Because everything is moving to a web app, [Vasilis Georgitzikis], a.k.a. [tzikis] developed codebender, a cloud-based Arduino IDE replete with built-in libraries, documentation, and the ability to upload your code to an Arduino from a browser.
To compile an Arduino sketch, codebender uses clang a wonderful compiler that will give you extremely descriptive warnings on terrible code. Like any good IDE, there’s built-in highlighting and documentation, and a small bit of Java allows you to upload your code and monitor the serial port right in the browser.
One of the more interesting innovations is codebender’s (upcoming) use of a TFTP bootloader. With this and an Ethernet shield, it’s easy to upload code to any Internet-connected Arduino, whether it’s on your desk or halfway across the world. We can see that being very useful for a data logger or even a UAV balloon, and can’t wait to see it in action.
A couple folks over at the Radionavigation Lab at UT Austin successfully spoofed GPS to take control of a small helicopter drone this weekend. Of course, this attracted the attention of the Department of Homeland security, so you’d better stock up on GPS spoofing equipment while there’s still time.
The DHS, CIA, and US Military have a huge interest in spoofing GPS; Iran stole a drone late last year using the same method. The UT Austin team used only about $1000 worth of equipment to take control of an autonomous drone and pilot it away under unauthorized control. Of course with matters of homeland security, the open-source hacker scene has yet to publish how this spoofing attack was actually done, but here’s a paper covering what is needed to remotely control up to four GPS-guided drones.
While waiting on the details of this build to be made public, feel free add your own insight in the comments as to how this attack was actually performed.
Opening really old lock boxes
[Barry Wels] is a locksmith. One day, he got a call from a museum that had a few 17th century strong boxes that needed to be opened. After a little probing with an endoscope, he decided they could be picked with a little bit of spring steel. So, what’s in the box? [Barry] is going to send in an update in a month or two.
An awesome Geordi La Forge VISOR. But don’t take my word for it.
[DrewSmith007] made a replica of Geordi’s VISOR from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Bonus: it’s autographed by Levar Burton.
Free mirrors for your laser cutter
If you have a laser cutter, your mirrors will get damaged, and they’re very expensive to replace. [Phil] sent in a neat tip: make your own mirrors from hard drive platters.
A proper M.U.L.E. remake
Combine Settlers of Catan with M.U.L.E.. That’s what this Kickstarter is trying to do, and it sounds freakin’ awesome.
This game is so cool
A few months ago, I mapped the surface of a video game moon. Since then, Kerbal Space Program had a huge update with a brand new moon. Over on Reddit, [InsanityCore] started mapping this new moon, so I rendered it. Go give [InsanityCore] some karma. He did all the hard work.
Last April, we caught wind of a very impressive rocket engine being built by Copenhagen Suborbitals. That engine was on the test pad this weekend, and the video is incredible (skip to 20:30 for the actual test). The Copenhagen Suborbitals team pulled off a successful test firing of their 65 kilo Newton alcohol and liquid Oxygen-fueled rocket.
When last we saw the TM65 engine, it was sitting on the design floor of the Copenhagen Suborbitals workspace. The plan was to fire the engine using alcohol fuel and LOX pressurized by Helium, but that plan was changed to use Nitrogen as the pressurant. The static test was an immensely successful demonstration of the engine, but unfortunately the chamber pressure (and therefore thrust) was a little low meaning the team will be moving back to Helium for the next test.
Thanks to the very successful test of the TM65, Copenhagen Suborbitals may be launching their HEAT booster later this year possibly carrying their new space capsule. Even if it’s only a crash test dummy that will make the ride into space, we can’t wait for the video of the flight.
Check out a few more (abridged) videos of the TM65 test firing after the break.
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