AXiS-49 teardown


We touched on harmonic table MIDI controllers when [aris] was building one. [Ken Rushton] has one of C-Thru’s commercial keypads, the AXiS-49, and disassembled the device to show how it works. A PIC18F2450 microcontroller provides the USB interface and is connected to a dsPIC33FJ128GP310 digital signal controller which decodes the keypresses. The membrane buttons are made with two concentric graphite disks that touch gold contacts. The microcontroller measures the time between the two points contacting to determine the button velocity. monome button clones also use circular contact pads, but cannot calculate velocity because they only have one element.

[via Matrixsynth]

The Dream tablet


[Matthew] has completed this Dreamcast tablet modification. That’s right, you’re looking at a Dreamcast laid out in tablet format. We’re not really sure what advantages the tablet layout has, since it’s not touch screen and you probably need to put it down to play anyway. The laptop or clam shell might have been a smart choice simply for screen protection. Putting that aside, this is really cool. He had to do some extensive re working of the motherboard in the Dreamcast to get it to fit. Interestingly, he hacked together a custom disk drive for it too. You can see detailed pictures of the entire process, including the construction of the case, on his site. Great job [Matthew].

[Thanks John, via Fusion Mods]

Through-hole Bus Pirate kit from Fundamental Logic


Fundamental Logic is selling a Bus Pirate kit and bare PCB based on our universal serial interface tool. They started with our serial port-based v1a hardware, and modified it to use all through-hole parts.  8pin DIP LP2951ACN/-3.3 switchable voltage regulators replace the surface mount TPS79650/33 that we used. The PIC is pre-programmed with our latest firmware, version 0f, which includes a bootloader for easy firmware updates through the serial port. Documentation includes illustrated assembly instructions.

Speaking of Bus Pirate goodness, we’re busy working on hardware V2. As astute readers may have already noticed, the final version of the Bus Pirate incorporates an FTDI USB->serial chip, and draws its power from the USB port. We also tackled the software-controlled pull-up resistor feature, and reduced the overall part count and cost. Best of all, we’re working to make assembled PCBs available with world-wide shipping. The how-to should be ready in a few weeks.

Containing Conficker


With all the noise about Conficker turning your computer into liquid hot magma on April 1st, there’s actually some positive news. Researchers from the HoneyNet Project have been following the worm since infections started in late 2008. They recently discovered an easy way to identify infected systems remotely. Conficker attempts to patch the MS08-067 vulnerability during infection. A flaw in the patch causes the machine to respond differently than both an unpatched system and an officially patched system. Using this knowledge, the team developed a proof of concept network scanner in python to find infected machines. You can find it in [Rich Mogull]‘s initial post. [Dan Kaminisky] has packaged it as an EXE and has instructions for how to build the SVN version of Nmap, which includes the new signature. Other network scanner vendors are adding the code as well.

In conjunction with this detection code, the team has also released the whitepaper Know Your Enemy: Containing Conficker. It discusses ways to detect, contain, and remove Conficker. They’ve combined this with a tool release that covers Conficker’s dynamic domain generation among other things.

PSP as a status monitor


[Avi] sent in his PSP as a status monitor hack(zip). He’s using Lua on the PSP, so you have to install LuaPlayer. The computer side is written in python, so it should be cross platform. Last time we saw a psp as an extra monitor, it had more capabilities, but it was limited to Windows. You’ll find the Lua script as well as the python in the zip file. It’s a nice use for an extra psp.

Parts: Programmable gain amplifier (MCP6S26)


Microchip’s MCP6S21/2/6/8 are programmable gain amplifiers that multiply an input voltage by a factor of 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16, and 32. The MCP6S22/6/8 also have selectable input channels for working with different signal sources. The multiplication factor and input channel are configured through an SPI interface. This chip is useful for multiplying a small input signal, and selecting among several analog input sources. We demonstrate the six channel MCP6S26 below.

[Read more...]

Arduino + Wii Nunchuck + Servos

[Yezzer] has posted a video of a cool little project he’s working on. He has interfaced the Arduino and the Wii Nunchuck to control some servos. He mounted a standard USB webcam on it for good measure. There isn’t a whole lot of information, but he does include a few links to code he modified for the project. The movement is quite natural looking and seems like it would be a cheap way to get some good animatronic controls started. This might actually be a great way to control a robot for the Crabfu challenge, if they ever have another one.

Update: As [dokument] points out in the comments below, it looks like we’ve seen a set up that could be almost identical in the past.

[via the Hack a Day Flickr pool]