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SparkFun product used for immoral hacking

While we have our fun ethically hacking, its very easy to forget that sometimes our ideas could be used with malicious goals. Take for instance SparkFun’s BlueSMiRF – the device’s original intention is simply to act as a wireless serial cable replacement. After hackers discovered several PIN pads use a serial interface, they put one and one together to steal several hundreds of people’s personal bank accounts.

It seems SparkFun is getting a lot of heat lately, but we’re glad they stand up and address these issues. You can check out the original news clipping here.

GPS cradle upgrade to bluetooth

ipaq_gps

[emuboy] sent in this neat hack where he converted a GPS dock to bluetooth (google translated). He has an ipaq rz1710 and a Kirrio GPS cradle. Apparently there were annoying problems when inserting the ipaq into the cradle. He decided that he would much rather just connect via Bluetooth. After tearing apart the cradle, he found the documentation for the GPS chip online. He ordered a bluesmirf bluetooth modem and got to work. The end result is something that could be concealed in his car and just connected to when he gets close enough.

A history of SparkFun prototypes

sparkfuntoys

If you haven’t checked out SparkFun Electronics’ prototype collection yet, you’re missing out. They unearthed many of their old prototypes and published them to show what kind of mistakes could be made. You’ll see plenty of errors and get hints on what to look for while developing your own hardware. This pairs well with their Design for Manufacture post. Along with the pile of broken board iterations, they also walk through how the company developed. Finally, they specifically cover the individual iterations of the BlueSMiRF.

One of the interesting modules in the gallery that never saw full release was the SparkFun Toys line pictured above. The individual units used the standoffs as the power and data bus. The four posts were arranged so they could only be connected in one orientation: power, ground, TX, and RX. It’s an interesting idea that seems like it might be worth exploring further. SparkFun says that it worked fine, but didn’t feel they had the resources to market it to the intended audience.

Baby twitters via kicks

twitter-1

[Corey Menscher] built the Kickbee while attending ITP this Fall. It monitors his pregnant wife’s belly and updates Twitter, a microblogging service, every time the baby kicks. The device makes everyone aware of the baby’s movement, not just the expectant mother. It can also log the baby’s activity to monitor development. The sensors are piezos held in place with an elastic band. They’re connected to an Arduino Mini which connects to a host computer using a BlueSMIRF bluetooth module. The host Mac does the logging and twittering.

This is one of the many projects on display at the ITP Winter Show.

[Thanks, @readiness via Boing Boing]

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