Ohm Sense makes sense of resistor color bands

[Alex Busman]‘s first foray in iOS programming looks like a pretty useful tool. He came up with Ohm Sense, an iPhone app that will take a picture of a resistor and calculate the value based on the color bands. It’s a great tool that we wish we had when we were starting out. At 99 cents, the app is also much cheaper than the emotional cost of our relationship with Violet.

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Hackaday Links: July 31, 2011

Indestructible earbuds

We’re still waiting for our [Lt. Uhura] style earbuds. But until then, can we interest anyone in a set that will stand up to some abuse?

Solder Pot Scavenger

[Felicitus] says we should get a solder pot and use it to scavenge for parts. His method looks pretty easy and it’s cheaper than buying a rework station for this purpose.

Smartphone cooling

Turn all your hacking skills loose to beat the heat. That’s what [Stephanie] did when she added iPhone control for an oscillating fan.

Tunes calculator

Graphing equations and crunching numbers wasn’t enough for [Drew]. He went and figured out how to make his TI-84+ play music off of a thumb drive.

Geek-chic

Don’t let anyone out-geek you at company parties. Beef up your arsenal with this resistor color-code necktie. And yes, you can wear it with a T-shirt!

Bringing an iWallet back to life

iwallet_bluetooth_hack

The iWallet is a slick little device if you’ve got a big wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket. The $600 price tag was a little much for [cmw] to swallow, so he bought a water damaged iWallet on eBay with hopes of repairing it. Once took a close look, he knew that repairing it was a lost cause, so he decided to hack it instead.

He pulled out most of the wallet’s electronics save for the motor that opens the device, and replaced the damaged parts with his own. He installed an Arduino pro as well as a Bluetooth module, powering the pair with a small rechargeable LiPo battery. The iWallet’s fingerprint reader was then replaced with a series of LEDs that show the device’s Bluetooth connectivity status.

[cmw] can now connect his wallet to his phone, issuing unlock commands via Bluetooth. If you don’t want to fork out the cash, his version is nearly as good as the real thing.

Continue reading to see a quick video of [cmw’s] iWallet hack in action.

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iPhone to Arduino communications sans jailbreak

iphone_to_arduino

When Google released their ADK allowing Android smart phones to interact with Arduino-based devices, we’re sure there were at least one or two iPhone users who felt left out. Thanks to the folks over at Redpark, those people can now interact with an Arduino without having to jailbreak their phone.

For anyone looking to do any sort of iPhone/Arduino interaction, this is a good thing – except for the price. The 30-pin to serial cable is currently available over at Make for $59, which honestly seems pretty steep to us. When we first saw this announced, our initial thoughts were that we would see an open-source version in no time.

Unfortunately, that idea was short-lived, as we were quickly reminded of Apple’s MFI program. If you are not familiar, MFI (aka Made for iStuff) program limits what can be connected to an iDevice via licensing fees and a boatload of legal agreements. While we won’t be picking up this dongle any time soon, we’re all ears if someone has done any reverse-engineering of those pesky MFI chips.

Shoulder surfing with openCV

shoulder_surfing_with_shoulder_pad

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.

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Disappearing kitchen island

[Tim Thaler] has been redoing his home, adding some fancy automation here and there. But when it came to the kitchen, he went all-out by installing an iPhone controlled disappearing island. In the video clip after the break you can see [Tim] dial up some extra counter and storage space from his smart phone. One click causes it to slowly rise from the depths, shedding the carpet tiles as it goes.

Directly beneath the kitchen is an unfinished storage room. [Tim] framed a hole in the floor above, and sourced a used scissor lift for about $380 to do the heavy lifting. It operates smoothly and isn’t all that loud. It sure makes for an interesting feature if he ever decides to sell the place.

We thought it was a nice touch that the storage room hiding the mechanical parts of the hack has a hidden entrance. You must travel through the billiards room in the basement to access it, turning the ball rack to unlatch the entrance.

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Adding remote touch control to the Kaoss Pad

touchosc_kaoss

[Munki] enjoys using his Kaoss Pad MIDI controller to add a new dimension to his music while playing guitar. The only thing that bothers him about the Kaoss Pad interface is that it can be difficult to trigger or alter effects in the middle of a bitchin’ guitar solo. He started looking around to see if there was a way to control the Kaoss Pad wirelessly via a touchscreen and found that with a little tweaking, his iPhone was a perfect candidate for the job.

He grabbed a copy of TouchOSC from the AppStore and configured it to communicate with his computer. After building an interface for his iPhone, he taped it to his guitar and gave it a try. Everything seemed to work pretty well, but he didn’t stop there – he also wanted to control Ableton Live and Max MSP from his iPhone. It took a bit of research and some tinkering with the Live API, but he eventually got everything working together nicely as you can see in the video below.

If you are interested in trying this out yourself, he has several useful links throughout his article, and he has made his TouchOSC/Max MSP patch available for download as well.

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