[Anupam Pathak] knows how jarring it can be to wake up to a traditional alarm clock. He decided to hack an alarm clock so that it would open the shades in his room to allow in natural light. He found the pin that went high when the alarm was triggered and used that to signal an ATtiny45. The microcontroller activates a servo connected directly to the blinds. He has switches on the side of the clock to manually control the blinds and to cut power to the audible alarm. Video embedded after the break. Continue reading “Alarm clock automated blinds”
Hacking at Random, an international technology and security conference, has just announced the dates for their 2009 event. The four day outdoor technology camp will be held August 13-16 near Vierhouten, Netherlands. HAR2009 is brought to you by the same people who held What the Hack, which we covered in 2005. They’ve done this every four years for the last 20. We’ll be sure to attend. We loved CCCamp in Germany last year and plan on attending ToorCamp in Seattle this year too.
Google recently updated their Google Mobile App with a couple new features. Voice Search automatically starts listening when you raise the phone to your ear. Just say what you’re looking for, and it will poll Google and return the results. The app leverages Google’s voice recognition engine, which they’ve been training with Goog-411. [Andy Baio] has been experimenting with audio transcription and was curious what the new app was doing behind the scenes. He started by sniffing the packets as they traversed his network. Unfortunately, the size of the data packets transmitted is so small that he’s almost certain he’s missing something. He’d appreciate any help in this endeavor. Part of the problem might be Google getting special treatment and using undocumented iPhone SDK features.
The Guardian’s technology department hosted its first Hack Day last Thursday. Developers were freed from the drudgery of their everyday jobs to make fun toys and tools. Many of the hacks that developed played around with the website, like the Guardian commenter blocker, or the Guardian Button integrated into the Google Toolbar. We liked the Guardian Politics Page LED Swingometer, created by [Tom Armitage], which scanned the Guardian’s politics RSS feed for mentions of “Conservative” or “Labour” to yield the “swing” of a page to an Arduino. We wanted to see more of the Java-enabled Robot Dude. You can track Fhe Guardian’s Hack Day activity on Twitter with the tag #ghack1 or check out their photos on Flickr.
If you want to participate in a Hack Day, Last.fm is hosting one this December.
[Brian] made this really cool LED keyboard. He started with a Deck Legend Fire. When he got it, he realized that every key had its own LED, but the entire unit was either on, or off. He just couldn’t live with that and decided to start hacking into it to make each light individually controlled. He found a perfect empty space in the back of the keyboard and designed custom PCBs to control his lighting. he notes that he spent 12 hours of cutting and soldering wires to each of the lights in the keyboard, that doesn’t include the PCB construction.
In the end, he had a fantastic looking keyboard that had cool effects like heat mapping and idle animations. All stock features still work and it looks almost entirely stock. The only obvious difference is the fact that it has two USB cables coming out of it due to some issues with his KVM switch not detecting it.
[Mark] had a broken TI-83 graphing calculator and an overwhelming urge to play Pokemon in math class. The solution to his predicament, obviously, is to hack a GameBoy color into the body of his TI-83. He gutted the calculator and connected the front buttons to the contacts on the GameBoy. After some cramming and taping bits together, he got it all working. Now he just needs to find a way to make the cartridge a little bit less conspicuous.