Pong, for real

Over at EvilMadScientistLaboratories.com they’ve asked a question that many of us have never thought to ask. What exactly is Pong supposed to be? Instead of assuming it was ping pong like the rest of us, they decided to build a literal physical  interpretation. They may have taken some liberty, using solenoids as the paddles, but the end effect is quite nice. Watching them play actually looks both challenging and fun. There’s a great writeup about the construction, so be sure to check out the project page.

Reverse engineering the Telly Terminator

[Oliver] received the Telly Terminator as a gift and decided to take a closer look at it. This key fob has two buttons; one shines an LED like a flashlight and the other turns off televisions. Sound familiar? Yeah, it made [Oliver] think of the TV-B-Gone as well.

He cracked open the case to find just a few components. The brain behind the IR signals is a Helios H5A02HP. Only a few pins are used for outputs so he connected a logic analyzer and recorded the signals. His writeup covers the process quite well. He takes a known IR transmitter protocol and compares it to the capture from the logic analyzer. It turns out that the fob generates 46 different signals and with further analysis concludes that there’s a chance the code used here is from an older version of the TV-B-Gone source.

CES update: January 6th, 2010

It’s just about time for CES (as we’ve mentioned once or twice), so we thought we would update you on our latest goals and ideas for the show.

This year [Caleb Kraft], [Nick Caiello], [James Munns], [Devlin Thyne], and [Brett Haddock] will be covering CES. We are currently looking for some good places to go if we get a chance to break away from the show, and while we won’t make any guarantees, we’d love to meet some of our readers! Please direct all ideas for your favorite eatery to our Contact Page. Keep an eye on our Twitter page (@hackaday) for CES updates and what your favorite writers are up to, where we are eating, and other possible chances to meet up with us.

We are also still looking for Las Vegas Hackerspaces to visit, so let us know and we would love to cover it!

Be sure to check out our updated interest list after the break, and keep sending in what you want to see!

[Read more...]

Pulse Oximeter

[Mike] is building his own Pulse Oximeter which uses light to measure the oxygen saturation in blood. One collateral benefit of this measurement is that pulse rate can be calculated from the same data. The parts used for the detector include a red LED, infrared LED, and a TSL230R light intensity measuring chip. As explained in the video above, each LED is shined through the tip of your finger and onto the light sensor. The IR LED is used as a baseline and compared to the red LED, which has some of its intensity absorbed by the red blood in your finger. This is a pretty approachable biometric concept so you may want to start here before moving on to more involved biometric interfaces.

[Thanks Russ]

Update: more pink wireless-terminal hacking

[Dave] poked around inside of an IM-ME wireless toy and compiled his findings. He read about the device when we covered it in November and picked up a couple to see what he could do. He patched into the debug port in the CC1110 processor and enabled it by performing a chip erase. He then began mapping out how the processor connects and communicates with the qwerty keyboard, the wireless radio, and the LCD screen. The board is full of test points which make the hardware easy to access. [Dave's] experiments show that this hackable device is full of potential so let’s see what you can do!

Arduino I/O Speed Breakdown

[Jee Labs] has worked out how long it takes for an Arduino to perform various I/O operations. Predictably, analogRead() takes the longest, followed by analogWrite(). Arduino really falls behind when it comes to digital pin I/O: digitalWrite() takes a whopping fifty times longer than a direct bit write to a port register!  This is something to take into consideration when you are looking to do some beefy I/O with an Arduino. Perhaps this I/O performance will be addressed in the future with Arduino 1.0.