Android Talks Pulsewave

Serial communications are a mainstay of digital computing. They don’t require much physical infrastructure and they exist in variations to fit almost any application. The behaviour of serial communications lines, varying from high to low voltage in a timed pattern, is analogous to a 1-bit DAC. Using a whole DAC for serial communication would be a waste in most cases, but the [RobotsEverywhere] team found an exception which you may have encountered already.

Since the audio output of the Android is accessible and addressable, [RobotsEverywhere] wrote source code to use the left and right channels as separate serial communication lines. This circumvents the need to bust into the device and muck about with the hardware which is great if you want a no-risk hack that allows communications to an RS232 port. Any hardware on which you can write to the DAC (and control the sampling rate) is a potential target.

There are some external electronics required to convert the audio signal to TTL, but it’s not very complicated–a couple of comparators and change. You can see it in action after the break.

As a bonus, when you’re done for the day you can plug in your headphones and listen to the soothing poetry of pulse waves all night long.

[Read more...]

Solderless Drawdio Terminally Implemented

So you’re stuck in a boring class and you can’t fight off the urge to hack something, even your pencil, to pass the time. Maybe you are performing a live electronics show and you drop your synth down a flight of stairs and all that you are left with is a handful of components, a screw terminal block and a pencil. There are thousands, perhaps millions of these kinds of situations and for each one the answer is the solderless drawdio clone by [Martin].

You may have seen the original Drawdio here before, a fun piece of technology that is simple enough to recreate. This latest approach would make an excellent introductory project for a hacking workshop seeing as the guide is straightforward and the lack of soldering would make logistics so much easier. The results are very similar to the original–check the video after the break. [Read more...]

Chumby One becomes a 3g router

[bunnie] has taken a few moments to show us how to turn our Chumby One into a 3g router. As it turns out, there is an easter egg that allows it to communicate with certain models of 3g dongles. There’s no GUI for this trick, so you’ll be doing most of your configuration via SSH. That shouldn’t be a problem for this crowd though. The Chumby One just got a lot more appealing.

Classy hard drive speaker set

hdd_speakers

Hard drive speakers aren’t anything new, but they have yet to be done very professionally. Most hard drive speaker hacks are awesome, but aren’t meant to be a showpiece. [Oliver] took the opportunity to put together a set of 20GB drives and a custom-built acrylic case with a horizontal VU meter up front. The project is well-photographed and documented and can be recreated without the use of laser cutters or other expensive tools. The only thing it’s missing is an iPod dock!

Related: Giant bulb VU meter

Circuit board instrument

[Moldover] decided to change up the way CDs are packaged for his album release. Yes, you still get a CD with some pretty sweet music, but the case can also play sounds. He custom printed a circuit board containing some LEDs, buttons, photoresistors, and what looks to be a piezo transducer which all combine to produce a strange whine like noise. But with the included headphone jack, he shows it can be used to produce some very interesting music – reminds us of circuit bending.

[Thanks Ferdinand]

Hacking the Western Digital TV media player

wdtv

Western Digital recently released a media player that attaches to your TV and allows you to play HD media straight from an external USB drive to the television. With a price point of about $100, it’s strange that the device hasn’t made more of a stir in the consumer electronics market. Of course, if it exists, someone will hack it, though. Clever hardware and software hackers have already managed to get an alternative firmware running on the device, allowing for packages like a web server, RSS reader, Apple trailer viewer, and other linux-based packages. It’s good to see a device with so many software mods so early into production.

Related: OpenPogo, an alternative to Pogoplug software

Adding RDS decoding to a vintage radio

c_670_rds4_sm2 (Custom)

[Edo] wrote in to show us how he added RDS decoding to a radio made in 1957. RDS or Radio Data System is a protocol for data transmission. This allows date, time, artist info, and more to be broadcast along with the music. Its a nice feature that many new cars come with from the factory. [Edo] wanted to add it to his old radio though. He kept the radio stock looking, choosing to use an external LCD to display the data. He has posted the information on where to splice in to add this unit to pretty much any FM radio as well as posting the schematics and source code for the unit itself. Look at the very bottom of the page for the download link, its a bit hidden with the advertisements.

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