Hackaday Links: March 25, 2013

Illegal, yet impressive

cans

Want a soda? Just grab a robot, shove it in a vending machine, and grab yourself one. This video is incredibly French, but it looks like we’ve got a custom-built robot made out of old printers and other miscellaneous motors and gears here. It’s actually pretty impressive when you consider 16 ounce cans weigh a pound.

UNOBTANIUM

chip

Okay, we got a lot of emails on our tip line for this one. It’s a group buy for a programmable oscillator over on Tindie. Why is this cool? Well, this chip (an SI570) is used in a lot of software defined radio designs. Also, it’s incredibly hard to come by if you’re not ordering thousands of these at a time. Here’s a datasheet, now show us some builds with this oscillator.

Chiptune/keygen music anywhere

keygen

[Huan] has a co-loco’d Raspi and wanted a media server that is available anywhere, on any device. What he came up with is a service that streams chiptune music from your favorite keygens. You can access it with Chrome (no, we’re not linking directly to a Raspberry Pi), and it’s extremely efficient – his RAM usage didn’t increase a bit.

Take it on an airplane. Or mail it.

bomb

[Alex]’s hackerspace just had a series of lightning talks, where people with 45-minute long presentations try to condense their talk into 10 minutes. Of course the hackerspace needed some way to keep everything on schedule. A simple countdown timer was too boring, so they went with a fake, Hollywood-style bomb. No, it doesn’t explode, but it still looks really, really fake. That’s a good thing.

Printers have speakers now?

nokia

[ddrboxman] thought his reprap needed a nice ‘print finished’ notification. After adding a piezo to his electronics board, he whipped up a firmware hack that plays those old Nokia ringtones. The ringtones play over Gcode, so it’s possible to have audible warnings and notifications. Now if it could only play Snake.

Classic game of Snake on an ARM controller

Every now and again we take a break from looking at all of your awesome projects and get to work on our own. I thought I’d take a minute to show off my game of Snake. It’s a classic that I remember playing on a graphing calculator (TI-83) back in high school. I had never written my own version and decided it would be a good reason to spend some more time on the ARM platform.

The dev board I’m using is the STM32 F0 Discovery board. Once I had a usable template for compiling the code on a Linux box everything else just started to fall into place. The screen is from a Nokia 3595. Several years back I cut off the keypad and made a breakout board for it. It’s pretty dim but it’s small and uses SPI so it tends to be my go-to display for prototyping. But I did get my hands on an SSD1289 TFT screen (after writing about this project) for about $16 and I’ve had some success with that. It uses a parallel interface so it’s not as easy to hook up and I’ve had some crosstalk issues when running at 24 MHz.

But I digress. Check out the demo video of my simple game after the break. There are more details about my programming choices at post link above. You will see this hardware again soon. I’m working on an On Chip Debugging primer and these ARM dev boards are perfect for it!

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Use a Nokia N82 TFT Panel with Your Arduino

[Andy] has been hard at work reverse-engineering the Nokia N82 2.4 inch cell phone display for use with an Arduino. As pointed out in the article, this same 2.4 inch display can be found in at least seven other Nokia products, so they are readily available. The panels can be found for as low as 3 pounds (or a little less than 5 dollars) on Ebay.

The results are quite good and can be seen in the videos after the break. The first demo displays a simulated weather report, and the second displays some JPEG images. Although an Arduino Mega was used in this demonstration, a standard Arduino can be used as well. Schematics as well as a bill of materials is included in the article, however if you’d rather just buy a board, he’s selling the rest of what he’s built on a first come first served basis. No word on how many he has in stock though!
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Recorder controlled Snake game played on a Nokia 6110

Dig out an old cell phone, hit the dollar store for some plastic recorders, and build this sound controlled snake game for your next party. The project will be a snap for those comfortable working with microcontrollers, and a great learning experience if you’re looking to try your first Arduino project.

[László] and his friend call the project the Snake Charmer. As shown in the clip after the jump it uses music notes to direct the path of the solid line in the classic cellphone game of snake. But this isn’t just some PC-based rip-off. They’re playing on the actual cellphone. A camera points at the screen to project it for the enjoyment of spectators. The control scheme uses relays soldered to the pads of the four directional buttons. The pitches are being detected by a Max/MSP program, with the corresponding commands pushed to the Arduino via USB. Yep, it’s overkill but the point was to get this up and running quickly and with a minimum of work. We’d say they succeeded.

Actually, now that we think of it, this isn’t a two player game. Perhaps the recorder control concept needs to be applied to a more modern version of the game.

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Resurrecting a cellphone with blown USB circuitry

[Script] is pretty lucky. One of the engineers who designed his cellphone included over-voltage protection in the circuit. Of course you probably wouldn’t know about this if there wasn’t a service schematic available. But a bit of searching around let him resurrect the fried USB segment of his Nokia N900.

Now [Script] has been experimenting with portable solar power like the system featured at 25C3 a few years back. Unfortunately he made an error which routed 12V into the USB connector’s 5V rail. After this unfortunate mistake the phone would not longer connect via USB, or charge the battery. Luickly the N900 is a favorite with the hacker community (you can see all kinds of N900 related projects here at Hackaday) and [Script] found his way to their N900 Schematic page. Digging into page four he found part F5300 which is labeled 2.0A. He removed the PCB and shielding, and tested the part with a multimeter to confirm it was blown. A quick wire bridge got the phone charging again, but [Script] plans to position a new fuse as soon as he can source the part.

Who says these devices aren’t user serviceable? If we could just get our hands on more service schematics perhaps our gear would last longer.

Minestation – An external weather display for your Minecraft world

minestation

If you’re a big Minecraft fan, the folks at [radikaldesign] have something that might be of interest to you. (Translation) Inspired by some of their Minecraft-loving friends, they have developed Minestation – a weather station for your Minecraft game.

The concept is simple. Here in the real world we have the ability to look out the window and see what it is like outside, but many of us turn to digital weather stations, the Weather Channel, or the local news to get the real scoop. They decided that the world of Minecraft should be no different, so they constructed an Arduino shield that allows players to see weather conditions as they play.

The shield contains a Nokia 6100 LCD screen which displays all sorts of useful information. It features a clock and calendar that reflect in-game time, making it easy to know when night is going to fall. It also continually displays the player’s coordinates as well as what the weather looks like in that region. Having this information at hand when you’ve been slogging away in the mines (losing track of time and weather) seems like it could be pretty useful at times.

You can buy one of the devices at Minestation.me, but the design is completely open, so you can easily construct one of your own without too much hassle.

Continue reading to see a video of the Minestation in action.

[Via HackedGadgets]

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Wardriving for Zigbee

Wardriving started out as a search for unprotected WiFi access points before hot spots were prevalent. And so this ZigBee protocol wardriving hardware which [Travis Goodspeed] put together really gives us a sense of nostalgia for that time. Don’t get us wrong, we love our pervasive WiFi access and don’t wish to go back to simpler times. But if the radio signals your looking for are scarce, locating them provides a challenge.

Regular readers will recognize that [Travis] is interested in all things RF. One of his projects included sniffing wireless keyboard packets out of thin air and displaying them on the screen of his Nokia N900. This is right along those lines but he’s upgraded to an N9 phone for the display hardware. He switched up the RF hardware, using a TelosB (a board he’s already familiar with) to get on the 802.15.4 ZigBee spectrum. This dev board has an expansion port which let him use an RN42 module for wireless communications with the phone. This means the sniffing hardware can be hidden away in a backpack or jacket. After all, nobody will question someone walking around staring at a smart phone.