The location clock found in the Harry Potter books makes for a really fun hack. Of course there’s no magic involved, just a set of hardware to monitor your phone’s GPS and a clock face to display it.
[Alastair Barber] finished building the clock at the end of last year as a Christmas gift. The display seen above uses an old mantelpiece clock to give it a finished look. He replace the clock face with a print out of the various locations known to the system and added a servo motor to drive the single hand. His hardware choices were based on what he already had on hand and what could be acquired cheaply. The an all-in-one package combines a Raspberry Pi board with a USB broadband modem to ensure that it has a persistent network connection (we’ve seen this done using WiFi in the past). The RPi checks a cellphone’s GPS data, compares it to a list of common places, then pushes commands to the Arduino which controls the clock hand’s servo motor. It’s a roundabout way of doing things but we imagine everything will get reused when the novelty of the gift wears off.
[Troy] recently got his hands on a greengoose starter kit and like any HAD reader would do, proceeded to probe it mercilessly.
The greengoose appears to be some sort of location-tracking device which reports back to a server on the position and location of radio transmitters relative to it. [Troy] managed to not only get the base-station’s firmware, but to also hack it and greengoose’s data to his own server. As if that wasn’t good enough he broke down the packet structure for us. Good job [Troy].
Looks like the greengoose could be a fun tool for anyone interested tweeting the whereabouts of their cat, or checking if the toilet seat lid is down. Let’s see what people come up with.
Straight out of the fiction of Harry Potter is The Magic Clock. Just like in the novel this clock (is it still a clock even thought it doesnt tell time?) shows the current location of family members, from home to the doctor’s office, even to mortal peril (We hear its nice this time of year).
The clock hands are driven by 4 separate servo motors, which are maintained by an Arduino. The location of family members is updated wirelessly via Twitter. We think a script written for each member’s GPS enabled cell phone might be more trustworthy, but it seems to be working fine currently.
Layar brings augmented reality to your cellphone with the release of Layar Reality Browser 2.0. Partnering with Layar, Brightkite improves the experience by accessing their content, along with Wikipedia, Twitter, and other services; then by using the camera on your cellphone, maps friends and other users data on the screen, over top of the live feed. Simply aim your camera at a bar and find that two friends are inside, and read a reminder to yourself that you didn’t like the live music. It’s interesting to see how much is already implemented, and with an additional 500 API keys released, what new things will come from Layar?
Related: AR flash library released, Location aware task tracking
Mozilla Labs has launched yet another new project, this one a location based plugin for Firefox. Geode will let users to take advantage of location data embedded within a web page. Like [MG Siegler] at VentureBeat, we wondered what the point of a location-based desktop browser was, since most cell phones are now GPS-enabled. TechCrunch and CNET’s Webware, cite the example of a user who is looking for a place to eat while out of town. Using Geode, his favorite restaurant review site would know automatically to display eating establishments in the locale he is visiting. As semantic information permeates more and more of the web, we’re certain that we’ll see many more uses for a tools like Geode. Geode’s uses Skyhook’s Loki technology, which determines position base on what WiFi access points it sees just like the Eye-Fi.