EMS Synthi AKS Teardown

Here’s another bit of analog synth pr0n for you: Initially sold in 1972, the EMS Synthi AKS was a portable modular analog synthesizer with a built in keyboard and sequencer. The VCS 3 portion of the device had a unique routing matrix pegboard used to connect components together. [firegroove] has opened up his precious machine so that you can see all of the fine little bits that make it tick… and chirp.

[via Matrixsynth]

Kawasaki KZ440 Electric Conversion

[Ben Nelson] didn’t even know how to ride a motorcycle when he started on this electric conversion of a 1981 Kawasaki KZ440. The engine wasn’t a loss since the bike was nonrunning when he purchased it for $100. The permanent magnet Etek motor was $500 and each of the four yellow top batteries were $160 (only three pictured). He says that the majority of the conversion work only took two weekends. The resulting, still street legal, ride averages 20 miles per charge with a 45mph top speed.

More electric motorcycles on Hack a Day:

[via Ecomodder]

Defcon Badge Hacking Contest

[Joe Grand] is designing the Defcon badges for the third year in a row. Just like the previous years, they’ll be hosting a badge hacking contest. This time around though, they’re going to start leaking clues in advance. Earlier contests were often frustrating because of the specialized equipment needed to talk to the microcontroller. Hopefully this year it will be a lot more accesible. The specs for the badge have not been released yet, but after last year’s 95 LED scrolling marque, we can’t wait to see what this year will bring. [Joe] has posted info on the previous two badge designs and resulting contests.

Hackit: The Bronco Table

While attending LA SIGGRAPH Maker Night, we got to talk to [Brett Doar] about his Bronco Table. The table is meant to make life more difficult by bucking off anything that’s set on top of it. Right now, it uses a tiny piezo mic to listen for the impact and then drives three leg motors in a random pattern. He envisions later generations either running away or following you intently when something is set on them.

The main problem with the current design is that you have to hit the table hard enough to make a noise the mic can pick up. The ideal solution would be able to detect anything, no matter what the material or how forcefully it was set down. How would you detect objects being placed on the surface (table doesn’t have to be wood)?

Hacker Conference Videos

Almost every security conference we’ve attended in the last year has uploaded videos from their speaker tracks. Explore the archives below, and you’re bound to find an interesting talk.

[thanks, Dan]
[photo: ario_j]

Openmoko FreeRunner Now Available

Openmoko began selling Neo 1973 phones direct to developers last July. The phone is an open source project designed to ease development on mobile platforms. The Neo 1973 has since sold out, but a new Linux phone intended for the mass market has been released, the FreeRunner for ~$399. The screen is 640×480 with 3D acceleration and a 500MHz Samsung processor. The new phone has WiFi and 2.5G GSM support. It has some truly unique features like USB host mode support. You can find the differences between the two phones here. This new phone release should help strengthen the community since average users were discouraged from purchasing the original. Pictures of the phone’s internals and a component diagram can be found on the Openmoko wiki. We wish more manufacturers would explicitly tell us how to get console access.

[via Slashdot]

Tom’s RGB Mood Lamp

[Tom] has been refining a board that drives a high power RGB LED for applications like this moodlight. It’s based around an ATmega8 microcontroller. The goal was to make an RGB LED easy to work with: It can cycle between colors in standalone mode. You can control it via a serial interface. It also has a pin header to hooking up three potentiometers for manual color mixing. Boards aren’t available yet, but he’s already posted a build tutorial. The board looks straightforward enough that it shouldn’t be too hard to layout if you really want to.