3D Magnetometer mouse in processing

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[etgalim] works in Solidworks extensively and wanted a more intuitive way of rotating objects onscreen. To do this, he created a mouse that responds to rotation. He put a 3D compass module inside an old mouse and wired it up to an Arduino. The Arduino then relays the I2C sensor data to the computer. So far, he has a Processing script that uses the mouse to rotate a cube, but eventually he wants to write a Solidworks plugin. It’s a bit shaky, and we think it would be a bit smoother (and cheaper) if he used gyros like the jedipad. Video after the jump.

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Alzheimer’s victims fitted with LoJack

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First it was for finding stolen cars, then keeping track of criminals, now Alzheimer’s sufferers are being fitted with tracking devices. This has been going on for some time now, but unlike the old tracking devices we’re seeing an update in technology to take advantage of the cell network for communications. The person wearing the device can be located using Uplink Time Difference Of Arrival or U-TDOA. This is the same technology that is used by 911 services to calculate the location of a cell phone.

Alzheimer’s is a frightening disease. The thought of a loved one wandering off with nothing to identify them and no recollection of who they are is a fear of every family dealing with the illness. There’s no doubt that this is a cost-effective solution that really works.

But from our perspective, can someone hot-glue a $3 Seiko to this thing? If you were designing this, would you even consider something that straps to your wrist and doesn’t have a clock on its face?

Update: Andrew corrected an error in the original post.  This system uses U-TDOA for location, not GPS.

Update: Jeremy works for LoJack and has informed us that the product in the post and the technology used have nothing to do with the LoJack brand of products.

Samsung TV firmware hacking

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[Erdem] is leading up the efforts to reverse engineer Samsung TV firmware with a project called SamyGo. Official Samsung firmware uses the Linux kernel, making it a familiar system to work with for many developers. So far they’ve implemented NFS and SAMBA for sharing files over the network, improved playback from USB devices, and unlocked the ability to use non-Samsung WiFi dongles.

In order to make changes to the system, you need to enable a telnet connection on the device. The SamyGo team accomplished this by changing an official version of the firmware in a hex editor to start the telnet daemon at boot time. This altered firmware is then flashed using Samsung’s built in upgrade system. Once telnet is enabled, non-official firmware can be manually flashed.

We’d love to see this project expand to other TV Brands in the future. In fact, we were looking for something like this back in June when we realized that our Sony Bravia runs a Linux kernel and can be updated via USB drive.  Be careful if you want to try this out. We can only imagine the fallout after telling your significant other that you bricked a high-priced LCD.

Cheap and flimsy PC case provides no protection

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[Rafael] tipped us off about a “case mod” he completed for his PC. The email he sent provides no details and the link just shows five pictures of his computer in a “dead file” container (we’re guessing he doesn’t want to be an Internet sensation). What we get out of this is that he took a corrugated plastic box meant to house old files on shelves, and thew a set of computer parts inside of it.

This would be a great hack if [MacGyver] needed a computer to defuse a ticking bomb while trapped inside of a room built completely out of metal. The plastic provides protection from shorting out the motherboard but, other than low cost, that’s the only upside of this hack.

The downside here is obvious, there’s no protection from physical damage. In fact, a good bump might flex the box enough to slam the motherboard into the PSU housing. And what’s with the external WiFi fob? We could understand the point of this a bit better if it could blend in with a rack of archived files in the back room.

We give this one an ‘A’ for creativity, a ‘B-‘ for execution, and an ‘F’ for longevity. This should have been built in an acrylic case sized to fit perfectly in the yellow plastic box. But what does your unorthodox PC case look like? Let us know by sending in a tip.

Laser raygun boasts 300mW, hunts Klingons

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Phasers come with two settings: stun and kill. [Luke] took this seriously when he put two Blu-ray lasers into a toy raygun. He picked up the toy from Amazon for about twenty bucks and set to work.

The laser diodes are both pulled out of a 6x BD-R burner, which we think is a pretty expensive source to scavenge from. [Luke] removed the toy circuitry, reusing the trigger, top switch, and battery pack. The two diodes are mounted on a swiveling carriage which is turned 180 degrees to switch between the two diodes. A boost driver converts the 3v from the batteries up to 7v for the diodes.

This is a skillful conversion and [Luke] should be proud. Don’t miss the video after the break and if you’re thirsty for more take a look at the last hand held laser we featured.

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1480W scooter motor guarantees head trauma

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[Jerome's] been working on some improvements to an electric foot scooter he picked up from a friend. He ordered up a powerful brushless motor and some lithium batteries. His system uses a belt drive and at 33 volts it can reach 25 miles per hour.

He had some problems with too much torque when the motor was first started. This resulted in unintentional wheelies, which sounds really cool if you’re not the one trying to hang on to the scooter. [Jerome] is using an Arduino to control the system so he built in the ability to gradually ramp up the speed of the motor and also added the ability to control the speed via remote control. You should note in the video after the break that [Jerome] is test-piloting his build sans-helmet.

So, we spend a lifetime and countless sums of money filling our noggins with knowledge. This is a precarious investment since a rather small bump to the melon could corrupt all of that data and end the once spectacular cognitive power. If you’re smart enough to build a foot scooter that can go 25mph, be smart enough to wear a helmet when you ride on it!

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