Flipper Zero Blasts Past Funding Goal And Into Our Hearts

There’s never been a better time to be a hardware hacker: the tools are cheap, the information is free, and the possibilities are nearly endless. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. The Flipper Zero was developed to make the world of hardware hacking even more accessible, and as of this writing, has officially ended its Kickstarter campaign after raising a staggering $4.8 million. To say the community is excited about this little gadget is perhaps an understatement.

So what does the Flipper Zero do that’s gotten everyone so worked up? Well, for one, it’s not so much what it can do as how it does them. Taking inspiration from the already popular pwnagotchi project, the Flipper Zero gamifies the normally rather mundane tasks of sniffing for 433 MHz signals and flashing EEPROMs with the addition of an animated dolphin that’s sustained by your hacking. If you want the little fellow to grow and be happy, you need to keep poking and prodding around at any piece of hardware you come across.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of features, that’s a little harder to nail down. Partially because the device has picked up a number of new tricks (such as support for Bluetooth and NFC) thanks to the fact it made better than 8,000% of its original funding goal, but also because it can be expanded with additional hardware and software which obviously won’t get developed until the community gets their hands on the core device.

But even the core functionality, demonstrated in the video after the break, is quite compelling. The Flipper Zero’s CC1101 transceiver chip (anyone else thinking of the IM-ME right now?) allows it to record, analyze, and play back RF signals from 300 to 928 MHz, meaning you can instantly take over remote control systems that aren’t using a rolling code for authentication. It can also read and emulate many different RFID cards, record and transmit IR signals, emulate a USB HID device and run programmable payloads, and act as a USB to UART/SPI/I2C adapter. All contained in a sleek and pocket-sized enclosure that looks like a proper cyberpunk hacking gadget.

We’re extremely interested in seeing what the community can do with the Flipper Zero, especially now that the extra windfall has allowed the team to create a formal Developer Program for people who want to help work on the core platform or produce add-on modules. After banking nearly $5 million, this will be the yardstick by which all other crowd sourced hacking gadgets are measured for years to come; let’s hope they make it count.

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Hackaday Prize Entry: ESP Swiss Knife

The best equipment won’t help you if you don’t have it with you in the moment you need it. Knowledge, experience, and a thick skin may help you out there in the mud of the hardware battlegrounds, but they can’t replace a multimeter, an oscilloscope, a logic analyzer, a serial console or a WiFi access point. [Arcadia Labs] has taken on the challenge of combining most of these functions into a single device, developing the Hacker’s equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife: The ESP Swiss Knife.

esp_swiss_knife_enclosureJust like a Swiss Army Knife is first and foremost a knife, the EPS Swiss Knife is first and foremost an ESP8266. That means it is already a great platform for any kind of project, and [Arcadia Labs] supercharged the plain ESP-12E module by adding a couple of useful features commonly used in many projects. There’s an OLED display, four pushbuttons, a temperature sensor, and a Li-Ion cell with a charging module to power the device on the go. A universal “utility socket” breaks out the ESP8266’s leftover GPIOs and the supply voltage for attaching further peripherals.

With the hardware up and running, [Arcadia Labs] went on with building a couple of applications to provide the functionality that would make the device earn its name. Among them is a basic oscilloscope, a digital NTP based clock, a thermometer, a WiFi tester, a weather station and a 3D printer status monitor. More applications are planned, such as a chronometer, a timer, a DSLR intervalometer and more. A protective 3D printable enclosure is also in the works. [Arcadia Labs] has been joining the Hackaday Prize 2014 and 2015 before and we’re glad to see another great build coming into existence!

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Little Helper: Open Source Hardware Hacker Multitool

We love a good multitool. There’s something seductive about knowing that if, for some reason, you need to saw down a tree on a moment’s notice, you have a tiny saw in your pocket. We also like electronic versions of the multitool: gadgets that serve a lot of purposes as you develop and debug hardware. One of the most polished-looking ones we’ve seen is [Phillip Schuster’s] Little Helper.

The open source gadget looks like an iPod (if an iPod had header pins sticking out of it). It has basic analog I/O capability, can generate PWM pulses, sniff I2C traffic, and do lots of other features. It is open source, so you can always add more capabilities if you need them.

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Multitool Alarm System

Here’s a way to make sure you don’t leave your Leatherman multitool somewhere. It’s an alarm system that will start a timer when the tool is removed from the holster. After five minutes the module beeps to remind you to put the tool back where it belongs. Annoying? Possibly, but if you’re not done with your work just press the reed leaf switch on the module to reset the timer. A PIC 12F683 handles the timing and generates the waveform for the piezo buzzer. Perhaps this could have been accomplished with a dual 555 chip like the LM556 (one timer for the countdown and another for the piezo waveform) but the PIC has power-down modes available that should make the button batteries last a long time.