µPhone is small and home made

[Victor] popped up in the comments of yesterday’s DIy Cellphone to show off his own home made phone, the µPhone (google translated). [Victor] has put some effort into making this thing very compact. As you can see in the video after the break, he even left off the number pad to save space. Instead, you do everything by using a small joystick and two buttons. He claims that he really only calls a small number of people, so this layout works fine once he has programmed their contact information in.

For some reason none of the pictures are showing up in the extensive forum thread on the project. It is fun though, to follow along as he tries to get this thing working.

[Read more...]

Candlestick phone goes modern.

[Adam Ben-Dror] recently tipped us off to a project that he worked on recently. In this build he gutted an old candlestick-style phone and added modern technology to make it work as a cordless phone. We really liked this project because he married together new and old technology into an elegant package. There are a few hacks that he had to perform to get this to work. One was converting the rotary pulses into DTMF tones. The other was making the cordless phone that he gutted recognize when the phone was on or off of the hook.

Details of his build after the break. [Read more...]

Cellphone controlled retro-radio stores and plays your digital library

[Autuin] was worried about having desirable electronics stolen while on the road with his band. He didn’t want to take a laptop along on tour, but he didn’t want to be without his music either. To solve this problem, he built a music player inside of a cheap-looking radio. His write-up covers two different portable MP3 solutions, but it’s the second rendition that catches our attention.

After hollowing out the old radio he filled the void with an Asus WL-HDD 2.5. That hardware is meant to be an easy way to add network storage; it houses a laptop hard drive and has WiFi and Ethernet connectivity. But it also has one USB port, and can be hacked to add a second. [Autuin] did just that, using the two USB connections to add a Bluetooth dongle and a USB sound card. Music is synced with the hard drive via some cat-5 cable that’s hidden in the battery compartment of the vintage box. The NAS runs Linux, and the audio playback software is controlled though a Mobile Java application running on a somewhat broken cellphone. That’s an idea that might find its way into our next project.

One-click unbrick for Samsung phones

[Adam Outler] has been pretty heavy into mobile device hacking lately. The biggest problem with that field is recovering from back flashes or development firmware glitches. In many cases you can use a JTAG programmer to reflash stock firmware to resurrect a handset. Unfortunately you’ll be hard pressed to find a phone that comes with a JTAG header, and soldering to the microelectronic boards is not for the faint of heart.

But a solution is here, [Adam] pulled together a wide set of resources to create a package to unbrick Samsung phones. Now we’re sure that there’s more than a handful of people who would argue that a bad firmware flash that can be fixed this way means that the phone wasn’t actually “bricked” in the first place. But what we see is one more barrier torn down between being a hardware user and becoming a hardware hacker. You’re much more likely to get in there and get your hands dirty if you know that you’ll be able to undo your mistakes and reclaim you precious pocket hardware. See just how easy it is in the video after the break.

[Read more...]

External text display for Nexus One

Nexus One External Display

[follower] prototyped a 2-line external display for his Nexus One using an Arduino with a USB Host Shield, and the Android Open Accessory Protocol. There are two basic software pieces at work: an Arduino sketch that handles displaying data sent from the phone, and a lightweight android app to detect the presence of the external screen and send data to it. As shown here, it diplays the time and the beginning of the most recently received SMS message.

This project coalesced from several other things [follower] had been working on with regards to USB accessories, background services, interfacing with the Arduino and handling SMS messages, so it’s modular and open-source.  If you’re interested in mashing up microcontroller projects and your android phone, there’s plenty of stuff in this project to help you get off the ground.

As hacks go, this is very much a “because you can” sort of deal that’s designed to tie a bunch of cool things together. You’re unlikely to catch us carrying an LCD and breadboard around in our pockets any time soon, but it paves the way for some potentially fun phone accessories.

You can keep your mints safe; we have the technology

After having his mints disappear for quite some time [Quinn Dunki] came up with an idea to get back a the fresh-breath thieves. A bit of circuit design, parts scavenging, and free-form construction led to the creation of his mint-tin burglar system.

Here’s how it works. Flip the on/off switch in the base of the mint tin before you head off for lunch or a coffee break. When the foul-mouthed pilferer hits up your stash they’ll get what they were looking for at first. But by opening the tin they tripped a timer circuit that will send the mints vibrating across the table soon after having been opened.

The breadboard above holds the prototype timer circuit, built around or friend the 555 timer. The vibration motor from a cellphone is a perfect choice for this hack as it’s very small and is just waiting to run from a low-voltage source. We especially liked the use of the cells from inside a 9V battery as a power source and the compact assembly that manages to fit inside the mint container.

GPS without GPS

Open Electronics just released a neat little board that can place you on a map without using GPS.

The board works on the basic principles of a cellphone network – the ‘cell’ network is a series of towers that are placed more or less equidistant to each other. Save for the most desolate parts of the country, a cell tower usually communicates with a phone one or two miles away. Usually, several cell towers can be seen, so the position of a cellphone can be pinpointed to within 200-350 feet. Translating cell towers to latitude and longitude is easily done by querying a Google database that was created for the mobile version of Google Maps.

The board itself is a PIC18 microcontroller and a SIM900 GSM module. The firmware available at Open Electronics is pretty impressive – all communication to the board is handled through SMS and the phone can report it’s location to 8 other phones.

It’s pretty impressive to think the same technology that caught [Kevin Mitnick] is now available to the masses. We’re wondering what Hack a Day readers would use this for, so if you have an idea leave a comment.