Game console hacking remains a fascinating area, and we’re glad when someone brings the spoils of exploration for us to marvel at. This time, we’re looking at the [mast1c0re] hack story by [cturt] – an effort to find bugs in PS2 emulation toolkit present on Sony PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles, proving fruitful in the end. What’s more, this exploit seems unpatchable – not technically, but under the Sony’s security practices, this emulator falls under the category of things they refuse to patch when identified.
In this story, we’re taken on a journey through the PS2 emulator internals, going through known-exploitable PS2 games and learning about a prospective entry point. Circling around it, collecting primitives and gadgets, bypassing ASLR on the way there, the emulator is eventually escaped, with a trove of insights shared along the way. As a demonstration, [cturt] successfully loaded a different PS2 game from outside the PS2 emulator, transferring it to the PS4 over WiFi! Continue reading “Subverting PS4 And PS5 Through The PS2 Emulator”
Mecanum wheels are popular choices for everything from robots to baggage handling equipment in airports. Depending on their direction of rotation, they can generate forces in any planar direction, providing for great maneuverability. [ATOM] set about building just such a robot chassis, and learned plenty in the process.
The design is similar to those we’ve seen in the past. The robot has four mecanum wheels, each driven by its own motor. Depending on the direction of rotation of the various wheels, the robot can move forward, backwards, and even strafe left and right. Plus, it can effectively tank turn without excessive slippage thanks to the rollers on each wheel. An ESP32 serves as the brains of the ‘bot, allowing it to be readily remote controlled via a PS4 gamepad over Bluetooth.
If you’re looking to build a small robot chassis that’s great at moving about in tight, small spaces, this could be a great project to learn with. All the necessary parts are relatively easily available, and the PCB files can be had on GitHub.
If you like the idea of mecanum wheels but need something bigger, consider starting with a set of hoverboard wheel motors. Continue reading “Mecanum-Wheeled Robot Chassis Takes Commands From PS4 Controller”
Micro USB was once the connector of choice for applications where USB-A was too big, but now USB-C has come to dominate all. It’s becoming standard across the board for many peripherals, and [Ian] recently decided that he wanted to upgrade his PS4 controller to the newer standard. Hacking ensued.
The hack consists of a small breakout board that enables a USB-C connector to be fitted into the PS4 controller in place of the original micro USB port. [Ian] explains what needs to be done to complete the mod, which first involves disassembling the controller carefully to avoid damage. The original microUSB breakout board can then be removed, and fitted with one of a selection of replacement boards available on Github to suit various revisions of PS4 controller. A little filing is then required to allow the new connector to fit in the controller case, and [Ian] notes that using an 0.8mm thick PCB is key to enabling the new breakout board to fit inside the shell.
It’s a neat hack that makes charging PS4 controllers way easier in the modern environment without having to keep legacy micro USB cables around. We’ve actually seen similar hacks done to iPhones, too, among other hardware. Video after the break.
Continue reading “PlayStation 4 Controller Gets A USB-C Upgrade”
When the PlayStation 3 first launched, one of its most lauded features was its ability to officially run full Linux distributions. This was of course famously and permanently borked by Sony with a software update after a few years, presumably since the console was priced too low to make a profit and Sony didn’t want to indirectly fund server farms made out of relatively inexpensive hardware. Of course a decision like this to keep Linux off a computer system is only going to embolden Linux users to put it on those same systems, and in that same vein this project turns a more modern Playstation 4 into a Kubernetes cluster with the help of the infamous OS.
The Playstation 4’s hardware is a little dated by modern desktop standards but it is still quite capable as a general-purpose computer provided you know the unofficial, unsupported methods of installing Psxitarch Linux on one. This is a distribution based on Arch and built specifically for the PS4, but to get it to run the docker images that [Zhekun Hu] wanted to use some tinkering with the kernel needed to be done. With some help from the Gentoo community a custom kernel was eventually compiled, and after spending some time in what [Zhekun Hu] describes as “Linux Kernel Options Hell” eventually a working configuration was found.
The current cluster is composed of two PS4s running this custom software and runs a number of services including Nginx, Calico, Prometheus, and Grafana. For those with unused PlayStation 4s laying around this might be an option to put them back to work, but it should also be a cautionary tale about the hassles of configuring a Linux kernel from scratch. It can still be done on almost any machine, though, as we saw recently using a 386 and a floppy disk.
Sony’s video game division is gearing up for their upcoming PlayStation 5, pushing its predecessor PlayStation 4 off the spotlit pedestal. One effect of this change is Sony ever so slightly relaxing secrecy surrounding the PS4, allowing [Nikkei Asian Review] inside a PlayStation 4 final assembly line.
This article was written to support Sony and PlayStation branding for a general audience, thus technical details are few and far in between. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise given how details of mass production can be a competitive advantage and usually kept as trade secrets by people who knew to keep their mouths shut. Even so, we get a few interesting details accompanied by many quality pictures. Giving us a glimpse into an area that was formerly off-limits to many Sony employees never mind external cameras.
The quoted engineers are proud of their success coaxing robots to assemble soft and flexible objects, and rightly so. Generally speaking robots have a hard time handling non-rigid objects, but this team has found ways to let their robots handle the trickier parts of PS4 assembly. Pick up wiring bundles and flat ribbon cables, then plug them into circuit board connectors with appropriate force. Today’s automated process is the result of a lot of engineers continually evolving and refining the system. The assembly machines are covered with signs of those minds at work. From sharpie markers designating positive and negative travel directions for an axis, to reminders written on Post-It notes, to assembly jig parts showing the distinct layer lines of 3D printing.
We love seeing the result of all that hard work, but lament the many interesting stories still untold. We would have loved a video showing the robots in action. For that, the record holder is still Valve who provided an awesome look at the assembly of the Steam Controller that included a timelapse of the assembly line itself being assembled. If you missed that the first time, around, go watch it right now!
At least we know how to start with the foundations: everything we see on this PS4 assembly line is bolted to an aluminum extrusion big or small. These building blocks are useful whether we are building a personal project or a video console final assembly line, so we’ve looked into how they are made and how to combine them with 3D printing for ultimate versatility.
[Frank] came up with a clever way to extend the storage of his PS4. He’s managed to store his digital PS4 games inside of storage devices in the shape of classic NES cartridges. It’s a relatively simple hack on the technical side of things, but the result is a fun and interesting way to store your digital games.
He started out by designing his own 3D model of the NES cartridge. He then printed the cartridge on his Ultimaker 3D printer. The final print is a very good quality replica of the old style cartridge. The trick of this build is that each cartridge actually contains a 2.5″ hard drive. [Frank] can store each game on a separate drive, placing each one in a separate cartridge. He then prints his own 80’s style labels for these current generation games. You would have a hard time noticing that these games are not classic NES games at first glance.
Storing the game in cartridge form is one thing, but reading them into the PS4 is another. The trick is to use a SATA connector attached to the PS4’s motherboard. [Frank’s] project page makes it sound like he was able to plug the SATA cable in without opening the PS4, by attaching the connector to a Popsicle stick and then using that to reach in and plug the connector in place. The other end of the SATA cable goes into a custom 3D printed housing that fits the fake NES cartridges. This housing is attached to the side of the PS4 using machine screws.
Now [Frank] can just slide the cartridge of his choice into the slot and the PS4 instantly reads it. In an age where we try to cram more and more bits into smaller and smaller places, this may not be the most practical build. But sometimes hacking isn’t about being practical. Sometimes it’s simply about having fun. This project is a perfect example. Continue reading “Add Extra Storage To Your PS4 With Retro Flair”
[Frank Zhao]—an awesome guy, an inadvertent Hackaday contributor, and an Adafrut fellow—has come up with a device to use a keyboard and mouse with Playstation 4 games. He calls it the UsbXlater, and even if [Frank] can’t get it working with his PS4, it’s still going to be an awesome tool.
On the board are two USB ports and an STM32F2 microcontroller. The micro provides a USB host interface and a USB device interface, enabling it to translate mouse movements and keystrokes into something a PS4 can understand. While this project was originally designed to use a keyboard and mouse on [Frank]’s shiny new PS4, it’s not quite working just yet. He’s looking for a few gamer/dev folks to help him suss out the communication between a keyboard/mouse, the UsbXlater, and a PS4.
Of course, even if this device is never used for what it’s designed for, it’s still a very, very interesting tool. With two USB ports, the UsbXlater could act as a signal generator for USB devices and hosts, analyze USB traffic, or provide other applications that haven’t even been thought of yet.
[Frank] is hitting his head against the wall trying to figure out the PS4 protocol, so if you have some USB skills, feel free to hit him up for a blank PCB, though preference falls to people who will game with it and to those with a USB traffic analyzer. If you lack the skills for USB development, [Frank] is still looking for a better name for his device.