Visit New Website

Posted: November 26, 2010 in Android Hacks

Visit our new website

Welcome back to this fourth and final installment of the series. The first three parts should have been enough to get you off the ground, but a few more learning examples wouldn’t hurt. It’s also a good time to discuss some of the other things these little chips can do. Join me after the break to:

  • Expand the sample code, adding features to our simple program while I challenge you to write the code yourself.
  • Discuss AVR fuse bits, how to use them, and what to watch out for
  • Touch on some of the peripherals you’ll come across in these chips

As a grand flourish to the series, I’ve used the example hardware from this final part to build a bicycle tail light. Hopefully this will inspire you to create something much more clever.

Series roadmap:


[Peter Gunn] added an LCD screen to his Dockstar. Now that we think of it, this really shouldn’t be all that hard since the Dockstar can run a Linux kernel and it has USB ports. [Peter] took inspiration from [Sprite_TM’s] key chain LCD4Linux hack that we looked at many moons ago. He used a cheap Coby DP182 digital picture frame that can be picked up for less than $5 used. A bit of firmware hacking and LCD4Linux has no problem pushing images to the device via USB. [Peter’s] setup refreshes the screen at one frame per second, but if all you need is a bit of feedback from the otherwise headless system this is a great solution.

[Thanks Mikka]


[Raj Sodhi] and [Brett Jones] have been working on interactive augmented reality as part of their research at the University of Illinois. What they have come up with is a stylus-based input system that can use physical objects to create a virtual landscape. Above you can see that an environment was built using white blocks. A camera maps a virtual world that matches the physical design. From there an infrared stylus can be used to manipulate virtual data which is projected on the blocks.

What they’ve created is a very advanced IR Whiteboard. There are buttons on the stylus, one of which opens the menu, made up of circles that you can see above. From there, you can select a tool and make it do your bidding. After the break there’s a video demonstration where a game is set up, using the menu to place tanks and mines on the 3D playing field. We wonder how hard it would be to do this using a projector and a Kinect.

Read the rest of this entry »


Myhackz Classifieds

Posted: November 20, 2010 in News

Announcing Myhackz Classifieds ! Buy, sell, trade your tools and junk with other Hack a Day readers.

Quite often, we get emails or comments with people asking “do you want this piece of junk?” or “Would you sell that thing?”. We usually just push them off on craigslist, but we realize that it can be hard to find our specific flavor of stuff in craigslist. Who posts a half smashed tube radio on there?

Our answer is to give you guys the Hack a Day Classifieds. We know it isn’t perfect, but we wanted to supply this service to hackers. Feel free to post what you’ve got. Think of it like a little mini craigslist, just for us. It should be fully functional and ready to go, but who knows what issues we’ll see when you all start going there. Please be patient and understanding with us.Coming on the 26th of November


Five Free Evalbots

Posted: November 20, 2010 in Contests, robot Hacks

If you’re a member of a hackerspace and you’ve been hoping and wishing for an evalbot to tear apart with your bare hands, you’re in luck! [Dave Bullock] is giving out five evalbots to five lucky hackers chosen at random. We thought that the $125.00 dealwe saw the other day was good but this is right outta town!

The draw is on Black Friday, so you’ve got a few days to submit your details. We’ve only had a few posts about the evalbot to-date covering the initial examination of the hardware and a USB power modification. We’re interested in seeing where people take this, and we’d love to follow how each of these free ‘bots turns out. For those already working on an evalbot, keep it up and take lots of pictures!

[Photo credit: Dave Bullock from eecue]


[Pyra] was looking for a way to reprogram some ATtiny13 microcontrollers in a SOIC package. He’s re-engineering some consumer electronics so adding an ISP header to the design isn’t an option. He had been soldering wires to the legs of every chip but this is quite tedious. What he needs is an adapter that can make physical contact with the legs just long enough to program new firmware. After looking around he discovered that a PCI socket can be used as a progamming clip (translated). It shares the same pitch as a standard SOIC package but is not wide enough for the chip. He cut out 4 rows of the socket and the section of motherboard it was soldered to. Then he made a cut down the middle of the plastic and bent the two sections apart. The image above illustrates this, but not shown are the eight wires that he later added to connect to the device.

We wonder if this can be adapted to program SOIC parts without removing them from a circuit board. That would be a handy tool for finishing up the LED lightbulb hack.