If there is one thing hackers return to time and time again, it is clock/watch hacking. There are always creative ways to tell time, and with several “hackable” wristwatches on the market, there is bound to be no shortage of neat timepiece hacks.
[hudson] from NYC Resistor has decided to take on a fun challenge for the next month revolving around his programmable inPulse watch. Over the upcoming
30 27 days, he will design, program, and publish a watch face for the timepiece. He already has 3 days behind him, and the results are pretty interesting. The concepts are creative and functional, though due to time constraints they sometimes end up a little less polished than he would like.
All of the code is available on his Bitbucket page if you have an inPulse watch and would like to play along or improve on his work.
We think it’s a pretty cool project, and we are eager to see what he produces each day. Stick around to see a quick video showing off one of his 3D watch faces.
Continue reading “Watch hacking, one day at a time”
[Igor] drives a 4th generation Volkswagen Golf, and decided he wanted to play around with the CAN bus for a bit. Knowing that the comfort bus is the most accessible and the safest to toy with, he started poking around to see what he could see (Google translation).
He pulled the trim off one of the rear doors and hooked into the comfort bus with an Arudino and a CAN interface module. He sniffed the bus’ traffic for a bit, then decided he would add some functionality to the car that it was sorely lacking. The car’s windows can all be rolled down by turning the key in any lock for more than a few seconds, however this cannot be done remotely. The functionality can be added via 3rd party modules or through manipulating the car’s programming with some prepackaged software, but [Igor] wanted to give it a go himself.
He programmed the Arduino to listen for longer than normal button presses coming from the remote. Once it detects that he is trying to roll the windows up or down, the Arduino issues the proper window control commands to the bus, and his wish is the car’s command.
It’s a pretty simple process, but then again he has just gotten started. We look forward to seeing what else [Igor] is able to pull off in the future. In the meantime, continue reading to see a quick video of his handiwork.
If you are interested in seeing what you might be able to do with your own car, check out this CAN bus sniffer we featured a while back.
Continue reading “Enhance your key fob via CAN bus hacking”
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first silicon integrated circuit patent. We should not have to explain how important the integrated circuit to this crowd, but it is the biggest thing in electronics since sliced bread.
[Robert Noyce] received the landmark patent on April 25th 1961, and went on to found a little known company you might of heard of (along with [Gordon Moore]), Intel Corporation. He was not the first to invent the IC, that privilege goes to [Jack Kilby] of Texas Instruments, though that design was using a germanium wafer. Silicon has many advantages over previous technology and has become the main technology of IC’s even 50 years later fueling the electronics, computer and mobile industries.
Check out the little article above, and also be sure to check out this video on IC construction we posted about a few months ago from the other company [Robert Noyce] help co-found, Fairchild Semiconductor.
LG released a line of Internet-connected TVs in both the US and Europe that utilize Yahoo TV widgets to bring interactive content to the living room. While it sounds like a great idea in theory, users have been disappointed to find that LG has approved a measly 15 widgets since the TVs were released.
OpenLGTV.org.ru user [xeros] has started working on a project that aims to enable more useful content as well as homebrew widgets. The project is known as OpenLGTV BCM, and not only covers LG television sets, but all sets based on the Broadcom platform.
A ton of progress has been made already, as they have been able to install their own busybox environment as well as open the sets to accept more widgets via some clever signature spoofing. The ultimate goal for the project is to completely divorce the sets from the Yahoo platform and replace it with their own open marketplace.
It’s a great start, and we can’t wait to see what sort of progress they make as time goes on.
[Fede.tft] wrote in to tell us about some work he’s been doing to save battery life for LED dominoes. He originally got the idea after reading this post about the electronic gaming pieces. That project was aimed at the 555 timer contest and therefore, used a 555 timer. [Fede.tft] calculates the battery life for the CR2302 battery in the 555 circuit at no more than about 80 days. That’s if you never use them and the LEDs are never illuminated. It makes sense to remove the batteries from the device when not in use, but a redesign to increase efficiency is definitely worth the effort.
This rendition does away with the 555 chip in favor of a CMOS chip. By building a circuit around four NAND gates of a CD4011 chip, the standby lifetime of the battery is calculated to increase to about 4.5 years. Not bad! Add to this the fact that replacing the 555 timer didn’t increase the component count, the price for the chip is similar to the 555, and you didn’t need to resort to a microcontroller. Yep, we like it.
[Zitt] is sharing some methods he’s honed for color-matching powder coat paint. He developed these techniques while restoring a 1982 Star Trek coin-op machine. The image above shows a paddle used for the game. The plate that houses the control was beat up, and he needed to repaint it but wanted to make sure it didn’t look out-of-place with the molded plastic that surrounds it.
He gets his powder paints from Harbor Freight, a favorite depot for hackable goods (like drill motors, or metal carts). Usually these paints would be applied by attracting them to the piece using electrostatic charges. [Zitt’s] not doing that, but applying them with a paint sprayer instead.
The first step is to match your color. He’s using an electronic color matching device which gives data to plug into a chart on the web for a color match. Once you’ve got a formula, mix up the powder coat, and then dissolve it into some Methyl Ethyl Ketone. This goes into the spray gun and is applied in an even coat. Before heading into an oven for curing, it’s important to wait for this coat to dry. [Zitt] observed some boiling MEK on a wet test piece that left an undesirable texture on the baked paint after curing. After running a few test pieces he picked the blend that was the best match and then painted all of his restored parts.
We’ve already added the components needed to build [Rucalgary’s] tiny POV device to our next parts order. The little device sets a new standard for tiny persistence of vision boards. Instead of relying on the user to find the best speed and timing for swinging the board around, [Rucalgary] used an accelerometer. This is the point at which we’d usually groan because of the cost of accelerometers. We’re still groaning but this time it’s for a different reason.
The accelerometer used here is a Freescale MMA7660. It’s an i2c device at a super low cost of less than $1.50. The reason we’re still groaning is that it comes in a DFN-10 package that is a bit harder to solder than SOIC, but if you’ve got patience and a good iron it can be done. An ATmega48 drives the device, with 8 LEDs and one button for input. On the back of the board there’s a holder for a CR2032 coin cell battery and a female SIL pin header for programming the device.
Check out the video demonstration embedded after the break. We love it that the message spells and aligns correct no matter which way the little board is waved.
Continue reading “Small POV device shows off some big features”