Trossen Robotics holding another contest

3rd place doesn't really shoot lasers that make stuff blow up.

You have until December 1st to get your entry into the Trossen DIY robotics contest. Unlike the last Trossen contest we told you about, this one has no clear theme. The goal is simply to make an awesome robot. Registration is free, and entries will be judged on Ingenuity, Originality, and presentation/documentation. There are prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, with the 1st place prize being the Interbotix Hexapod. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a kit of a hexapod that is pretty quick on its feet. You can catch a video of it after the break.

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Using an NES controller on an Android phone

[Sk3tch] rigged up a way to use an original NES controller with Android. He bought the controller and a breakout board for it at DEFCON. By combining the controller, an Arduino, and a blueSMIRF BlueTooth module the controller can be used as a keyboard on his Android device. In the video after the break he demonstrates pairing the devices and playing Super Mario Bros. 3 in an emulator.

He calls this Alpha quality but it certainly looks like it works well. In the beta version we’d love to see all of the extra electronics inside the controller case like those USB mods.

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Car computer requires PIN for ignition

[Ben’s] added some nice goodies to his Volvo in the form of an in-dash computer. The system monitors two pressure sensors for boost and vacuum, as well as reading RPM, O2, and exhaust directly. All of this is tied into the touch interface running on an eeePC 900A. But our favorite feature is that the system requires you to enter a PIN to start the ignition. The forum post linked above is short on details so we asked [Ben] if he could tell us more. Join us after the break for a demonstration video as well as [Ben’s] rundown on the system.

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Meter clock using the TI Launchpad

Here’s an analog meter clock using an MSP430G2211 microcontroller. [Doug Paradis] chose this processor because it is the lesser of the two that come with the TI Launchpad. The parts count is fairly low too; a clock crystal, two analog meters, a few buttons, and a voltage regulator.

He’s done a nice job putting this together. We challenge you to give this a try yourself and build on [Doug’s] features. We really liked the calibration subroutine in [Alan’s] multi meter clock. It would be fun to implement that functionality and store the calibration code in the MSP’s flash memory. You can use our ported garage door opener code if you need an example of how to store data in flash.

Firmware hacking on Behringer midi devices

A new project called the Unofficial Behringer Control Development Kit lets you tweak or completely replace the firmware on the popular devices. The proof of concept demo shows a custom message scrolling on the 4-character 7-segment display but you can do with the device is only limited by how well you can code for the ARM processor inside. Development takes place using the GNU ARM toolchain but don’t worry, you don’t have to crack the case open to program the chip. The BCR2000 and BCF2000 models supported by the project both run bootloaders that allow firmware updates via midi commands. There’s even a recovery mode if you screw something up. Just make sure you have a direct midi connection for recovery, the USB port won’t work for that purpose. If you need a shove to get you started there’s a nice little example file in the repository.

[Thanks Bjonnh]

Meat smoker texts you when it is done


[Peter Rauch] has built this meat smoker that has a touch screen control interface. His system is capable of controlling the cooking by monitoring the internal temperature of the smoker as well as the temperature of the meat itself. His touch screen interface allows him to enter his desired parameters and it basically just takes over from that point and texts him when it is done.  You’ll have to download the pdf to get to the juicy details of his build, but it is an interesting read.

It looks like he’s using a 4-loop Gefran GFX4 temp controller in conjunction with a Modbus remote terminul interface and a TS8010 HMI touchscreen for the bulk of the electronics. It even has protection limits he can set to keep his family from bumping it up to 1200 degrees.

[via Makezine]

Barcode Infiltrator

Whenever someone manages to expose vulnerabilities in everyday devices, we love to root for them. [Adrian] over at Irongeek has been inspired to exploit barcodes as a means to attack a POS database. Based on an idea from a Pauldotcom episode, he set out to make a rapid attack device, using an LED to spoof the signals that would be received by scanning a barcode. By exposing the POS to a set of generic database attacks, including XSS, SQL Injection, and other errors easily solved by input sanitation, he has created the first version of an automated system penetration device. In this case the hardware is simple, but the concept is impressive.

With the hardware explained and the source code provided, as well as a basic un-sanitized input cheat sheet, the would-be barcode hackers have a great place to start if they feel compelled to provide a revision two.

[Thanks Robert W.]