Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 31, 2007

Microsoft Milan Surface Computing

at 5:08 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets

The Microsoft Milan Surface Computing system represents 5 years of development. We have seen similar demonstrations in the past, the SensitiveWall Towers and Ultimate Gaming Touch Screen come to mind. The Microsoft system looks more refined however new product demos always look great…

Videos after the jump.

“At its core, Milan is powered by a fairly standard high-end Vista PC with an off-the-shelf graphics card, 3GHz Pentium 4 processor and 2GB of memory. To make the touch screen work, Microsoft crams a lot of other stuff into its tabletop unit. Underneath the roughly textured scratch-proof and spill-proof surface covering the top of the unit, five infrared cameras sense fingers or other objects touching the surface, while a DLP projector turned on its side generates the screen image people see.

As for Milan, the software maker hopes to get the technology into lots of other areas, such as the education market, in addition to into consumers’ hands. Although the initial customers are getting the same tabletop design, Microsoft says the product will eventually come in other shapes and sizes, including vertical, or stand-up units.”

Via: Crave and Ubergizmo


May 30, 2007

Robot Arm using Potentiometers and Servos

at 4:31 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks


This robot arm uses potentiometers to determine where the human arm is and then a servo controls the robot arm to match the position.

“Each joint on the master arm is a potentiometer(a variable resistor). A joystick port basically checks the resistance. By itself, this resistance means nothing, so I wrote a little routine that converts a resistance into an angle that the servos can understand.

To do this on the elbow for example, I straightened the master arm, and checked the resistance. Then I tried sending various numbers to the elbow servo until I figured out what number meant straight. I did the same for fully bent.

With these 4 numbers in hand I was able to write an equation that maps any angle on the master arm to a similar servo angle on the slave arm. I also used these numbers as hard limits on the values I sent to the slave arm.”

May 29, 2007

Parallax Propeller Chip Running Manic Miner

at 4:46 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Game Hacks

Eight bit microcontrollers can get some real work done but the Parallax Propeller chip puts most microcontrollers to shame. The Parallax Propeller boasts eight – 32 bit processors on one chip! This example of Manic Miner running on the Propeller is an example of the power this chip wields. Hook up a TV, keyboard and a handful of components and you are ready to get your game on! If you want to try it yourself Baggers has provided full code for the game.

Via: Pyrofer’s Projects (Thanks Pyrofer)

May 28, 2007

Hacks to Unlock Vehicle Doors – Do they work?

at 5:37 am. Filed under Funny Hacks, What Were They Thinking

There are tons of hacks floating around the net these days that claim you can open vehicle doors using various methods. I haven’t tried any of them, and I am skeptical of most of them. I am sure that most of them use some tricks like a second person manning a second key fob, pressing it at the right moment.

The only one that seems technically feasible is the cell phone to cell phone one that has a remote person hold the key fob up to the phone as the second phone is held close to the car. Obviously the phone is meant to transmit audio and not the RF signal that the key fobs transmit. However all modern phones have a telecoil that allows the phone to interface with hearing aids. This coil might be able to pick up the RF that is transmitted by the fob when it is placed close enough.


May 27, 2007

Automated Microcontroller Programmer

at 5:15 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment

ASTLAB has built an machine that automates programming microcontrollers. This could be a useful machine if you needed to make hundreds of pre-programmed microcontrollers. There is a tube of blank microcontroller chips on the right, and the programmed ones on the left. A motorized arm moves over to this tube and grabs a blank chip using a suction tool and drops it into a ZIF socket, a servo then closes the ZIF socket allowing the chip to be programmed. The arm then picks up the programmed chip and drops it into the tube of programmed chips.

It looks like the project is well documented, unfortunately I don’t understand the language and my trusty Google translator doesn’t help either. If someone wants to summarize it in English I would be appreciative.

Video after the jump.


May 26, 2007

The Riot Wheel

at 8:13 am. Filed under Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking

The Riot Wheel looks like it’s straight out of Mad Max!

Video after the jump.


Name the Thing Contest – 5

at 1:37 am. Filed under Contests

Congratulation to 56Effie and Kevin who were the winners last week.

The prize this week is a bluetooth dongle. If your computer doesn’t have bluetooth built in this dongle will allow you to do some Wiimote hacking.

This contest will run for this weekend only (May 26 – 27, 2007) . Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item pictured above and give an example of what can be done with it. Please do not give the answer in the comments.


Send an email to contest @ hackedgadgets.com with “Name the Thing” as the subject consisting of:
* The name of the item in the above picture
* An example of what the item pictured above can be used for

The winners will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries.

Added May 29, 2007

The device is a 5 volt regulator. This device would be used where you have a high voltage and need a stable 5 volt supply. For example a 7805 could be used to take the 12 volt power available in your car and produce a stable 5 volt power source for a microcontroller. There are of course many other uses for the device.

The winner is Peter D.
(There were 121 entries for this contest)

Thanks to all who entered.

Below is a picture of the prize.

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