Reading isn’t just about the text that you’re reading, it’s an intimately personal experience in every sense of the word — the way the book feels, the crease of the pages, the wear on the cover, it’s all totally unique to your copy at the time that you’re reading it. Put simply, it’s an experience no one else will ever have. Between three models, dozens of accessories, and countless e-books, no two Kindles are alike, either — but Engadget has partnered with Amazon and the DIY experts over at Adafruit Industries to hook up five extraordinarily lucky readers with truly unique reading devices. These guys are the laser etching experts — see one of the Kindles they’ve done here!
Here’s the deal: we’re asking you to think of a design that would look great on the Kindle’s brushed metal back — something that means a lot to you, something that’ll make passers-by drool with envy when you casually hold up your new toy while reading The Economist from the comfort of your train, plane, or bus seat. Draft up that design (seriously, make sure it’s awesome, because you’ll be facing some stiff competition) and send it to us. We’ll post some of our favorites and hand the reigns over to you — our dear readers — to select five finalists who will have their designs laser-etched into reality on the backs of their very own Kindles!
Here’s a robotic hand that teaches sign language, including the international sign for “rock on.” J.D. Ritchey and his fellow mechanical engineering colleagues (Tim Campbell, Nick Haub and Brian Taylor) from Colorado State University created an acrylic hand to assist in teaching sign language. The Sign Language Emulating Robotic Assistant features all the digits of a human hand. Punch in a specific letter and the hand forms the sign language position. The students take sign language a bit further than standard letters. Punch in “rock on” and the hand forms the rock concert sign with the index finger and the pinky showing the classic fan symbol for keep on rocking.
“The problem is, with an iPod Touch or an iPhone, the battery in an iPhone is so big that it will deplete the batteries [in the Minty Boost] and you’ll only get half a charge,” he explained.
To improve upon the Minty Boost, Kelty replaced the AA batteries with a rechargeable lithium polymer battery and added a small solar panel. The solar panel recharges the internal battery, which in turn recharges the iPhone.
“The idea is that you can leave this out in the sun during the day while you’re using your phone, or whatever device, and at night time, plug your phone into it and you’re good to go,” Kelty said.
Climbing into his Volvo, outfitted with a Matrics antenna and a Motorola reader he’d bought on eBay for $190, Chris Paget cruised the streets of San Francisco with this objective: To read the identity cards of strangers, wirelessly, without ever leaving his car. It took him 20 minutes to strike hacker’s gold.
Zipping past Fisherman’s Wharf, his scanner downloaded to his laptop the unique serial numbers of two pedestrians’ electronic U.S. passport cards embedded with radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags. Within an hour, he’d “skimmed” four more of the new, microchipped PASS cards from a distance of 20 feet.
Increasingly, government officials are promoting the chipping of identity documents as a 21st century application of technology that will help speed border crossings, safeguard credentials against counterfeiters, and keep terrorists from sneaking into the country.
But Paget’s February experiment demonstrated something privacy advocates had feared for years: That RFID, coupled with other technologies, could make people trackable without their knowledge.
He filmed his heist, and soon his video went viral on the Web, intensifying a debate over a push by government, federal and state, to put tracking technologies in identity documents and over their potential to erode privacy.
Putting a traceable RFID in every pocket has the potential to make everybody a blip on someone’s radar screen, critics say, and to redefine Orwellian government snooping for the digital age.
“Little Brother,” some are already calling it — even though elements of the global surveillance web they warn against exist only on drawing boards, neither available nor approved for use.
This is very simple EMF detector. Modified (by Melih Karakelle) from here. Two Schottky diode (BAR10, 1N5711, etc.) for rectifier, an Op-Amp (LM10), a cap (100 nF), a resistor (1 Mohm), triger level adjust trimpot (220 Kohm), a driver transistor (BC550). Operated with 3 V battery (2 x AA). Very simple and working good. Can detect/find a cell phone (GSM) about 30-50 cm (when RF propagation), electricity cable (on load), tv/monitor etc…
The LiquidCrystal library allows you to control LCD displays that are compatible with the Hitachi HD44780 driver. There are many of them out there, and you can usually tell them by the 16-pin interface.
Our video Citizen Engineer volume 01 is now a comic book/zine! Volume 01 of Citizen Engineer is available as a limited edition full color 32 page comic “SIM CARD HACKING” – the comic also comes with a SIM card reader kit! We print, trim and assemble each one on demand and they look amazing! We are doing a limited run of these, get the first printing at Adafruit Industries.
Citizen Engineer volume 01 – SIM CARD HACKING comic is CC attribution-share alike 3.0. You are encouraged to share it and also print your own, if you’d like to support Citizen Engineer and future videos/comics get a comic/kit!
This is a great little autonomous robot project using an arduino that can easily be completed in a short amount of time. We used a Modern Device RBBB (Really Bare Bones Board) as the brain of our robot. These RBBB kits are also great if you are new to soldering. Not a lot of parts, but just enough to get get some experience with.
The robot is powered with four AA batteries. The biggest cost expense with the project would be for the servos – (2) continuous rotation servos and (1) standard servo. For the eyes we used a Sharp IR Sensor.
The robot sweeps the ir range finder 130 degrees and records the closest object. Objects closer than 10 inches will cause the robot to take action. If this object is more than 45 degrees to the right or left it makes a small correction away from the object. If the object is within the center 90 degrees, it stops, looks left and right, finds the clearest direction and turns about 90 degrees to that direction.
WaveRP is an Arduino library for recording and playing Wave files with the Adafruit Wave Shield. It records 8-bit mono files at 4,000 to 44,100 samples per second. Use of the Wave record/play library, WaveRP, requires the following: Arduino with a 5 volt 328 processor. Low noise power source such as a nine volt DC adapter or battery. Adafruit Wave Shield (version 1.1 is best but 1.0 works) Microphone preamp. A circuit for a simple preamp is included in the documentation. Microphone, PC type with 3.5 mm plug. See the documentation for details. SD/SDHC formatted with 32KB allocation units.
The Wave Shield!
Adding quality audio to an electronic project is surprisingly difficult. Here is a shield for Arduinos that solves this problem. It can play up to 22KHz, 12bit uncompressed audio files of any length. It’s low cost, available as an easy-to-make kit. It has an onboard DAC, filter and op-amp for high quality output. Audio files are read off of an SD/MMC card, which are available at nearly any store. Volume can be controlled with the onboard thumbwheel potentiometer.
This shield is a kit, and comes with all parts you need to build it. Arduino, SD card, tools, speaker and headphones are not included. It is fairly easy to construct andanyone with a successful soldering project under their belt should be able to build it.
The shield comes with an Arduino library for easy use; simply drag uncompressed wave files onto the SD card and plug it in. Then use the library to play audio when buttons are pressed, or when a sensor goes off, or when serial data is received, etc. Audio is played asynchronously as an interrupt, so the Arduino can perform tasks while the audio is playing.
Can play any uncompressed 22KHz, 16bit, mono Wave (.wav) files of any size. While it isnt CD quality, it is certainly good enough to play music, have spoken word, or audio effects. Check out the demo video/audio at the webpage
Output is mono, into L and R channels, standard 3.5mm headphone jack and a connection for a speaker that is switched on when the headphones are unplugged
Files are read off of a FAT16-formatted SD/MMC card
Included library and examples makes playing audio easy
Please note that the library rather bulky, requiring 10K of flash and more than 1/2 K of RAM for buffering audio. It works fine using an ATmega168-based Arduino (or compatible) but for more complex projects I strongly recommend upgrading to an ATmega328!
More information, including design notes, schematics, library, examples, etc is at the Wave Shield webpage
The goal behind the BalloonSat is to give an individual (or a small group, if the students are very young) the opportunity to create an experiment for near space and then to have it sent there. The student shouldn’t be concerned with launching, tracking, or recovery. He or she should just focus on developing a great experiment that is suitable for the flight into near space.
What if the student wants to develop a fairly complex set of experiments or several students want to collaborate on the construction of a single= airframe for an array of experiments? These situations lead to a BalloonSat that’s big and heavy. Therefore, I have developed a suitable flight computer for such an Extreme BalloonSat that I’ll describe in this column and next month. Appropriately enough, the name of this flight computer is the BalloonSat Extreme.
Flex (bend) sensor! This sensor can detect bending in one direction. They were popularized by being used in the Nintendo PowerGlove as a gaming interface. These sensors are easy to use, they are basically resistors that change value based on how much their flexed. If they’re unflexed, the resistance is about ~10KΩ. When flexed all the way the resistance rises to ~20KΩ. They’re pretty similar to FSRs so following this tutorial will get you started. You can use an analog input on a microcontroller (with a pullup resistor) or a digital input with the use of a 0.1uF capacitor for RC timing. Flex (bend) sensor, in the Adafruit store.