Surplus military gear keeps your hands free, calls private

heli_helmet

[Julian] was rummaging through a military surplus store when he spotted a pair of old helicopter pilot helmets that he absolutely had to have. At $25 they were a steal, but pretty useless in their current state. He decided to modify one of the helmets for use while playing video games, but he didn’t stop there.

The helmet had two decent speakers built-in so he kept them, but tweaked the wiring from a mono-only configuration to accept stereo input. A RF wireless headset was disassembled and wired into the helmet so he could use it for playing video games while his wife is asleep. As an added bonus, the headset he used happened to have an AM/FM receiver built in, so he can enjoy music while sitting around with his helmet on as well. A Bluetooth cell phone headset was also torn down and wired into the helmet for gaming and handling phone calls. The Bluetooth mic was extended into the original mic stem built into the helmet, keeping things authentic-looking.

Overall it’s a quite a useful recycling of some old military junk. It’s a great idea though the helmet looks like it could be a touch cumbersome after awhile.

Pi phone lulls you to sleep with the digits of Pi

As you well know, today is March 14th – aka “Pi Day”.

Celebrated in math classrooms around the country, this truly is a celebration that belongs to the geeks. Here at Hack-a-Day, we too love Pi day, though we might not outwardly celebrate it with as much gusto as expressed by some of our readers.

[Chris Poole] is one Hack-a-Day fan who knows how to make the most of this mathematical holiday. He has put together a neat SIP-based phone service that reads Pi aloud to anyone who calls. He is running Asterisk in combination with Perl to read off the numbers, and is using a free SIP DID number to accept the calls. We gave it a shot earlier today, and were greeted by a gentle synthesized voice reading off the numbers of Pi. We’re not sure how many digits it is programmed to handle, as we stopped after about 20, so give him a call and let us know how many digits you make it through.

As a parting note, no Pi Day would be complete without a few obligatory Pi-related (albeit old) web comics and pastry concoctions, so here you go!

XKCD – Pi Equals…

XKCD – e to the Pi Times i

XKCD – E to the Pi Minus Pi

Spherical Pi Pie

Remote operated security gate lets you phone it in

ring_detection_circuit

[Itay] has a friend who works in a rented office where the parking lot is secured by a remote-controlled gate. Unfortunately, while his friend shares an office with several people, they only received a single remote. To help his friends out, he built a small device that triggers the remote control whenever a phone call is received.

The remote modification was rather straightforward. He simply opened the device, adding a single wire to each button terminal. Rather than connect to the remote using wires, he decided to fit it with what looks like a scavenged DC power jack. The ring detector circuitry was constructed and stuffed in a small phone box, which is connected to the remote using a DC power plug. It’s a great solution to the problem, but let’s just hope no one gets a hold of the phone number they used for the trigger!

There are plenty of pictures on his site, as well as video of the ring detector being tested. Unfortunately [Itay] lost the original schematics for the circuit, so you will have to flesh that part out on your own if you wish to build a similar device.

Keep reading to see a few videos of the remote in testing and in use.

Continue reading “Remote operated security gate lets you phone it in”

Xteardown

A hot topic in the gadget world right now is the Sony Ericsson XperiaPlay phone, and while that is not our usual cup of tea, when we see the newest toy stripped down to its bits n pieces it piques our interest.

This 8 page teardown of the XperiaPlay (google translated to english) takes you though all the steps needed to dismantle your new joy. Every screw, clip, header and connector, each in order so you can get it back together again.

As the carnage progresses time is taken to point out some of the parts of the phone. From the mundane like I/O jacks, to the more interesting like the Synaptics touch pad driver that are handling the “analog” sticks, the Cypress multi-touch controller for the screen, and of course, the brains.

(thanks Frogz)

Contest: win Push Showcase tickets

Who is ready to win some tickets to the PUSH N900 Showcase?

The showcase is an event where all 5 teams from the Push N900 competition are going meet up in London and present their N900 hacks. Including N900s that fly, skate, Etch a Sketch(TM), and more. We also hear there is going to be a poll-dancing robot thanks to [Giles Walker]. We were given tickets to the event, and decided to pass them along to our readers.

How can you gain a pair of tickets to this magical showcase? Check out after the break – hope you know a thing or two about resistors.

Continue reading “Contest: win Push Showcase tickets”

SheevaPlug PBX

[Greg] has been working on a version of Debian/ FreePBX/ Asterisk for people to be able to drop onto a SheevaPlug. If you haven’t seen it, the SheevaPlug is a tiny computer housed in a wall plug. They made some waves when they were announced last year, and we’ve spoken of them several times. [Greg] is offering up the operating system in a pre configured format for SD cards so you can just download it and drop it in your SheevaPlug. Yeah, there’s a little bit of work to do before it will boot, which you can see in the video above.  Thanks for sending this in [Greg], keep up the good work.

BT phone is much more than retrofit

[Santiago] turned his Ericfon into a Bluetooth phone. This is completely different from the handset retrofits we looked at last month. This is because he didn’t simply crack open a BT headset and cram it into his phone. He developed his own hardware for full functionality.

This is an open source project with available hardware details that he intends to turn into a kit. [Santiago] has purposed a PIC microcontroller to connect with a WT32 bluetooth module. The PIC allows for a dial tone, dialing with the original rotary dial, and produces the original sound when the phone rings. What he now has is a way to have a home phone without a landline. As seen the video after the break, the Ericfon works the same as it did when it was new, except the connection is made through Bluetooth and not via a copper phone line. Continue reading “BT phone is much more than retrofit”