Kinect home theater control


[Harishankar] has posted a video on his blog demonstrating the ability to control devices using the Microsoft Kinect sensor via IR. While controlling devices with Kinect is nothing new, he is doing something a little different than you have seen before. The Kinect directly interfaces with his Mac Mini and tracks his movements via OpenNI. These movements are then compared to a list of predefined gestures, which have been mapped to specific IR functions for controlling his home theater.

Once the gestures have been acknowledged, they are then relayed from the Mac via a USB-UIRT to various home theater components. While there are not a lot of details fleshed out in the blog post, [Harishankar] says he will gladly forward his code to you if you request it via email.

Thanks to [Peter] for the tip.

Halloween props: Pumpkin in standby-mode

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is preparing for Halloween with this standby-mode pumpkin. Inside there’s an LED plugging a hole that is drilled just to the skin of the gourd-like vegetable. It fades in and out similar to a sleeping Mac, using what we think is a vastly over-powered circuit based on an ATtiny2313 (1k  of programming space for this?). But we still like the idea and we’d enjoy seeing it scaled up to a full LED matrix.

We’ve come to expect pumpkin hacks from EMSL and they don’t disappoint. Last year was a mechanized version, and the year before an LED schematic symbol. So what about your creation? With about one week left, take a look around and see if you can’t create something as wonderful as the Pie of Sauron.

iPad hacked to include a Verizon MiFi

Finally, some hardware hacking on an iPad.  Finding the 3G connection that came with the iPad lacking, this industrious hacker yanked it out and replaced it with the guts from a MiFi. At the cost of his GPS, he’s gained a better connection and is now a wifi hotspot. It wasn’t horribly complex, but he did have to do a tiny bit more than just plug and play.

[thanks Smilr]

VirtualBox beta runs Mac OS X

A new beta build of VirtualBox, Sun’s Oracle’s free x86 virtualization software, makes it possible to run Mac OS X as a guest operating system…no shenanigans or flaming hoops to jump through, just pop in the $30 retail Snow Leopard upgrade disc and go. This had previously only been possible with some awkward Hackintosh-style maneuvering, or using recent editions of commercial virtualization products.

Continue reading “VirtualBox beta runs Mac OS X”

Give 1984 Mac a Leopard makeover

[Jake Howe] brought his 1984 Mac up-to-date by cramming new guts inside of the classic case. The goal from the start was to run OS X Snow Leopard on the machine without altering the externals. He heated and formed acrylic around the original CRT screen to make a bezel for the replacement LCD screen. The floppy drive slot was used to hide an SD card slot and USB port. The original serial port openings were even outfitted with their own USB ports. In the end he did a brilliant job of hiding the Hackintosh mini-ITX board and components inside this iconic enclosure.

Tricking an iPod into trusting your dock

[Thijs] has an iPod dock with an LCD display in it that allows you to watch videos without having to squint quite as much. Unfortunately, the iPod classic wouldn’t play videos on it because it’s not an Apple approved product. He figured out that an authentication chip is included in docks and cables that Apple has approved and set out to retrofit his device with one. He pulled the PCB, authentication chip included, out of a $5 cable from Deal Extreme and wired it up to the PCB on his dock. Voila, the dock now plays video.

This is a nice hack but it’s also just silly. You paid for the iPod, you paid for the music and videos (right?), and you paid for the dock. Why can’t they all talk to each other without authentication?

Make a Mac on the cheap

We’re not usually the type for PC case mods, but when we received the tip for the Macbook Mod of hiding a Macbook inside of two Linksys routers, we decided to make an exception on three accounts. [Tyler’s] original intent was acquiring a Mac, the total price for a full functioning system was a little over $200, and Macs aren’t PCs.

[Thanks Bluewraith]

But what if you want the mac experience and not the nitty gritty hassle of fixing logic boards, searching for long lost components, and modding a case? Then buy a Mac you might like [Useless Ninjas’] super cheap modification of an MSI Wind into Leopard running brute for only $240.

[Thanks Flyordie2]