5 legged locomotion

When designing legged robots, we generally see an even number of legs. Mainly, we think, it is due to us modelling things after nature. But with robotics, you’re free to do whatever you want. [Iketomu-san] has built this unsettling 5 legged robot out of parts he had lying around. The gait is fairly interesting. He mentions that it could be used for robot fighting, where the odd leg would serve as a prop from behind and the two legs up front could be weapons. What kind of gait or use can you come up with for this thing?

NES lovers grew up and now they’re coding for Palm

In case you missed it back in June, the Palm Pre was rooted by extracting the Root ROM from a Palm tool used to reset a device with damaged software. A lot has been learned from examining the code inside that ROM but we’re most amused by one thing in particular. If you grew up in the 80′s there’s a pretty good chance you know the Konami Code by heart. So did the developers of WebOS, the firmware running on the Palm Pre. By inputting the familiar (UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA) set of gestures the handset enters Developer mode for connection to the SDK which was leaked last summer but is now in open release.

HDD actuated acoustical instrument

This is the multichord, a one-string musical instrument built by [Christopher Mitchell]. The string is a 20 pound mono-filament thread stretched between a wooden bridge and the read/write head of a hard drive. The idea is that the vibrations of the string are picked up and amplified acoustically by the sounding box that serves as the body of the instrument. The frequency of vibration (pitch) is changed by adjusting the tension of the string through the application of various voltages to the HDD head. A relief spring has been added to the head to take the resting tension off of it, making it a lot easier to fine-tune the settings for each note. A keyboard made of twelve buttons selects each different pitch as the string is plucked.

[Christopher] is continuing to post great hacks; we’ve seen a glove input and a giant VU meter from him in the past. Take a look at the multichord in action after the break.

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Nanotouch: a tiny AVR media thing

[Rossum] is at it again. This time, he has created a super tiny media device to get us drooling. You might recall him from the 8-bit device we showed you before. The Nanotouch is roughly the dimensions of a 96×64 OLED screen(slightly larger than a quarter), with about 1/3 to 1/2 of an inch of stuff packed behind it.  The screen itself is mounted atop 4 buttons. This allows you to depress the screen edges for navigation.  He does mention that this design needs a little work to prolong the life of the screen, but we really like the intuitive way of navigating.  At its heart is an ATmega32u4.

We thought his last version was fantastic, but this one has us enamored. He states he’ll publish schematics and code, as he did before. We just didn’t want to wait to share.

[thanks Joakim]

PS3 exploit released

You can now download the exploit package for the PlayStation 3. [Geohot] just posted the code you need to pull off the exploit we told you about on Sunday, making it available on a “silver platter” with just a bit of explanation on how it works. He’s located a critical portion of the memory to attack. By allocating it, pointing a whole bunch of code at those addresses, then deallocating it he causes many calls to invalid addresses. At the same time as those invalid calls he “glitches” the memory bus using a button on his FPGA board to hold it low for 40ns. This trips up the hypervisor security and somehow allows read/write access to that section of memory. Gentleman and Ladies, start your hacking. We wish you the best of luck!

[Thanks Phileas]

Building a bigger, better laser engraver

[Bart] built a giant laser etcher from scratch. One of his first test engravings included the Hackaday skull-and-wrenches on a polished granite floor tile (we love it when people do that). He used an XMOS controller and Mach3 CNC software to handle the device. With just two axes to worry about this seem like an easy project. The difficult bit is controlling, cooling, and focusing the laser.  Oh, and if you screw up, you could be blinded, burned or horribly maimed. But if you start from the beginning you’ll see that [Bart] knows what he’s doing.