Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

$20 GPS/GLONASS/Beidou Receiver

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

GPS Module

Sticking a GPS module in a project has been a common occurrence for a while now, whether it be for a reverse geocache or for a drone telemetry system. These GPS modules are expensive, though, and they only listen in on GPS satellites – not the Russian GLONASS satellites or the Chinese Beidou satellites. NavSpark has the capability to listen to all these positioning systems, all while being an Arduino-compatible board that costs about $20.

Inside the NavSpark is a 32-bit microcontroller core (no, not ARM. LEON) with 1 MB of Flash 212kB of RAM, and a whole lot of horsepower. Tacked onto this core is a GPS unit that’s capable of listening in on GPS, GPS and GLONASS, or GPS and Beidou signals.

On paper, it’s an extremely impressive board for any application that needs any sort of global positioning and a powerful microcontroller. There’s also the option of using two of these boards and active antennas to capture carrier phase information, bringing the accuracy of this setup down to a few centimeters. Very cool, indeed.

Source: Hack A Day

Israeli Drone Pilots Made Their Life-and-Death Choices Over Gaza, and how?

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

A Heron drone at the Palmahim air base in Israel in December of 2011. Photo: AP/Dan Balilty

The latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas has settled into an uneasy ceasefire. But that won’t stop Israel’s drones from filling the skies over Gaza. In this 2009 story, written during the final days of the last Israel-Hamas  conflict, we took a look at how one drone pilot grappled with the moral choices that came with remotely spying, and ordering death, from above.

Life or Death choices will never been easier with judgement done through small screen. how these guys, manage doing these task properly or most importantly humanly. Guess, wired have this story covered here. Come on, take a look.

Courtesy: Wired.com

 

Hacking Home Automation Systems Through Power Lines

Saturday, August 13th, 2011



 

X10-Jammer.png

Quoted from Hackaday.com

As home automation becomes more and more popular, hackers and security experts alike are turning their attention to these systems, to see just how (in)secure they are.

This week at DefCon, a pair of researchers demonstrated just how vulnerable home automation systems can be. Carrying out their research independently, [Kennedy] and [Rob Simon] came to the same conclusion – that manufacturers of this immature technology have barely spent any time or resources properly securing their wares.

The researchers built tools that focus on the X10 line of home automation products, but they also looked at ZWave, another commonly used protocol for home automation communications. They found that ZWare-based devices encrypted their conversations, but that the initial key exchange was done in the open, allowing any interested 3rd party to intercept the keys and decrypt the communications.

While you might initially assume that attacks are limited to the power lines within a single house, [Kennedy] says that the signals leak well beyond the confines of your home, and that he was able to intercept communications from 15 distinct systems in his neighborhood without leaving his house.

Can’t imagine how someone disturbing your private time while you’re enjoying your hot bath? think again. have a nice weekend.

Courtesy: Hackaday, Wired

A GPS without GPS

Monday, July 11th, 2011

gsmlocalizerWow, that sounds weird. It’s actually a mini GSM-based localizer without any GPS devices attached. It’s an old device with the cheaper SimCom module SIM900.  Here is a complete working GSM localizator which is pretty cheap and small too.

As introduction, this system allows localization without directly using GPS technology; we are able to locate the desired object fairly precisely by using database availability together with the geographic position of the cells themselves. In some country the cell coordinates are not publicly known (i.e. in Italy). If so, where do we find such data? Through Google Maps… Google has been able to store billions of data regarding the location of its clients’ cell phones. But how does GSM localization work? The radio mobile network is made up of a number of adjacent radio cells, each of which is characterized by an identifier consisting of four data: a progressive number (Cell ID), a code related to the area in which that given cell is (LAC, or Local Area Code), the code of national network to which the cell belongs (MCC, an acronym for  Mobile Country Code), and finally the company code (MNC, or Mobile Network Code), which obviously identifies the phone company itself. For this reason, once a cell name and coordinates are known, and considering the maximum distance allowed between this cell and a phone  before the phone connects to a new cell, it is possible to find out, approximately, the most distant position of the phone itself. For example, if the maximum distance has been determined to be one mile, the cell phone can be within a one-mile radius. It can be deduced that the more cells are found in a given area, the more precisely one can determine where the phone is located (up to 200-350 feet). The idea of employing only a GSM device to build a remote localization system occurred to us when we realized that Google Maps Mobile, which had been conceived to allow smartphones equipped with a GPS receiver to use Google for satellite navigation, was extended to all cell phones, as long as they were able to support GPRS or UMTS data.  Naturally, this method allows but for a rough estimate: determining the precise position of the cell phone hinges on data regarding the coverage of a given cell which can only be provided by the Google server.

DataCell

The circuit

Compared to traditional localizers based on GPS, this device presents many advantages, primarily because it is lighter and less bulky, has a cost lesser and greater autonomy to exercise. This means that about one battery lithium ion, such as 1 Ah, our tracker can be in operation for several days (it all depends on the number of SMS that have to do). A locator based on cellular network may answare more immediately: the GPS receiver may take several minutes to determine its position. Our tracker works battery and thus can be brought on by people who may have the need to ask help or be tracked, but also placed on board motor vehicles (without installation) or simply introduced in goods in transit. To avoid unnecessarily draining the battery, the localizator provides its position via SMS, on requesto with a simple phone call. Among the functions implemented there is the SOS: By pressing the button the localizator sends a text message asking for help, containing the coordinates of position, the sending can be done to a maximum of eight thelephone numbers. When queried or with the autoreport function, sends an SMS with the localization.To know the location of remote device must send an SMS request cell is connected and sends a request (via GPRS) to Google’s site, the latter responds with the coordinates and the figure for the precision. Everything happens in seconds.

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Well, you can get hell of these stuff from link provided afterward. Design files and the firmware are included. A fun stuff to experiment with at your disposal. Mini GSM localizer without GPS at open-electronics.org.

All images are courtesy of open-electronics.org

Going cellular with your Arduino projects

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

going-cellular-with-arduino

It will be more interesting if we can get our projects connected, via wires or wirelessly. It can extend the functionality of the project itself. Here, i would like to share some useful stuff in order to add functionalities to your Arduino project.

You can add a huge measure of extensibility to a project by using a cellular connection. Anywhere the device can get service you can interact with it. In the past this has been a pretty deep slog through datasheets to get everything working, but this tutorial will show the basics of interacting with phone calls and text messages. It’s the 26th installment of what is becoming and mammoth Arduino series, and the first one in a set that works with the SM5100B cellular shield.

We love the words of warning at the top of the article which mention that a bit of bad code in your sketch could end up sending out a barrage of text messages, potentially costing you a bundle. But there’s plenty of details and if you follow along each step of the way we think you’ll come out fairly confident that you know what you’re doing. Just promise us that you won’t go out and steal SIM cards to use with your next project. Find part two of the tutorial here and keep your eyes open for future installments.

courtesy hackaday

GardenBot Is Monitoring Your Garden

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

how-to_module-map courtesy of gardenbot.org

Amazing work, and very interesting solution (of an experience of nature-lovers and DIYers) to keep an eye on your garden:

GardenBot is a garden monitoring system. This means that you put sensors in your garden, and GardenBot will show you charts of the conditions in your garden — so you can see the world the way your plants see it.

I did… er, I mean hi. My name is Andrew Frueh. Me and my wife, Melissa, like to garden a lot. We’re always experimenting with different methods in our garden and compost. We already were using a soaker hose for our garden. Last year, we used one of those mechanical timers to turn the soaker on for a pre-determined amount of time. But then…
I discovered Arduino, and immediately became engrossed. Arduino is a little computer (called a microcontroller) about the size of a business card. It has a bunch of analog and digital inputs/outputs so you can hook up various sensors, buttons, switches, audio/video devices — it’s pretty friggin’ cool. See the parts page for more information.
Anyway, considering my interests, I thought “gee, it sure would be neat to use the Arduino board to control the watering in the garden”. But then one thing led to another… and now we get to the (somewhat complete) GardenBot system that you have before you.
Like a lot of DIY-ers, I am entirely self-trained. So, there are a lot of holes in my knowledge. As I hunted around for information on the web, I found that too often the information in various tutorials was written by someone who failed to remember that lay-people (incidentally the target audience for any tutorial) don’t know the jargon, and therefor can have great difficulty in decoding the information. One of my goals with this project, is to have all the pieces laid out in plain language — step by step — to walk you through the whole process. Hopefully I pull that off.

check out the web, as all the resources and methods are well documented. Good job!

courtesy: gardenbot.org

Wirelessly Automate Your Home

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

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I’ve stumbled across this quite simple idea of home automation using Wifi. [Mrx23] combined OpenWRT, a microcontroller, and a set of RF controlled outlet switches to add automation to his plug-in devices. An RF remote that controls the switched outlets has been connected to an Arduino. The router communicates with the Arduino via a serial connection. And the router is controlled by a web interface which means you can use a smartphone or other web device to control the outlets.

The best thing about this system is the power that the router wields. Since it has an underlying Linux kernel you have the option of setting CRON jobs to turn lighting on and off, and group settings can be established to set up a room’s lighting level for watching movies, hosting guests, etc. Combine this with the fact that OpenWRT can use port forwarding for Internet control and the possibilities really start to open up.

Courtesy Mrx23 at Instructables.com

DIY Arduino water meter with iPad display

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

TEAGUE Give Water from TEAGUE on Vimeo.

It’s another arduino stuff to be working on here. All related references are included:

Some of the folks over at Teague Labs have been noodling around with measuring water consumption. They’ve built a graphing water meter using a YellowJacket Arduino board with built-in WiFi and coolant flow meter from a PC cooling system to see how they used water around the office. Water conservation is major concern in many areas around the world. Tools that allow us to observe and correct our behaviors help us towards a path to sustainability. Schematics and source code are available if you want to try it out for yourself.

courtesy: Adam

It’s an Arduino-based speed detector

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Flash / Arduino Based Speed Detector from Mike Chambers on Vimeo.

Mike Chambers built this excellent looking arduino-based speed detector. An Arduino measures the time it takes an object to travel between two points, which is then relayed back to a computer (or smart phone), where it is converted into average speed and presented in a clear manner. The concept for the project is simple, however he wins big points for putting it all together into a working package.

courtesy: Arduino Blog

Wireless explanations

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Wireless-Internet-Security.jpg

Consumers today can choose from WHDI, wireless HD, WiDi, wireless USB and Wi-Fi Direct. Confused? Check out our guide to these emerging wireless streaming-media technologies.

WHDI

Wireless Home Digital Interface, or WHDI, was finalized in 2009 to give consumers a way to link the PC to the TV. Think of it as the wireless equivalent of HDMI. The technology has a latency of less than 1 millisecond, which means it’s good enough not just for watching movies but should also work well to stream games from your browser to the TV.

WHDI can stream 1080p video at up to 3 Gbps (gigabits per second). All you need is a wireless HDI dongle that can plug into your laptop and a little receiver that goes behind the TV. That set will cost about RM464.48 and will be available early next year.

Meanwhile, TV makers such as Sharp and LG are rolling out TVs with built-in support for WHDI standard.

Slowly, the WHDI consortium hopes to convince PC makers integrate WHDI chips into laptops, similar to the way Wi-Fi chips are built in today.

WirelessHD

While other wireless technologies focus on streaming content from the PC to the TV, WirelessHD targets the most common electronic eyesore in homes: the black HDMI cables that snake out from behind the TV towards the set-top box, PC or the DVD player.

If built into TV sets, WirelessHD can offer fast data transfers of up to 10 GBps to 28 Gbps. That makes it the fastest of the lot for point-to-point data transfer.

So far, TV makers such as Panasonic, LG and Vizio have said they will offer wireless-HD–enabled sets by the end of the year. (more…)