A welcome train for the holidays

[Eric] was charged with the task of setting up the train to welcome people on the porch.  The train had been in the family for a long time, so he didn’t want to modify the train itself. Luckily, it has an IR port. He recorded the IR signal from the remote and used a home made pressure sensor to signal the train to start.

Lazy Knitting

yarn

As much as we love crazy prototype style hacks, we really enjoy seeing things that get used after their creation. [Marcus] sent us the information about his automatic yarn winder. Noticing that his friends who knit had to go through the monotonous process of winding a ball of yarn each time they started the process, he sprung into action. After finding only a few commercial solutions, which were out of his price range, he decided to build his own. He found a hand cranked version and gutted it to add a motor. Now, they simply need to get it started and walk away. Great job [Marcus].

Orbita Mouse

The Orbita mouse seems to be finally coming to production. After watching that video, it seems that the mouse could be quite nice actually. We’ve seen several people build jog wheels for their computer and others try to make scrolling more ergonomic, and this product seems to add both decently.  Well, it could probably be more ergonomic, but it is a start. At less than $100 it isn’t cost prohibitive either. The question is, have any of you built an alternative? Using a puck shaped device seems like it could get bothersome on the hand, how would you improve the design?

[via Engadget]

PS3 Home hacking

ps3

Last week Sony launched the public beta of Home, their virtual world for the PlayStation 3. It wasn’t met with much fanfare and has proven to be quite buggy. Many were less than charmed by scarcity being ported to the virtual world. Others took it upon themselves to hack the service. Connections between the user’s home console and Sony’s server are unencrypted. You can sniff the requests and responses off the wire and modify them live. It seems you need the console to establish the initial connection, but after that you’re free to use builtin tools like Download.jsp, UploadFileServlet, and Delete.jsp to modify any file on the host server. You can also set up a proxy server to modify content, but that will only affect what your console sees.

[photo: nic0]

[via Joystiq]