66% or better

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

Tome GS and Tome MP

[Dennis] tipped us off to his Tome project. It looks like two projects using very similar hardware. The first is the Tome GS; a tiny game system that looks like it could hang from a keychain. This is apparently the second revision of this system, based off of some of his comments. He’s done a pretty good job, it looks solid and functional. It even includes a zigbee wireless module for communication with others. He states that the graphics should be roughly the same as a gameboy advance.  The second is the Tome MP, a portable media player roughly the same size as a first gen iPod nano. It is equipped with bluetooth, though he’ll be removing that in the next iteration in favor of a zigbee. We would really love to see more information on the design behind these projects.

IntoGrafix: portable TurboGrafix

[Bacteria] tipped us off to his latest portable system mod called IntoGrafix. The TurboGrafix-16 was awesome when it was released. the graphics were, compared to Nintendo, astonishing. Its games were these little cards, like a thick credit card. [Bacteria] wanted to revive his old one in a more portable fashion.  He designed a custom case to fit the whole thing into, which is pretty impressive itself. The screen is the trusty old PSone screen.  The last time we saw a TurboGrafix, it was in a mini Arcade cabinet.

Portable Large Interactive Display

[HyPe] over at the Natural User Interface Group developed this concept as part of his Master’s Degree in Industrial Design. This suitcase sized projector and computer allows people to have a 60″ multitouch screen available wherever there is a large enough surface.  The current software is designed for ad-hoc meetings about large-scale construction plans. The rolling case includes a short-throw projector and webcam. Just set it on top of your work surface, lift the lid, and it’s ready to go.

Things to hack: sub 100$ toy night vision, projector, and tv game

projector

Ars Technica writes about three new toys coming out this year: a sub 100$ projector, tv game, and night vision goggles. The projector runs at standard TV resolution, takes standard composite in, and outputs an okay picture. The night vision goggles are monocular but focus both eyes on a single RGB LCD. The goggles uses an array of IR LEDs instead of amplifying ambient light to see in the dark. Lastly, they have a standalone implementation of the arcade game Big Game Hunters. The rifle uses a sensor bar to do the motion tracking and features a 32MB rom to hold the game files.

Commodore 64 laptop

c64

[Ben Heck] has just completed one of his more unique laptop game consoles. This time around it’s a Commodore 64, which he’s been attempting since 2006. Recently he scrapped everything and started fresh on what turned out to be the fastest build yet. While it certainly looks similar to his other laptops, he put in a lot of effort to give it the appearance of an 80′s computer from the beige color to the texture. He used an original C64C motherboard since it was the final and smallest revision and coupled that with an original keyboard. A 1541-III-DTV allows use of an SD card as a floppy device. Just drag any disk image onto the card and it’s ready to go. Check out a video of it in use below.

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Bug Labs introduces new BUGmodules

bug

Bug Labs, the company that makes modular electronics that allow you to build your own tech doohickeys quickly and easily, has announced five new modules: BUGprojector, a mini DLP projector developed in conjunction with Texas Instruments, which sounds very much like the tiny DLP projector we posted about last week; BUGsound, an audio processing module with four stereo input/output jacks, a microphone, a speaker, and builtin hardware codecs; BUGbee (802.15.4) and BUGwifi (802.11 and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR), which will let you connect wirelessly with your PAN and WLAN, respectively; and BUG3g GSM, for connecting to (you guessed it) 3G GSM networks. In conjunction with Bug Labs’ existing series of modules, especially the highly versatile BUGvonHippel universal module, you’ll be able to create some pretty kickass gadgets. No word yet on pricing, although Bug Labs expects to ship by the end of Q1 2009.