Ekahau HeatMapper maps out WiFi signals


The term ‘warwalking’ isn’t used very often, but the Ekahau HeatMapper adds a new tool to the pod bound hacker’s arsenal. The tool maps out wireless access points as well as their signal strength within a facility. A test of the HeatMapper on a map made with AutoDesk Dragonfly accurately determined the location of a router within 3 feet and helped tune the angle it needed to be at for maximum range. Ekahau made a fantastically cheesy promotional video for their product, which is viewable after the jump. The program is free of charge, but unfortunately only runs on windows, so mac and *nix users are out of luck, though it might run under wine.

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Controllable bristlebot


[sprite_tm], whose projects we have covered in the past, took the popular bristlebot to an extreme and created a controllable version. A bristlebot consists of a small vibrating motor mounted with a battery on the head of a toothbrush. These micro-robots buzz around randomly, and he attempted to tame them. He used a platform of twin bristlebots and added an optical sensor from a laser mouse and an ATtiny13. The optical sensor is used to determine the relative motion of the robot, so that the motors can be adjusted accordingly. He also has a video of the bot using the sensor to find a mark on the floor and stay within bounds. Although it isn’t as accurate, it acts like a traditional line-following robot.

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Arduino Experimentation Kit


[Oomlout] has created an Arduino Experimentation Kit that uses basic sensors, buttons, and LEDs to teach electronics and programming. Printed overlays are secured on a breadboard, indicating components and connections. The Arduino is then used to drive the circuit. Examples include driving motors, using shift registers, and making beeps with a piezo element. These are backed up by explanations and code. The breadboarding kit is very similar to the classic 300-in-1 project kits marketed to beginners. In addition, all of the materials are released as open source. Kits are also available that include everything needed to create the circuits.

Related: Opensource Robotic Arm

[via Hack a Day flickr pool]

Dell Vostro A90 hackintosh


A friend recently commissioned us to install OSX on a netbook. We advised him to purchase the Dell Vostro A90. It’s essentially a rebadged Dell Mini 9, a model that has been discontinued, but is well suited for OSX. It’s only available with a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB RAM, and 16GB SSD. Depending on what deals are available, it’s $250-$300. We also had him purchase a 2GB stick of RAM which is the upper limit supported by the BIOS. [Read more...]