iPhone hack isn’t sold by adafruit

light-up-iphone

[Becky] wrote in to tell us about her latest hack for Adafruit Industries. This hack will allow you to light up the Apple symbol on the back of your phone, and as she notes, it will definitely void your warranty. From the looks of the video, it requires some extremely good soldering skills, and optionally mid-level tape skills. If you’re up to the challenge, and have the stomach to see your iPhone on the operating table, the results are quite good.

One other challenge of doing this hack is that it uses a kit that Adafruit isn’t going to sell since it uses knock-off Apple parts. They exist somewhere, but where to source them would be a challenge. On the other hand, from a purely experimental/engineering point of view, the video after the break is quite interesting. Many of us would be very hesitant to take apart a several hundred dollar phone, much less solder to a power supply on it!

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Raspberry Pi foundation looks at counterfeit Apple power supplies

The Raspberry Pi foundation is in a somewhat unique position. They always test the units that get returned to them in hopes that they can improve the design. They often request that the power supply also be sent back with the RPi unit, as we know the board will not work well if the PSU can’t source enough current. And so they’ve been able to get a look at several counterfeit iPhone chargers. This is not one of the recommended ways to power the RPi, but their ability to collect failed hardware means that they have identified three different fakes on the market.

Seen here is a genuine Apple product on the left. The others are fake, with the easiest way of spotting them being the shiny chrome plug connectors. The genuine part has a matte finish on the connectors. There is also a difference in the chamfering, and even a variation on the orientation of the USB port on some of them. Unfortunately we don’t get a look inside, which is what we really wanted. But you can see in the video after the break that weighing the adapter will also give it away as a fake, showing that the components within probably vary quite a bit. This reminds us of some other fake PSUs that have been exposed.

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Real Life Subtitle Glasses

[Will Powell] sent in his real-time subtitle glasses project. Inspired by the ever cool Google Project Glass, he decided he would experiment with his own version.

He used two Raspberry Pi’s running Debian squeeze, vuzix glasses, microphones, a tv, ipad, and iphone as the hardware components. The flow of data is kind of strange in this project. The audio first gets picked up by a bluetooth microphone and streamed through a smart device to a server on the network. Once it’s on the server it gets parsed through Microsoft’s translation API. After that the translated message is sent back to a Raspberry Pi where it’s displayed as subtitles on the glasses.

Of course this is far from a universal translation device as seen in Star Trek. The person being translated has to talk clearly into a microphone, and there is a huge layer of complexity. Though, as far as tech demos go it is pretty cool and you can see him playing a game of chess using the system after the break.

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Autonomous robot uses an iPhone for its brain

At the beginning of the school last year, [Ryan] needed to come up with a project for his master’s thesis. Having a bachelor’s in mech. engineering and doing his graduate work in software engineering allowed [Ryan] to do something really cool for his thesis; he decided to turn an iPhone into an autonomous robot with live video streaming, remote control, and  object detection.

[Ryan] started building his ArduiPhone last October with an Arduino,  motor shield, and a Magician Chassis. The software is based on an iPhone network programming tutorial that opens a socket connection to a desktop PC and relays commands to an Arduino serial port.

One of the more interesting features of [Ryan]‘s ArduiPhone is the ability to stream video directly from the phone to a Java application. Instead of FaceTime, [Ryan] streams videos by converting an image from the front-facing iPhone camera to a byte array, sends it over the network, and decodes the image in a Java app. It’s low-level stuff, but the video quality is excellent and something we’ll probably be seeing more of in the future.

As always, videos after the break.

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iPhone wielding guitar adds tip of your finger or tip the instrument control

[Rob Morris] has been hard at working improving his guitar augmentation techniques. Here he’s demonstrating the use of an iPhone to control the effects while he plays. This builds on the work he shared a few years ago where he strapped a Wii remote to the body of his ax.

Just like the Wii remote, the iPhone includes an accelerometer. As you would expect the best parts of the older hack made it into this one, but the inclusion of the touch screen adds a lot more. In the clip after the break he starts by showing off the screen controlling a whammy bar functionality. But we really love the octave offset feature that comes next. This kind of sound manipulation simply can’t be done using a purely physical method (like the whammy bar can). But he’s not done yet. The demo finishes with a Theremin feature. You’ll notice he plucks a string but no sound comes out until he starts touching the screen. This turns it into an entirely different type of instrument.

The only info we have about putting this together is the list of packages he’s using:  TouchOSC, Max/Msp, and GuitarRig

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Circuit Playground – An electronics reference app from Adafruit

It’s not everyday that we review software around here, but the folks at Adafruit recently put together an iOS app that I figured might be of interest. Their iPad/iPhone compatible application is called “Circuit Playground”, and it includes all sorts of handy electronics reference tools. For the context of this review, it should be noted that I paid for the application myself, and that I have had no communication with the Adafruit team regarding my assessment of the app.

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WiFi garage door opener makes forgotten keys a thing of the past

wifi-garage-door-opener

[Tod’s] daughter has a habit of forgetting to take a house key along with her, so he was looking for a way to make accessing the house easier in a pinch. He had tried wireless garage door keypads in the past, but their performance was so-so at best. After scouring the market for commercial solutions and checking out the work of other hackers, he decided that he needed to craft a custom solution of his own.

He started shopping around for wireless-enabled microcontrollers and settled on a Roving Networks RN-XV module, which is designed as a drop-in replacement for an XBee. Paired with a 5v to 3.3v power adapter, the RN-XV is nearly all he needed to interface his iPhone with his garage door opener.

The microcontroller has enough GPIO pins to control the garage door, while also monitoring the door’s status using a simple magnet/reed switch combo. A web server in [Tod’s] house takes input from any phone connected to his wireless LAN and relays the open/close commands to the opener. The opener in turn returns status messages to him via the web interface.

We really like the system’s simple design, and as long as [Tod] has turned WPS off at home, he really shouldn’t have to worry too much about unauthorized entry.