Gaze Upon Just How Thin ATM Skimmers Are Getting

ATM skimmers are electronic devices designed to read financial card information, and they are usually paired with a camera to capture a user’s PIN. These devices always have to hide their presence, and their design has been a bit of an arms race. Skimmers designed to be inserted into a card slot like a parasite have been around for several years, but [Brian Krebs] shows pictures of recently captured skimmer hardware only a fraction of a millimeter thick. And that’s including the battery.

As hardware gets smaller, cameras to capture PIN entry are more easily hidden in things like fake panels.

The goal of these skimmers is to read and log a card’s magnetic strip data. All by itself, that data is not enough to do anything dastardly. That’s why the hardware is complemented by a separate device that captures a user’s PIN as they type it in, and this is usually accomplished with a camera. These are also getting smaller and thinner, which makes them easier to conceal. With a copy of the card’s magnetic strip data and the owner’s PIN, criminals have all they need to create a cloned card that can be used to make withdrawals. (They don’t this so themselves, of course. They coerce or dupe third parties into doing it for them.)

Retrieving data from such skimmers has also led to some cleverness on the part of the criminals. Insertable readers designed to establish a connection to the skimmer and download data is how that gets done. By the way, retrieving data from an installed skimmer is also something criminals don’t do themselves, so that data is encrypted. After all, it just wouldn’t do to have an intermediary getting ideas about using that data for their own purposes. Continue reading “Gaze Upon Just How Thin ATM Skimmers Are Getting”

Making A Concrete Pinhole Camera

A pinhole camera is a simple device that can be built out of virtually any simple closed chamber, and is a great way to learn about the basic principles of photography. [amuu] has created a version that can be readily made out of concrete, of all materials!

The photos captured by the camera featured some artifacts from light leaks and grit, but the results are enjoyable for their lo-fi, homebrew aesthetic!

The build starts with the creation of a mold for the concrete, using laminated sheets of foam. The foam is assembled with cut-up pieces of a ballpoint pen serving as cores in the mold. This provides a space for the film winders in the final product. The concrete is then mixed and poured into the mold, and allowed to set. Tapping or vibrating the mold is key to getting all the air bubbles out of the mixture.

Once set, the foam is mechanically removed from the concrete and the camera can be finished off. The internals are given a lick of black paint to improve the camera’s light-tightness. The shutter, pinhole, and film winder are then also fitted to allow the camera to function.

[amuu]’s first attempt to take photos with the camera lead to some results that were pleasingly lo-fi. There are overscan issues on the film and some other artifacts, but overall, the results are esoteric and fun. If you’re not a fan of the concrete camera, though, you can always consider making a 3D-printed pinhole camera instead!

Neat Open Source Pinhole Camera Design Can Be (Mostly) 3D Printed

We’ve seen pinhole camera builds before, but this new one looks interesting. The Scura is a new open-source design for a pinhole camera that shoots on analog 35 mm film. It is all 3D printable except for a handful of screws, magnets, and the pinhole itself, which is laser cut. The cool and unusual part of the design, though, is the curved film holder, which produces 60 mm by 25 mm (2.3 in by 0.98 in) panoramic images that are sharp to the edges.

Continue reading “Neat Open Source Pinhole Camera Design Can Be (Mostly) 3D Printed”

Pocket Watch Becomes Pinhole Camera

A pinhole camera is essentially the combination of the camera obscura with photographic film. The pinhole acts as the lens, focusing the scene onto the film, and after exposure, the film can then be developed and you’ve got your picture. They’re a fun way to learn about photography, and easy to make, too. [Brooklyntonia] decided to undertake just such a build, secreted away inside a pocket watch.

The build starts with with the disassembly of the watch, which acts as the main cavity of the camera. A bellows is then constructed from leather and a toilet paper roll to allow the camera to still fold up inside the original watch case. A pinhole is then installed at the end of the bellows, and a plug is used as a shutter to allow the bellows to be properly unfolded prior to exposure.

It’s a fun build, and one that comes complete with instructions for the proper processing of film in your own darkroom – or bathroom. Pinhole cameras can be useful tools, too – particularly for things such as capturing an eclipse.

Catch The Eclipse With A Wearable Pinhole Camera

You say you didn’t have enough warning to order eclipse glasses, and now they’re too expensive to buy? Or maybe you did order some but they ended up being those retina-combusting knock-offs, and now you’ve got nothing to protect you during the partial phase of Monday’s eclipse? Don’t dump a ton of money on unobtainium glasses — just stick your head in a cardboard box.

You may end up looking like a Box Troll with the aptly named [audreyobscura]’s box on your head, but it really is a safe and effective way of watching the eclipse, or for gazing at our star anytime for that matter. It’s nothing more than a large pinhole camera, with a tiny hole in a scrap of aluminum soda can acting as an aperture. The pinhole in one end of a box casts a perfect image of the sun on a paper screen at the other end of the box. A hole for your head with a proper gasket around your neck — maybe the neck of an old T-shirt would be a bit more comfortable and light tight? — and you’re ready for the show. The bigger the box, the bigger (and dimmer) the image will be, so you’ll want to cruise the local home center for long boxes. Because walking around with a water heater box on your head is totally cool.

Really, though, Hackaday readers can’t say they didn’t know this was coming. We started covering this in January, we’ve got hundreds of eclipse meetups across the country, and we’ve even covered some citizen science opportunities you can partake in on Eclipse Day. If you don’t have your head in a box, that is.

Thanks to [Roger Guess] for the idea on this one.

Use Your New-timey Printer To Make An Old-timey Camera


Here’s something to show people who don’t realize the power of 3D printing. This pinhole camera has one moving part which reveals the pinhole, letting in light to expose the 4×5 film inside.

It’s a near perfect roundup of all the qualities a 3D printer has to offer. The build centers around a 4×5 film holder which can be acquired used or as surplus. This drives home the concept of having the power to replace parts (in this case the entire camera) that fit with existing pieces (the film holder). The picture above is big enough that you can see the layers on the pyramid shape, but the structural pieces around the frame also let the uninitiated see that you can print more than just solid blocks. And finally, since it’s up for download on Thingiverse its a good example of how the printing community shares and builds on each others’ work.

Does it take quality photos? We have no idea. So far we didn’t see any example pictures. But really, if you’re looking for top quality you might want to build your own digital camera. Here’s one that uses a 14 megapixel sensor.

A Beautiful Pinhole Camera Takes Wonderful Photos

With digital cameras in everything and film slowly disappearing from shelves, everyone loses an awesome way to learn about photography. Pinhole cameras allow anyone to build a camera from scratch and also learn about those crazy f-stops, exposure times, and focal planes that Instagram just won’t teach you. [Matt] put up a great tutorial for building your own pinhole camera, and the project looks easy enough for even those who are still playing around with their cell phone cameras.

For film, [Matt] used 120 film, a medium-format medium that is sill available for purchase and processing in some areas. Because [Matt]’s pinhole is relatively large and made out of very thin material, the camera could take very large pictures – much larger than standard 35mm fare. If you’re using a smaller camera projecting a smaller image onto the film, 35mm would be the way to go as it greatly decreases the difficulty of finding film and a processing center.

[Matt]’s camera is constructed out of laser-cut plywood. Because he’s producing extremely wide images with his camera (6 x 17cm), [Matt] needed to curve the film around the focal plane of the camera to keep the entire image in focus.

The mechanics of the camera are simple – just a pair of knobs to wind the film and a small metal shutter. [Matt] added a shutter release cable to open and close the aperture without moving the camera and had a wonderful camera perfect for capturing either sirs and madams or Civil War battlefields.