Unique method of home automation


[leevonk] sent us this quick and dirty home automation set up. Using photo resistors and your computer screen, you can drive as many relays or actuators as you want. [leevonk] is simply using changes in brightness on his computer screen to set off relays. This makes it easy for someone who has no programming knowledge and a tight budget to set up some automation. You could even do remote automation by connecting to your pc via VNC. Be careful taping things to your screen, wouldn’t want to damage it.

Passive Multidimensional Input

Any musician who has ever used a computer to create music will tell you that while this technology is more than capable of producing great music, it is always a much more intimate experience to create by physically playing an instrument. In an effort to bridge this gap, [Randall Jones] has built a passive multidimensional interface that uses multitouch input to create an intimate experience that rivals that of a traditional musical instrument. While this concept may seem very complicated, the interface is made of only copper strips, rubber, and wood. At $50, this interface was designed to be inexpensive and appears to be very easy to use. As seen in the video, this interface can be used as anything from a drum to a multitouch synthesizer.

[via Make]

25C3: Hacking the iPhone

As promised in their yellowsnow demo, [pytey], [MuscleNerd], and [planetbeing] from the iphone-dev team presented at 25C3 on their work Hacking the iPhone. The team originally formed in 2007 and this is the most comprehensive presentation on how the iPhone was compromised to date. You can find the full talk embedded above.

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25C3: Power line communication


[Florian] and [Xavier Carcelle] started the day at 25C3 by covering power line communication. PLC technology is not widespread in the US, but has gained popularity in countries like France where it’s included in set-top boxes. PLC lets you create a local network using the AC wires in your wall. The team started exploring PLC because despite being newer technology, it had a few principles that made it similar to old networks. There’s no segmentation in the wiring, which means it behaves like a layer 2 hub. You get to see all of the traffic unlike a switched network. Most power meters don’t filter out the signal, so it’s possible that you might see your next-door neighbor’s traffic on your line. [Florian] reports having seen all the traffic in a six-story building just by plugging in. The wiring also acts as a large antenna so you could employ tempest attacks.

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25C3: State of the art wearable computing


[Kai Kunze] from the Embedded Systems Lab at Passau came to 25C3 to talk about Cyborgs and Gargoyles: State of the Art in Wearable Computing. There have been a lot of homebrew wearable computing solutions, but [Kai] covered specifically projects that could see everyday use in the real world.

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In flight insect photo rig


This amazing looking set up is for photographing insects in flight. While this is similar to a past project we covered, this one seems to have several improvements. There are no longer any arms that you have to position on either side of the insect. This system uses an additional lens, picture at the top, to detect the reflected laser light off of an insect.  Requiring only 40 microseconds to determine if the insect is in focus, capturing a flying wasp shouldn’t be too hard. You can see four lasers in the pictures, two are IR and used for focus, the other two are simply to help the operator target their bugs.

[thanks Woeka]

25C3: Solar-powering your gear


The 25th Chaos Communication Congress is underway in Berlin. One of the first talks we dropped in on was [script]’s Solar-powering your Geek Gear. While there are quite a few portable solar products on the market, we haven’t seen much in the way of real world experience until now.

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