It is that time of the year again! Layer one, the annual security conference is just around the corner. They’ve issued their call for papers so if you have something interesting, you’ll want to get a hold of them. If you haven’t heard of the conference before, take a few seconds to just stroll back in time and see some of the cool stuff they’ve shown off. We love seeing their cool hackable badges every year and we know this year won’t be any different.
Midwesterner’s should take note — here’s an event that’s happening somewhere other than New York or California! We jest, of course there are great events in the Midwestern states every year, like the Kanasas City or Detroit Maker Faires. This event puts focus on 3D printing. The Midwest RepRap Festival will be held in Elkhart, Indian March 15-17, 2013. Despite the name, the event is meant to encompass all things involved with any brand, make, or variety of 3D printing.
The owners of a local business called The Royal Phoenix have opened their doors for the weekend. Organizers have arranged for [Josef Prusa] and [Johnny R] to speak. There will also be build events (one session will show the build process of the MendelMax 2.0) so feel free to bring your own equipment for help with construction or getting it dialed in.
There is no registration fee, or tickets. But it would be best if you did fill out the questionnaire so they have some semblance of how many people might be coming.
Let’s face it, we all love DEFCON. Even if you’ve never been there before, we think it would be a huge struggle to find a reader who hadn’t been enchanted by at least one of the many hacks and talks that come out of the conference every year. We’ll prove it to you in a second, but first let’s get to the business at hand. Internet historian and all around good-guy [Jason Scott] has set his documentarian skills on DEFCON and just published a nearly twenty minute preview of the film which will leave you with more questions than answers (that’s the point of a teaser, right?). He’s not new to this kind of work. We loved his film BBS: The Documentary and can’t wait to see what he’s managed to do when this is released in the new year.
Oh yeah… we were going to prove a point. Some things that came out of the yearly hacker conference which you probably drooled over after the fact include:
- Badge hacking (there’s like a million of these posts so look around for them)
- Messing with OPP (Other People’s Pacemakers)
- Riding the subway for free
- And contests like Capture the Flag or Beverage Cooling or Tamper Evasion
This is just a sliver of what this event offers. Should be fun to see all the stuff [Jason] got into that we never even knew about.
Head to head video game action can’t even compare to this use of a coin-op Sega Rally game to race actual RC vehicles. Take a close look at those screens and you’ll see there are no computer graphics, just a feed for a camera on each of the toy cars.
The project was conceived for the Sapo Codebits VI conference in Portugal. The arcade cabinets had their controls connected to an Arduino, but getting video up and running wasn’t nearly as easy. After fruitless attempts to get the original CRTs to work the team ended up replacing them with functioning CRT units of the same size. The cars themselves have two camera, one on top of the vehicle’s cab and one mounted on a boom for a perspective that was above and behind the vehicle. The drivers can switch between either view. The cars were set loose in the room serving as the event’s retro gaming area and players were free to race each other wherever they pleased. Don’t miss the video clip after the break which shows off all of the fun. [Read more...]
This year for Halloween, The Geek Group, decided to take a very different approach to outreach. Instead of making animatronics, or converting their giant (seriously HUGE) space into a haunted house, they held an event called “Computers Not Candy” where they teamed up with a large local company to bring 100 tablet computers to 100 youths.
If you’re not already familiar with the Geek Group, you should check them out. They’re a huge hackerspace that really seems to have their act together. They put out really cool videos regularly, our favorite being the equipment autopsies.
While we really do admire the work they did to introduce these kids to hackerspaces, we also love candy and silly spooky projects. Next year how about Computers AND Candy!
We discussed [Rob]‘s Tesla Gun in the past. At that time, the build looked very impressive, but had not been fired yet. Fortunately, [Rob] got the device working and brought it to Toorcamp. He took the gun out every night and demoed the handheld Tesla Coil by having volunteers catch the streamers with a knife.
The gun uses a cordless drill battery for power, and a flyback transformer to generate the ~20,000 volts needed to drive the coil. The power electronics module was designed to be easy to replace, and [Rob] had extras at Toorcamp in case he burnt one up. [Rob]‘s build log is very detailed, and definitely worth reading through. It explains how he cast the enclosure out of aluminium, built a custom porcelain high voltage switch, and designed the power electronics.
While this build should probably get a “do not try this at home” label, he definitely created something unique. We’re looking forward to when [Rob] shows the gun off next.
The hardware hacking village at Toorcamp provided space and tools to work on hardware. It was interesting to see what hardware hacks people had brought to work on. One example is [Owen]‘s Nibble Node.js Widget. The widget combines the popular node.js platform and custom hardware to create a node for the “internet of things.” The hardware consists of a Arduino Pro Micro, a bluetooth module, a LCD display, and a speaker in a laser cut box.
By using a custom package in node.js, the Nibble becomes an object which can be controlled by its methods. This allows for the developer to push messages to the display and control the device without worrying about the details of the hardware. Since node.js is designed for web applications, it’s simple to make the device controllable from the web.
[Owen] also wrote an emulator for the DCPU from the upcoming game, 0x10c. DCPU assembly is passed in from node.js, which compiles it and sends it to the Nibble. The device can then run the application using the DCPU emulation, which also allows for control of the display and the speaker.
There’s a lot of neat things that can be done with this minuscule cube, and [Owen] plans to release an NPM package for the node.js code.