Better TV Via Hacking

Smart TVs are just dumb TVs with a computer and a network connection, right? In a variation of rule 34, if it has a computer in it, someone will hack it. When [smarttvhacker] bought a Sony 48 inch smart TV, he noticed all the software licenses listed in the manual and realized that was a big leg up into hacking the TV.

We don’t have a comparable Sony model, but [smarttvhacker’s] post is a veritable travel log of his journey from TV viewer to TV ruler. By analyzing everything from network port scans to a dump of a firmware upgrade, he wound up being able to install a telnet server.

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Hackaday Links: July 5, 2015

It’s the fifth of July. What should that mean? Videos on YouTube of quadcopters flying into fireworks displays. Surprisingly, there are none. If you find one, put it up in the comments.

The original PlayStation was a Nintendo/Sony collaboration. This week, some random dude found a prototype in his attic. People were offering him tens of thousands of dollars on the reddit thread, while smarter people said he should lend it to MAME and homebrewer/reverse engineer groups. This was called out as a fake by [Vadu Amka], one of the Internet’s highly skilled console modders. This statement was sort of semi retracted. There’s a lot of bromide staining on that Nintendo PlayStation, though, and if it’s a fake, the faker deserves thousands of dollars. Now just dump the ROMs and reverse engineer the thing.

Remember BattleBots? It’s back. These are my impressions of the first two episodes: Flamethrowers are relatively common now, ‘parasitic bots’ – small, auxilliary bots fighting alongside the ‘main’ bot are now allowed. KOs only count for the ‘main’ bot. Give it a few more seasons and every bot will be a wedge. One of the hosts is an UFC fighter, which is weird, but not as weird as actually knowing some of the people competing.

Ceci n’est pas un Arduino, which means it’s from the SRL camp. No, wait. It’s a crowdfunding campaign for AS200 Industries in Providence, RI.

Wanna look incredibly sketchy? Weld (or braze, or solder) your keys to a screwdriver.

The UK’s National Museum of Computing  is looking for some people to help maintain 80 BBC Micros. The museum has a ‘classroom’ of BBC micro computers still in operation. Caps dry out, switching power supplies fail, and over the years these computers start to die. If you have the skills and want to volunteer, give it a shot.

USA-made Arduinos are now shipping. That’s the Massimo Arduino, by the way.

Win $1000 for pressing a buttonWe’re gauranteed to give away a thousand dollar gift card for the Hackaday store next Wednesday to someone who has participated in the latest round of community voting for the Hackaday Prize.

Sony SmartWatch hack lets it tell time with a teapot animation


This hack turns the Sony SmartWatch into a wristwatch. Functionally it’s not all that impressive. But the journey to get to this point represents quite a bit more. This example features an animated tea pot using a 3D rendering engine ported over to the device.

[Federico] started work on the project soon after hearing that Sony had released details about developing for the hardware. He dug into the documentation but soon found it lacked the depth he needed to get a handle on bare metal work. He shelved the project for a while until coming across the Astrosmash project we featured in June. That used a wrapper that allows Arduino sketches to run on the watch. After studying how that’s done he had enough background to port this code.

We’re still waiting to see a really innovative hack for the watch. But we’re glad to see progress with each new proof of concept like this one!

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Astrosmash style video game as Sony SmartWatch firmware


Here’s a firmware hack that brings a video game to the Sony SmartWatch. It’s pretty impressive considering the limited screen real estate and the fact that it has to be shared with the touch input. But we find it equally impressive that a game of this quality followed so quickly on the heels of Sony announcing the ability to make your own firmware for the watch. The speedy development is thanks partly to the community driven effort to hack the Arduino IDE to load sketches on the watch.

The advent of this IDE hack means that taking your Arduino sketch writing abilities to this hardware now has a fairly low learning curve. And reading through [Asier Arranz’s] game code will make it even easier. He calls his game Star Wars but it reminds us more of Astrosmash. There’s a little green semicircle which is your ground-based defense vehicle. You need to fire the laser to shoot falling items out of the star-strewn night sky while also collecting power-ups that fall to the ground. Game play video is below.

Just remember, if you come up with a cool firmware app for the SmartWatch we want to hear about it.

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Sony SmartWatch running Arduino sketches


Well that didn’t take long. We just heard last week about the Sony inviting firmware hacks for their SmartWatch and here’s an early example. This image above is an animation running on the watch. It was written as an Arduino sketch which runs on a custom firmware image. [Veqtor] wrote the sketch, which is just a couple of nested loops drawing lines and circles. The real hack is in the firmware itself.

[Veqtor] took part in a workshop (translated) put on by [David Cuartielles] which invited attendees to try their Arduino coding skills on his firmware hack for the watch. It implements an Android parser, but the development is in very early stages. Right now there’s zero information in his readme file. But the root directory of the repo has a huge todo list. Dig through it and see if you can fork his code to help lend a hand.

Learn more about the SmartWatch firmware from the original announcement.

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HackIt: Sony invites you to hack its SmartWatch firmware


This is Sony’s smart watch, which has been around for a while now. It’s designed for use with your Android phone, and has always included an SDK that allows app developers to interact with it. But now Sony is taking it one big step further. They’ve published everything you need to know to hack your own firmware for the SmartWatch.

The navigation scheme for that articles includes five menu items at the bottom which you’ll want to dig through. The most interesting to us was the one labeled “SmartWatch hacker guide”. It lays bare the hardware used in the watch and how it’s peripheral component connect to each other. This starts with the STM32 (ARM) microcontroller that drives the watch. It goes on to document how the screen is addressed (SPI1) including the pin to turn it on and off. The same goes for the Bluetooth, accelerometer, buzzer, and touch sensors.

Firmware is updated via USB using Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode. We don’t don’t see any way to connect an on-chip debugger. We searched to see if there is a JTAG port on the circuit board and it sounds like getting the watch apart without breaking it is pretty tough.

Now that you don’t need to stick to what Sony had planned for the device, what do you want to do with your strapless wristwatch?

[Thanks Brian]

LV0 encryption key cracks current and future PlayStation 3 firmware

It looks like the security of the PlayStation 3 has been cracked wide open. But then again we’ve thought the same thing in the past and Sony managed to patch those exploits. The latest in the cat and mouse game is the release of the LV0 encryption codes for the PS3 console. The guys who discovered the magic strings of characters supposedly intended to keep them a secret, but have gone public after there was a leak and some black-hats now intend to use them for profit.

The keys are the bottom layer of security when pushing firmware updates to the PS3. With keys in hand, current and future upgrades can be unencrypted, altered, and repackaged without the gaming rig putting up a fuss. Our only real beef with the tight security came when Sony removed the ability to install Linux on systems marketed with this option. The availability of these keys should let you install just about whatever you want on your hardware.

[Thanks Kris via Phys]