We all remember the good ol’ days when smartphones were just getting started. Realizing that we could take a fully functional computer and shove it into something the size of a phone was pretty revolutionary. Some of the early phones like the original Motorola Droid had some features that just aren’t very common today, and [liviu] set out to fix this situation by adding a sliding QWERTY keyboard to his modern smartphone.
The build started with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and two cases: one for the phone and one for the keyboard. [liviu] found a small phone-sized bluetooth keyboard and removed all of the unnecessary bits before shoehorning it into the case. He then built the sliding mechanism from parts out of a PC power supply and two old flip phones and then was able to piece the two halves together. Using the two flip phone hinges gave this case the additional feature of being able to flip up after sliding out. The result is a modern smartphone with a fantastic and classic smartphone twist that looks very useful.
We’ve featured projects that give new life to old smartphones, but this might be the first to give old life to a new smartphone. We wouldn’t mind seeing more flagship phones that come with these features, but [liviu] has done a great job of making up for the manufacturers’ shortcomings!
Continue reading “New Smartphone Case Brings Back Old Smartphone Features”
Way back in the previous century, people used to use magnetized strips of tape to play music. It might be hard to believe in today’s digital world, but these “cassette” tapes were once all the rage. [Steve] aka [pinter75] recently found a Bang & Olufsen stereo with this exact type of antequated audio playback device, and decided to upgrade it with something a little more modern.
Once the unit arrived from eBay and got an electronic tune-up, [pinter75] grabbed a Galaxy S3 out of his parts drawer and got to work installing it in the old cassette deck location. He used a laser cutter to make a faceplate for the phone so it could be easily installed (and removed if he decides to put the tape deck back in the future).
The next step was wiring up power and soldering the audio output directly to the AUX pins on the stereo. Once everything was buttoned up [pinter75] found that everything worked perfectly, and mounted the stereo prominently on his wall. It’s always great when equipment like this is upgraded and repaired rather than thrown out.
With Samsung’s new Gear VR announced, developers and VR enthusiasts are awaiting the release of the smartphone connected VR headset. A few people couldn’t wait to get their hands on the platform, so they created, OpenGear, a Gear VR compatible headset.
The OpenGear starts off with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which is the target platform for the Gear VR headset. A cardboard enclosure, similar to the Google Cardboard headset, holds the lenses and straps the phone to your face.
The only missing part is the motion tracking electronics. Fortunately, ST’s STM32F3 Discovery development board has everything needed: a microcontroller with USB device support, a L3GD20 3 axis gyro, and a LSM303DLHC accelerometer/magnetometer. These components together provide a USB inertial measurement unit for tracking your head.
With the Discovery board strapped to the cardboard headset, an open-source firmware is flashed. This emulates the messages sent by a legitimate Oculus Rift motion tracker. The Galaxy Note 4 sees the device as a VR headset, and lets you run VR apps.
If you’re interested, the OpenGear team is offering a development kit. This is a great way for developers to get a head start on their apps before the Gear VR is actually released. The main downside is how you’ll look with this thing affixed to your face. There’s a head-to-head against the real Gear VR after the break.
[via Road To VR]
Continue reading “Build Your Own Gear VR”
[Ge0rg] got himself a fancy new Samsung NX300 mirrorless camera. Many of us would just take some pretty pictures, but not [Ge0rg], he wanted to see what made his camera tick. Instead of busting out the screwdrivers, he started by testing his camera’s security features.
The NX300 is sold as a “smart camera” with NFC and WiFi connectivity. The NFC connectivity turns out to be just an NXP NTAG203 tag embedded somewhere in the camera. This is similar to the NFC tags we gave away at The Gathering in LA. The tag is designed to launch an android app on a well equipped smartphone. The tag can be write-locked, but Samsung didn’t set the lock bit. This means you can reprogram and permanently lock the tag as a link to your favorite website.
[Ge0rg] moved on to the main event, the NX300’s WiFi interface. A port scan revealed the camera is running an unprotected X server and Enlightenment. Let that sink in for a second. The open X server means that an attacker can spoof keystrokes, push images, and point applications to the camera’s screen.
In a second blog post, [Ge0rg] tackled attaining root access on the camera. Based on the information he had already uncovered, [Ge0rg] knew the camera was running Linux. Visiting Samsung’s open source software center to download the open source portions of the NX300 confirmed that. After quite a bit of digging and several red herrings, [Ge0rg] found what he was looking for. The camera would always attempt to run an autoexec.sh from the SD Card’s root folder at boot. [Ge0rg] gave the camera the script it was looking for, and populated it with commands to run BusyBox’s telnet daemon. That’s all it took – root shell access was his.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons/Danrok]
Here’s how you can have a hands-free, no worries about the battery, Android experience while you drive. [Steve] removed the head unit from his car and replaced it with a Samsung Galaxy SIII Android phone. The look is pretty nice, but we do have a few suggested improvements if you try this one for yourself.
It started simply by removing the factory stereo which left a double-height opening in the dashboard. [Steve] cut a piece of wood to fit the gaping hole, painting it a grey that would compliment the interior colors of the car. The phone is mounted on this plate, with plenty of room for the USB and audio cables. From there it is finished up with another wooden plate which has a cutout for the touch screen. See the final project, as well as glimpses of the installation, in the video after the break.
[Steve] demonstrates using the GPS features and playing music. We’d improve this in a couple of ways. First off, using something like the IOIO board you could add a physical volume knob, which we’re not interested in giving up for a touch screen quite yet. If you were willing to go the extra mile, a CAN-BUS chip could be added too that would monitor button presses from the steering wheel music controls.
Continue reading “Galaxy SIII hack puts Android in your dashboard”
[Luigi Auriemma] almost rendered his brother’s TV useless attempting to play a simple practical joke. In the process, he uncovered a bug that could potentially upset a lot of people. His idea was to connect a computer to the system via WiFi, masquerading as a remote control. [Luigi] found that by altering the packet being sent to the TV by adding a line feed and some other characters to the name, it would begin an endless reboot loop.
He also discovered that he could easily crash the devices by setting the MAC address string too long. We’re not sure if he’s modifying the remote, or the television on this one though.
These bugs affect the Samsung TVs and Blu Ray players that utilize the same chip. The crazy part is that despite his attempts, he has been unable to contact anyone at Samsung to let them know!
[Adam Outler] has been pretty heavy into mobile device hacking lately. The biggest problem with that field is recovering from back flashes or development firmware glitches. In many cases you can use a JTAG programmer to reflash stock firmware to resurrect a handset. Unfortunately you’ll be hard pressed to find a phone that comes with a JTAG header, and soldering to the microelectronic boards is not for the faint of heart.
But a solution is here, [Adam] pulled together a wide set of resources to create a package to unbrick Samsung phones. Now we’re sure that there’s more than a handful of people who would argue that a bad firmware flash that can be fixed this way means that the phone wasn’t actually “bricked” in the first place. But what we see is one more barrier torn down between being a hardware user and becoming a hardware hacker. You’re much more likely to get in there and get your hands dirty if you know that you’ll be able to undo your mistakes and reclaim you precious pocket hardware. See just how easy it is in the video after the break.
Continue reading “One-click unbrick for Samsung phones”