Make any gloves work with a touch screen

The chill of autumn is upon us, and with it comes the awkward sport of trying to work touch-sensitive phones and gadgets with gloved fingers. One can try toughing it out with fingerless gloves, or we’ve seen some costly solutions in the forms of specialized gloves and capacitive-compatible styluses, but sometimes simple is best: all it takes is a few stitches of conductive thread in the fingertips.

Conductive thread is available from various sources; SparkFun Electronics comes naturally to mind, but most vendors carrying the LilyPad Arduino will stock a suitable thread as well. Don’t fret if you’ve never sewn before — just a few simple loops are required, and it doesn’t need to be especially tidy. In principle this should work for trackpads and capacitive mice as well, if you use those in the field. For multitouch devices, add a separate conductive bit to each fingertip.

[via Lifehacker]

Recover borked HDD after Xbox 360 ban

[Incudie] tipped us off about a method to fix a borked HDD in your Xbox 360. Many of the one million consoles banned earlier in the month also had the hard disks scrambled making off-line gaming impossible as well. It turns out that this is caused by having a ban flag in the NAND chip on the motherboard. It has been discovered that because of wear levelling, the NAND will have two copies of the “secdata.bin” file which stores the ban flag. Please note, this will NOT allow the console to use Xbox Live, it just re-enables the HDD.

The quick and dirty of the fix is as follows: First the NAND is dumped from your Xbox 360 to a computer. After verifying the file, it can be opened in a HEX editor and the two copies of “secdata.bin” located. Once identified by date, the older version is injected on top of the newer to overwrite the ban flag.

Looks like this is not for the faint of heart, but if you got banned for modding in the first place this should be easy to pull off.

Update: Looks like xbox-scene now has a collection of apps to help you with this process. [Thanks CollinstheClown]

Turkey fryer; awful, bad, and worse

Tomorrow’s turkey day here in the United States. Do you fully expect your trashy neighbor to burn down his house while trying to cook a holiday feast? To see what’s in store for your neighborhood we’ve rounded up a great collection of idiots deep frying turkeys. [Read more...]

Voice controlled lock? Almost…

If you watched the video before reading the article (like we did) and started shaking in your boots at a voice controlled lock system, prepare to be disappointed. His spoken commands are actually to his son to press the appropriate keys on a keypad off screen, the lock is not actually voice controlled.

But still, [Michael Krumpus'] door lock is pretty astounding. By using a torn apart CD drive he easily attains a nice fast and smooth linear motion to bolt and unbolt his door. It wont open his door like some locks we’ve seen, but it will probably be added sometime in the future…right alongside voice commands.

[via DVICE]

TI sports watch for hacking

How would you like to have a 3-axis accelerometer, pressure sensor, temperature sensor, RF wireless, and an LCD screen in a development package?  What if we told you that you can have it in the form factor of a wristwatch offering from Texas Instruments? How much would you pay for such a device? Quit guessing, you can pick it up for just $49 with an estimated delivery in mid-February of next year.

Our tip-line has been packed with emails about this since it was announced on Monday. The device ships with the firmware to serve as a sports watch with heart rate monitor. The price is pretty good just for that functionality but this package also includes a USB programming and emulation dongle so that you can develop your own firmware. It looks like the included development software is written for Windows but we’re hoping you can get it running on other platforms as well.

The LCD is a segment display, so you won’t see DOOM running on board. That said, we expect your first project to turn this into a wireless controller using the buttons and accelerometer.

Digital BMXing through San Francisco

[Alpay] sent in this project he did recently. He was hired to produce a kiosk that would stand out to the kids at the event. He chose to make a bike riding game utilizing open source hardware and software. There was some thought put into what interface to use to make it easiest for people to just pick up and use. The ultimate decision was a simple one. Use real handle bars from a bike. As for software, they used Blender, the open source 3d creation program. The actual control is done via a pair of Arduinos, an accelerometer, and a pair of XBee modules.

He notes that blender is fully capable of accepting the serial input from the controller, but they opted to have the controller mimic keystrokes to make life easier on the developer, as well as make the controller usable on more games. Maybe if enough people ask really nice,  he’ll release the source code for the controller.