Electronic key impressioning

[Barry] shared his postulation on how electronic key impressioning works (google cache). You may remember his foil impressioning demo from earlier in the month, but now he’s addressing a piece of news we must have missed. Apparently, a handheld impressioning device is about to hit the market that can tell you the key codes for a lock in a matter of seconds. [Barry's] guessing at how this is done from his experience with a similar device aimed at car locks. When the circuit board seen above is inserted into a lock, it completes a circuit between the lock housing and the wafer. The firmware monitors the conductors on the tip of the PCB to calculate how deeply the cut should be and at what point on the key.

This would be fun to try with a homemade PCB, any idea how to deal with wrapping traces around the edge of the board like that?

Developing for iPhone serial communications

[Hcgilje] threw together a tutorial on using serial communications in iPhone applications. It builds upon the DevDot tutorial which was posted back in 2007. A lot has changed since then; the firmware has come a long way and there are several development tools that now make things a bit easier for you. His examples use Interface Builder and openFrameworks to demonstrate GUI control of an LED and a servo motor. Now go out and design your own peripherals for this popular handset.

Converting a Miata to all-electric

[Henry Herndon] converted a Mazda Miata to an all-electric vehicle. There’s a ton of great information in his archives, as well as a round-up video that we’ve embedded after the break. It’s interesting to see him implement two different types of Nalgene bottles as coolant reservoirs. The polycarbonate on the first shattered on him but the soft plastic replacement seems to have done the trick. The batteries add a lot of weight to the vehicle and he ends up refitting the suspension to compensate. [Henry] registered the vehicle with the state and now has a street legal EV of his own design.

Also worth a look is his post covering the 2009 Wayland Invitational. There as a large collection of electric vehicle conversions at the get together.

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Quad copters have been pretty popular for the last few years, but this one is new to us. Take the same basic layout, but bump it to 6 rotors. Then you’ll have the hexacopter (google translated). With 6 rotors, built in GPS and stabilization and a camera mounted on the bottom, this thing is pretty well equipped. You can see how agile and stable it is in the video above. We know it isn’t necessarily new, but it is new to us. Of course, you don’t have to stop at 6 rotors. You could always just continue on to 8.

HMD upgrade

[Banfield Design] has put together this instructable on how to upgrade or re build a head mounted display to be more immersive and add features.  Though you can already buy glasses style viewers for your media devices, they can use some upgrades. For one, you have to supply your own sound, and putting headphones on, over bulky glasses can be painful on your ears. Another area that could use improvement is the light that comes in around the glasses. The current trend is to make them as small as possible, but that tends to let your peripheral vision see the outside world. [Banfield design] wanted to make them more immersive, so he built them into some ski goggles. This not only helped block the light, but allowed for an over the ear style headphone assembly which is much easier on the ears.

A functional improvement came next, by adding a webcam front and center. He could now switch between a live feed of his environment and whatever other inputs he wanted. This could be really fun with some augmented reality. He has a list of future improvements, but he doesn’t mention adding a second camera for stereoscopic viewing of his surroundings. Why would you do that? because it would make augmented reality much cooler.