Monthly Archives: May 2017

Piezoelectric buzzer teardown

via Dangerous Prototypes

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A teardown of piezoelectric buzzer from  Electronupdate:

An assembly commonly used on fire, burglar and similar alarm systems.
Based around a piezoelectric disk coupled to a plastic cylinder with a hole on the end (used to amplify the sound).
The controller appears to use a rom-based look up table to generate the sounds
The pattern right below the array almost looks like a series of digital wave forms. I think this is strong evidence of an address decoder.. I presume there is a decoder below each of the columns which actives if the pattern matchs.

More details at Electronupdate blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Panelization – using GerberPanelizer on Windows (Linux possible)

via Dangerous Prototypes

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Arsenijs over at Hackaday.io writes:

This tutorial was done on Windows. Authors claim it could also be used on Linux by using Mono, but I haven’t tried and don’t understand a lot about Mono to see what could be done. I am switching to Linux nowadays, so I’d be very grateful to anybody that’d make instructions on how to launch it, however – and I’m sure other fellow Linux-wielding engineers will be grateful, too =)
This is the GitHub issue describing steps to launch it on Linux, half-successfully (thanks to @jlbrian7 for figuring this out

More details at Hackaday.io project page.

Thanks Scrubis! Via the contact form.

Computer gesture control via webcam and Arduino

via Arduino Blog

While touchscreens are nice, wouldn’t it be even better if you could simply wave your hand to your computer to get it to do what you want? That’s the idea behind this Iron Man-inspired gesture control device by B. Aswinth Raj.

The DIY system uses an Arduino Nano mounted to a disposable glove, along with hall effect sensors, a magnet attached to the thumb, and a Bluetooth module. This smart glove uses the finger-mounted sensors as left and right mouse buttons, and has a blue circle in the middle of the palm that the computer can track via a webcam and a Processing sketch to generate a cursor position.

You can see it demonstrated in the video below, drawing a stick man literally by hand, and also controlling an LED on the Nano. Check out this write-up for code and more info on the build!

Hardware Humpday: DIY Firefly LED Bracelet

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

I’ve been playing with the idea of embedding LEDs into jewelry for a while now, because everyone loves something pretty that lights up. Right?! I’ve also been really curious about resin casting, and how I might be able to leverage it for building enclosures. I finally decided to give both a try for this week’s edition of Hardware Hump Day. While it may seem like a simple concept electronically (power some LEDs with a battery, done), making electronics for wearable usage is actually an interesting and challenging design problem, and the fabrication takes time, consideration and lots of iteration.

When we talk about wearables, it's important to consider what it means to wear anything. Our clothes and accessories are, in a many ways, how we express who we are to the outside world. In order to make a successful wearable, it’s important to consider that the object should not only function electronically, but also look and feel good to the user. When designing jewelry, we have the added challenge of having to keep the power and parts small enough to either fit inside or hide.

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I had a few goals for this project - I wanted it to be attractive, chargeable and actually wearable. Let’s walk through this process step-by-step so that you can follow along!

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First you need some supplies from your local craft store (or Etsy or Amazon if your craft store’s stock isn’t up to snuff).

You will also need the following supplies from SparkFun:

Start by sanding down the leads on the Fairy String LEDs. If you haven’t already, you will need to snip away any hardware that might have come with them to adapt to a wall or battery source.

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Place the Lipo Battery in the Silicone Mold, followed by the string of lights. Make sure you keep the sanded down LED leads and Lipo connector out of the mold.

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Fill the mold up with as much glitter as it will hold. (This is optional. If you don’t like or want glitter - skip this step!)

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Following the instructions on the packaging, pour the Epoxy mix into the mixing cup and use a paper clip to mix it together. Mix slowly as to avoid making air bubbles.

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Pour the mixed Epoxy into the bracelet mold, setting all your electronic parts and glitter inside of the bracelet.

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After 24 hours, remove the bracelet from the mold.

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Find the + and - lead by using a multimeter or power source, and then solder on a JST connector accordingly.

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Finally, pop your LiPo connection into the soldered JST connector and enjoy the light!

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There you have it! Now go make one for yourself and enjoy all the attention you get for having the coolest jewelry ever.

While I managed to hit my three goals for this project (it’s pretty, chargeable and actually wearable) there is still a functionality issue that needs to be addressed. The battery, while small enough to hide inside the mold, drains power extremely quickly when in use. In order for this to be a successful wearable object, it needs to remain powered on for much longer.

How would you manage power for this bracelet? How would you use resin casting to enhance project fabrication techniques?

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Bicycle-powered Menabrea beer dispenser

via Raspberry Pi

Cycle. Beat the on-screen pace. Receive free Menabrea beer. All on a system controlled by a Raspberry Pi.

Honestly, what’s not to like?

Menabrea UK

If you’re wondering what it takes to win an ice cold pint at one of our Race to Biella events, this clip will give you more of an idea. It’s no mean feat!! Do you think you have the pedal power? Join us tonight at The Avonbridge Hotel for sunshine, cycling and, of course, a refreshing pint or two.

Glasgow-based creative content agency Bright Signals were contacted by Wire with a brief for a pretty tasty project: create something for Menabrea that ties in with the Giro d’Italia cycle race passing close to the brewery in Biella, Northern Italy.

Cycle race, was it? Menabrea brewery, you say?

The team at Bright Signals came up with the superb idea of a bicycle-powered Menabrea beer dispenser.

It must be noted that when I said the words ‘bicycle-powered beer dispenser’ aloud in the Raspberry Pi office, many heads turned and Director of Software Engineering Gordon Hollingworth dropped everything he was doing in order to learn more.

The final build took a fortnight to pull together, with Bright Signals working on the Raspberry Pi-controlled machine and Wire in charge of its graphic design.

Menabrea Beer Bike Raspberry Pi

Cheer for beer!
Image c/o Grant Gibson and Menabrea

Reuse, reduce, return to the bar

“This was probably one of the most enjoyable builds I’ve worked on,” says Bright Signal’s Deputy Managing Director, Grant Gibson. “We had a really clear idea of what we were doing from the start, and we managed to reuse loads of parts from the donor bicycle as we simplified the bike and built the pouring system.” The team integrated the bottle cage of the donor bike into the main dispensing mechanism, and the bike’s brake levers now cradle a pint glass at the perfect angle for pouring.

A Raspberry Pi powers the 24″ screen atop the beer dispenser, as well as the buttons, pouring motors, and lights.

Menabrea Beer Bike Raspberry Pi

Perfect size for the Raspberry Pi lobby!
Image c/o Grant Gibson

Giro di Scozia

Fancy trying Menabrea’s bicycle-powered beer dispenser for yourself? The final stop of its 4-week tour will be the Beer Cafe in Glasgow this Friday 2nd June. If you make it to the event, be sure to share your photos and video with us in the comments below, or via our social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And if you end up building your own beer-dispensing cycle, definitely write up a tutorial for the project! We know at least one person who is keenly interested…

Menabrea on Twitter

Another successful racer wins a pint of Menabrea in the #racetobiella. The bike’s at The Fox and Hound, Houston today…

The post Bicycle-powered Menabrea beer dispenser appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Counterfeit Hardware May Lead To Malware and Failure

via hardware – Hackaday

Counterfeit parts are becoming increasingly hard to tell the difference from the real deal, the technology used by the counterfeiters has come on leaps and bounds, so even the experts struggle to tell the real product from a good fake. Mere fake branding isn’t the biggest problem with a counterfeit though, as ieee.com reports, counterfeit parts could contain malware or be downright dangerous.

Way back in 2014 the FBI charged [Marc Heera] with selling clones of the Hondata S300, a plugin engine module for Honda cars that reads sensors, and depending on their values can change idle speed, air-fuel mixture and a plethora of other car/engine related settings. What, might you ask, is the problem, except they are obviously not genuine parts? According to Honda they had a number of issues such as random limits on engine rpm and occasionally failure to start. While the fake Hondata S300 parts where just poor clones that looked the part, anything connected to an engine control unit brings up huge safety concerns and researchers have shown that through ECU access, they could hijack a car’s steering and brakes.

It’s not just car parts being cloned, remember the fake USB-to-serial chips of FTDI-Gate? Entire routers are also being cloned, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realise that the cloners could configure your internet traffic to be redirected through their network for snooping. In 2010 Saudi citizen [Ehab Ashoor] was convicted of buying cloned Cisco Systems gigabit interface converters with the intention of selling them to the U.S Dept of Defense. While nothing sinister was afoot in [Ashoor]’s case other than greed, these routers were to be deployed in Iraq for use by the Marine Corps networks. They were then to be used for security, transmitting troop movements and relaying intelligence from field operations back to HQ.

So who are the cloners and why are they doing it? It is speculated that some of them may be state funded, as there are a lot of countries who do not trust American silicon. Circuits are reverse engineered and find their way to the international market. Then just like the FTDI-Gate case, cloners want to make profits from others intellectual property. This also brings up another question, if there is a mistrust of American silicon, nearly everything is made in China these days so why should we trust anything from there? Even analog circuits can be made to spy on you, as you can see from the piece we recently featured on compromising a processor using an analog charge pump. If you want to defend yourself from such attacks, perhaps look at previous Hackaday Prize finalist, ChipWhisperer.


Filed under: hardware, security hacks