Hidden device distorts news on wireless networks, brews beer, is time machine

We covered the Newstweek, a wall-wart sized box that injects fake news stories over public WiFi connections last February, but now there’s a great walk through and it seems our doubts about this project were disproved.

The Newstweek uses ARP spoofing to change the text displayed on several news sites. After doing some field research, placing and configuring the device, there’s a simple web frontend that configures the man-in-the-middle hack. Right now, the Newstweek only allows a few news sites to be targeted, but the team is working on allowing anyone to add their own targets.

Aside from the relatively simple build, we’re wondering about the social engineering aspects of the Newstweek. In our previous coverage of the Newstweek, we couldn’t decide if this was a social commentary art project, or a real device. It looks like it’s both now. Would hackaday readers succumb to injecting, “President Bacon addressed the nation last night…” or would you do the responsible thing and put the “(D)s” and “(R)s” in their proper places?

The Newstweek team posted a video of a short demonstration, but check out the video after the break for the “incredibly geeky and thorough demo.”

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Fixing POST errors with a single key

one_key_keyboard

Instructables user [Mike Craghead] was in the middle of building a very compact public computer kiosk when he ran into a problem with the processor fan. It was too big for the enclosure and had to be swapped out with a fan that did not allow the motherboard to monitor its rotational speed.

Motherboards don’t like this situation very much, and each time the computer was started, it would hang at the BIOS screen waiting for someone to press the F1 key to continue. Knowing that everything was just fine, and that there were no BIOS options which would allow him to ignore the error, he crafted a simple solution to the problem.

Since the computer just needed someone to press the F1 key, he figured he could rig up a small dongle that would always hold down the key for him. After verifying that the OS would ignore the stuck key, he tore apart a keyboard and traced the circuit matrix to identify which pins he had to short in order to represent the F1 key press.

Satisfied with his handiwork, he plugged the board into his computer and found that everything worked just fine. Sure it might not be the most elegant solution to the problem, but it gets the job done at a cost of zero dollars – you can’t beat that!

Programming an ATtiny using an Arduino

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[Scott] is a big fan of the Arduino platform, and he’s not afraid to admit it. It does all the things he needs, but now and again he would like to use something a bit smaller, without all the bells and whistles the Arduino has to offer. He contemplated using an ATtiny for smaller projects, but after looking into what he would need to program the chip under Linux, he could never find the motivation to give it a go.

That all changed when he discovered the Arduino-Tiny project, which aims to bring a limited Arduino IDE to the ATtiny line of microcontrollers. He found the project to be quite useful, so he put together a brief tutorial that walks through everything you need to get started.

The tutorial is fairly straightforward, and even demonstrates how the Arduino can be used as an ISP for the ATtiny, removing the need to purchase a standalone programmer. Be sure to check it out if you are searching for an easy way to get started with ATtiny chips under Linux.

Aquabot gets around more than you’d think

This doesn’t have the flashy futuristic appeal that we’d like to see from high-tech robots, but this amphibious wanderer is well suited for it’s intended purpose. It was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota to navigate mostly wet environments, collecting data about water quality as part of a distributed army of sensor bots.

The two little arms sticking out in front of it are made of carbon fiber and attached to servo motors inside. The video below the fold shows the trapezoidal body tumbling end-over end to get around. But the awkward, baby-turtle-like locomotion isn’t the only thing in its bag of movement tricks. It can also adjust its buoyancy to float, sink, or hover somewhere in the wet stuff.

To get a better look at what went into developing this, take a look at the Adelopod developed at UMN a couple of years back. We also embedded a video of that tumbling robot because they share the build details we’re always on the lookout for.

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This robot can beat you at pointless games

We already know that robots can be smarter than us as evidenced by Watson beating [Ken Jennings] at Jeopardy, or Deep Blue beating [Garry Kasparov] at chess. Now [E024576] is striving to build a bot to compete at physical games.

For the challenge, he’s chosen one of the games from a television game show called Minute to Win It. This challenge is called Mad Dog, and lends its name to this robot. The goal is to pick up a ruler with two tic tac containers glued to it, then shake it until all of the candies are ejected from those containers. Check out what he’s come up with in the clip after the break. The machine is driven by a PIXAXE microcontroller, with input from an IR remote control. It reaches out, grips the ruler tightly, and shakes like there’s no tomorrow. Quite impressive, even if there’s very little purpose in its operation. That makes it the perfect task for robot, right?

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RSA SecurID breach leads to intrusion at Lockheed Martin

rsa_securid

It looks like Lockheed Martin is the latest victim in what seems to be an endless string of security breaches. This time however, it does not look like a lack of security measures led to the breach. In fact, it seems that Lockheed’s implementation of a widely-trusted security tool was the attack vector this time around.

Last month we reported on the apparent compromise of RSA’s SecurID product, and while many speculated that this intrusion could lead to subsequent attacks, the firm downplayed the breach. They stated that the stolen data was unlikely to affect their customers, but as usual, the problem appears to be far larger than originally estimated.

The breadth of the intrusion is currently unknown, and with both RSA and Lockheed officials keeping mum, it may be some time before anyone knows how serious it is. When military secrets are in question however, you know it can’t be good!

Robot juggler sure handles a lot of balls

This robot juggler, pictured above during its appearance at Amper 2010, can keep five balls in the air at once. It was designed by the Department of Control Engineering at the Czech Technical Institute in Prague. We know it doesn’t look like much in that still image, but the two videos embedded after the break are pure gold.

To arms on vertical tracks do the juggling. They can move up and down on said tracks, and circular grippers attached to each can pivot horizontally. A third actuator resides at the bottom of the machine, collecting any balls that might drop, and launching them back into the realm of the juggling hands. A high-speed camera facilitates object tracking in much the same ways that it’s been used for quadcopter control.

The objects being thrown around in that protective enclosure are billiards balls. We guess the added mass helps to dampen any small irregularities in the throw or the catch.

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