Going Lo-Tech For The Perfect Pokemon Go Throw

We have our eyes on the horizon for an epic GPS spoof to catch some legendaries in Pokemon Go, but until that hack shows up, we really like [Brian McEvoy’s] hack for the perfect Poke Ball throw.

[Brian] started out thinking that a mechanical build would be the best way (we know he’s got the servo motors and controllers to drive them from this tea steeping robot he built last year). But the mechanics of that are just too complicated for what you get in return (less wasted Poke Balls).

He came to the realization that your finger is the best machine, it just needs some augmentation. Most of his Poke Ball throws missed to one side or another, so he turned to papercraft to guide his way. He made a tray from some paperboard packaging, then used two small stacks of Post-it notes to create a channel where your finger slides. Simply hold the phone and the paper with one hand, and use your other to follow the paper channel to a successful capture. The paperboard doesn’t affect the screen’s ability to sense your finger.

This is one we’re definitely going to try out. But visions of hardware hacks for the game that has rocked the world still dance through our heads. Are you working on anything? If so, we’d love to hear about (so send in a tip!). Those still in the idea phase can ring in below. We are weighing the feasibility of doing a man-in-the-middle between a phone and its GPS chip to spoof location. That feels like a pretty tall mountain to climb.


48 thoughts on “Going Lo-Tech For The Perfect Pokemon Go Throw

    1. Hmm. I play with my kids, two 4 year olds and my ‘tween. Gets us out of the house, it’s cheap, fun, gets everyone involved, the treasure hunt aspect, visiting popular spots around town.

      You should try leaving the house instead of watching your paint dry.

      1. Bit difficult as Im mostly house bound due to ill health now.
        Ive taught my kids to create not passively consume.
        Both have ended up in either creative pursuits or science.
        and I do contribute when I can. In the 3d printing world when I come up with something useful and when I was well with local conservation. Been involved with a burgeoning makerspace and helped others get started with micro-controllers and electronics.

        I just cant get the appeal of these massively marketed brainless fads.
        Exercise your brain and create something original rather than being a paying consumer of tat.

          1. obviously someone does…..

            he also does have a point some hyped fads reach levels where they are could be fairly described as direct mind control.

        1. Granted nobody will cure cancer playing Pokemon Go but the feedback and improvements for the game will improve augmented reality technology to the point where useful things could be done with it. What if tours of the Gettysburg battlefield allowed a visitor to watch the battle at any point of the day with the entire armies on the field?
          FWIW, this could be the killer app that Google Glass needed to get them off the faces of rich, white d-bags and in the hands of the public at large.

      2. When your family gets on the news for being robbed at gunpoint or struck by a car, I’ll chuckle with Gordon while we watch paint dry.

        In all seriousness, be careful. I’m already tired of hearing about dipshits in the news being presented with Darwin awards for playing this game instead of paying attention to reality.

    2. Recreation is NOT valueless. Your ‘better’ is subjective. Your ‘reward’ is subjective. You appear to feel that you are ‘better’ and apparently get a ‘reward’ pointing out to others.

    3. I’m glad you have so many dishes to wash and so much paint to dry. (Is this a thing?)

      Me? My paint is already dry and my dishes are already washed, so I’m going to go catch some pokemon with my friends. And, for a moment, live the dream I’ve dreamed since I was 10.

      1. Calm, smooth, non-inflammatory, cautious, use their words against them, express in your own favor.

        Guess what? you’re not countering the OP post at all. The purpose of your comment is obvious, next time don’t hit the submit button

  1. the gps spoofing is something to be careful about. they have gotten pretty good at detecting it via ingress, and you tend to not get a warning. all of a sudden you go into the game, and it “can’t find gps” no matter what you do, or you get the “unable to contact server message (not sure which one they’ll use with pokemon). That’s how you’ll find out you’re banned.

    1. Sure, I get that. For me it’s not a matter of getting huge scores in the game. It’s the success of bending technology to your will. Like many of my projects, once it’s complete and tested I’m unlikely to use it very often.

      I can think of three feasible ways to spoof the GPS: software (but Android is pretty locked down so that’s tough), main-in-the-middle the GPS module in the phone (you need to sacrifice a phone for this one), or transmitting fake satellite info to down out the real (which is not exactly neighborly or legal). This one’s a tough problem. Anything I’m missing?

      1. If you have root and can get xposed installed on android it is very easy to spoof your location. I’ve been doing it for about 5 days, you just have to make sure you are not moving around at impossible speeds and I don’t think you will get banned. I’ve honestly been thinking about building an app to emulate more realistic user movement because what is currently available does not seem to work all that well.

      1. There is an App that can totally hack gps loction in POKEMON GO, you must 1st download the tutuapp http://www.tutuapp.com/ for ios user only. Then go to the tutuapp once its installed then DL Pokemon Go. There are 2 pokemon go, just check them both one is with the analog that can travel without going out from your house.

        This trick only works for ios users. I hope someone can create an app for android users too.

  2. For the GPS spoofing, at least for the using the android SDK or bluestacks as some have been doing for a while now or some other software based hack, I would think it would be wise to do a little data logging of real GPS and accelerometer data as you play the real game and get a feel for how those things react to a real player. If you are taking GPS data and then suddenly snapping to a location 300 miles away, I think that would raise some red flags, along with no accelerometer data to back it up, or data that is too repetitive. but if you could capture the real world data transitions in location and movement and then toss those into your spoofing, along with a few missed balls here and there. I think you might get farther without getting hit with the ol’ ban hammer.

  3. Spoofing GPS is easy. All I takes is emulating android, and a half dozen apps to get it to work. I’ve already spoofed being to area 51 just to prove mewtwo isn’t there (I saw nothing at all there infact)

  4. Forget spoofing GPS, just spoof the bluetooth GPS protocol, pair, and go for it.
    Looks like it is being implemented in FlightGear FOSS flight sim so that you can use real aviation apps on your tablet while training in the sim.
    It is crazy what you can DIY hack together with FlightGear with a cheap yoke, rudder pedals, some stepper driven gauges or just a laptop screen as your instruments and some projectors for outside view. I am surprised that there is not more FlightGear driven HAD entries.

  5. The GPS spoofing was done within a day of the game’s US launch, apparently. Somebody mentioned Pokemon Go to me today, so I looked up the possibility. Not gonna actually play it, but I was quite impressed, and reassured, that somebody else had the idea and implemented it about as soon as was technically possible.

    Rather than rooting, I wonder if you could emulate Android on Android. Since host and guest systems are the same hardware, something like a hypervisor should be able to do it. You can do that (and people did, on PC servers) on chips that don’t have virtualisation built-in. Of course you can emulate anything on anything, with a long enough paper tape. I think it’d be better to do it that way than rooting, I wouldn’t like to give root to any old program on my phone. Maybe you could hack the binary, find the calls to the GPS functions and amend them.

    If you kept most of the emulating out of the way, ie just pass the 3D graphics calls straight through, an Android Android emulator needn’t be too slow, and most phones have plenty of CPU power these days.

    1. The great unknown is “how good are they at detecting cheats”.
      I haven’t played with Android development much, but if there’s a simple way to check if you’re running inside a VM, you can bet they’ll test for it. And if they’re smart, they’ll wait rand(3,21) days before banning you…

  6. The whole thing seems like a giant marketing set-up to me: get everyone hooked, then drive them into various retail establishments, take a commission or sell in-game ads or get businesses to pay for sponsorship, etc… … $$$

    At least we’re exercising our drone army. Wouldn’t want it to get too pale or flabby before we figure out how to actually put it to use!

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