Custom controllers for PlayStation 3

[Matlo] worked out a way to use a PS/2 Keyboard and USB mouse with a PlayStation3. The hard work is handled by a Teensy board, which is becoming a popular choice with controller hacks. It interfaces with the keyboard and mouse, translates their input, and sends joystick button commands to the PS3. He is limited to mapping the inputs from a PS3 controller but that is still enough options to work beautifully with first person shooters, especially if you’re used to gaming on a PC instead of a console. If you want to give this one a try, head over to the google code page to download the source code.

Black Hat 2009: Powerline and optical keysniffing


The 2009 edition of the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas has just begun. The first interesting talk we saw was [Andrea Barisani] and [Daniele Bianco]‘s Sniff Keystrokes With Lasers/Voltmeters. They presented two methods for Tempest style eavesdropping of keyboards.

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Propeller-based Terminal


[Vince Briel] has created an embedded device based on the Parallax Propeller chip that acts as a serial terminal. It takes input from a standard PS/2 keyboard and outputs color VGA. It also has a second serial port to connect to a PC for debugging or programming. He is selling kits and has the schematics available. The board has a lot of hacking potential and it could easily be made into a video game or a Wikipedia browser.

[via RetroThing]

Wiimote controlled Hexapods

The Phoenix is a very impressive hexapod robot platform. It has 18 servos which gives each leg 3 degrees of freedom and a BasicAtom Pro 28 for the brains. Interestingly, the design started as a personal project of a forum member on the Lynxmotion forums. It turned out so well, it has become an actual product. We’ve seen videos of these before and they always have some pretty fluid and organic seeming motion. They seem almost alive in this configuration. The only thing that might make them scarier would be to add Lou Vega’s decapitated head, well maybe that plus some really nice face tracking. In the video above, you can see where someone paired one up with a Wiimote for a pretty intuitive control scheme. Yeah, we realize the video is nearly a year old, how did we miss this one? You can see a video of it walking around after the break, and another controlled by a ps2 controller.

[Read more...]

Sniffing keystrokes via laser, power lines


Researchers from Inverse Path showed a couple interesting techniques for sniffing keystrokes at CanSecWest. For their first experiments they used a laser pointed at the shiny back of a laptop. The keystrokes would cause the laptop to vibrate which they could detect just like they would with any laser listening device. They’ve done it successfully from anywhere between 50 to 100 feet away. They used techniques similar to those in speech recognition to determine what sentences were being typed.

In a different attack, they sniffed characters from a PS/2 keyboard by monitoring the ground line in an outlet 50 feet away. They haven’t yet been able to collect more than just single strokes, but expect to get full words and sentences soon. This leakage via power line is discussed in the 1972 Tempest document we posted about earlier. The team said it wasn’t possible with USB or laptop keyboards.

[Thanks Jeramy]

Autonomous game controllers

On the off chance that you want to program a microcontroller to play your games for you, you should check this out. Near Future Laboratories has made a dongle that can allow an Arduino to operate as a PS2 or PS3 controller. You can see the Arduino running a random path generator in Katamari Damacy in the video above. They wanted to see how long it would take to clear a room. It managed to get almost all of them in about 70 minutes, only missing those that you have to cross a narrow bridge for. Actually, this could be quite useful in allowing people to create alternative input methods. You may recall reading about their early progress back in June 2008.

PS2 controller thermometer


Finding themselves in need of a thermometer that could communicate with the computer, The Cheap Vegetable Gardener resorted to a bit of hacking. They created this PS2 controller thermometer by attaching some thermistors to the analog stick inputs. Each PS2 controller could collect data from up to four thermistors.  There is an auto shutoff feature built into the controller that shuts off the analog signal after a period of non use. To overcome this, they simply taped the L2 button down.

[thanks Shawn]


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