Wireless Arduino programming with ZigBee

ZigBee is a low-power communication system using digital radios. It’s intended to be easier to work with than Bluetooth. Adafruit recently added an adapter board for Digi’s XBee product line and has put together a great how-to to show the devices potential. Using two XBee radios and adapters you can wirelessly program an Arduino board. This would be great if your Arduino was installed in an inaccessible area or maybe it’s over 100feet away from where you’re working. The radios do serial communication just fine. What the how-to covers is getting the reset line working so the Arduino can restart automatically after you program it. Once the radio pair is configured properly, it will pass the RTS line state directly from one device to the other.

Robot fish CAD models

[Bre] dug up this excellent robot fish prototype project. The PPF-O9 has three servos. One on the forward fins to control depth, one on the middle joint, and one final one drives the tail fin. The battery box is mounted to the underside. The control scheme is interesting: the right stick controls left/right and up/down while the left stick controls the frequency and amplitude of the motion. They say the robot is fairly stable, but swimming and turning can be slow. They’ve included CAD files for almost every component to help you with your own designs.

In June, we highlighted a robofish designed for swarm communication.


[Todd] sent in his Hack-o’-lantern just a bit late for Halloween. He did a good job of working with the logo considering the difficulty it poses for pumpkin carving.  We would have been proud to have that on our porch for the kids to steal and smash in the road. Since others in the past have also done Hack a Day pumpkins, maybe this will spawn a Hack a Day pumpkin carving contest next year. If he had enough time to get the green LED working, it would have been that much sweeter; everything is better with electronics.

BSoDomizer blue-screens your enemies

In case you were wondering what industrious hacker [Joe Grand] was doing when he’s not building stuff for Prototype This!, designing Defcon badges, or testifying before congress, it’s this: The BSoDomizer is a VGA pass through device that displays an image of your choice on the victim’s screen. It can do this either periodically or via an IR trigger. The image of choice is a Windows style Blue Screen of Death. It’s powered by a watch battery. The project site has all the schematics you need plus ASCII goatse imagery; you’ve been warned. Embedded below is a demo of the device. We unfortunately didn’t get to see it when it was originally presented during Defcon 16. [Read more...]