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Black Hat 2008: EFF Coders’ Rights Project announced

The EFF has just announce the creation of the Coders’ Rights Project website at the Black Hat conference. The sites’ main goal is to centralize legal information for coders, and to help protect important security work from legal actions that may be taken against them with the DMCA and other legal black holes. While this is in no way a fully comprehensive list of everything you need to know, it looks like a good place to start, and provides a few FAQs for suggestions on how to stay in the legal clear as much as possible. At numerous points the documents suggest you speak with a lawyer, if you have any deeper questions, which you absolutely should. This can be very helpful if a person or group finds a security risk, and wants to publish it, or just wants to start looking into possible security risks.

Remote controlled pill-bot

The NanoRobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University has come up with a medical robot that can be swallowed, and is then able to be controlled from outside the body. The device has small arms with adhesives that can attach to slippery internal surfaces, which has previously proven difficult. Once inside the body, it can be used to view damaged areas, deliver drugs, as well as biopsy questionable tissues, and possibly even be used to cauterize bleeding wounds with a small laser. The device could be stopped, and even reversed to get a better look at areas that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. This would be a major advancement in diagnosing intestinal problems, and could lead to potentially life saving treatments. Did we mention that it has lasers?

[via Neatorama]

Breakthrough in water based energy storage

[Daniel Nocera], working with the MIT Energy Initiative, has come up with a method to easily and cheaply store energy generated from solar electricity with water. The method uses two catalysts of non-toxic and abundant metals to separate the water into both oxygen and hydrogen. These gases are then stored, and later recombined in a fuel cell to generate power. The process was inspired by photosynthesis, and helps to make sources such as solar power viable around the clock. Current storage technologies are both expensive and inefficient, so technologies like solar are only useful when the source is available. This will allow homes to cheaply and easily store power generated through solar and other technologies. While this is only part of the solution towards the current energy problem, it could go a long way towards decreasing our use of non-renewable sources. When combined with other new breakthroughs in the field, you can easily imagine more homes coming off the grid. Check out the short video after the break.

[Read more...]

PSPSeq 3.0, PSP sequencer release and interview has just released the latest version of its homebrew PSP music sequencer PSPSeq 3.0. With PSPSeq you can create songs with up to 16 independent audio tracks, use WAV audio clips of your own and then modify them with a number of settings, or even use some of the built in synthesizers to generate sounds. There are strong looping and recording features as well. If you are into homebrew music apps on the PSP, then this will give you a strong offering of features. We had a chance to catch up with the author, [Ethan Bordeaux], and ask a few questions. You can check out the short interview after the break.

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Refillable canned air

While not very technical, [3eff_Jeff] posted an interesting modification to an empty air canister that makes it refillable. He was tired of drilling holes in the ozone, so he carefully drilled a hole into the top of the can instead. In the name of caution, he made sure the can was completely empty first by tying the trigger down with a rubber band. After waiting a while he carefully drilled the hole using an oil lubricant, and then epoxied in a Schrader valve from a leftover bike tire tube.

Due to compression of the air as it is pumped into the can, it becomes quite warm. He found that if the can is allowed to cool to room temperature, the air would become very cold once leaving the canister, which would cause condensation problems. So he uses it right after filling, and then empties it out when not in use.

We do not recommend anyone trying this, but it is a unique way to make a commonly used disposable resource in the computer field reusable. If we can use something more than once, we’re definitely for it. That’s why we support recycling components that would otherwise make their way to the landfill.

iGiveUp Bluetooth handset

Instructables user [ManaEnergyPotion] has posted a rather humorous Bluetooth handset hack. He simply took apart an airsoft handgun and a Bluetooth headset, and then placed the components neatly within the case. The earpeice is actually in the barrel of the gun, while the microphone is in the handle. You pull the trigger to answer a call, or to end a call. The best part is that they took this to the iPhone product launch, and posted a video of people’s reaction to this as an actual product concept. You can check it out after the break.

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Breath controlled LED candles

Instructables user [cedtlab] has posted an interesting LED project that simulates birthday candles. The circuit runs on an AVR ATTiny45, and is powered by 4 AA or AAA batteries. By using a Charliplexing technique, they are able to drive all 20 LEDs with only 5 pins of the ATTiny. A thermistor is used for detecting breath by measuring temperature changes, and then blocks of LEDs turn off depending on the change detected. They have provided schematics and source code for everything. Make sure to check out the video of the “ficticious birthday party” after the break.

[Read more...]


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