Archive for the ‘software’ Category

How to build your own RFID reader

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

DIY RFID

Do you have any idea on how easy it is to build your own RFID reader? Well, we stumbled upon some sites that’ll give you some clearer picture on how to make this thing happens. As pointed out by hackaday,

[Klulukasz] left a comment pointing to this DIY RFID reader that was a final project in 2006 for a class at Cornell University. It is well documented and includes not only a schematic and code, but an explanation of the design considerations used during the build. The project uses an ATmega32 and the parts list priced out at about $50 at the time. There were plenty of responses to theRFID spoofer post pointing out that there are readers available for $40, but we want the fun of building our own.

A bit more vague with the details but no less interesting is this other simple RFID reader design.

Courtesy: hackaday

Public bus transportation notifier

Friday, April 16th, 2010

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Knuckles904 at Random Hacks of Boredom was tired of waiting for the bus. His town had installed GPS units on the buses so that riders could track their locations via the Internet so he knew there should be a way to avoid the wait while also never missing the bus. He developed a sketch for an Arduino to check the bus location and notify him when it was on its way.

This method saves him from leaving his computer running. It parses the text data from the public transportation website and updates both an LED display, as well as a Twitter feed. Now he can monitor several different bus lines via the hardware at home, or though a cell phone if he’s on the go.

This guy have done a useful tricks and provides some sources to make this project works. Well done!

Open Source Lion-Tracking Collars In the Works

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

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Want to help save some lions in Kenya? Well, help these guys make some open source lion-tracking collars, complete with GPS and GSM on board.

Lions are not doing too well in Kenya, with only 2,000 or so left. Two groups called Lion Guardians and Living with Lions are dedicated to studying and saving the diminished lion population. In order to help them out, Justin Downs of Brooklyn’s GRND Lab built them a solar-powered treehouse last year. Now, he’s working on some of the aforementioned collars to help them track the lions.

He’s looking for donations on Kickstarter for the project now, so if your passions create a Venn diagram between open-source hardware and lions, well, here you go.

Source Kickstarter via Clay Shirky

More functional GPS in minutes

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

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Sparky with his hack to allow interaction with the core of an Aldi GO Cruise 4300 GPS Windows CE OS. All that’s required is a few programs and registry edits to the GPS, which anyone can accomplish within a few minutes. But, suggested you go slow and double-check your work, anyway; nobody wants a bricked system. After you’re done you can run such great programs like the one Sparky suggest for 4WD enthusiasts,Ozi Explorer.

via Hack a Day

Arduino balloon tracking

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The Ferret is a high-altitude balloon tracking hardware package. Created by [Adam Greig] and [Jon Sowman], it uses an Arduino to gather NMEA data from a GPS unit, format the data into a string, and transmit that string on narrow-band FM. The project, built in one afternoon, is a tribute to the prototyping simplicity the Arduino provides.

The unit was powered by four AA batteries, using the Arduino’s on board voltage regulator. This provided a bit of heat which helps in the frigid reaches of the upper atmosphere. The bundle above was put in a project box and attached to the outside of the balloon’s payload, then covered with foam for warmth and moisture resistance. This tracking is a lot less complicated than some of the photography setups we’ve seen for balloons. It’s also more versatile because it broadcasts the GPS data so that many people can track it, rather than just logging its location.

Courtesy: Hackaday

Keep tabs on your car with Multidisplay

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

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Stumble upon MultiDisplay car monitoring system. Unlike traditional systems that rely on interfacing with the OBD-II protocol and existing car computer, the MultiDisplay uses an Arduino and custom shield with a combination of sensors; including temperatures, pressures, throttle, Boost, and etc. The data collected can then be displayed on a 20×4 LCD or streamed to a PC with visualization and event recording. It’s an Arduino based open source display for interesting measurand´s of a car hosted on Google Code.

Courtesy: Multidisplay via Hackaday

Thwart robbers with an old smoke alarm.

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

[Anders] tipped us off about his hack that re-purposes a smoke alarm as a burglar alarm. Unfortunately, he came home in the middle of a burglary but wanted to be ready the next time someone tries to break in. By cleverly patching into the test button on an old smoke detector he created a circuit-trip alarm. One side of each piece of wire is secured to the frame and jam of a window. A paper clip completes the circuit by pinching the two bare conductors. If the window is opened the connection is lost and the alarm sounds.

We see a few problems with this system. First off, never hack your ONLY smoke detector, you are putting lives at risk by doing so. But [Anders] says he’ll have a replacement detector and since these things need to be replace every ten years or so, chances are you can find an old one kicking around. We’d recommend disguising the case so that people aren’t confused about it being a smoke detector. Secondly, he’s mounted the alarm right in the window frame so most likely an invader will just smash the thing to bits.

Anyway, it’s still an interesting reuse of these ubiquitous, and life-saving, devices.

courtesy consider the clam via hackaday

Python IR tracking for the handicapped

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

[Techb] had a friend who was paralyzed after an accident and could no long use a computer. He rigged up an amazingly simple mouse interface using python to implement infrared tracking. The controller was built from an old hat by adding an IR LED and wireless mouse modified so that the button could be clicked by the user’s mouth. A webcam with exposed film used as a filter can track the IR LED and take input from the wireless mouse buttons.

This setup, which draws inspiration from Wii Remote white boards,  is much simpler than the Eyewriter (and doesn’t shine an IR LED into your eye). Although [Techb] wants to add facial recognition to the system, there’s something to be said for such a simple implementation.

courtesy hackaday

Cellphone controlled door locks

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

[Tom Lee] and his colleagues of Sunlight Labs just moved to a new office. The doors are setup like a security checkpoint with electronic strikes and buttons on the inside to allow entry. The button simply completes a low-voltage circuit, activating the strike which made it quite easy to patch into. They build an interface board with a small relay to complete that circuit. As we’ve seen before, Linksys routers have plenty of extra room in the case so there was no problem housing the new circuit in this tiny network device. Now [Nicko] and his friends can use a custom app to input an access code or to verify a device ID from a cell phone and gain entry. The door still has keyed locks in case of a power outage. In fact, the only change made to the system was the addition of two wires to the “door release” button as seen above. See the one-touch device ID authentication in the video after the break.

This hack is similar to the GSM door entry from last year. In this case, the phones are communicating with the door via web interface and not the GSM network.

via Hackaday, Sunlight Labs

Serial communication with cell phones

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

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Will O’Brien at Biobug.org has been doing some cellphone integration work. He recently picked up some Motorola c168i cellphones from eBay. It turns out there is a serial port that uses TTL communication with a standard head-phone jack as an interface. [Will] soldered up a connector and used a USB to FTDI cable to interface with the phone. To his surprise he was able to read off the stored text messages even though they were PIN protected in the phone’s operating system. The messages on these units were trivial but this is another example of the importance of clearing your data before discarding your devices.

courtesy of Biobug.org via Hackaday