2010 Ninja Party badge

Wired took a look at this year’s Ninja Party badges. We were giddy about all the goodies involved in last year’s must-have badge that served as an invitation to the party. It was tailor-made for hacking, including an on-board disassembler. This year’s details are still a bit sparse but the offering is more along the lines of a market-ready product. The badges come in hand held gaming format, with a d-pad and two buttons. They can connect wirelessly with each other and with hidden base stations, allowing participants to fight in the digital realm for LED-indicated achievements. The teaser is tantalizing and we can’t wait to hear details about the real/digital gaming adventure soon to unfold.

Super simple gaming controller for Android or iPhone

If you’ve got an iPhone or Android device that you use with a Wii remote when gaming, this quick hack will give you the third hand you need to manage all of that hardware. [Syanni85] mounted his Android phone to a Wii wheel for just a few dollars in parts. He ran across the wheel itself at the dollar store, and the phone is held in place using a universal mounting bracket. A small square pad sticks onto the back of any device and mates with a base. He cut off the unnecessary parts of the base and glued it to the back of the wheel.

If you haven’t tried using a Wii remote with your phone yet, find out how to do it with iPhone or with Android.

Graphic calculator as a spectrum analyzer

[Michael Vincent] turned his TI-84 Plus into a spectrum analyzer. By running some assembly code on the device the link port can be used as an I2C bus (something we’ll have to keep in mind). After being inspired by the cell phone spectrum analyzer he set out to build a module compatible with the calculator by using an I2C port expander to interface with a radio receiver module. Now he can sniff out signals between 2.400 and 2.495 GHz and display the finds like in the image above.

[Thanks Cecil]

Ice Tube Clock GPS

Our favorite Soviet-Era display that found its way into a present-day kit now displays time from orbiting satellites. A GPS module patched into an Ice Tube Clock with modified firmware will be able to provide a satellite-synced time. The firmware, modified by yours truly, parses the GPS module’s NMEA RMC sentences for the time and date information and then updates the clock’s time and date. Fun was had making sure the alarm went off at the correct times when the time was updated by the GPS. Overall, it was a fun project and we look forward to seeing additional Ice Tube Clock hacks.

Flipping pancakes

[Petar and Sylvain] are teaching this robot to flip pancakes. It starts with some kinesthetic learning; a human operator moves the robot arm to flip a pancake while the robot records the motion. Next, motion tracking is used so that the robot can improve during its learning process. It eventually gets the hang of it, as you can see after the break, but we wonder how this will work with real batter. This is a simulated pancake so the weight and amount at of force necessary to unstick it from the pan is always the same. Still, we loved the robotic pizza maker and if they get this to work it’ll earn a special place in our hearts.

[Read more...]

WiFi on a Sprint Pixi

The Sprint version of the Palm Pixi doesn’t have a WiFi option but the Verizon version (called the Palm Pixi Plus) does. The hardware is almost the same and [Gitit20] figured out how to do some hardware swapping to add WiFi. The radio board inside the phone is fairly easy to remove. Close inspection of the Sprint radio board shows some solder pads where a WiFi chip would go. The Verizon version has this chip, and moving that radio board into the Sprint phone will enable WiFi. This is strictly a hardware hack as the device identification (IMEA) is paired with the motherboard and not the radio board.

Now we want to see someone source that WiFi chip, solder onto the board, and enable it within the OS so that we don’t need a donor phone to make this work.

[Thanks Juan]

Emulating an Amiga floppy drive

[Retromaster's] Ultimate Floppy Emulator is a wicked display of hardware mastery. It is the culmination of several design stages aimed at replacing an Amiga floppy drive with a modern storage solution. You may be thinking that using an SD card in place of a floppy isn’t all that interesting but this hack does much more. The board, controlled by a PIC32, patches into the Amiga keyboard and monitor. This allows you to bring up an overlay menu for controlling the emulator in order to configure which virtual floppy disk is currently ‘in the drive’. He’s even gone so far as to add a piezo speaker to mimic the sounds the original drive head would make while reading a disk.

[Thanks Gokhan]

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