Lego iPod hacking robot

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The Linux4nano project has been working to port the Linux kernel onto the iPod Nano along with other iPods in general. Although the iPodLinux project has had luck with some older iPods, newer models protect firmware updates with encryption. One of the ways they plan on running code on the device is through a vulnerability in the notes program; it causes the processor to jump to a specific instruction and execute arbitrary code. To take advantage of this, they first need to figure out where their injected code ends up in the memory. Currently, they are testing every memory location by painstakingly loading in a bogus note and recording its effect. Each note takes about a minute to test and they have tens of thousands of addresses to check over several devices.

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USB gameboy cart

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[Jose Torres] sent in his latest attempt at creating a custom Gameboy game cartridge. We’ve featured his projects before, and he’s come a lot closer over the last 2 years. He’s aiming to create an easy interface for homebrewers that doesn’t require any other special equipment. In this revision, he’s using a PIC and a memory controller to interface between an SD card and the Gameboy. The cart also has USB support for uploading files to the SD card and reprogramming the PIC. Because it’s just USB mass storage, it will work on almost any modern OS. He’s currently testing the device, but hopes to be selling them soon for $40.

PS3 Slim Teardown

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The new PS3 Slim has just been released, and ifixit has already posted a teardown. First, they easily removed the included 120GB hard drive, suggesting that upgrading it  shouldn’t be too hard. In order to get inside the cover, however, they needed to use a security Torx screwdriver. In the end, the Blu-ray drive turned out to be the bulkiest component, followed by some surprisingly gigantic fans. Hopefully this means that Sony won’t have to deal with overheating issues.

Related: Nintendo DSi Teardown

Collect and analyze ECG data

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Although we’ve covered DIY ECGs before, [Scott Harden] sent in his version that gives an in-depth explanation of what to do with the collected data. He built a basic battery-powered op-amp-based ECG for under $1. The circuit just amplifies the signal from the chest leads and feeds it into a computer via the microphone port. He then used GoldWave to record, filter, and save the signal. From there, he used python to analyze the heartbeat and calculate his heart rate and further manipulate the data. His previous blog posts go into more detail on how the python code works and why he chose software over hardware filters.

Sticky light

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With the availability of webcams and projectors, multitouch and interactive demos have become increasingly popular because they’re so easy. Students at the University of Tokyo took a new approach that uses lasers instead. They created Sticky Light, which uses mirrors, a laser, and a single photodetector. Unlike camera-tracking setups, this system requires no visual processing. The laser moves around and bumps into dark objects, sticking to them. It can follow drawings on the table or objects in space, such as shirt designs. They also created a few basic games and a demo that makes sounds based on the movement of the spots. Video of the project after the break.

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Smartphone anti-virus software

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With DEFCON and Black Hat going on, a lot of security issues are being made public. This year, cellphones have been a larger target than before. More and more people are carrying complex smartphones that have more ways to go wrong. Even worse, since phones are tied to a billed account, it is possible for malicious software to charge phones discreetly. However, Flexilis promises to keep your phone safe. It’s a free mobile anti-virus that works on most smartphones and PDAs with more clients in the works. It also provides easy backup and recovery options, as well as the ability to wipe the phone if it’s lost. The phone makers really need to fix the probelms, but in the meantime Flexilis can provide a quick response.

[via WSJ Digits]

Sewer clog alert system

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[miketysklar] noticed that a local business was having trouble with their sewage lines. People kept flushing tampons down toilets and it ended up clogging the pump. They had already installed a set of lights and horns to go off when it clogged, but they were hoping for SMS capability so they would know wherever they were. The new system piggybacks off the flashing lights by powering an XBee when they are activated. The signal it sends is recieved by another XBee attached to a computer running a python script. The script then sends a SMS via email to the poor fellow who has to fix it.

Related: Wireless Bootloading