Here’s a surprisly simple way to build yourself a laser-based listening device. It consists of two modules, a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is a set of lasers, one is visible red for aiming, and the other is infrared for measuring the vibration of a surface. Point the transmitter at the window of the room you want to listen in on and the laser can be reflected back to the receiver. The receiver module has a phototransistor to pick up the infrared laser light, and an LM386 audio amplifier to generate the audio signal sent to a pair of headphone. The need to be well-aligned which is easy enough using a pair of tripods. Check out the demo after the break.
Looking for something to do with the leftover laser diodes from this project? Try making yourself a laser microscope.
Continue reading “Laser mic makes eavesdropping remarkably simple”
Our initial view of the Spy Video TRAKR “App BUILDR” site had us believing this would be an internet-based code editor and compiler, similar to the mbed microcontroller development tools. Delving deeper into the available resources, we’re not entirely sure that’s an accurate assessment — TRAKR may well permit or even require offline development after all. Regardless of the final plan, in the interim we have sniffed out the early documentation, libraries and standalone C compiler and have beaten it into submission for your entertainment, in order to produce our first TRAKR hack!
Continue reading “Spy Video TRAKR: software and first hack”
Last Friday we looked at Wild Planet’s Spy Video TRAKR programmable RC vehicle mostly from an end user perspective. Much of our weekend was spent dismantling and photographing the device’s internal works, and poring over code and documentation, in order to better gauge the TRAKR’s true hackability. Our prior review included some erroneous speculation…we can clarify a number of details now, and forge ahead with entirely new erroneous speculation!
Continue reading “Spy Video TRAKR: the teardown”
At the Bay Area Maker Faire this past May, we had our first glimpse of Wild Planet’s Spy Video TRAKR, a $130 radio-controlled toy with some surprises under the hood.
On the surface, the Spy Video TRAKR — the latest addition to the popular Spy Gear toy line — is an R/C tank with a video camera and night vision, with the added ability to download new “apps” from the internet for extra functions. With a little detective work, one uncovers the TRAKR’s secret double life: it’s also an eminently hackable robotics platform! Prior Spy Gear toys have been popular hack targets, providing inexpensive, mass-produced sources of unusual items such as head-mounted displays. Rather than throw up barriers, Wild Planet has chosen to embrace this secondary market, with plans to release development tools and documentation making it possible to extend the device’s capabilities.
Read on for our image-heavy unboxing and initial impressions.
[Madmanmoe64] has really done a fantastic job with this burglar alarm built into a zippo. He crammed a picaxe microcontroller, some IR LEDs, an IR sensor, a battery and various switches in there quite well. It almost closes perfectly, something we think he could remedy if it really bugged him that much.
It has several modes, all initiated by a different sequence of button presses. There is the proximity alarm, which sounds when something moves very close. The reverse proximity alarm which sounds when you remove something from its immediate vicinity. A doorbell mode, and a silent alarm mode. Check out the video after the break to see it in action.
Continue reading “Burglar alarm in a zippo lighter”
[Dan] set up this simple cell phone hack to disable his microphone when he’s not using his cell phone. He had read that the government can listen to you using your cell phone, even when it is off. This concerned him enough to hack into his phone. He removed the expansion port and wired the microphone to a magnetic reed switch. A strong magnet located in the screen side of his flip phone opens the circuit when he closes the phone. He notes that you could always just pop the battery out of your phone, but then you are left completely disconnected. This mod allows you to still receive phone calls.