Vintage Hack – Game Boy Camera

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Back in 2005, a member of a French robotics team named [Laurent] wrote a wonderful how-to that we somehow missed on using the Game Boy Camera as a vision device for a robot. The images above are actual shots from his project. The Game Boy Camera features a stunning 128×123 pixel resolution in a gorgeous 4 color gray-scale palette. Possibly the most attractive feature of this hack is that it is still possible to get a hold of these cameras for under ten dollars on ebay.

He connected the camera sensor to an Atmel AT90S4433 using a combination of digital and analog signals, and then used the microcontroller to echo the data back to his PC. His write up includes schematics for wiring up the sensor/microcontroller, the datasheet for the sensor, his C code for the whole project, and an easy to read pin out of the GBC connector. Although his project simply offloaded the image to a computer, it would be entirely possible to have the microcontroller respond to the image or simply just log and store it. It would also be just as easy to replace his Atmel chip with your own favorite microcontroller, as long as it has a couple Digital I/O ports and at least one Analog port (or an external analog to digital converter).

UPDATE: Good catch r4v5, it would require an ADC, not a DAC.

Custom shortcuts from Firefox address bar

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We picked up a great Firefox bookmark tip from [Colin]. He wanted an easier way to look up bug numbers on the launchpad bug tracker. Because the url is always the same with the bug number at the end of the address, he replaced the final portion of the url with %s. Now, when he types the keyword followed by the bug number in the address bar the bug page loads right up.

We don’t do all that many bug searches but it’s immediately obvious that this can be useful in a lot of ways. In the photo above you can see we’ve set up a shortcut to the tag pages for hackaday.com. Now we just type “hack” with the tag we want after it. Add this to your bookmarks and try typing “hack firefox” into the address bar.

Ben Heck gets sloppy and we love it

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[Ben Heck] is a name synonymous with game system hacking. His projects have been seen and praised by people all over the world for both their quality and their ingenuity. He’s so good, in fact, that many of his projects have gone far beyond what we typically think of as hacking. They look and feel like commercial products. While that is a fantastic accomplishment, we have a soft spot for seeing stuff that is truly hacked. This lasted job he did is a great example. The controller needed to work using a single hand, so he hacked it. He was in a hurry, so it didn’t get his usual professional finish. We kind of like it that way. This one handed controller mod can be seen in action after the break.

[Read more...]

RCDC: DC motor control via servo signals

[Spikenzie]  has put together this nice kit for controlling a DC motor with RC servo signals. He’s using a PIC12F629 to convert the signal to PWM. As you can see in the video above, it seems to work quite well. It is in a neat and tidy package and available as a kit. We have to admit though, what caught our eye was the prototype. Even though it is a kit for sale, it looks as though they plan on releasing the PCB files and code.

Arduino-human synthesizer

(Thanks to [Aaron] for the tip) As a promo for [Calvin Harris], some of the creative minds at Sony Music have put together an Arduino-based sythesizer composed of 15 bikini clad babes. By analyzing which circuits are closed, the Arduino Mega is able to tell a sequencer which sample to play. The only innovation happens to be that the circuits are painted onto the aforementioned girls with a conductive body paint known as Bare.

Developed by students at the Royal College of Art, the paint is not available for purchase, but they are willing to mix a batch up for art installations or performances. Technical stats (such as resistance) have not been released, but for a washable paint it seems to be performing quite well.

How was the whole project set up? The video below reveals all:

Berlin Hack Day

This past weekend, Berlin played host to Music Hack Day – an event where attendants built and tested hacks, contraptions, and software all dealing with sound, music, or the distribution thereof. Some of the hacks are simply mind blowing to see built in only a day or two. Like the location based CitySounds.fm or Tracks on a Map – mapping out where your music is from. Or the music based games and composition tools, iLoveAcid squencer and MaschineFighter – adding some crazy fun to MIDI.

Oh, we almost forgot, we can’t go an entire post without mentioning something Arduino; named Xylobot – a set of servos powered by Arduino, tapping out rhythm on a xylophone (video above). Another Hack Day is planned so keep an eye out.

[Thanks robb]

Universal credit card in the palm of your hand

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Do you remember the magnetic card spoofer in Terminator 2? It was a bit farfetched because apparently the device could be swiped through a reader and magically come up with working account numbers and pin numbers. We’re getting close to that kind of magic with [Jaroslaw's] card spoofer that is button-programmable.

Building off of a project that allows spoofing via an iPod and electromagnet, [Jaroslaw] wanted something that doesn’t require a computer to put together the card code. He accomplished this by interfacing a 16-button keyboard and a character LCD with an AVR ATmega168 microcontroller. Card codes can be entered with the buttons and verified on the LCD. Of course this is still dependent on you knowing the code in the first place.

As you know, credit cards use this technology. We don’t think Walmart is going to be OK with you pulling this out in the checkout line, not to mention local five-oh. This technology is also used for building access in Universities, businesses, and hotels. If used in conjunction with some other spy technology you’ll be on your way to becoming a secret-agent-man.

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