3 Dec 2009 follower   » (Journeyer)

No Chumby for me (yet).

The Chumby is an...internet connected thing, created by Andrew "bunnie" Huang known in some circles for his console reverse engineering. The new version looks like this (unfortunately not so soft and cuddly as the previous version but apparently being soft costs too much):

Anyway, recently on his blog bunnie had a competition to guess the number of vias on the new printed circuit board in order to win a new Chumby One. Now, guessing seemed far too slapdash to me but after briefly considering writing something using OpenCV to automate detection I decided to just count things by hand.

Yes, it was as tedious as it sounds. :) It was also complicated by the fact the board is double-sided and the two images supplied didn't overlap fully. So, first I had to locate the vias on each side and then match the pairs. In some cases only one side of the via was visible and also, it wasn't always easy to match up the pairs because even after resizing/scaling the match wasn't precise. I did briefly consider using a technique similar to georectification to align the images but apparently even I have some limits to my perfectionism. :)

Now, the one issue I never dealt with specifically was that it was possible for vias to exist but be hidden on both sides of the board by components. I didn't allow for this. I could've worked out some arbitrary method for guessing the number of hidden vias but just stuck with the visible via count for my submission.

I used Gimp to perform my image manipulation. My Chumby competition submission comment included links to both a layered Gimp file and a flattened JPEG with my via count workings:

(Yeah, it wasn't pretty. :)

My guess was 729 vias which alas was not close enough to the actual total documented count of 785 as mentioned in a follow up post announcing the winner. The closest guess was 781 vias.

But the exercise was still a partial success in my book as part of my reason for documenting the ridiculous extremes I had gone to was a fairly transparent attempt to be noticed even if I didn't win, which earned this remark from bunnie:

I wasn't actually thinking anyone would try to count all the visible vias — kudos to those who put in that effort (omg follower I can't believe you did that!)...

And, this post is, of course, a totally transparent attempt to get you to notice me and think, "Hey, I've got a problem that needs that sort of mindset to solve" and email me with a freelance contract offer. :)

Syndicated 2009-12-03 07:50:00 from follower

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