Pwning Timberman With Electronically Simulated Touchscreen Presses


What do you do if you suck at a smartphone game? Buy some in-game upgrades to pretend like you’re good? Screw that! [Valentin] did what any self-respecting hacker would: developed an automated system to play for him.

Granted, when you see the demo video embedded below you’ll realize there isn’t much strategy involved in this game. But that setup to simulate the touchscreen presses is pretty neat. We’re used to seeing mechanical touchscreen hacks but this one is electronic, using a couple of pads of copper foil tape and some relays to make it happen. Here’s the one caveat: you still need to be touchingĀ something with your hand. This just uses the relays to switch the connection between the pads and your body.

We’ve looked around for this before. Does anyone have a cheap, simple, and effective hack to fully automate presses on a modern touchscreen? Can we use a potato or something? Tell us below, but send it in to the tips line too!

19 thoughts on “Pwning Timberman With Electronically Simulated Touchscreen Presses

  1. I know ESD packaging can simulate a finger. I used them glued over my leather glove to interact with TomTom on the smartphone while riding my motorcycle. You just need to cut a piece wide enough.
    it’s worth a try.

  2. I did something like this with Flappy Bird. Used AirPlay mirroring and an Arduino receiving “tap” bytes over USB serial, desktop computer would work out the situation and issue tap commands when needed. It didn’t really work in the end but maybe if I put more time in. Same kind of idea with the relays but they were just connecting to ground.

    1. i think in the game, they make it possible to hit, so it’s an either or situation, in other words, if it doesn’t detect a branch on the right, then it must be on the left

    2. If you watch the video carefully you’ll see places where there are no branches left or right. The lumberjack still moves to the right even if the sequence of branches gives the player no reason to shift to the right at that moment.

      It would complicate programming unnecessarily if you wanted to consider branches on the left AND right.

  3. Ketchup/mayo/mustard packets, string cheese, pretty much anything with a high enough moisture content inside the thin, plastic package can operate a capacitive touchscreen.

  4. I did a similar hack with hillclimb, except open loop and just using timers.

    You can use vegetables to simulate fingers, but the thing you habe to realize for using anytbing else is that it’s not just emulating finger capacitance, it’s finger attached to a huge 150+ lb flesh sack which is then sometimes attached to ground. I used ESD conductive foam and ran a coil of mag wire. It seemed to do the truck. Joining the wire to a single side of a 9 v battery also seemed to help, but I was able to tune it without the wire. See the video hill climb hack by handsfreekvm or

  5. I couldn’t get the copper tape, soldered wire to my hand to work. What did work was when I used a penny and didn’t solder the wire to it. Rather I touched the wire to the penny and then physically lifted the wire off the penny. The other end of the wire was connected to my hand (or in a glass of water which worked fine). It seems that if the switch is close to the penny it works fine, but if the switch is far from the penny it doesn’t. Any reason?

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