WeMo without a smartphone

[Matt Galisa] decided to try his hand at setting up the Belkin WeMo outlet without using a Smartphone app. The hardware is a pass-through for mains voltage which allows you to switch the plug over the network. It has a built-in WiFi module which normally connects to your home network. But the first time that you power it up it announces its own SSID designed for an iOS (and recently Android Beta) app to connect to in order to enter your AP credentials.

He started with this Python script used for WeMo hacking. It was originally meant to issue commands to the outlet once it had passed the initial setup. [Matt] followed along but couldn’t get an answer on the port he expected. It turns out that the device listens on a different port until the initial setup is complete (probably so that you don’t mess up other outlets on the network that are already working correctly). His next challenge was to manually set the WPA credentials. This never really worked and he ended up using a virtual AP without password protection through DD-WRT. From there he was able to set up a Python script to turn on, off, and toggle the state of the outlet.

If you’re looking to dig deeper into the device’s security check out this project.

Turn your camera phone into a Geiger counter

Next time you’re waiting in the security line in an airport, why don’t you pull out your smartphone and count all the radiation being emitted by those body scanners and x-rays? There’s an app for that, courtesy of Mr. [Rolf-Dieter Klein].

The app works by blocking all the light coming into a phone’s camera sensor with a piece of tape or plastic. Because high energy radiation will cause artifacts on the CMOS camera sensor inside the phone, radiation will be captured as tiny specks of white light. The title picture for this post was taken from a camera phone at the Helmholtz Research Center in Munich being bathed in 10 Sieverts per hour of Gamma radiation from the decay of Cesium-137.

We have to note that blips of ‘bad data’ from a CMOS camera sensor aren’t unusual. These can come from electrical weirdness in the sensor itself or even the heat from the battery. [Rolf]’s app takes a reading of the noise floor and subtracts it from the counter. Radioactive decay resulting in Beta particles such as the Potassium-40 in bananas or the Uranium in granite counter tops don’t really register, although [Rolf] did have some success with Potassium chloride and a long measurement time. Still though, it’s a really cool way to turn a phone into a tricorder.

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If you don’t have a Steampunk Smartphone…

Steampunk Smartphone

[Richard] has been working on the concept of “incorporating more feeling into our digital objects”. His design is still just a concept but hopefully someone will take up the idea because we think the results would be amazing. The attention to detail in the design is impressive, the Rotary Mechanical Smartphone as he is calling it contains a generic smartphone maintaining all the features such as the touch screen, but also including a set of interchangeable rotary dials on the back. There is the true rotary dial just like an old phone and a push button dial, for complete integration of the old and new technologies.

Once the design was complete, Richard built himself a proof of concept model to show off his work. The shell was 3D printed and copper plated to get the desired steampunk finish. The rotary dials are made from brass plate and hand finished. [Richard] has put in a lot of effort getting the finish right with electroplating, painting, and sanding. The final results are nothing short of impressive. Check out his site for some very nice photos and build details.

An Even Simpler Smartphone Garage Door Opener

We have seen smartphone garage door openers in the past, but [Lou’s] Hack is beautiful in its simplicity. His door opener tackles the problem without using computers, Arduinos, wireless modules or even any smartphone based applications. For this project all that is needed is a Bluetooth headset and a single transistor. The door opener uses the Samsung HM1100 Bluetooth headset, which [Lou] has done significant testing on to show that his creation is quite secure and will not open the door unexpectedly.

When this headset connects to a phone it produces a beep from the earbud, so [Lou] removed the speaker and replaced it with a transistor. Now he can use the voltage spike produced by the amplifier before the beep as his switching signal. By wiring the transistor in parallel with the door button inside his garage he is able to open the door wirelessly by connecting then right away disconnecting from the headset. This setup is apparently perfectly secure as the only way to initially link your phone with the headset is to be inside the garage. Check out the video after the break for build instructions and a demonstration.

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WiFi Mapping with a smartphone

map

Not so long ago, mapping WiFi required a laptop, GPS, a big antenna and Kismet/NetStumbler. Today’s smartphones have replaced even this task. For those of us running a GPS and WiFi equipped Windows Mobile phone, WiFiFoFum is an excellent and simple solution, as well as a great companion for installing an AP. Continue reading “WiFi Mapping with a smartphone”

Smartphone anti-virus software

cracked

With DEFCON and Black Hat going on, a lot of security issues are being made public. This year, cellphones have been a larger target than before. More and more people are carrying complex smartphones that have more ways to go wrong. Even worse, since phones are tied to a billed account, it is possible for malicious software to charge phones discreetly. However, Flexilis promises to keep your phone safe. It’s a free mobile anti-virus that works on most smartphones and PDAs with more clients in the works. It also provides easy backup and recovery options, as well as the ability to wipe the phone if it’s lost. The phone makers really need to fix the probelms, but in the meantime Flexilis can provide a quick response.

[via WSJ Digits]