Whistle controls for you home electronics

You know how to whistle don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow. But do you know how to make the electronics around you react to your whistled commands? Well [Befi] figured out a system that allows him to assign a whistled command to various home electronics.

He’s using a set of RF remote control outlets to switch power to various devices like a desk lap, or a turn table. The board you see in the image above is the remote control that came with the system, but that chip is an ATmega8 which he added to give round-about USB connectivity using a serial-to-USB converter. The technique is simple enough that we’d bet you can get this to work with an ATtiny2313 and the V-USB project but that’s another story.

The additional piece is the use of embedded Linux to detect and process whistled commands. In the video after the break [Befi] explains that he’s using a Dockstar along with a microphone to capture audio input. It uses a Fast Fourier transform algorithm to process the clip and pushes commands to the remote control after processing is complete. [Read more...]

Classic game emulation on the Dockstar

[Hunter Davis] is playing games like Contra, Monkey Island, and Quake 3 by running them on a Seagate Dockstar. We were shocked after seeing how well these run in the video after the break. [Hunter], who used the ZipIt for game emulation in the past, added a couple of hardware peripherals to get everything running. For sound he picked up an inexpensive USB sound card which was no problem to get up and running. Next he picked up a USB to DVI adapter and fired up the Linux USB DisplayLink driver. With the peripherals running he loaded up Fluxbox and the rest was history. Not bad for a small network storage adapter. [Read more...]

Key chain LCD as screen for a Dockstar

[Peter Gunn] added an LCD screen to his Dockstar. Now that we think of it, this really shouldn’t be all that hard since the Dockstar can run a Linux kernel and it has USB ports. [Peter] took inspiration from [Sprite_TM's] key chain LCD4Linux hack that we looked at many moons ago. He used a cheap Coby DP182 digital picture frame that can be picked up for less than $5 used. A bit of firmware hacking and LCD4Linux has no problem pushing images to the device via USB. [Peter's] setup refreshes the screen at one frame per second, but if all you need is a bit of feedback from the otherwise headless system this is a great solution.

[Thanks Mikka]

Mac SE reborn as a server and Mac emulator

[Sprite_TM] cooked up an amazing hack by resurrecting a Mac SE using a Dockstar and ARM processor. The retro hardware had a bad mainboard thanks to the corrosive properties of a failed backup-battery. He had been wanting to do something with the Seagate Dockstar and decided it would find a nice home in the Mac. But what fun is a dead machine housing a headless server? To add to the fun he included an ARM processor running a Mac emulator, along with all the bits to make the screen, keyboard, and peripherals work. When the Mac is off the Dockstar still runs as a server.

But one of the best parts is the floppy drive. It still takes floppies, but there’s no magnetic media inside of them anymore. Instead, he’s added an SD card slot and some protoboard in the space for the read head. The drive itself has had the read head transplanted for some pogo pins (hey, we saw those earlier today). When you insert the floppy, the pogo-pins raise up and contact the protoboard, connecting the SD card to a Teensy microcontroller.

There’s so much going on with this project we just can’t cover it all here. Things like a chemical cleaning to return the original color of the classic case, and building a converter so that the peripherals are USB compatible are just some of the pleasures awaiting you in [Sprite_TM's] post. He’s also filmed a demo video that we’ve embedded after the break.

[Read more...]

More OpenWRT image building for the Dockstar

[Der_picknicker] wrote in to let us know about a guide to building OpenWRT images for the dockstar (translated). What they end up with is a nice little network attached storage device that runs SAMBA and subversion under the umbrella of OpenWRT. We looked at flashing and building OpenWRT images for this device back in July. The development branch of OpenWRT hasn’t quite reached a stable release yet, but much has been done in the last few months.

The machine translation is a little rough, but the compilation process is easy enough to follow. If you don’t care to slog through compiling (which apparently takes 1-2 hours) they’ve also made their images available for download. It should be possible to flash via SSH but you might want to add a serial port to the device just to be safe.

Hackaday links: September 19, 2010

6502 Gate Simulator

Ever wondered what’s going on inside that chip as the program executes? Now you can take a look at the die itself with this visual gate simulator for the 6502 processor. [Thanks Puli and Svofski]

Copper corrosion

[Moogle] cracked open his DockStar to find corroded copper. It seems that Seagate left a portion of the ground plane unprotected and it reacted badly with the shielding metal. If you have one of these devices you might want to crack it open and tin the exposed copper so that it will hold up over time.

Segway kickstand

Don’t want your Segway to flop over when you park it? Follow [Paul's] lead in building a kickstand for the self-balancer. You can just make it out in the image above. It’s a dumbell that folds down from the handlebar tube when you’re not on board.

Tesla makes everything better

Do you like the song Iron Man? We think it’s better when our friend Nikola takes part.

No Smoking

Smoking is really quite bad for you. Plus you can’t chain smoke nearly as efficiently as this mechanical smoking machine can so don’t even try. [Thanks Ferdinand]

Revive a DockStar and get so much more

[Firestorm_v1] has done a fabulous writeup on not only resurrecting his dead DockStar with JTAG, but also includes some handy techniques and useful information that could be used with other hardware and JTAG equipped devices.

The tutorial itself goes into the details of finding the JTAG, correctly identifying the ports and making an adapter cable. Then wiring a TIAO Parallel JTAG kit and finally the flash and upload of firmware to the deceased Dockstar to give it new life.

While the fun stops a little short, we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for [Firestorm_v1's] future plans involving these surprisingly useful (read: hackable) storage devices, “roving USB camera with WiFi” we hear?

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