Hackaday Links: April 15th, 2018

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San Fransisco is awash in electric scooters. Three companies — Lime, Bird, and Spin — have been dumping ‘smart’ electric scooters on the sidewalks of San Fransisco over the last few weeks. The business plan for all these companies is to allow anyone to ride them via an app. $1 unlocks the scooter, and rides are fifteen cents a minute. No one, it appears, is looking at the upside of abandoned, dead electric scooters: they’re a remarkable source of lithium batteries and brushless motors. Hello, my name is Mr. Cyberpunk. My friends and I drive around the city collecting abandoned electric scooters to harvest their batteries and motors. A quick hit from a drill in the middle of the top panel of a Bird scooter disables the cellular modem, but then you don’t get to harvest the Particle dev board. You’re welcome, Mr. Doctorow, for the scene in your next novel.

There are a huge number of tips and tricks that are obvious if you already know them, and genius if you don’t. Working with wood? Need to hide a gap? Use sawdust and wood glue to make DIY wood filler. The trick here is using sawdust from whatever you’re trying to hide a gap in, but it’s not a bad idea to keep a few small containers of different sawdusts if you’re working with exotic tropical hardwoods. Titebond III, mango.

Ever since the Bayeux tapestry meme generator of 2003, embroidery has been recognized as a legitimate art form. [Irene Posch] is using traditional embroidery skills to create a computer. Conductive thread exists, but you can’t make a computer out of just wire; you need some sort of switching element. This is a relay computer, with the relays built out of beads, coils of conductive thread, and a tiny flippy bit. This is the best picture you’re going to get of the relay. This is still a work in progress and the density of components means this will probably never meet any reasonable definition of ‘computer’, but it is digital logic, done completely with tools in the embroidery toolset.

You know what’s awesome? Hashtag Badgelife. What is Badgelife? It’s the hardware demoscene of independent electronic conference badges, mostly going down at DEF CON every year. This year, Badgelife is bigger than ever. Want proof? AND!XOR, the folks behind the infamous Bender badge and last year’s Hunter S. Rodriguez badge have unleashed this year’s design. It was a Kickstarter, until it sold out. The DC Furs have launched their pre-order whatever for a badge filled with LEDs and fleas. Most surprisingly, there will now be an official mini-village of Badgelife at this year’s Defcon! This is a hardware demoscene, people, and if you want to be as cool as the guys rocking Amiga homebrew in 1993, you gotta get on board with the badgelife.

42 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 15th, 2018

  1. “No one, it appears, is looking at the upside of abandoned, dead electric scooters: they’re a remarkable source of lithium batteries and brushless motors. ”

    Maybe that’s why trains as a main form of transportation hasn’t taken off? Too many people seeing the upside of stripping them for parts if they loiter too long?

    1. Talking of sidewalks, If you need to build something sidewalks are a good source of free flat stones!

      Or you know, you could be a civilized person living in a civilized society; and not steal just because you can.

  2. Hello, I want someone to show me how to disable the gps on scooters and the delux ford bikes as well as charge them and get them going…I dose at 7th and market and will pay $100 cash or narcotics of your choice or a honda prelude or a cargo van or I will get you any car you want at the next autoreturn auction for $250….ANY ONE! I promise!

    1. Super easy.. all you need is a padlock, 2 keyrings, some dental floss and a bit of aluminum foil. oh and a source of fire.

      Step 1.
      Take the padlock and attach it to the first keychain.
      Step 2.
      Tie some dental flosss to the keychain
      Step 3.
      Tie the other end of the dental floss to the other keychain.
      Ok, this is where it gets tricky.
      STEP 4.
      place all your crack into the tin foil and smoke it while you wrap the dental floss tightly around your neck and secure the padlock to the other keychain. If you are able to EX-HALE. The crack smoke, you did it wrong

  3. Well let’s just say that an individual accidently AND hypothetically of course managed to disable the GPS by taking apart the “tamper proof” plastic casing wile in a backseat of a car as it’s driving around so it appears to turn off somewhere random in the street on their computer screen and then you take it home? (all hypothetically of course…?) After you’ve removed the sim card and disconnected the GPS, how would you go about bypassing that portion of the electronics or still use the electronics just make it where it doesn’t contact the company of its whereabouts any longer in order to use the scooter as your own for free? Hypothetically of course….Like “I have a hunch” that once it’s no longer online then it doesn’t just magically work when you hit the throttle because nothing is telling the motors speed controller to go ahead and power the motor because it’s paid for and unlocked. So it’s just a cool scooter with everything it needs to be a scooter however it won’t fucking do anything cool at all. Hypothetically of course guys…

  4. Heads up super long but tired of spinning my wheels with questions and I’m sure someone has done what I desperately want to. Would love to find at least one person to go into more detail about this with.

    If you were to find yourself next to a bird that was somehow showing its location on app as a different spot than it currently is and unable to update its current location because of missing/damaged SIM card/Sara u260 particle board. Just looking for a simple yes or no to alleviate my questioning mind but could a missing SIM card be replaced with third party SIM by using USB cable to issue AT commands to reset/change settings/firmware to enable the use of new SIM. effectively allowing a person complete control of the m365 plus added lock/tracking ability. Simple yes or no again could the entire Sara u260 be removed/replaced with a new/identical particle board or does the existing board have scripts stored on NVM that are proprietary and are required to use existing dev board with u260, fairly unlikely but a possibility. Also curious about the programming involved with the app and how the systems individual parts function together as a whole. from my limited knowledge of all the parts involved I’m assuming when QR code is scanned in app it alerts bird that the scooter/SIM card associated with that QR code is being requested. Depending what mode the app is in, Bird then sends AT commands, or possibly just a sms with a specific string(rider/charger/mechanic) via 3G to SIM card, depending on string it would prompt scripted commands stored on NVM to enable authorized access, or it could just be a set of different AT commands sent via 3G enabling/disabling specific functions of u260 software such as waking up/increasing interval connectivity of gps/ raising/lowering voltage of specific pins which would enable/disable various functions all depending on authorization level. There are so many possibilities for various sets of AT commands that would result in essentially identical end user access/experience but with a slew of differences at the programming level. Would love to take one of these suckers apart, set u260 into right mode, hooka usb and run a slew of AT test commands to really know specifically what’s happening at the programming level with these fascinating bastards. but alas my life is such that I cant let lose and start myself a collection of 18650 cells and spare m365 parts thanks to probation. as much as I would love to do it myself and consider throwing out lines of communication for validation super lame in comparison I just gotta know.

  5. Dam why is everyone so scared to awnser on here .. if i bought a broke scooter from lime scooter ..from an auction..but all electronic parts were gone. would i be able to buy any parts to get it going again. ?

  6. I know, right?!?! It’s not illegal to have an imagination. Or ask questions about hypothetical scenarios. Gosh… Does anybody know of a place that isn’t full of pussies and may be able to answer our questions by any chance?

  7. I think I know how someone would hypothetically repurpose one of the Ninebot Segway ES2 Bird Scooters. Say for example bird abandoned them in a city that outlawed them and they were sold to the public at a police auction.

  8. I know a guy that knows someone the once over heard someone talking about having two captive birds in their living room and if anyone wanted any info on then to feel free and ask I think I can pass the question down the chain and the source might answer back anyone have any questions

    1. Hypothetically, could you hand out an email address so we could discuss the inner workings of said scooters? I have an Auntys uncles dogs best friend that would like to know. Just for learning of course!

  9. I once heard a guy at a mall in some town say that their brother’s sister’s adopted kid found out that if you peel the sticker off the ES2 birds there are 6 reg hex screws and after that all you have to do is unplug the wire you see and gently pull the board out and it will disconnect the gps. I also heard you can buy a replacement brain online for like $50… but that is just speculation. Another speculation is that you may need a security hex and star bit set to remove parts of the handlebars to remove the existing extension harness in order to attach said es2 brain.

  10. From a hypothetical point of view I think everybody is partially correct. So I don’t see why you can’t just change the SIM card for instance and send it a series of commands from common script already known. Or is there a certain amount of memory and programming inside the board’s itself to automatically want to connect with mother bird. Or can we just run a jumper wires from one side to the other two complete connectivity and omit the SIM card entirely. There’s many ways to possibly do this what which is the best. All speculative and hypothetical for the purposes of research and science of course. Cuz I have an analytical behind a very inquisitive and I very much like to know myself no cuz what if the zombie apocalypse comes or something and well we need to Mickey Mouse a scooter.

    1. From what I’ve heard through my pipeline the Sara-u260 is specifically set up to not allow that. It uses a particle SIM card that connects to the manufacturers cloud (particle being the manufacturer). Maybe there’s away around this but my pipeline isn’t full of the brightest bulbs.

  11. My doctors nephews salamanders vets third cousin never had any luck reprogramming the bird m365 box top version 1.5 with the Sara u260 and according to the pipeline the guy wasn’t even interested in tackling the research to mess around and attempt to reprogram the version 2 using a different IoT module. I did hear that he had success with installing a replacement m365 dashboard controller after a 2 week wait for delivery from China. And if that hum of pirated bird (auction bought of course) is any indicator I’m willing to bet the guy managed to get some custom firmware flashed. Also heard that dudes 2nd grade teachers drs aunt stumbled across a Lyft m365 ready for a replacement dashboard. Can’t remember exactly what the deal was but something about Lyft incorporating some sneaky custom wiring downstairs that would burn out a m365 dashboard if simply plugged in and turned on. Could try to holler down the pipeline and get specifics but figured I just post a update. Heard she got it to work as well as flashing some custom firmware to remove the speed limit. She just might be the first Lyft m365 pirate haha.

    1. Also it seems Lyft used digi xbee cellular module. From what my small brain could process from my information chain these IoT modules are very resistant to hacking and heard that completely bypassing them was the only option available and if you wanted the same capabilities inherent with cellular IoT devices then a new legitimately sourced identical module would be required to replacement. I think I heard that github has some info on m365 BLE protocol as well as a discussion about converting a stock m365 to be outfitted with ironically enough the same cellular module used in the version 1.5 box top birds, the Sara-u260

  12. Question, would the sim card from the GPS device could be located once you remove it from the board and put it on a phone and use it? Cause I have on on a phone and it works, of course the phone is logged in by a fake account from google.
    Question is can they still track you?

  13. It’s a meiGlink board …..you replace it with a Segway es2-4 board and top and get a charger sand the logo off and repaint the scotter . Look around Brisbane everyone is doing it just be a man and do it already and stop flooding this

  14. You can repurpose the lime scooters either by first renting out the scooter temporarily using a throw away account and a prepaid credit card gift card. Now remove the sim card from the motherboard without turning off the scooter by accidentally disconnecting any of the wires. Turn off your phones bluetooth (but leave your wifi or data turned on) then hold down the throttle and lift the scooter up off the ground so that the wheels are still spinning. Now end the rental using the smartphone app. Now the scooter will remain unlocked for as long as the scooter is kept turned on and the battery has a charge but if you let the battery die then it will need to be unlocked again using the same method so keep it plugged in when your not riding the scooter. Also, keep in mind that the headlight will always remain turned on unless you splice the wire and wire in an on/off switch.

    This will work as a temporary fix to make the scooter useable while you are waiting for either a replacement controller/motherboard/brain OR (better option imo) a $12 tp-link device from aliexpress which can be used to flash different firmware to the scooter so it can be used without needing to replace hardware that is working perfectly fine anyhow. Detailed instructions and in-depth discussions on how to perform this can be found on the scootertalk.org forum and (if you ask nicely) there are many people who might offer technical assistance with any problems you may run into. Of course it goes without saying that you should only ever do this with legally obtained scooters and anyone who obtains them illegally will likely not do well by confessing their criminal actions on an internet forum or comment section.

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