[mdavis19] found himself in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity, needing a strong vacuum. That happens to us all right? His solution was to hack together a gas powered monster vacuum. He found a shop vac at a yard sale and promptly discarded the motor and filter. Some minor modifications to a leaf blower and a plywood mount finished the job. He now has absolute sucking power as long as he has fuel. He describes how this is going to be used for gold prospecting, though it would probably work just as well on pet hair. If you’re going to use one around the house though, you may want to find a way to mount a filter in it, and wear ear plugs.
Our friend [Jeffrey Sharkey] hacked the iTunes remote control protocol and produced his own version for Android, one of the smartphone OSes we just covered. He pored over dumped packets for a few days and wrote a client which is of course GPL’d. Besides that, he’s been busy winning the Android Developer Challenge. His app, Compare Everywhere, was one of the top 10 winners, netting him a cool $275,000. This ingenious bit of code deciphers barcodes scanned using a cell phone camera and then finds prices for that item at every nearby store that sells it.
Absolutely fascinating. The University of Washington is developing a vocally controled mouse interface. We’ve seen vocal control of the computer before, but it is usally responding to specific commands and words to carry out tasks such as opening files. This system uses different vowels and sounds to create cursor motion. You can see the same system used in the video above to control a robot arm as well.