 balls. On the BGA. We actually even tried reballing a whole bunch. And
Host 3 12:09
We tried a significant amount of things. We tried cleaning the balls, we tried some some chemicals on the balls to remove any oxide layers. We went full on reballing.
Host 1 12:24
This thing about the reballing is Steven actually read bold like, what 18 1515 units and got 14 to work. Yeah. And we're like, bam, we got it. Yeah, this is it. Yeah, I got it. And I did them all by hand all by hand. And then we shipped them off, shipped up a batch off to a company that does professional BGA reballing. And none of them work when I came back.
Host 1 12:48
Oh my god. Yeah.
Host 1 12:49
And we're like, what did we do wrong? And
Host 1 12:51
We paid $5 A chip to do that. Yeah, do that. I mean, the chip was dollar when we bought it. So it's, you know, we're, this is we're just burning money at this point. Yep. Just might as well light it on fire. But,
Host 1 13:03
Um, but yeah, eventually we just, y'all just picked a different sensor. Yeah, yeah,
Host 1 13:07
It's amazing. We just picked a different sensor, we picked the OVI 7725. And all the problems went away everything.
Host 3 13:13
And that's it. That's, that's in production today. Yeah, it's in production today
Host 1 13:17
Is the O V 7725. It doesn't have the JPEG compression on board. But other than that the image quality is far superior. You know, it has a really good the pixels on on the camera are very big. So you can see really well in the dark. And this translates to a really high quality short and sharp image on the camera. It looks beautiful. Not washed out or anything.
Host 1 13:37
Yeah, the first panel of those the new new sensor open and V boards. Every single one of them worked. And it was one of those like relevant
Host 1 13:48
Relevation moments. Yeah. It was just Yeah, no, I mean, because we had, I mean, it was like just opening the back in 2015 into December was just like, Okay, we got everything's not working. This is bad. This is bad. This is bad. This is bad. Every new the news every day was it didn't work. We tried this. It didn't work. tried this didn't work. We tried a lot
Host 1 14:11
Of things. That my favorite was all the comments on this Hackaday article. It's clear, like none of these, like most of these people have no experience and like no manufacturing volume stuff. A lot of their stuff would work if you're building one. Yeah. Which is probably why like the first couple prototypes were open and they worked. Because they were I think it was like y'all reflowed the icy until it worked. Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, break when you can't do that. And when we're
Host 3 14:42
Talking about a quantity of 1500 You can't do that. No, that's not gonna work. And you
Host 1 14:47
Keep it in the oven until it burns.
Host 3 14:50
Well, and we tried a whole slew of things. They the the package on the old BGA had a it's a glass like tarp and you know, putting enough heat on it would actually cause it to fracture. Yep. So, you know, just hammering it with heats not gonna get you anywhere.
Host 1 15:08
No, I'm Martin. There are two comments that were my favorite one was the use sandpaper on Oh,
Host 1 15:15
Man those balls, yes and the balls.
Host 1 15:19
And, and that would get rid of the oxygen. Sure, but you would also create tons of static electricity that immediately fry that chip.
Host 3 15:26
Also, that's an incredibly skill based thing to, to sand all the balls like a mill or a mill and keep it flat so that it no, it's
Host 1 15:35
Just not gonna put that on your resume, ball, sand ball, sand rocks. And
Host 3 15:40
I've revolved over 15 open and VBG days.
Host 1 15:43
And the the second one was to put a more aggressive flux on it. Sure that makes sense, because it will eat the oxide layer. But the fact is the problem with this that would work on like a QA fn or normal BGA. It wouldn't work on this camera sensor because the camera sensor isn't open environments that sensors exposed the elements. And if you put flux on it the flux actually go soak into the part. Yeah.
Host 3 16:09
And we could see that we saw flux ingress into the sensor, and you look at that, it's just like, oh, boy, that thing's done. That thing's toast.
Host 1 16:17
Yeah. Yeah, it was just, you know, Misery pretty much. And I'm really thankful for macro fab here to not just kick us to the curb. Because, you know, we were kind of a losing money venture at this point of how much time they wasted, just, you know, trying to fix these sensors. And, you know, that's that's the testament. My testimony to this company is
Host 1 16:36
I stayed with it. I wouldn't say it was time wasted. You guys learned
Host 1 16:39
A lot. But I mean, still a big company. I can't imagine they would have spent this much time debugging this this problem this far. For no extra additional pay.
Host 1 16:49
Steven, over there. He did most of it. Cheers, Steven
Host 3 16:53
To open MV works.
Host 1 16:58
That said, Don't abuse macro fab. designs and expecting to fix it. Yeah.
Host 1 17:06
Design Kickstarter go up 100% After this podcast,
Host 1 17:10
We're a special case, because we were early adopters of macro fab one of the first customers. That gave us a good deal.
Host 3 17:16
But today we're actually still running. Not still. I mean, we're in continual running mode with open MV and we're having fantastic success with it.
Host 1 17:26
Oh, yeah. No, they the cameras are flowing out freely and no problems. Yeah. Shippings a little bit of an issue. But that's been corrected.
Host 3 17:34
To to anyone who hasn't worked in manufacturing. Welcome. This is many factors
Host 1 17:39
Manufacturing and volume. Yeah. Oh, yeah. What was the shipping issues? It was the bent
Host 1 17:44
Pins or the bent pins. So like, yeah, like USPS, they just they have a guy whose specialty is drop kicking stuff. And so he doesn't charge of just, you know, jumping on top of everything that they ship.
Host 3 17:57
But he picks like one out of every 10 packages.
Host 1 18:01
TJ demolishes that
Host 1 18:03
Takes the package and suplexes it.
Host 3 18:06
And he's dressed up like Randy Savage. Oh, yeah. I mean,
Host 1 18:15
If you happen to pick your package, we're sorry. We'll put more phone we'll put everything in boxes now.
Host 3 18:24
Oh, that's awesome. I'm glad things are running. Well now. Yeah, me too.
Host 1 18:26
Ah, so is there anything else you want to cover for? Open NV?
Host 1 18:36
No, I think we're good here. I mean, this is a casual conversation about I think I got all my points out cool. Right by one
Host 1 18:42
By one by one today as seen on the macro fab engineering podcast
Host 3 18:45
Real quick or doesn't open NV cost $70.70 bucks they go. Awesome. Oh, and where
Host 1 18:52
Can you get it? Where can you get it? So we have a website online where you can buy it now. Or we actually have them in shop at a robo shop. Please buy them out now. So they do a reorder from us for a lot more.
Host 3 19:02
And what's the website?
Host 1 19:05
WWE no WW just open mv.io
Host 1 19:09
Great. There we go. That I Oh, yeah,
Host 1 19:12
We got that I Oh, Jennifer rapper. Cool. That's
Host 1 19:15
That's the I gotta go by what's trendy TLD right now?
Host 1 19:19
Yeah, well, also someone owned the.com. So who owns opening V duck? And I forget it was something not related to computer vision at all. Hmm. Cool. It's great now because when you type open and V our website shows up all Google's search results. So it's
Host 3 19:34
Huh. SEO optimization.
Host 1 19:37
You got good SEO. Maybe. Maybe that's good. Nothing. You surpass the.com At least Yeah. So go into our fro rapid fire opinion. Cool. So it came out this week. So this is actually a hack that's been around for a while. But this is something a little bit newer. It's a key sniffer. that, uh, basically can hack cheap wireless keyboards, basically wireless keyboards that have very light encryption. Basically, how it works is your your keyboard dongle that you plug into your, your computer, always broadcasts like, Hey, is the keyboard there, hey, is the keyboard there and has all the authentication data in it. So all you have to do is just grab the packet and just, you know, crunch on it a bit. And then bam, you got the keys to the castle, so to speak.
Host 3 20:32
I'm sure these are on the really cheap side of things.
Host 1 20:35
You actually, from what I've read, you have to get up into like the 100 plus dollar range keyboards to actually get encryption on that. But
Host 1 20:45
It's not a feature that they advertise. So no, it's themselves from it. I mean,
Host 1 20:49
Yeah, it's not like you go when you go to Best Buy, you don't see a keyboard that says a wireless,
Host 3 20:55
Encrypted hack proof. 128 bit encryption.
Host 1 20:59
Yeah, it's actually the US 128 bit, AES saying
Host 1 21:01
Just think about that. From a computing standpoint. It's like a keyboard started out as it's, it's a matrix of wires connected. Yep. And nowadays, we have a processor on there that's encrypting the data as it transfers. It's, it's like your keyboard could be your computer of yesteryear.
Host 1 21:17
It's yeah. But yeah, so they're using this to basically hack your wireless dongle, and they can get your passwords.
Host 3 21:27
But you got to be the throw distance on a wireless cue. 150 feet. No, yeah, therefore, yep. Not the crappy one I bought from Walmart.
Host 1 21:36
I think your your, your dongles got do two way. Yeah. I'm transparent. Two way talking. Yeah, this only requires one way. So you only have to snag the one way.
Host 1 21:47
So let's see, I bought a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, the wireless one, and that one has a range of probably six inches. I don't know if it. It was Microsoft's highest end keyboard but I swear to God, you have to put the transmitter right next to the keyboard. Yep. Otherwise it drops keystrokes some safe.
Host 1 22:05
And so this is one of those like thief
Host 3 22:07
Is like six inches away. I'm stealing your stuff.
Host 1 22:11
It's like you come into like, you like you come into work. And there's a guy in the corner. It's like one of those like, stock image arts or what a hacker is like the black ski mask on like typing on the keyboard. And he's like sitting in the corner. He's like, he can't see me so we should go back to Wired keyboards, right? Yeah, that's actually what they did on Battlestar Galactica is is the prevent the Cylons are hacking them all their communications or our hardware hardwired?
Host 3 22:44
What are you talking about the original Battlestar, the new
Host 1 22:47
Original? And the new one? Really? No, but
Host 1 22:49
See, that's not even secured them because of there's a high enough frequency on the keyboard, you can actually turn that wire into an antenna. Yes, I've heard that the FBI? Or maybe the CIA? I don't know. But I've heard that it's been possible to actually see what computer screens the old VGA ones are actually broadcasting. And for if you have a van, and you can have the equipment to pick it up. You could just see people's computer screen.
Host 1 23:13
Yeah, that's actually true. And actually the old PS two style keyboards, you could do the same thing that the PS two cable, would that serial connection.
Host 1 23:24
I wrote a software driver for that. And it's actually about 20. kilohertz. Yeah. Carriers. So something can escape, if there's a right antenna length of this, but I mean, it's not
Host 3 23:33
Intended to be an antenna, and it's got to have such a weak field. No, they're saying,
Host 1 23:38
Like, um, I got to find the article again. About like seeing VGA and that kind of stuff. Yeah, it's got like 50 feet of where you can pick up. Wow.
Host 1 23:51
Yeah, well, it's, you know, it depends because it's like a five volt connection and switching on and maximum power. Yep, no older electronics, they just drove everything into them isn't really low power at all. It's not low voltage differential signal, and the cable isn't necessarily shielded. You know, it's the perfect antenna, pretty much. Yep. And it's,
Host 3 24:09
I guess, I guess in that case, if you're pulling enough current
Host 1 24:15
I'm re plugging in some of these old computers and they had a fan and everything powered up and a power so I ever had one of those computers. Like the super old guys have WordStar on it. Like it was one unit in one had a fan and a power supply and a screen and everything all in one. Yeah, it weighed like a ton. Yeah, yeah, those things I can totally imagine those guys just sending keystrokes everywhere.
Host 1 24:38
But they were also saying I think it was something about the chassis ground was actually what it radiates off of.
Host 1 24:43
Mm hmm. Next sense, no, interesting.
Host 1 24:48
Either find that article and I'll put it in the blog post. Yeah, um, yeah, go back to Wired. It's a little bit safer.
Host 3 24:55
I will I bought a I bought a $100 gaming keyboard that's wired there should be good
Host 1 25:02
Work right? Hmm $100 keyboard do EDA tool work right?
Host 3 25:06
I have to admit I like the clicky sound of mechanical keyboard. So I spent the money just to get the mechanical
Host 1 25:12
G 15 If you want it. Oh shoot,
Host 3 25:15
Where were you two weeks ago what I drove dropped 100 bucks on the key.
Host 1 25:18
I bought this. I bought this g 15. A long time ago though. It's this nasty. Now. It's got to be like, deep cleaned of alcohol before it'll be acceptable. But like, set the LCD screen inside.
Host 1 25:29
Oh, yeah, that's like rookie. Thought about that keyboard.
Host 1 25:33
Or, you know, it's it's like, you really have to play a lot of games, though to use it. And I don't. You don't play that many games anymore.
Host 1 25:41
It was funny. That keyboard, when it first came out was actually banned in a lot of hand. It
Host 1 25:46
Was so good. It got banned. No, I got banned because
Host 1 25:48
The macro function because the keyboard actually did the macro function. It wasn't on your computer. Yeah, so games couldn't detect, yeah, those macros and so a lot of like professional like Counter Strike and that kind of stuff area, they actually banned that keyboard when
Host 1 26:06
I actually got it specifically, there was a game called Guild Wars back in 2000s or so. And so in this game, the monk was one of the most interesting characters to play to target people and heal them and whatnot. And macros, you just map them to heal spell target person, and they made it very easy to be a quick player, and to actually win battles and not die a lot. So it's perfect keyboard for me, but it's not playing the game. Stop using the keyboard. Yeah, that's awesome.
Host 1 26:35
Alright, so the next RFO we have is it came out this week that Facebook has a hardware division. And I love the name area 404. And this is not like I was like, Oh, cool. They probably have like, you know, a room with some, like hardware engineers and they like goof off and build gadgets. No, this is like a full on manufacturing floor. Yeah, it's gorgeous. The machines they have is insane. Yeah. And well I didn't know is apparently Facebook is working on like drone technology. Internet beaming lasers, VR headsets because they bought Oculus. And they actually are developing their own next generation servers. You have to have
Host 3 27:21
A pretty hefty floor to do all of that. All of that any one of those by itself is a pretty hefty floor.
Host 1 27:28
But and they were getting they were having problems with basically outsourcing all their manufacturing. So they just built a whole floor. That's all manufacturing for hardware for
Host 3 27:38
Shipping cash is not really an issue for them. Nope.
Host 1 27:41
Yeah, all those machines are amazing and gorgeous. They have like a nine axis CNC machine. It's pretty crazy stuff. But I wonder if this all started from when they did buy out Oculus. The Oculus bio was like, what, two years ago now? Yeah, like that. So I wonder if this is what started that. And then that's always wondering, like, what is Facebook want to use with drone technology?
Host 1 28:05
Well, they aren't they building the internet drones so that they can beam internet wirelessly to people in remote regions
Host 1 28:12
With a drone? Yeah, they
Host 1 28:13
Have this giant they had a video about it recently where they had a giant flying. It has the wingspan of an aircraft carrier, and basically flies around in the sky and did a I think a wireless a giant mobile. And then it beams the wireless signal back down. So it allows you to basically have a a massive area coverage of wireless internet. That's cool. And it will stay aloft for weeks and there
Host 1 28:37
Are most that's really cool. Wow.
Host 1 28:41
I wish they got to fly. That's even better Park.
Host 1 28:43
Yeah. The the next gen servers that makes sense, because they're an internet company, you know. And the VR headset. People were when that first when they first bought an Oculus. They're like, Oh, that doesn't make sense. I'm like, it doesn't make sense. The fact that you could put on VR goggles, and then you're in a room with all your friends on Facebook. That makes sense.
Host 1 29:05
That sounds really I'm sorry, I I'm not sure how you organize all your friends on Facebook.
Host 1 29:13
Well, you put it on and see pictures of babies and cats. And and one
Host 1 29:19
Thing, and then you take it and then one
Host 1 29:21
Week old memes too. But yeah, I think it's pretty cool that they're getting into hardware. Always like seeing what basically if you can throw lots of money at something, see what pops out of it
Host 1 29:38
Now. No viewer is a great way to for the technology to go. I'm not sure if it's going to be successful still. But I mean, it's better than all the money that was spent on doing 3d stuff.
Host 1 29:48
3d 3d TVs. That's actually one thing I noticed.
Host 1 29:51
Sorry if you bought one. Yeah.
Host 1 29:55
Well, I've noticed with VR is I've actually tried to start with the dolphin emulator emulator which emulates the Nintendo Wii, you can actually enable a VR mode, which puts two cameras into the engine. I don't know what software trickery they use, but it actually works pretty well. And then I used Google Cardboard, and broadcasted my computer screen over Wi Fi into my Android device and used Google Cardboard, the view it. And actually, the fact that the problem with 3d TVs is you had to sit in the right spot at all times, right? So it kind of sucks. But with VR goggles, you can look wherever it's kind of the point. Yeah, so this was like a 3d TV that didn't really matter where you looked. So I thought it was pretty cool. Like playing third person games in VR was actually pretty cool.
Host 1 30:49
Yeah, that's the thing for me those, like most of the time, I'm doing that kind of stuff. I'm trying to be sedentary on purpose. So I'm not looking to walk around. Yeah. move my head around, per se. So I'm not sure if the target audience I think,
Host 3 31:02
Exhale VR, you know, how, you know, really mentioned ourselves.
Host 1 31:06
So VR Oh, man, it's gonna be imagine that though spreadsheets in VR, yes, spreadsheets where the cells go in three dimensional What's your like, you'd like Tom Cruise inside of Minority Report. Spreadsheets instead, just imagine. You're just you're just touching buttons in the air and moving things around.
Host 1 31:25
It's like the latest version of Office for Excel. When you move the the, the, I guess the highlight thing over the cells, it has like an animation now, like Mexico, like makes, like, if you imagine a squish noise in your head. That's what it would do. The
Host 3 31:41
Windows whoosh. Yeah. But which by the way, that's just a garbage addition. Yes. Excel. Don't give me bells and whistles give me excel.
Host 1 31:51
The weirdest thing about Excel i for the longest for some reason, it never supported two windows at the same time, you'd open up to two spreadsheets. Yeah. And it put them in the same window. Yeah, you had to like do this minimizing run around and everything was very difficult to use. Anyway, that's a side note. Yeah. Not to Facebook. Back to Facebook. Absolutely have coming out.
Host 1 32:15
Um, that's actually the only kind of thing that they hinted to, they hinted to, um,
Host 3 32:20
I'm sure they have some top secret stuff. Yeah,
Host 1 32:22
This kind of stuff reminds me like Bell Labs of all old, basically Bell Labs through lots and lots of money at engineers and then stuff popped out.
Host 1 32:31
Yeah. But one of the problems I've heard, I think it's kind of valid is, you know, these projects are are not related to Facebook's chief money engine. And so one of those problems is that they they're kind of side projects that aren't going to give the love they need. Yeah, I've heard Bell Labs, they built stuff explicitly related to making, you know, phones better. Hey, we need a computer because we want to do this computer switching network. Yeah, we built transistors faster. So we can use them instead of switches versus I think the internet drone, though, does make sense for Facebook. That's that's something that directly will help them get more users online. So I think that makes sense. I'm not sure about the other products, though. But I guess, well, servers. I guess that makes sense to maybe I guess I'm a bit more about Google. That's where it's like, Well, Google, not clear how they capitalize on that in search.
Host 1 33:21
Yeah, Google tends to x projects like their RSS reader, because they couldn't figure out how to make money off of it. And so these x Google Reader, and like, I had some friends who love that. Yeah. And there was like 30, other, you know, programs that were really popular that use that API, nine, basically, overnight got turned off. Can you imagine if Google ever thought like, Hey, we're not going to do Gmail anymore?
Host 3 33:51
Flip, turn on. Gosh,
Host 1 33:56
Genomic money direct?
Host 3 33:57
Do they have ads on it? Yeah, there's ads. Okay. Okay. Yeah, but they're, but they're traditional Google ads. So they're very minimal.
Host 1 34:04
Yeah, it's just like one line at the top of your inbox. And a lot of times it doesn't even pop up.
Host 1 34:09
Yeah, no, I use Outlook now because I got too many email addresses. So I gotta merge all that into one. Yeah, interface. I'm an adult.
Host 3 34:18
Growing up excel in Outlook, maybe for the next 35 years. Yep.
Host 1 34:23
I guess I use grave I guess I still use Thunderbird. So I'm on the fringe
Host 3 34:27
I use that you're not an adult yet.
Host 1 34:30
Thunderbird has a little bit of an issue though. If loading up email addresses for some reason. Yes. Sometimes before to load your database. Yeah.
Host 1 34:39
I like you because it's just not outlook.
Host 1 34:44
It's free to premium
Host 1 34:49
Yeah, is that all we're gonna talk about Facebook. Set the fact that it's not about, you know, people our age anymore. It's all about, you know, our parents and their cat photos and
Host 1 35:02
Oh, what do you mean the Facebook user age is shifting?
Host 1 35:05
Yeah, two way north.
Host 3 35:08
Shifted a long time ago. Yep.
Host 1 35:11
Polina Well, I still browse Facebook crack every day. And to get off of it, though, it's a waste so much time.
Host 1 35:19
Well, if Google Plus wasn't such a failure,
Host 3 35:23
I don't know anyone who ever even used it once.
Host 1 35:27
I did some Hangouts. And they're like that they posted pictures of my Hangouts. And it's like, please use me merge all the traffic from every application into one interface. So they could feel like you've been using it, but not really.
Host 1 35:41
Yeah, I actually use my favorite is Google Chat, Google Chat. That's all integrated into Gmail. And it the rest thing about Google Chat is it also hooks into the Hangout feature. And so you can go from the Google chat directly to a Hangout with everyone in it. And because the great thing about Google Chat is it works on your phone, and on your computer. And so you can you know, if you got to talk something, you know, types are pretty long winded. You just go on your computer and you have a keyboard now, so having to type it on a touchscreen.
Host 3 36:14
It's really stripped down and simple. And I think that's what's good about it. Yeah, there's very few bells and whistles.
Host 1 36:20
I think that's gonna be it, right? Yeah. Well, anyway. This is Kwabena Ultraman with macro fab. Thank you for listening.
Host 3 36:27
We were your host Stephen Craig and Parker. Thanks take it easy guys. Letter guys.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai