Your party is lame if it doesn’t include interactive blinking lights on the dance floor. [Mario] and [Lukas] didn’t want to have lame parties, so they enlisted some fellow students to build an interactive dance floor (translated). The finished party-piece is 4 meters by 2.5 meters (that’s about 13’x8′ for us yanks) and includes 160 lighted squares. But it’s the electronics that really make this a heavy project.
Milled into the underside of the pressboard base are a series of pockets and channels to hold various components. If you look hard enough, you’re going to find eight AVR microcontrollers which control the LEDs, 8 CPLDs to manage the weight sensors which make the floor interactive, and an FPGA and embedded computer to tie everything together. It’s movable, a hit at parties, and so far it seems to hold up to the occasional spilled beverage.
You can’t share a project like this without some video. See it after the break.
Continue reading “Disco isn’t dead: diy dance floor spotted at student parties”
[Dodgy] wrote in to talk about his power meter data harvesting programs. This uses the same hardware by CurrentCost as the hack we looked at over the weekend but [Dodgy’s] implementation is different. It’s separated into two parts, the first is a webserver written in C that harvests the data and makes it available at an address on the network, the second is written in Perl to format and upload data to Google PowerMeter.
The C program serves data on a configurable port, defaulting to 3090. All of the data can be accessed in one line of code by loading http://127.0.0.1:3090, or individually with subdirectories like /watts, /time, or /tempr. From there you can do what you want with the data. The second part of [Dodgy’s] suite is a Perl script that polls the C server and sends the data to your Google account.
One thing that interests us is his comment that you should be able to compile the server side C code for an embedded device. It would be a nice energy savings to be able to upload data regularly without a PC running constantly.
Ah, the heady aroma of damp engineers! It’s raining in Silicon Valley, where the 2010 Embedded Systems Conference is getting off the ground at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center.
ESC is primarily an industry event. In the past there’s been some lighter fare such as Parallax, Inc. representing the hobbyist market and giant robot giraffes walking the expo. With the economy now turned sour, the show floor lately is just a bit smaller and the focus more businesslike. Still, nestled between components intended to sell by the millions and oscilloscopes costing more than some cars, one can still find a few nifty technology products well within the budget of most Hack a Day readers, along with a few good classic hacks and tech demos…
Continue reading “Report from ESC Silicon Valley 2010”
Here’s an interesting bit of research to come out of Microsoft and UCSD. The Somniloquy project is a new type of network interface. It’s a USB device that allows a computer to continue network communications after being put to sleep. By offloading these tasks, machines that would normally stay awake for RDP and file transfers are only powered up when absolutely necessary. The device uses a Gumstix board like the one used in the Tor hardware adapter. The device pictured above has two USB interfaces, but the second is just for debugging and not needed for proper operation. The board runs BSD and creates a USBNet bridge to the Vista host. When the host daemon detects the computer going to sleep, it hands off active communication to the gumstix. They developed “stub” applications to handle the various types of communication. For downloads, they used wget to download only the portion of the data that was still left. For bittorrent, they customized the command line client ctorrent to manage the download. Both programs wake up the PC upon completion and transfer the file off of the SD card.
Is your popped collar so epic it emulates horse blinders? Are punk teens always skitching your coattails? Are you constantly moonwalking into power poles, trash cans, and the elderly? [Paul Coudamy]’s Hard-Wear Jacket solves all of these problems. It has a micro-camera embedded in the back of the neck and streams live video to a sleeve mounted monitor. The goal is to expand the perception of the wearer and how they interact with the environment. We know this is just a small step and doubt many people will be scrambling to never turn their neck again. It’s something interesting to contemplate though: how will people behave when brain taps allow their peripheral vision to have the same clarity as normal vision?
Imagine how surprised we were to discover that by accidentally bricking our router we were executing a brand new attack: Phlashing Denial Of Service (PDOS). This week at EUSecWest, researcher [Rich Smith] will present the theoretical PDOS attack. Instead of taking over control of an embedded system, the attacker turns it into a nonfunctioning brick by flashing it with a broken firmware. Anyone who has flashed a device knows the danger of interrupting the procedure.
Continue reading “Phlashing denial of service attack, the new hype”