I need someone to explain this to me.

Use Bluetooth to open your garage and start your car remotely

bluetooth_remote_garage_opener_and_car_starter

Instructables user [tcollinsworth] is a big fan of his Android smart phone. He practically carries it with him everywhere, so he figured it would be cool to integrate as many of his home electronics with the phone as possible. His garage door openers seemed like easy enough targets, and while he was in the garage, he decided to hack his car’s remote starter as well.

He put together a small circuit that allows him to trigger any device via an application called Daisy On/Off, made specifically for the Bluetooth board he selected. One set of pins were wired to the garage door opener’s terminals, and the other to his remote start key fob. Once he had everything connected up, he packaged his components in a project box courtesy of his MakerBot. With that finished, he put together a simple interface in the Daisy application which can start his car or open the garage with a single button press.

It should be mentioned that [tcollinsworth] works for Daisy, so the reasoning behind his choice of components and Android applications is an obvious one. That said, schematics for the Daisy Bluetooth board are available online and the device can be controlled using BlueTerm, so you can feel free to roll your own implementation if you wish.

Our only nagging thought is that the system should probably include a feedback circuit that relays messages to the phone, indicating that the door is indeed open and that the car has been started. Pocket dialing your car to start without opening the garage first would definitely be a bad thing.

Check out the video below to see the system in action.

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VFD Hacking

vfd_hacking

[Mostafa] was a bit bored and had a broken DVD player sitting around, so he decided to take it apart to see what made the machine’s LCD panel tick. Once he popped it open, he discovered it wasn’t an LCD panel at all, it was a VFD.

The seven segment display looked to be controlled by an ET16312n VFD driver, so he dug around online and found a datasheet for the chip. After looking at the documentation he was pretty confident he could get things working without too much trouble. He started tracing the board for the STB, CLK, Din, and Dout leads he needed to set up serial communications with the panel and was on his way in no time.

He hooked the panel up to the parallel port on his computer, and got busy hammering out some C code to write text to the display. Right now, the code lets you scroll text across the display, which is about as far as [Mostafa] cares to take it. It was done mostly as a proof of concept exercise, but since this VFD is compliant with the same NEC programming standard that most VFDs use, his code can likely be reused to drive any similar display with very little tweaking.

Smile, your face is on the Internet

[Kyle McDonald] is up to a bit of no-good with a little piece of software he wrote. He’s been installing it on public computers all over New York City. It uses the webcam found in pretty much every new computer out there to detect when a face is in frame, then takes a picture and uploads it to the Internet.

We’ve embedded a video after the break that describes the process. From [Kyle's] comments about the video it seems that he asked a security guard at the Apple store if it was okay to take pictures and he encouraged it. We guess it could be worse, if this were a key logger you’d be sorry for checking your email (or, god forbid, banking) on a public machine. Instead of being malicious, [Kyle] took a string of the images, adjusted them so that the faces were all aligned and the same size, and then rolled them into the latter half of his video.

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