Repairing Dead USB Flash Drives

crystal

Over the last few years, [Tobias] has repaired a number of USB Flash drives. This strikes us as a little odd, given small capacity Flash drives are effectively free in the form of conference handouts and swag, but we’re guessing [Tobias] has had a few too many friends lose their thesis to a broken Flash drive.

In all his repairs, [Tobias] found one thing in common The crystal responsible for communicating with the USB controller is always broken. In a way, this makes a lot of sense; everything else on a Flash drive is silicon encased in an epoxy package, where the crystal is a somewhat fragile piece of quartz. Breaking even a small part of this crystal will drastically change the frequency it resonates at making the USB controller throw a fit.

[Tobias]‘ solution for all his Flash drive repairs is to desolder and change out the crystal, bringing the drive back to life. Some of the USB Flash drives even have multiple pads for different crystal packages, making it easy to kludge together a solution should you need to repair a Flash drive five minutes ago.

Turning A Storefront Into A Video Game

invasion

[Kris]‘ house/office has a huge store window, and instead of covering it up with newspapers, decided to do something cool. He’s had projections and other art pieces on display for his neighbors, but his new storefront arcade game very likely beats all of those.

Every video game needs a display, and this one is no slouch. The display is a 16*90 matrix of WS2812 LEDs with inset into a laser cut grid and put behind a layer of plexiglass. With this grid, the display has a great raster effect that’s great for the pixeley aesthetic [Kris] was going for. In front of the window is an MDF and steel arcade box powered by an Arduino Due.

The game is driven by the Adafruit neopixel library, with a few modifications to support alpha blending. There’s no external memory for this game – everything is running on a second Arduino Due inside the window.

It’s a great looking game, and if you’re ever in [Kris]‘ area – behind the zoo in Antwerp – you’re free to walk up and give this game a spin.

Video demo below.

[Read more...]

Indio Picaro Doll Mixes Drinks…

pissCO

Ever heard of the Indio Picaro doll? They are those kinda weird phallic statues, and they also happen to be a national joke in Chile. So hackers [Nathan] and [Pablo] decided to make use of its popularity for a hilarious drink serving robot (Translated) at this past weekends Santiago Mini Maker Faire.

Dubbed the PissCO, the bartending robot(s?) make use of eight Bartendro drink pumps, which is a system that was successfully funded on Kickstarter at the beginning of the year. Add some servos to make the little statues dance and swing around their… Anyway the whole system is probably one of the most unique cocktail mixing robots we’ve seen yet.

After all, who doesn’t want a drink served from a stainless steel basin that looks vaguely like a urinal?

Stick around after the break to uh, see it in action.

[Read more...]

The Atari Jaguar That Should Have Been

jag

Released in 1993, the Atari Jaguar suffered from a number of problems – it was difficult to program, had hardware idiosyncrasies, and with the CD drive was vastly overpriced compared to the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation released one year later. Nevertheless, the Jaguar still has a rabid fanbase that counts [10p6] among them, and he’s created what Atari should have released 20 years ago.

In a few forum threads at jaguarsector (login required) and nexgam.de (no login, German), [10p6] goes over his changes to the classic Jaguar + CD combo. He’s stuffed everything inside a new case, cutting down on the amount of plastic from the old enclosure. A proper integrated power supply has been added, replacing the two power supplies used in the original. It’s also overclocked to 32 MHz, compared to the 26 MHz of the stock unit, making this a very powerful system that could have easily competed with the Saturn and Playstation.

[10p6] has an amazing piece of hardware on his hands here, and should he ever want to make a few molds of his new Jaguar, he could put together some sort of kit to replicate this build. He’s still working on finding a model maker and perfecting his case design, but a new, improved version of the Jaguar is something we’d love to see in a limited production.

Interview with [Damien George], Creator of the Micro Python project

upython

[Damien George] just created Micro Python (Kickstarter alert!), a lean and fast implementation of the Python scripting language that is optimized to run on a microcontroller. It includes a complete parser, compiler, virtual machine, runtime system, garbage collector and was written from scratch. Micro Python currently supports 32-bit ARM processors like the STM32F405 (168MHz Cortex-M4, 1MB flash, 192KB ram) shown in the picture above and will be open source once the already successful campaign finishes. Running your python program is as simple as copying your file to the platform (detected as a mass storage device) and rebooting it. The official micro python board includes a micro SD card slot, 4 LEDs, a switch, a real-time clock, an accelerometer and has plenty of I/O pins to interface many peripherals. A nice video can be found on the campaign page and an interview with the project creator is embedded after the break.

[Read more...]

A Modular Game Boy Synthesizer

Euro

Synth heads and electronic music aficionados the world over love a good rackmount synth. These days, though, synthesis tends more toward small, digital, and ‘retro’ rather than the monstrous hulking behemoths of the 60s and 70s. [gieskes] might be ahead of the curve, here, as he’s built a Game Boy module for his eurorack synthesizer.

The software running on [gieskes]‘s Game Boy is the venerable Little Sound DJ (LSDJ), the last word in creating chiptunes on everyone’s favorite 8-bit handheld. As with any proper Game Boy used in chiptunes, there are a few modifications to the 1980s era hardware. [gieskes] tapped into the cartridge connector with a ‘repeat’ signal that provides slowed down, noisy signals for LSDJ. There’s also pitch control via CV, and the audio output is brought up to 10Vpp

In the video below, you can see [gieskes]‘ euroboy in action with a few Doepfer synth modules. There’s also a very cool pulse generator made from an old hard drive in there, so it’s certainly worth the watch.

[Read more...]

Update: SD Card Locker Now Supports Password Protect

sdlocker2_1

[Karl Lunt] has updated his Secure Digital Card locker to support password based locking. [Karl's] original design only supported write locking via the TMP_WRITE_PROTECT  bit. The new design gives the user an option: TMP_WRITE_PROTECT, or password protection. [Karl] goes into further detail this time around about the bit fields used with CMD42, and how they are set. The passwords in this case are up to 16 bytes. The bytes don’t necessarily have to be printable characters – any binary value can be used. Unfortunately, [Karl's] locker doesn’t utilize a user interface beyond the buttons, so any password must be “baked in” to the SD Card locker firmware. We would love to see the option of even a basic serial interface for entering a password (most likely in hex).

[Karl] tried his device out with several different cards, and several computers. While not an exhaustive test, he did find that the computers always behaved the same: A locked SD card would not show up. In the case of windows, no beep, no drive, nothing. He goes into the security possibilities of using password locking: Financial data could be stored and physically transferred via SD or microSD, with the password sent separately (say in an email or SMS). Any unenlightened data thief attempting to use the card would think they have a broken device on their hands.

We don’t know how secure the password lock feature is – brute forcing a variable length 16 byte binary password would take some time. It all comes down to how quickly each password attempt takes. Some cursory web searching didn’t bring up any information about successful SD card password cracking. Sounds like a challenge for our readers!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,652 other followers