[Graham] bought a new stereo for his Peugeot 406. Unfortunately, the built in radio controls in his steering wheel didn’t interface directly with the head unit, but rather with the vehicle itself. His solution was to build a device to decode the button presses and send them to the head unit in the appropriate fashion. All source code and schematics are available on his site. He states that this should work on any PSA/Renault vehicle with a 125Kb VAN bus. We’re curious how similar some of the American systems are. We have seen something similar where someone wanted to control their Zune from the steering wheel.
The new Palm Pre cellphone has a “media sync” feature which lets the device sync with iTunes in a fashion identical to an iPod. Last week [Jon Lech Johansen] speculated that this was not done in cooperation with Apple and that Palm was spoofing the iPod’s USB controller. This was confirmed today when a tipster sent him a screenshot of what the device reports in both standard and media sync modes. The Palm Pre reports its Product ID as iPod and Vendor ID as Apple with a few other changes. [Jon] notes that it doesn’t change the root USB node, so Apple should be able to block this behavior with an iTunes update. With Palm already pulling tricks like this presumably through software we wonder if this will become a full-on arms race.
[Matt] wrote in to tell us about this project. He plans on travelling with his MSI Wind and wanted better audio recording capabilities. He decided to install an additional microphone and a preamp. He made a custom preamp and wired it directly to the motherboard. The microphone was then mounted in the laptop screen. The second microphone is placed opposite of the first, about 18cm apart which [Matt] claims gives it a binaural effect. We think that this might just classify as stereo though. Wouldn’t you have to seperate them with a barrier or dampening device for binaural? It doesn’t really matter though, stereo mics are a great addition to the MSI Wind, and he did it very well. He does point out that it picks up a lot of noise though. There’s always room for improvement.
Many people find themselves frustrated when working with headphones. The tiny coated wire can be a real pain to work with. They are so very very small, and usually coated. We generally just end up doing a quick “sand and tape” which just isn’t very high quality. [Alex] sent in some tips that can really help you get those repairs or modifications going.
For their final project in ECE 4760 at Cornell, [Christina] and [Joe] made a small single octave keyboard using LEDs as the input. They used a total of 63 LEDs to make the keys. Each key consists of 9 LEDs, with the center one acting as a sensor. When you lay your finger on it, the light reflects off of your finger and is picked up by the center LED. An ATMega 664 runs custom code to play a sound. You can find out more details about the construction as well as download the source code on the site. You can also download an example movie of it in action ( 7MB .mp4)
The iPod Touch 2G jailbreak was first shown in January. It had to be applied every time the iPod was booted. The iphone-dev team just released the 24kpwn LLB patch to allow for a persistent jailbreak. The team had been hanging on to this patch because there was the possibility the exploit could be used on future iPhone versions. Unfortunately, a group started selling the code, so the team was forced to release it for free. iPod owners are certainly happy though. There is a tutorial available for updating a factory reset iPod (backup link). The team will include the patch in future official tools.
UPDATE: [cptfalcon] pointed out a post that covers the technical details of the exploit.
OpenSound Control protocol is an emerging standard for communication between musical programs. It’s meant to replace MIDI. The DSMI, DS Music Interface, team has just added support for OSC. You can now use your DS as generic OSC music controller over WiFi. OSC has TCP/IP support built in, so there is no need to run a host sever to talk to DSMI like you did when they only supported MIDI. We’ve seen OSC used in other projects like the monome. It’s also the basis for the multitouch communication protocol TUIO.