Gorgeous portable N64 built to order

[Hailrazer] is at it again with a new portable N64 build. He’s done the impossible by improving upon his last design. The LCD screen is now mounted flush for a cleaner and smaller case. The controls draw from a lot of different sources; a gamecube stick for durability, a 3rd party N64 controller for buttons, and a PlayStation controller for the shoulder buttons that serve as L, R, and Z (either hand). There is a breakout box that allows two controllers to be plugged in. Combine this with the TV out feature and it acts as a console or a handheld. His in depth demonstration is embedded after the break.

The build log (linked above) details every part of the hack so that you can try to do this yourself. The relocation of the expansion slot requires patience and solid soldering skills. The case work is an art in itself. We speculate that this commission comes somewhere close to $1000 but it’s hard to put a price on quality craftsmanship. We’ve seen smaller, but these features and finished look can’t be beat.

[Read more...]

Unlocking multitouch for Droid and Nexus One

We’re fans of pinch-zooming and that means multitouch. Although the interface is natively supported by both the hardware and operating systems of the Nexus One and Droid phones, it is locked out of the stock installation. You can make multitouch work on both handsets if you’re willing to do a little firmware alteration.

The coding has already been done for you, it’s a matter of loading a custom kernel. Both the Nexus One and the Droid have been rooted, and that’s what you’ll need to do to unlock multitouch with new firmware. In addition to gaining full access to the device OS, you’ll need to load up some different apps that support pinch zooming, etc. Luckily, these are readily available and you may like them better than the stock browser, maps, and photo applications.

Foul-mouthed game will get you in trouble

[Fridgehead] modified his Simon Says game to include a dirty word for each lighted button. This is a real good way to teach kids to swear and to get child protective services to pay you a visit all at the same time. The hardware has been modified to use an Arduino in tandem with an ISD audio chip. These chips can record and playback sound. Although [Fridgehead] could have made it say anything he, choose four words you won’t say in front of your mother. We should warn you not to play the video after the break if you’re at work or it’ll be your boss that comes after you, not your disappointed mom.

[Read more...]

Things that kill you, hacked for clean energy

Tobacco and E coli can wreak havoc on your body causing serious damage if not death. Some researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have found a way to take these potentially dangerous organisms and make them do our bidding. By genetically engineering a virus they have shown that the two can be used to grow solar cells. Well, they grow some of the important bits that go into solar cells, reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

Once a tobacco plant is infected with the altered virus it begins producing artificial chromophores that turn sunlight into electricity. Fully grown plants are ground up, suspending the chromophores in a liquid which is sprayed onto glass panels to create the solar cells. This types of creative solar energy production make us wonder if Thunderdome and the apocalypse are further off than we thought.

[Thanks Jon]

Android G1 serial to Arduino

With the ability to get root access to some of these new powerful pieces of hardware we call cell phones, we’re a bit surprised we haven’t seen more interfacing with external hardware. Here’s an example of some rudimentary connections between an Android G1 and an Arduino. To do this, you must have your G1 rooted, have the Android SDK installed, and then a custom python program running.  There is also a simple level shifter from 3.3v to 5v necessary for the connection to the Arduino.  You can get all the details from the instructable. They’ve documented the process quite well adn we’re excited to see what kinds of stuff people come up with.

Face tracking with x10

If you are looking to do some face tracking and don’t know where to start, this explanation of how to do it with X10 modules could be pretty helpful. Aside from having, what some could consider to be, the absolute most annoying website ever for a company, X10 also makes modular systems for home automation. X10 also refers to the industry standard for home automation, so sometimes just saying you did something with X10 can get confusing.   He is using the SDK to write custom code for the tracking, which you can download from the project page.

[via HackedGadgets]

Automated Super8 film scanning

For those of you who have been dreading the day that you have to dig out those old family films in Super 8 format and take them to get digitized, dread no more. Now you could turn it into a cool project. [Photobsen] has posted pictures of an automated system for scanning and compiling the film into a digital movie. There was already software available, called CineToVid, which would take the scanned segments and create a video from them, but doing the actual scanning was quite laborious. [Photobsen] built a quick automated system using an old floppy drive connected to his computer via parallel port. He now scans about 80 seconds of film per hour, unattended.

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