Exploding processors for real

After we posted the “High explosives pc case” earlier we saw a resounding outcry in the comments for combustible destruction. Oddly enough, we got a submission of something along just those lines. [tazzik] has taken the heat sink off of his athlon 1400+ and covered the poor processor in potassium chlorate. As you can see in the video, this was not a very effective heat management decision. It is definitely fun, but nowhere near as explosive as our thermite shenanigans.

[thanks Steve]

Halloween prop: Bigmouth billy bass

internal-thumb (Custom)

Back in 2001, the Bigmouth billy bass was still relatively new. Hacking one to record and play back both audio and movement was quite a new feat. You can read all about how they pulled it off. Though most of us agree that this could be done easier now, with off the shelf microcontrollers, this is a great example of constructing your own system to fit the need. We’ve seen a similar hack done very recently with an mbed microcontroller.

Five concept mice add multi-touch control

Microsoft is showing off five concepts for added mouse functionality. All of them seek to replace traditional move-and-click with touch sensitivity through either capacitive sensing, video recognition, sensor articulation, or laser scanning. We’re excited about the prospects of some of these features but at the same time wonder what this does to the price of this much-abused peripheral. After the break we’ll touch on each of the devices, along with time references for the video embedded above. Continue reading “Five concept mice add multi-touch control”

PSP plus second stick, camera, 32 gigs

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[JoblessPunk] recently finished his what-a-psp-should-be mod. He’s internalized a camera and added a switch in the body to toggle between using the camera or using the USB port. There’s an additional analog stick, and added charging functionality via the USB port. He’s also packed in an additional 32 GB of flash memory. The device is of course running custom firmware which facilitates the ubiquitous flock of emulators and homebrew apps.

We agree that the original PSP is a pretty powerful handheld that never saw a full realization of its potential.  With the impending release of the next generation PSP Go we hope the price and availability of the older units leads to more mods of this sort. Check out the video after the break. Continue reading “PSP plus second stick, camera, 32 gigs”

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj (teardown)

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Earlier this year, Nikon released the Coolpix S1000pj, a 12 megapixel point and shoot with the usual features, including image stabilization, face recognition, etc. However, the S1000pj features a built in projector into the usual diminutive point and shoot footprint, and also comes with a remote for controlling the projector in display mode, or for remote shooting. iFixit has gotten a hold of the unit, and detailed the difficult teardown process, which included component desoldering to get the extremely compact system completely apart. It is also interesting to compare this setup to other stand alone pico-projectors we have covered.

High explosives PC case

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[Ilias] let us know about his new HTPC case mod.  He took a surplus Ammo-case and with a bit of work turned it into a livingroom eye-sore masterpiece. His build has some nice touches, including a slot-fed DVD player, switch-based fan control, and key-and-button “nuclear launch” type power-on controls.

A few things to learn from this project: Cleanly cutting holes in a steel case for the connectors is tough.  You can see that [Ilias] did a pretty good job with it and in several cases used rubber gaskets to cover the rough edges. Secondly, the slot fed DVD had to be mounted upside-down.  We assume this will be fine, but we’d like to hear a follow-up after a few years of heavy use. Finally, the GFAF (girlfriend acceptance factor) ran very close to critical on this build as [Ilias] didn’t clean up the metal shavings on his porch and ended up with rust stains everywhere.

Case mods are an enjoyable hobby. We hope this will inspire you to take the leap.  If you do, don’t forget to send your completed project into our tip line.

Robot security patrol brings Skynet closer

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The students at the University of Oklahoma have put together a robot that will surely join the other drones in our future robot overlord regime. This autonomous vehicle was produced to replace human security patrols which can be both boring and dangerous. Intent on delivering surveillance to most locations, an all terrain vehicle was used as the base. It can navigate by itself through an obstacle avoidance system and communicate video and audio wirelessly. After the break we’ll take a look at the systems that make this work. Continue reading “Robot security patrol brings Skynet closer”