Blood doping is so last decade! The modern cyclist has a motor and power supply hidden inside the bike’s frame.
We were first tipped off to the subject in this article in the New York Times. A Belgian cyclocross rider, Femke Van den Driessche, was caught with a motor hidden in her bike.
While we don’t condone sports cheating, we think that hiding a motor inside a standard bike is pretty cool. But it’s even more fun to think of how to catch the cheats. The Italian and French press have fixated on the idea of using thermal cameras to detect the heat. (Skip to 7:50 in the franceTVsport clip.) We suspect it’s because their reporters recently bought Flir cameras and are trying to justify the expense.
The UCI, cycling’s regulatory body, doesn’t like thermal. They instead use magnetic pulses and listen for the characteristic ringing of a motor coil inside the frame. Other possibilities include X-ray and ultrasonic testing. What do you think? How would you detect a motor inside a bike frame or gearset?
[Ben Krasnow’s] latest project will be good for anyone who wants a complicated way to cheat on a test. He’s managed to squeeze a tiny FM radio receiver into a ballpoint pen. He also built his own bone conduction microphone to make covert listening possible. The FM radio receiver is nothing too special. It’s just an off the shelf receiver that is small enough to fit into a fatter pen. The real trick is to figure out a way to listen to the radio in a way that others won’t notice. That’s where the bone conduction microphone comes in.
A normal speaker will vibrate, changing the air pressure around us. When those changes reach our ear drums, we hear sound. A bone conduction mic takes another approach. This type of microphone must be pressed up against a bone in your skull, in this case the teeth. The speaker then vibrates against the jaw and radiates up to the cochlea in the ear. The result is a speaker that is extremely quiet unless it is pressed against your face.
Building the bone conduction mic was pretty simple. [Ben] started with a typical disk-shaped piezoelectric transducer. These devices expand and contract when an alternating current is passed through them at a high enough voltage. He cut the disk into a rectangular shape so that it would fit inside of the clicker on the ballpoint pen. He then encased it in a cylinder of epoxy.
The transducer requires a much higher voltage audio signal than the litter radio normally puts out. To remedy this problem, [Ben] wired up a small impedance matching transformer to increase the voltage. With everything in place, all [Ben] has to do to listen to the radio is chew on the end of his pen. While this technology might help a cheater pass an exam, [Ben] also notes that a less nefarious use of this technology might be to place the speaker inside of the mouthpiece of a CamelBak. This would allow a hiker to listen to music without blocking out the surrounding noise. Continue reading “Turning an Ordinary Pen into a Covert Radio Receiver”
Don’t mind me, I’m just listening to some tunes during our poker game. Well, that and getting some electronic coaching about poker odds. This board lets you wiggle your toes to input the upcards, and those in your hand. After each entry the gadget will tell you your odds of winning the hand. Take it easy with this kind of stuff, if Rounders was at all realistic, getting caught cheating is a painful mistake.
The thing we find interesting about the system is that it doesn’t use a stored odds database. Instead, the Propeller chip runs a simulation of 1000 hands of poker based on the cards you have entered and uses the results to calculate the odds. [Nick] says that this runs quickly because he’s using multiple cores for the calculations, and it cuts down on the data that the device needs to have on board. Right now the feedback uses a text-to-speech generated voice, but you can customize the audio clips if you’d like. Check out a demo of the device in the clip after the break.
Not looking to get the beat down for cheating? Here’s a poker tournament timer that we assure you is on the up-and-up. Continue reading “Board lets you know when to hold ’em; know when to fold ’em”
[Alex Papadimoulis] wrote about ingenuity and hacking in high school. Immediately after the teacher’s installed a new electronic note taking and test giving software, the students began hacking. They managed to find several ways to ace their tests, none of which involved studying hard the night before. Ultimately, the teachers went back to the old system to prevent such shenanigans.