Working with the AT90USBKey

The Genearic HID tool is meant as an easy way to create your own human interface devices. The project has the added benefit of showing us how to hack the hardware on the AT90USBKey developement board. The AVR-based device, which we saw used to make an SNES cartridge reader, comes in at just over $30 but with a few caveats. First, the breakout pads for the pins are not 0.1″ pitch and require some creative soldering to get at them easily. But the walk through also covers converting the board to run at 5v when in USB host mode, and altering the populated components to reclaim pins on the AT90USB1287 chip. The fun isn’t limited to this board, there’s also a home brew alternative based around the same chip.

[Thanks Juan]

Live fire Half-life

We don’t know how we missed this when it first came out, but there is a hack out there that combines a .22 caliber pistol with the video game Half-life. Simple is best and that motto is in use here. A wall was built down range to use as a projection screen. Accelerometers mounted on the drywall report vibration data from the bullet strike which is used to triangulate its location. This targeting data is then sent to the game interface.

As you can see in the video after the break this works like a charm. The [Waterloo Labs] personnel that developed this are also responsible for that iPhone controlled car. The antics we witnessed in that project carry over to this one as they illustrate using the setup to play Half-life with a couple of shovels at 2:12 into the clip. [Read more...]

Giant LED matrix

We all love blinky lights. What we love even more than blinky lights is a very detailed tutorial with great photos. [Richard Kline] has written this fantastic tutorial on how to build a large 5×7 LED matrix and control it with a PIC processor.  The bulk of the body is a foam insulation board, covered with a diffuser. Source code and schematics are available for download from the site. If you’ve ever thought about getting into PIC processors, this would be a great beginner project.

[via MakeZine]

iPhone 4 teardown

iFixit traveled all the way to Japan to bring you this iPhone 4 teardown, only to be shipped the device unexpectedly two days early!

We were surprised that the A4 processor (its naked body displayed for the world this past April) contained within the iPhone 4 had 512MB of ram, compared to the 256MB of the iPad. Other features include the 1420mAh battery (201mAh more than the 3Gs), 5MP rear camera and front VGA camera, and the use of micro-sim.

Frankly, we don’t see ourselves getting the device immediately, but how excited are you for the iPhone 4?

Another take on a bicycle built for two

We normally advocate wearing a helmet when biking in case you get hit by a car. In this case the guy on the bottom of this double-decker bicycle should wear a helmet to avoid a boot to the head. When we started watching the video after the break we thought that [James] had just built a really really high bike. Not the case, he built an over-under tandem bicycle. What’s more outrageous? Check out that killer kick-stand twenty seconds into the clip.

[Read more...]

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