While it seems that many people are wise to shoulder surfing, keeping a lookout for anyone spying on their passwords, [Haroon] wrote in to remind us that the threat is just as real today as it ever was.
The subjects of his research are touch screen phones and tablets, which utilize on-screen keyboards for data entry. He says that while nearly all password entry boxes on these devices are obscured with the traditional line of asterisks, the keyboards themselves are quite an interesting vulnerability.
Since touch screen technology can be finicky at times, most vendors ship their devices with some sort of key press verification system. On the iPhone and iPad, for instance, each key is highlighted in blue following a button press. This functionality makes it quite easy for shoulder surfers to casually steal your password if you’re not paying attention.
But what if you are well aware of your surroundings? [Haroon] has developed a piece of software he calls shoulderPad, which is based on openCV that does the surfing for him. The application can monitor a video stream, live or recorded, extracting the user’s password from the highlighted button presses. His demonstrations show the recording taking place at a relatively close distance, but he says that it would be quite easy to use surveillance footage or zoom lenses to capture key presses from afar.
He does say that the button highlighting can be easily disabled in the iPhone’s options pane, which should negate this sort of attack for the most part.
Continue reading to see a quick video of shoulderPad in action.
Continue reading “Shoulder surfing with openCV”
You can buy nice audio breakout equipment for your iPod if you don’t mind breaking the bank. This is partly because the demand is not incredibly high so commercial breakout hardware doesn’t benefit from volume discounts. But it’s also because Apple charges licensing fees for third-party accessories (often referred to as the “Apple Tax”). [Reed Ghazala] decided to side-step the whole situation by building his own accessory which he calls the iPad Audio Desk.
It all starts with a breakout board. The PodBreakout Mini provides an easy to solder interface for the iPad, and ensures that the repetitive act of plugging and unplugging the connection doesn’t break a solder connection. From there [Reed’s] enclosure finishing skills take over. The shape and curve of the aluminum sheet give the look befitting an expensive tablet device. Along the back you can see the jacks for line-in, line-out, video, mic/guitar, and headphones that make the dock useful. It wouldn’t be hard to make one… but it might be hard to make one look this great. See for yourself after the break.
Continue reading “Experimental music iPad dock”
Fanboys may be in shock from seeing duct tape applied to the screen of an iPad, but we can assure you it’s in the name of science. [Michael Knuepfel] is working on his thesis for the ITP graduate program at the Tisch School for the Arts. He managed to augment the usability of touchscreen devices by adding hardware to them.
What he’s come up with are devices for both input and output. The output devices generally rely on light and color of light displayed on the screen itself which is picked up by a light sensor. The input devices use conductive material to complete a path between your hand and your screen. This lets the capacitive sensing screen detect the presence of your hand, through the conductor. Some of his example devices include gaming controller overlays, encoder rings, and multiple stylus designs.
After the break we’ve embedded [Michael’s] teaser trailer which jumps through several demonstrations. It’s plenty to get your mind rolling, but if you want to know more you must watch his thesis presentation. It’s available as an MP4 download on this page. Just search for his name, [Michael Knuepfel] for the proper link.
Continue reading “Extending the usability of touchscreens”
R/C cars can be tons of fun, but sometimes the fun runs out after awhile. [Gaurav] got bored of steering around his R/C car with its remote, so he built an interface that lets him control the car using two different motion-detecting devices.
He built an HTML5 application for his iPad, which allows him to steer the car around. As you can see in the video below, the application utilizes the iPad’s tilt sensor to activate the car’s motors and steering depending on where on the screen he has moved the guide marker.
The second steering method he devised uses his Kinect sensor to track his movements. His hand gestures are mapped to a set of virtual spaces similar to those which the iPad uses. By moving his hands through these areas, the Arduino triggers the car’s remote just as it does with the iPad.
The actual remote control interface is achieved by wiring the car’s remote to an Arduino via a handful of opto-isolators. The Arduino is also connected to his computer via the serial port, where it waits for commands to be sent. In the case of the iPad, a Python server waits for commands to be issued from the HTML5 application. The Kinect’s interface is slightly different, with a C# application monitoring his movements and sending the commands directly to the serial port.
Check out the video below to see the car in action, and swing by his site if you are interested in grabbing some source code and giving it a try yourself.
Continue reading “R/C car controlled by an iPad or Kinect”
[ProtoDojo] wanted to play a racing game on his iPad, but he was not a big fan of using the touch interface for this particular title. Instead, he put together a pretty neat little hack that allows him to play games on his iPad using an old NES controller.
He built a set of custom conductive arms which he mounted on three micro servos. The servos were attached to the iPad screen using small suction cups in the locations where it expects to receive button presses. They are also wired to an Arduino that interprets button presses from the attached NES controller. When the Arduino senses that the D-pad or buttons have been pressed, it triggers the servos, which in turn press the virtual buttons on the screen.
In the video below, you can see that after adjusting the servo positions, the setup seems to work pretty well. You might expect to see some sort of lag with a setup like this, but we didn’t notice any. The [ProtoDojo] web site is currently down due to heavy traffic, but you should be able to find some more build details there, once it becomes functional again.
Continue reading “RoboTouch adds physical game controls to the iPad”
For those who have been longing to unlock the power of the Apple TV 2 the wait is over. XBMC is now available for iOS devices. This isn’t limited to the tiny ARM-based set-top box, but extends to the entire family including iPad and iPhone 4. Included is the ability to play high def video up to 1080p without transcoding. But we think the best feature might be XBMC’s ability to easily stream media over the network from just about any operating system. Goodbye iTunes tethering.
If you’re comfortably using SSH to work with a Jailbroken device, ATV2 installation will be a snap as there’s already a source repository to install from. iPad and iPhone 4 are even easier, just add the repository in Cydia and install. Wow, when we first looked in on the new generation of ATV we really thought it would take longer than it has to see a port of our favorite open source media client. Thanks Team XBMC!
Elaborate helmets are not a new concept, with many famous artists such as Daft Punk and Deadmau5 using them for stage shows. For a sculpture class, [Terrence] fashioned his own out of the body of a Macintosh Plus and an iPad conveniently sourced from eBay. After gutting the insides, the Mac Plus was fitted with parts from a helmet both for comfort as well as for keeping the whole setup head mounted. For additional eye candy, an LED visualizer was affixed below the iPad display. The rig is remotely controlled by a bluetooth keyboard, just for good measure. We think this setup easily stands up to other Daft Punk-esque style head mounts.
Be sure not to miss the video of the helmet featuring DJ Chameleon (a friend of [Terrence]) in action, as well as a number of other photos.
[Edit: Thanks to everyone who caught the Mac Plus/Pro error!]