Battle cars

car1

There’s a new show coming to the Discovery Chanel called Weaponizers. Brought to you by the same people who brought you Mythbusters, this show centers around weaponizing and remote controlling cars. They’ll be building them with several different types of competition in mind, including defense of an object and all out warfare. You’ll note in the press release that they keep mentioning their special effects backgrounds. Judging by the picture above, we should expect to see them shooting lots of fireworks, maybe some flame throwers thrown in. Generally, we think we’ll see lots of flashy stuff that really isn’t effective at destroying an unmanned car. They do mention live ammunition, so maybe they’ll actually try to make these things able to harm each other. Let’s hope they don’t let us down.

Face tracking in Opera

Inspired by this year’s april fools day joke from Opera, [Jason] has made facial gesture recognition actually work. While this may seem like a silly project, it could seriously help some people out. This could be a great accessibility tool for people with motor control limitations.He states that it has some problems right now, most notably a performance issue with extended use, so he’s hoping to get some input from some bright minds.

[thanks, Jordan]

The Cloud Mirror

Cloud Mirror is an interactive art installation that combines you and your easily available online information in real time. Attendees stood in front of the camera and held up their badges. Cloud Mirror then projected them on the wall and displayed a speech bubble containing information from the web. In the example after the break, you can see our very own [Eliot] displayed with his most recent twitter post. To add another layer to it, you could send a text message with someone’s badge ID to the system and it will display your message in that person’s bubble.

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Time’s poll hacked

res4

Though Time won’t admit it, their poll on the most influential person was hacked. Moot, the founder of 4chan is rated #1. Not only that, but if you read the first letters of the poll results, you get “Marblecake also the game”. This refers to the IRC Chanel where many 4channers congregate as well as “the game” an internet meme. This article is very interesting as it delves into the details of the attack. Focusing mainly on what happened when the autovoting software was shut down due to reCaptcha.  you’ve probably seen reCaptcha before. It presents you with two words, made difficult to read by strange kearning, warping, and squiggles. If you can read it, you’re most likely a human. Anon, a common name for 4channers, first tried to hack reCaptcha.

Their attempt at hacking reCaptcha relies on the process reCaptcha uses to identify words. It presents you with two words, one of which it already knows. The other is compared to a database of common responses to that word. Anon decided that if they entered “penis” enough times, they could flood the database allowing their autovoter to function again. This, though clever, was unsuccessful. They eventually settled on manual voting. This was taking too much time, they feared they would never reach their goals. To help with this, they built a simple interface that would preload several reCaptchas and cue up votes. This streamlining allowed them to squeak in the votes they needed to accomplish this.

It’s also worth noting that Time didn’t close the vote entries when the poll closed. They removed the poll from their site, but the streamlined vote software was still working. Anon is a powerful force of nature. If only we could harness it to cure cancer or HIV.

Hackit: SheevaPlug

plugserv

A few months ago, we introduced the SheevaPlug, a 1.2GHz ARM processor with 512Mb of RAM, 2 usb ports, an ethernet port, and an SD card slot. In that article, we asked: “What would you do with one?”. We received tons of responses, 118 comments and counting. Scientific American had a similar idea and asked some “hackers”(MIT students) what they would do with it (thanks, grisspy). We thought maybe we would weigh in with our opinions. Join us after the break and in the comments.

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Robotic guitar like instrument

This guitar bot is part of the Legue of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, or LEMUR.  As you can see in the video, it has 4 strings, each mounted on it’s own unit. The pitch is controlled by a sliding bridge, while the strings are plucked by a series of picks mounted to motor. The sliding bridge is quite fast, being able to shift 2 whole octaves in a quarter of a second. The final effect is quite nice, we would listen even if we weren’t watching a robot work. This is the kind of thing we should expect to see at the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Human powered electric instruments

music

[Noah] tipped us off to his work with Physically Engaged Electronic Instruments. He is building instruments, that while being electronic, require physical action to drive them. In the video after the break, you can see an example, in the form of a polka. The part that they’re holding (print head?) is attached to a generator which powers the instrument. The effect makes the instrument much more like a traditional stringed instrument that must be strummed. We can easily also imagine an interface similar to a concertina or accordion being functional. There are schematics available on his site in the research reports section, but you’ll have to dig through a pdf or two to find them. We would love to see a breakdown of the instruments and their components in a more accessible form.

[Read more...]

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