Texas Instruments watch claims it’s a computer mouse

[Jack Toole] and his team [Aaron King] and [Libo He] sent in their computer interface dubbed the Chronos Flying Mouse. The video above explains the concept very thoroughly, but we’ll reiterate some of the highlights here. The project uses a Chronos EZ430 with its accelerometers to wirelessly transmit delta positions of the user’s wrist. Add a little open source software and you have a regular PC mouse, a video game joystick, a game wheel, and a few other different devices in one. We just love the suave feeling of snapping to click.

Nexus one gets Linux

Considering how hackable the Nexus One is already, we can only imagine a whole new host of interesting things thanks to Ubuntu running on the device. [Max Lee] set his heart out on getting not just Ubuntu on the Nexus One, but also Debian, and he wrote a perfect install guide to help out those wanting to give it a shot.

He cheated a little bit by having Ubuntu run in the background while the X11 interface is simply VNCed, but he still did an awesome job with plenty of pictures and details to help you achieve Ubuntu on your Nexus One.

1-Wire LAN with an LCD

[Viktor], one of our favorite avid hackers, has been playing around with 1-wire systems all this month. What started out as a MicroLAN Fonera has turned into an iButton interface, to a 1-wire powered hub, and finally a 1-wire character driven LCD. Anyone looking at 1-wire systems or OWFS could surely benefit from his testing.

However, if you still haven’t gotten your fill of 1-wire goodness, let us remind you of the 1-wire HVAC and IPv6 to 1-wire protocol translator.

[Thanks Juan]

Virtual pool, real-world interface

Sunday we saw robots playing pool and an augmented reality pool game. Today we’ll complete the pool trifecta: virtual pool using a real cue stick and ball in another vintage video from Hack a Day’s secret underground vault. The video is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:

First is the year it was made: 1990. There’s been much buzz lately over real-world gaming interfaces like the Nintendo Wii motion controller or Microsoft’s Project Natal. Here we’re seeing a much simpler but very effective physical interface nearly twenty years prior.

Second: the middle section of the video reveals the trick behind it all, and it turns out to be surprisingly simple. No complex sensors or computer vision algorithms; the ball’s speed and direction are calculated by an 8-bit processor and a clever arrangement of four infrared emitter/detector pairs.

The visuals may be dated, but the interface itself is ingenious and impressive even today, and the approach is easily within reach of the casual garage tinkerer. What could you make of this? Is it just a matter of time before we see a reader’s Mini-Golf Hero III game here?

Mud Tub: a tactile computer interface


[Tom Gerhardt] has made this very interesting mud interface for a computer.  Follow the link to see a video of it in action. It appears as though he’s using a laser grid of some kind to establish elevation. We might be way off on that though, there aren’t any details on the construction. He does mention that it is an open source hardware and software project, so maybe the details are available on request. In the video you can see it running as a projection surface where people are interacting with items directly on the mud. You can also see it being used as an external input device. People play Tetris using it in that example.

UPDATE: [Moon] reports from the ITP show that the tub has a 16×12 grid of generic pressurs sensors on the bottom. These feed into a MacBook Pro which is projecting on the surface. Despite the sparse grid, [Tom] says he gets good resolution by interpolating between sensors; it can detect a resting hand pivoting on the surface.

Parts: Programmable gain amplifier (MCP6S26)


Microchip’s MCP6S21/2/6/8 are programmable gain amplifiers that multiply an input voltage by a factor of 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16, and 32. The MCP6S22/6/8 also have selectable input channels for working with different signal sources. The multiplication factor and input channel are configured through an SPI interface. This chip is useful for multiplying a small input signal, and selecting among several analog input sources. We demonstrate the six channel MCP6S26 below.

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How-to: Bus Pirate v1, improved universal serial interface


We use the Bus Pirate to interface a new chip without writing code or designing a PCB. Based on your feedback, and our experience using the original Bus Pirate to demonstrate various parts, we updated the design with new features and cheaper components.

There’s also a firmware update for both Bus Pirate hardware versions, with bug fixes, and a PC AT keyboard decoder. Check out the new Hack a Day Bus Pirate page, and browse the Bus Pirate source code in our Google code SVN repository.

We cover the design updates and interface a digital to analog converter below.

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