Stacking GPS, GSM, and an SD card into an Arduino shield

A few years ago, [Phang Moh] and his compatriots were asked by a client if they could make a vehicle tracking device for oil tankers all around Indonesia. The request of putting thousands of trackers on tanks of explosives was a little beyond [Phang Moh]‘s capability, but he did start tinkering around with GPS and GSM on an Arduino.

Now that tinkering has finally come to fruition with [Phang]‘s TraLog shield, a single Arduino shield that combines GPS tracking with a GSM and GPRS transceiver. There’s also an SD card thrown in for good measure, making this one of the best tracking and data logging shields for the Arduino.

The shield can be configured to send GPS and sensor data from devices attached to an I2C bus to remote servers, or a really cool COSM server. [Phang] is selling his TraLog for $150, a fairly good deal if you consider what this thing can do.

Seems like the perfect piece of kit for just about any tracking project, whether you want to know the location of thousands of oil tankers or just a single high altitude balloon.

Tip ‘o the hat to [Brett] for finding this one.

Tripod Mount Anything!

webcam-mounted

[Shawn] wrote in to tell us about his extremely simple method he used for mounting a webcam on a tripod. His article explains it better, but the basic premise is to glue a 1/4 – 20 nut onto the bottom of it. The hack-worthiness of this could be in question, but the technique could come in handy at some point.

After seeing this tip, I was reminded of a slightly crazier, if effective mount that I made for my state of the art Env2 phone. Referenced in a links post in March, it was made of a 2×4 with a 1/2 inch slot milled in it.  After some thought, it was drilled and tapped for a 1/4 – 20 bolt in the other side to mount it on a tripod. So this could be an option in very limited circumstances.

On the other hand, if you want something a bit more hack-worthy, why not check out this motorized camera rig that we featured in July. Sure, it’s more complicated than gluing a nut onto a webcam, but at least it still uses 2 x 4s in it’s mounting hardware!

There’s a friggin’ cellphone in the most recent Entertainment Weekly

Hackaday readers were stumbling over each other to send in a link about this Android cellphone inside of an Entertainment Weekly magazine. Thanks to all who sent it in, and keep them coming. We’d rather get too many tips than none at all!

The first thing we should address is the discomfort you will feel while watching the video after the break. If you’ve got any experience tearing open electronics to see what’s inside you will be physically uncomfortable watching this pair bumble through it. It makes us want to do some MST3K-style overdubbing of the video, but their content ownership claim in the description makes us sure we’d get an immediate take-down notice if we did so.

At any rate, what we have here is some really cool tech you almost certainly will not be able to get your hands on. In the image above you can see the small LCD screen to the right. It comes to life when the page is opened thanks to the sliding switch being pointed to in the image. A few television show promos will play before the device starts scrolling items from the CW Twitter feed. When the hardware is pulled out of the pages there’s some interesting tinkering to be done. Shorting the contacts on the keyboard overlay (about 8 minutes into the video) brings up an Asian-language menu which is pretty obviously Android.

This is not the first time the magazine has done something like this. CBS embedded video a few years back but we’re pretty sure that one didn’t use the full guts of a cellphone. It’s just too bad these issues are so rare (only 1000 are available in two cities) as we had a lot of fun hacking that Esquire issue with the epaper in it.

[Read more...]

How to watch your own videos on a plane: barf bag

Air travellers take note, [Asthmaticatom] figured out how to comfortably watch your own videos on the plane. We know you always have your phone with you, now you just need to find a barf bag. A little bit of papercraft turns the waste disposal device into a neat little hanging dock.

The bag in the image above is actually upside down. A rectangle the same size as your phone’s screen is ripped out of the top. The metal clasp used to seal the top of the bag is rolled up to hold the phone securely in place. The bottom of the sack has a flap which acts as a one-way catch. When it is shoved into the crevice on top of the monitor it holds the whole thing in place.

Of course we don’t remember ever having been on a plane where there was a monitor in the seat in front of us, but perhaps we’re just buying tickets on the wrong airlines.

[via Reddit]

Make cell phone calls with your Arduino

Cellular shields for the Arduino have been around for ages, but this is the first one we’ve seen that turns your Arduino into a proper cell phone.

The shield is based around the SIM900 GSM/GPRS radio module, and is compatible with the SIM908 GSM/GPRS module that adds a GPS receiver. Also on board this shield are a pair of 1/8″ audio jacks, perfect for connecting a microphone and headphones. Yes, you can actually make cell phone calls with your Arduino now.

The real star of this build is the new GSM Shield library. This library of code includes the methods necessary for an Arduino to function as a cell phone (answer, hang up, dial a number), but also includes a lot of improvements for TCP/IP communication.

Even though the cost of getting an Arduino communicating through a GSM or GPRS network is fairly high, we’re thinking this would be the perfect starting point for a completely open source, open hardware cell phone. A phone with the same functionality as an old Nokia brick that is also a MiFy would be an amazing piece of hardware, and would surely make for a profitable Kickstarter.

Turn your old Bluetooth headphones into a DIY car audio receiver

wireless-car-audio

[Tim] drives a 1995 Mitsubishi TS Magna, which is equipped with a less than stellar accessory package he lovingly calls a “poverty pack”. He outfitted his ride with an aftermarket head unit that can support the Bluetooth A2DP profile, provided he buys the ridiculously overpriced kit sold by Pioneer. Reluctant to shell out more money on an audio kit than his car is worth, he whipped up his own Bluetooth kit for far less than Pioneer’s asking price.

He had a set of Nokia Bluetooth headphones that he was willing to part with, so he disassembled them to see how he might interface with his car stereo. Connecting the headset to his head unit was a relatively easy task, but he had to work a bit harder to get his Bluetooth receiver powered properly.

After both undervolting and then nearly cooking his wireless audio rig, [Tim] managed to get things operating to his liking. He says that the audio is a touch quieter than he would like at the moment, so he will likely be revising his design in the near future. For now however, he can stream tunes from his phone while he cruises around town.

Use a Nokia N82 TFT Panel with Your Arduino

tft-with-arduino

[Andy] has been hard at work reverse-engineering the Nokia N82 2.4 inch cell phone display for use with an Arduino. As pointed out in the article, this same 2.4 inch display can be found in at least seven other Nokia products, so they are readily available. The panels can be found for as low as 3 pounds (or a little less than 5 dollars) on Ebay.

The results are quite good and can be seen in the videos after the break. The first demo displays a simulated weather report, and the second displays some JPEG images. Although an Arduino Mega was used in this demonstration, a standard Arduino can be used as well. Schematics as well as a bill of materials is included in the article, however if you’d rather just buy a board, he’s selling the rest of what he’s built on a first come first served basis. No word on how many he has in stock though!
[Read more...]