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  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 10:00
    Malware In A Mouse

    mouser

    Keyloggers, in both hardware and software forms, have been around for a long, long time. More devious keyloggers are smart enough to ‘type’ commands into a computer and install Trojans, back doors, and other really nasty stuff. What about mice, though? Surely there’s no way the humble USB mouse could become an avenue of attack for some crazy security shenanigans, right?

    As it turns out, yes, breaking into a computer with nothing but a USB mouse is possible. The folks over at CT Magazine, the preeminent German computer rag, have made the Trojan mouse (German, terrible Google translation)

    The only input a mouse receives are button presses, scroll wheel ticks, and the view from a tiny, crappy camera embedded in the base. The build reads this camera with an Arduino, and when a certain pattern of gray and grayer pixels appear, it triggers a command to download a file from the Internet. From there, and from a security standpoint, Bob’s your uncle.

    Looking through the camera inside a mouse is nothing new; it’s been done over the Internet and turned into the worst scanner ever made. Still, being able to process that image data and do something with it is very cool. Just don’t accept mouse pads from strangers.

    Danke [Ianmcmill] for the tip.

    Filed under: peripherals hacks, security hacks

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 09:00
    14-year-old can save the government millions by changing font style

    14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani’s science fair project was to determine how his middle school could reduce ink usage to cut waste and cost. What he found would save his school thousands of dollars, and, if applied to the federal and state governments, millions!

    “Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” Suvir says with a chuckle.

    He’s right: Chanel No. 5 perfume costs $38 per ounce, while the equivalent amount of Hewlett-Packard printer ink can cost up to $75.

    So Suvir decided to focus his project on finding ways to cut down on the costly liquid.
    Collecting random samples of teachers’ handouts, Suvir concentrated on the most commonly used characters (e, t, a, o and r).

    First, he charted how often each character was used in four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Then he measured how much ink was used for each letter, using a commercial tool called APFill® Ink Coverage Software.

    Next he enlarged the letters, printed them and cut them out on cardstock paper to weigh them to verify his findings. He did three trials for each letter, graphing the ink usage for each font.
    From this analysis, Suvir figured out that by using Garamond with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24%, and in turn save as much as $21,000 annually.

    With encouragement from his teacher and the founders of the Journal for Emerging Investigaors, Suvir applied his research to a larger institution, the government.

    Using the General Services Administration’s estimated annual cost of ink — $467 million — Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30% — or $136 million per year. An additional $234 million could be saved annually if state governments also jumped on board, he reported.

    Read more.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 08:00
    Using Minecraft to Understand the Speed of Light

    YouTube user spumwack explains and demonstrates the speed of light using Minecraft. Don’t blink! You don’t want to miss it. via digg

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 07:00
    Scientists Create Biodegradable Battery That ‘Melts’ Inside The Body After Use

    14919-combined

    An exciting new biodegradable battery unveiled by a team of scientists could have huge potential for biomedical devices. The tiny battery can be safely absorbed by the body within just three weeks and could be used in temporary devices intended to monitor tissue or deliver short term treatment. From Nature:

    Their devices, described last week in Advanced Materials, use anodes of magnesium foil and cathodes of iron, molybdenum or tungsten. All these metals will slowly dissolve in the body, and their ions are biocompatible in low concentrations. The electrolyte between the two electrodes is a phosphate-buffered saline solution, and the whole system is packed up in a biodegradable polymer known as a polyanhydride.

    Currents and voltages vary depending on the metal used in the cathode. A one-square-centimetre cell with a 50-micrometre-thick magnesium anode and an 8-micrometre-thick molybdenum cathode produces a steady 2.4 milliamps of current, for example. Once dissolved, the battery releases less than 9 milligrams of magnesium — roughly twice as much as a magnesium coronary artery stent that has been successfully tested in clinical trials, and a concentration that is unlikely to cause problems in the body, says Rogers. “Almost all of the key building blocks are now available” to produce self-powered, biodegradable implants, he says.

    All versions can maintain a steady output for more than a day, but not much longer. The team hopes to improve the batteries’ power per unit weight — known as power density — by patterning the surface of the magnesium foil to increase its surface area, which should enhance its reactivity. The authors estimate that a battery measuring 0.25 cm2 and just one micrometre thick could realistically power a wireless implantable sensor for a day.

    Read more.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 07:00
    3D Printed Instrument Roundup

    3d printed instruments

    We just stumbled upon a great repository of all musical things that are 3D printed. It’s a wiki dedicated to sharing and recording these 3D printed instruments to help encourage further ideas and projects.

    The people maintaining the site find different projects and share them, adding descriptions which would go great into a database search. They explain the type of instrument, it’s history, a picture or video of it and the method of manufacture used to create, whether it be traditional 3D printing, laser cutting, or another process.

    Some of our favorites include the 3D printed guitar bodies, the strange looking multi-horn trumpet (that’s the weird one, bottom right) by the MIT Media Lab, and of course the humongous bass recorder (top right).

    Stick around after the break for a few videos of these different unconventional, unorthodox instruments!

    Or this ridiculously cool minimalist 3D printed guitar…

    Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, musical hacks

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 06:00
    Take a Look at the First Successfully Transplanted, 3D-Printed Skull

    140327-science-3d-printed-skull_e8f32032da2f37a65e83ba184442e287

    Big news in 3D printing and medical implants this week! Doctors have declared the first 3D printed skull replacement surgery they performed 3 months ago to be a success. From io9:

    The surgery was performed in the University Medical Center at Utrecht University, after surgeons there began treating a patient with a condition that was causing a thickening of the skull to almost 3 times its normal thickness, putting pressure on the brain.

    By replacing her skull with a 3D printed one — a process that took over 23 hours of surgery — they were able to alleviate that pressure and, three months after the surgery, the doctors report that the patient has already gone back to work.

    Read more.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 06:00
    An Engineer’s Eureka Moment With a G.M. Flaw

    Adafruit 2823

    An Engineer’s Eureka Moment With a G.M. Flaw – NYTimes.com.

    Somewhere inside the two-inch ignition switch from the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt was the clue that Mark Hood was seeking.

    Mr. Hood, an engineer in Florida, had photographed, X-rayed and disassembled the device in the fall of 2012, focusing on the tiny plastic and metal switch that controlled the ignition. But even after hours of testing, Mr. Hood was at a loss to explain why the engine in Brooke Melton’s Cobalt had suddenly shut off, causing her fatal accident in 2010 in Georgia.
    It was no small matter to her family, which had hired Mr. Hood for their lawsuit against General Motors.

    Then he bought a replacement for $30 from a local G.M. dealership, and the mystery quickly unraveled. For the first time, someone outside G.M., even by the company’s own account, had figured out a problem that it had known about for a decade, and is now linked to 13 deaths.

    The discovery was at once subtle and significant: Even though the new switch had the same identification number — 10392423 — Mr. Hood found big differences. A tiny metal plunger in the switch was longer in the replacement part. And the switch’s spring was more compressed. And most important, the force needed to turn the ignition on and off was greater.

    Read more.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 05:00
    DIY Driving Simulator #ArduinoD14

    NewImage

    DIY Driving Simulator using an Arduino. via for projects

    This project took about 3 months to completely finish. It acts as a gravity sensing light up “steering wheel” that allows the user to interact with driving games by tilting and turning the steering wheel. This is a great gift for tech people or anyone that is getting ready to drive. Later in the project I explain how you can take this project further to include gas and brake pedals, then with a little software modification, have a real working driving simulator. This setup converts forward tilt into the ‘w’ key, backward tilt into the ‘s’ key, left tilt into the ‘a’ key, and right tilt into the ‘d’ key, although this can be modified to use arrow keys quite easily. I only used wasd because that is how I programmed my driving game in game maker. I teach you how to use real gravitational sensing potentiometers and then, for those of you like myself who can’t afford to buy things of that nature, show you both where to find them in household items and how to build your own from scratch!

    NewImage

    Read more


    Arduino adafruit industries blog

    March 29th is Arduino Day 2014! Arduino day is “a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.” Adafruit will be celebrating with 24 hours of Arduino posts on our blog as well as a special Saturday night LIVE show with Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of Arduino. Join us Saturday, March 29th at 7 PM EST to celebrate Arduino Day 2014! Be sure to check out our extensive learning system tutorials on Arduino as well as our Arduino blog coverage and products.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 04:00
    Playing Chiptunes with an Arduino Micro! #ArduinoD14

    Verspira uses an arduino micro to play ‘Last Chip Standing’ by Chewrafa, from the arduino blog.

    All audio generated on the Arduino. If you look closely, you will see that I added a yellow wire going from the TXLED to the empty hole that was drilled over by the reset button. I added a single pin though this hole and epoxied the plastic in place to give myself another bread-boardable pin that has access to the PD5 signal which was not broken out. Simple mod really.

    Original code by Jarkko Lempiäinen.
    See this video for code links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZfw7l…

    Track: ‘Last Chip Standing’ by Chewrafa.
    See this video for higher quality audio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPKri-…

    The audio probably suffers a bit from my DAC since the resistors were 5% tolerance and I did my best to hand-match them down to 0.1%. I’m looking to get a real 8bit DAC and put it on this Arduino to see if there are any improvements.

    All audio from the Arduino, with an LM386 amplifier on the receiving end of my R-2R DAC. Resistances were 10K and 20K (actual 9.85K and 19.70K).

    Read more.


    Arduino adafruit industries blog

    March 29th is Arduino Day 2014! Arduino day is “a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.” Adafruit will be celebrating with 24 hours of Arduino posts on our blog as well as a special Saturday night LIVE show with Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of Arduino. Join us Saturday, March 29th at 7 PM EST to celebrate Arduino Day 2014! Be sure to check out our extensive learning system tutorials on Arduino as well as our Arduino blog coverage and products.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 04:00
    Frankenstein, The Open Source Engine Control Unit

    20140306_state

    The Engine Control Unit is a vital part of every car made in the last 40 years or so, but unlike just about every other electronic device, open source solutions just don’t exist. [Andrey] is trying to change that with rusEfi, a project that hopes to bring together hardware, software, and engines in one easy to use package. He’s even designed Frankenstein, a full ECU ‘shield’ for the STM32F4 Discovery dev board.

    This isn’t the first time we’ve seen [Andrey]‘s adventures in building an ECU. An earlier board was also powered by the STM32F4 Discovery, and he actually drove his 96 Ford Aspire around using this homebrew ECU. It was only firing on two cylinders, but that was only a loose solder connection.

    Of course building an ECU from scratch is worthless without the proper firmware that balances and engine’s fuel economy and performance. This sort of testing must be done empirically and [Andrey] has a Kickstarter going for the development of this firmware and some dyno time. No rewards, but it’s worth chipping in a buck or two. I did.

    Videos below.

     

    Filed under: Engine Hacks, transportation hacks

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 03:00
    Jackpot! How Hackers Made a Slot Machine That Mixes Drinks #ArduinoD14

    NYCResistorBarBot

    The list of impressive BarBots making use of Arduino-based controllers and monitors is nearly endless. Here’s one that I particularly enjoyed, a Fear and Loathing-based Slot Machine BarBot created by members of NYCResistor back in 2011:

    …From poking around the machine’s guts to the actual build-out, though, the idea and approach changed a number of times. They initially planned to assign ingredients to positions on the wheel, but near-undrinkable combinations convinced them to switch to a randomized reward system based on 30 or so preprogrammed cocktails stored in an sqlite database. As Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite drink was Wild Turkey, however, they mapped it to the big win.

    Ingredients like vermouth, bitters, sour mix, and garnishes were kept on the side, and Resistor Max Henstell developed an Arduino-based LED screen to instruct players what they needed to add to their payout. This same display also cycles through quotes from the story, like “We can’t stop here! This is bat country!!” and “As your attorney I advise you to to spin.” The video screen behind the sunglasses on the bottom image was also programmed with video clips, but it blew out a day before the project was finished.

    For the beverage reservoirs, the team first tried using breast pumps to dispense pours. However, they couldn’t keep liquids and air from flowing back into these containers. Instead, team member Nick Vermeer developed a pressure bed system using 12 solenoid valves and modified food-safe jars from The Container Store.

    Controlled by an internal netbook running a python script, the Arduino-controlled solenoids open in a timed sequence and dispense through a shared nozzle designed by Adam Mayer. Though these pressurized containers could have been dangerous, they were able to avoid booze explosions; the containers are secure with up to 30 pounds of pressure.

    In the final version, they also added in a “cheat” that lets users request a specific cocktail to come up as the next selection, and gave the machine the ability to tweet the drinks it mixes through @luckyloathing. It took eight hackers three weeks and between thirty and fifty hours each to build this cocktail-slinging device, and their victory party must have been awesome….

    Read More.

    NYCR BarBot02

    NYCR BarBot03

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 01:00
    Arduino-powered laser harp lets you make your own techno music #ArduinoD14

    This is such a cool project: A laser harp that you can play techno music on built by Stephen Hobley. Hack n Mod posted the story on how it works.

    Ever wanted to make your own techno music, but are tired of the standard midi controller? Well, you could build a harp (of all instruments) out of lasers and then play it by breaking the beams of light. See how it’s done.

    The harp is connected to the software synthesizer, the TAOS sensor array sits on the floor in its own stand. The array above the harp is just made up of mirrors for added p’zazz.

    How it works:

    Basically an Arduino connects to a 12-bit DAC chip (TLV5618) using the SPI 3 wire interface. It sends numbers on a timer interrupt to the DAC to specify where the beams are, 0, 455, 900, etc… all the way up to 4095 for 10 beams. It holds each position for about 500uS (half a millisecond) and switches laser blanking on (or is that “off”) for this time. When it reaches the end it brings the mirror back to the start position. The output of the DAC chip is 0-5V – this is then converted to -5v / +5v using a TL082 Opamp chip from Radio shack. Finally it’s passed through a Balanced Line Driver chip to give the full (-/+) 10v ptp) differential signal required by the mirror (laser galvanometer) amplifier.

    Read more.


    Arduino adafruit industries blog

    March 29th is Arduino Day 2014! Arduino day is “a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.” Adafruit will be celebrating with 24 hours of Arduino posts on our blog as well as a special Saturday night LIVE show with Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of Arduino. Join us Saturday, March 29th at 7 PM EST to celebrate Arduino Day 2014! Be sure to check out our extensive learning system tutorials on Arduino as well as our Arduino blog coverage and products.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 00:01
    2-Axis Solar Tracker Always Gets a Tan

    2013-07-21 16.46.37

    Let’s face it — solar panels still aren’t that efficient. So why not pump as much juice out of them as possible? Building a 2-axis solar tracking unit can increase daily power output by around 30%!

    [Jay Doscher] had his power go out back in 2011, and even though it was only for 12 hours, they realized how ill-prepared they were to deal with a power outage. Food was spoiled, flashlights were dead, candles were sparse… they needed to be prepared better for the next time this happened. This spawned one of [Jay's] longest running projects on his blog Polyideas.

    His goal was to build a fully automated solar tracking unit that could be setup anywhere, and automatically track the sun to ensure optimum ray catching. It makes use of a 12V gear reduced motor to provide panning, and a linear actuator with positional tracking to control the tilt. To track the sun he’s got a digital compass and an Adafruit Ultimate GPS breakout board. To control it all he’s using is an Arduino UNO, but he has been through multiple iterations including his first with a BeagleBone. It’s a very slick and well engineered system and [Jay's] hoping to spread it around the world — the entire thing is open source. What a guy!

    It’s not quite complete yet, but he’s got an amazing build log and a GitHub repository  filled with info — plus the following video showing it off in its current state!

    For a cheaper solar tracker you can build for fun, check out this baby-sized solar tracker that also uses an Arduino! Or how about this one built out of parts from the hardware store?

    Filed under: solar hacks

  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 00:00
    An animated Arduino LED matrix table is perfect for a maker’s wedding #ArduinoD14

    NewImage

    Phil Tucker made this festive animated Arduino LED matrix lounge table for his wedding reception. It’s definitely the perfect touch to any social gathering!

    Finally got around to making an LED table top, as it turns out — for my wedding reception. We decided to have a lounge area and an LED coffee table seemed like the perfect centerpiece for it. I decided instead of making a full table that I would make a table top that fit onto an existing ottoman. I affixed the LED strips to a plywood board which had a 2″ raised frame with aluminium duct tape, to help with brightness.

    Arranging the LED’s in a proper matrix turned out to be quite a job as the strips I used came pre-wired and there isn’t all that much length between LED’s on the strip. I ended up having to cut and re-splice the connection leads for each row of the 7 x 7 matrix, after that the construction went quickly. You could get around this by using a more modular LED strip solution, I initially had ShiftBrites slated for this project, but I made something else with them and when I got around to this table top there were much less expensive options available.

    Read more.


    Featured Adafruit Products!

    NewImage

    12mm Diffused Flat Digital RGB LED Pixels (Strand of 25) – WS2801; RGB Pixels are digitally-controllable lights you can set to any color, or animate. Each RGB LED and controller chip is molded into a ‘dot’ of silicone. The dots are weatherproof and rugged. There are four flanges molded in so that you can ‘push’ them into a 12mm drill hole in any material up to 1.5mm/0.06″ thick. They’re typically used to make outdoor signs. These pixels have a flat square back, we also have pixels that are long and thin, both are the same electronics, just different shapes! (read more)


  • Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 00:00
    Celebrate Arduino Day #ArduinoD14 @adafruit with Massimo Banzi @mbanzi a special 7pm ET ASK AN ENGINEER LIVE SHOW!!!

    Adafruit 2797
    Adafruit 2798
    Celebrate Arduino Day 2014 with Massimo Banzi, the co-founder and CEO of Arduino and Adafruit on a special Saturday night 7pm ET March 29th, 2014 LIVE show!

    Arduino Day is a worldwide celebration of Arduino’s first 10 years. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.

    See you there!

  • Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 23:00
    Dr. Who’s Nemesis, The Dalek, Built With Arduino #ArduinoD14

    Arduino powered Dalek for all the Dr. Who fans. Designed by Andy Grove.

    After building the miniature robot Dalek earlier this year I decided to start work on a full size Dalek with the goal of finishing it in time for Halloween. Well, with just days to spare, I have completed the project. The construction took five months, with some time spent working on it almost every weekend. It is made primarily out of plywood, cardboard, and papier mache.

    The electronics were comparatively quick to put together. I have used an Arduino Uno to monitor two ultrasonic sensors in the base of the Dalek and send the results over the USB serial interface to a Raspberry Pi which then plays an MP3 clip. I used a separate Arduino board to provide sound to light functionality to drive the dome lights.

    I could have achieved the results I needed using just the Arduino or the Raspberry Pi but it seems to me that the Arduino is better suited to low level functions interacting directly with sensors and motors and so on, whereas the power of the Raspberry Pi is that it is a fully functional Linux computer for tasks requiring more computational power and where I can easily use existing skills to leverage the internet later on. Eventually I plan to put motors in the dome and a webcam in the eye so that the Dalek can look directly at people that approach. I also want to have a web interface to be able to control behavior.

    NewImage

    Read more


    Arduino adafruit industries blog

    March 29th is Arduino Day 2014! Arduino day is “a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.” Adafruit will be celebrating with 24 hours of Arduino posts on our blog as well as a special Saturday night LIVE show with Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of Arduino. Join us Saturday, March 29th at 7 PM EST to celebrate Arduino Day 2014! Be sure to check out our extensive learning system tutorials on Arduino as well as our Arduino blog coverage and products.

  • Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 22:00
    New to the Arduino? Check out this Free Short Course for Absolute Beginners! #ArduinoD14

    Screen Shot 2014 03 26 at 12 50 13 PM

    New to Arduino? It’s never too late to start! The Open Source Hardware Group offers a handy 14 part beginner course in Arduino. Check it out here!

    There is tons of information on the internet about Arduino including forums, tutorials, and project websites – it is overwhelming (and time consuming)! Especially when you are looking for a simple and concise introduction to the basics – many times, people assume too much electronics or programming background (or both), making it difficult to get anywhere.

    The Arduino Short Course for Absolute Beginners is a tutorial style collection of lessons designed to be simple and easy to follow which uses only the most relevant circuits and programs and assumes nothing about your prior electronics or programming experience.

    What you will Learn:

    • The basics of programming your Arduino
    • Just enough electronics to be dangerous
    • How to make your Arduino respond to sensors
    • How to build teleporters, levitating fortresses and nuclear reactors (maybe a stretch…)

    The course will cover the most useful, enlightening and simplest examples to get you started on the road to hacking just about anything.

    Screen Shot 2014 03 26 at 12 50 21 PM

    Read more.

  • Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 21:00
    Arduino LED Light Show Projects from ASIMOWALK5 #ArduinoD14

    Matthew W shared a number of Arduino Light Show stages and projects in the Adafruit Google+ Community, documenting his exploration with this type of activity on
    his blog here. The video above was one of the last ones he created with his first adhoc stage as it was starting to show signs of age (according to him, at least), and checkout the videos below for videos from his second and third stages as well.

    From his Arduino LED Light Show FAQ:

    Q. What went into building the show?

    Talking about the latest show, there were a few key elements. It all started with two lines of breadboarded LEDs. The towers were constructed using cardboard and tissue paper to diffuse the RGB LED light in each tower. The “spotlights” were three servo motors with an RGB LED taped onto each servo horn. Behind the scenes was an Arduino Mega 2560 (compatible) along with three mini-breadboards to distribute power and to setup the resistors for some of the LEDs. Half of the wiring was 22AWG solid-core wire, the other half were female-to-male jumper wires.

    Q. Inspirations?

    World of Color at Disney California Adventure started it all. Canada’s Wonderland, my home park, upgraded their fountains over the past couple of years so that has also helped inspire me to continue. I also ran a short-lived (like they all are) website called More Than Starlight that was a blog and database for fountain and light shows. I discovered many amazing shows across the world which helped build up to my first light show.

    Those are pretty much all that’s been asked and worth noting… At least I have a post to reference if it’s needed….

    Read More.


    Arduino adafruit industries blog

    March 29th is Arduino Day 2014! Arduino day is “a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.” Adafruit will be celebrating with 24 hours of Arduino posts on our blog as well as a special Saturday night LIVE show with Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of Arduino. Join us Saturday, March 29th at 7 PM EST to celebrate Arduino Day 2014! Be sure to check out our extensive learning system tutorials on Arduino as well as our Arduino blog coverage and products.

  • Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 21:00
    Hacking A Laser Tape Measure In 3 Easy Steps

    uni-t-laser-distance

    [Andrew] got a little help from his friends to hack a laser distance meter. Using laser distance meters as sensors is one of the great quests of hackers – with good reason. Accurate distance readings are invaluable for applications including robots, printers, and manufacturing. We’ve seen people try and fail to hack similar units before, while others built their own from scratch. [Andrew] started experimenting with the UNI-T 390B, a relatively cheap ($60 USD) device from China. He found the 390B has a serial port accessible through its battery compartment. Even better, the serial port is still enabled and outputs distance data. While data could be read, [Andrew] couldn’t command the 390B to start a measurement. The only option seemed to be using the Arduino to simulate button presses on the 390B’s front panel.

    In an update to his original blog,  he described an Arduino sketch which would decode the distance measurements. That’s when [speleomaniac] jumped in with the discovery that the Uni-T would respond to commands in the form “*xxxxx#”. Armed with this information, [Andrew] posted a second update with a basic command breakdown. Command *00004# will take a single measurement and output the data via serial. Command *00002# will take 3 measurements, outputting them in a C style array format. There are several other commands which output debug information and what appear to be stored measurement dumps. Although he didn’t explore every nuance of the data output,  [Andrew] now has enough information to initiate a measurement and read the result. Nice work!

    [Thanks James!]

    Filed under: laser hacks, tool hacks

  • Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 20:00
    Open Ardbir: Homebrewing with the Arduino! #ArduinoD14

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    As homebrewing becomes more and more common we keep running across new ways to do it. Here’s another one brought to you by MAKE using Arduino!

    Home-brewing can be summarised in the hobby of “make beer at home” and for sure is a wide spread passion all over the world including Italy where I live. Home brews are basically small scale craft beer makers and generally speaking people passionate not only in food and beverage but also DIY enthusiast that love experiments, recipe creation, row material transformation, process control and all the typical makers attitude.

    I don’t know if is the process of beer making, that is typically a step process with support of specific technology, or the typical mindset of the home brew, but as a matter of fact almost all home brewers are very proud of building their own instruments and equipment. In my long home-brewing experience I have found that one of the common passion in the community is the self-building and DIY of the equipment needed for beer production. In the many forums, blogs or magazines talking about the hobby there is almost always a section dedicated to DIY equipment…

    After many different experiment in the past with different technologies I came across the Arduino, and at least to me, it seems the 5th ingredient for beer making—together with water, barley malt, hop and yeast. The marriage of Arduino with brewing is perfect… perhaps because I live in Ivrea, not so far from the Arduino started.

    I tried first to port all my basic systems—based on standard off the shelf technology such as the PID thermo regulator, and PWM controller—into the Arduino ecosystem so that I can start other—more advanced—projects. During one of these initial projects I met another Italian guy who shared a similar passion passion for beer, the same ideas, and same love for the Arduino. Everything stared from a post of mine on an Italian blog… this stimulate people to enhance and develop my initial “all in one ” brewing system idea and from another similar Arduino-based project in Australia from Stephen Mathison.

    Thanks to the massive and fundamental contribution of Salvatore Petrone and Masimo Nevi I’m very proud to present Open Ardbir. It is a control system to fully automate the beer production process with a single vessel brewing system (RIMS).

    The core of the system is an Arduino Uno and a shield has been developed in order to connect temperature probe, the SSR relay for heating element, the Pump relay, and a buzzer, as well as an LCD display and 4 push buttons for interaction and programming.

    Read more.

    NewImage

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