Open Your Garage Door With Your Smartphone

The eternal enemy of [James Puderer]’s pockets is anything that isn’t his smartphone. When the apartment building he resides in added a garage door, the forces of evil gained another ally in the form of a garage door opener. So, he dealt with the insult by rigging up a Raspberry Pi to act as a relay between the opener and his phone.

The crux of the setup is Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) — a Google service that allows messages to be sent to devices that generally have dynamic IP addresses, as well as the capacity to send messages upstream, in this case from [Puderer]’s cell phone to his Raspberry Pi. After whipping up an app — functionally a button widget — that sends the command to open the door over FCM, he set up the Pi in a storage locker near the garage door and was able to fish a cable with both ethernet and power to it. A script running on the Pi triggers the garage door opener when it receives the FCM message and — presto — open sesame.

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Chumby digital picture frame teardown

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At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Chumby unveiled their latest prototype. It’s a network connected digital picture frame that runs Flash widgets. Just like the current Chumby model, they’re publishing the software and hardware under a license designed to let you hack it. They let us borrow one of their open chassis evaluation kits to teardown and photograph. We’ve got more pictures, full specs, and the schematics below.

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TISCH, multitouch framework

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[floe] wrote in to tell us about his multitouch based thesis work. While many projects have focused on the hardware side of multitouch, TISCH is designed to promote the software side. TISCH is a multiplatform library that features hardware abstraction and gesture recognition. This takes a lot of weight off of widget developers since they can specify known library gestures instead of writing the exact motions from scratch. Using TISCH also means a standard set of gestures across multiple widgets, so the learning curve will be much easier when a user tries out a new app. If you’re researching multitouch, check out this project and help improve the codebase.