Hacked Gadgets Forum

August 26, 2014

Automated Surf Notifier

at 7:30 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets

 Automated Surf Notifier


Our friend Colin Karpfinger from Punchthrough.com has just completed his latest project. You might remember his last project, it was the LightBlue Bean. The Automated Surf Notifier uses a LightBlue Bean at the heart and interfaces with some colorful LEDs to indicate where the ideal surf waves are located. Using some daisy chainable LEDs mounted behind a poster of the coast make for a great indication method.

“I enjoy seeing technology added to things in a subtle way. With this surf map, when the LEDs are off, you’d never know they are there. This surf map displays the report for the upcoming week, along with tide times, by use of LEDs behind the canvas. The report is pulled from the web by a Python script on my computer, then sent to the artwork over BLE using the Bean’s virtual serial port. Finally the Bean parses the report and displays the LEDs accordingly.”


August 14, 2014

BadUSB – Hacked USB Drive to Black Hat 2014

at 9:53 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks



You probably have a handful of USB drives around your computer, they are useful and ubiquitous. After reading this article and watching the video below you might think twice before plugging in a found USB drive or one from a casual acquaintance. USB was dreamt up way back in 1994 and has gone through many versions since then. USB has a simple 4 pin contact, two for power and 2 for bi-directional data transmission. Even though it has a very simple electrical interface there are many types of devices that can be plugged in and run over USB, you can see the 2 hex digits in the table below which represent all of the USB class devices (via). The device passes this class number to the computer when powered to allow the computer to understand what has been plugged in.  

Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell from SR Labs did some reverse engineering to a simple USB thumb drive. They have created a thumb drive that can power up as a class 08h mass storage and display the files. It can then change to a class 03h device which is a HID such as a keyboard. Now the thumb drive can easily perform some keystrokes which can do things such as open a shell window and perform any commands you like.

If you think plugging in a phone into your computer to charge it is harmless guess again. At 24:46 in the video a properly setup phone is plugged into the USB port and with no obvious changes all of your Paypal passwords are now being sent to the hackers. This demonstration software has been released for security professionals to ensure they are protected against this attack.

 Of course it was just a matter of time for this exploit to be performed, much of the controller chips are fully documented and easily available.  There are also lots of fake drive manufactures who have hacked their own firmware to allow them to have incorrect size information to be displayed to allow drives with small amounts of NAND memory to show up and act as a huge drive.

I can see all of the large manufactures with solid supply chains start to sell devices that have their driver firmware stored in ROM or in EEPROM memory that has a write fuse blown to prevent future writing of the firmware. We see this in microcontrollers and don`t think twice about it.

It is now up to us, the consumer, to demand with our purchasing dollars that devices that are sold to be free of this type of attack.




USB Device classes include:

Class Usage Description Examples, or exception
00h Device Unspecified Device class is unspecified, interface descriptors are used to determine needed drivers
01h Interface Audio Speaker, microphone, sound card, MIDI
02h Both Communications and CDC Control Modem, Ethernet adapter, Wi-Fi adapter
03h Interface Human interface device (HID) Keyboard, mouse, joystick
05h Interface Physical Interface Device (PID) Force feedback joystick
06h Interface Image Webcam, scanner
07h Interface Printer Laser printer, inkjet printer, CNC machine
08h Interface Mass storage (MSC or UMS) USB flash drive, memory card reader, digital audio player, digital camera, external drive
09h Device USB hub Full bandwidth hub
0Ah Interface CDC-Data Used together with class 02h: communications and CDC control
0Bh Interface Smart Card USB smart card reader
0Dh Interface Content security Fingerprint reader
0Eh Interface Video Webcam
0Fh Interface Personal Healthcare Pulse monitor (watch)
10h Interface Audio/Video (AV) Webcam, TV
DCh Both Diagnostic Device USB compliance testing device
E0h Interface Wireless Controller Bluetooth adapter, Microsoft RNDIS
EFh Both Miscellaneous ActiveSync device
FEh Interface Application-specific IrDA Bridge, Test & Measurement Class (USBTMC), USB DFU (Direct Firmware Update)
FFh Both Vendor-specific Indicates that a device needs vendor-specific drivers



August 13, 2014

Reverse Engineering a NAND Flash Device Management Algorithm

at 7:50 am. Filed under Complex Hacks

Reverse Engineering a NAND Flash Device Management Algorithm


When your hard drive electronics dies you can ship your hard drive to a recovery company and for some serious dollars they will connect your spinning disks to known good electronics and retrieve your data. That’s fine when your drive electronics are mounted on a removable PCB in a large chassis. Now think of the same issue when talking about the embedded system inside an SD card which handles the reading and writing operations between the NAND flash and the outside world. The size of the device makes this a challenging problem. Joshua Wise was forced to look into this issue when his SD card was accidentally smashed. Interfacing with the flash was just one of the hurdles, the first issue was physically connecting to the pins on the damaged device. One of those great Schmart boards came to the rescue for that. Joshua wrote a number of programs to assist him to interface with the flash.

Via: Electronics Lab


August 3, 2014

HexPi – Hexapod Raspberry Pi Robot

at 11:20 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks

 HexPi – Hexapod Raspberry Pi Robot_2


If you are thinking about building a Hexapod you should have a look at the HexPi project. This Hexapod is based around an off the shelf chassis but there are some big plans for the brains, it will be powered by a Raspberry Pi so there will be no limit to the computation power on this tiny walking robot! It is looking good so far, the end result should be great.

HexPi currently consists of:

  • aluminum hexapod chassis
  • 18 TowerPro MG995 servos

Planned for HexPi

  • RoboPi – for servo control
  • Raspberry Pi Model B – for inverse kinematics, visual recognition
  • Raspberry Pi Camera module – video streaming, visual recognition
  • WiFi – remote control & telemetry
  • many sensors of many kinds :)



HexPi – Hexapod Raspberry Pi Robot


July 23, 2014

Squink – PCB Printer

at 12:39 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets

 Squink - PCB Printer


When you are making a new PCB design don’t you wish you could just print out the design instead of sending your Gerbers out for manufacture? BotFactory has created a PCB Printer called Squink, it prints using conductive ink and places dots of conductive adhesive where each SMD part will be placed. Best of all the machine then does a pick and place of all the parts onto the design. The entire process takes about 15 to 30 minutes depending if you want the optional heat curing to be performed. Just think of the ability to spin your board design a few times in a day. Of course this might not be right for everyone. I am not sure what the work around is to incorporate some through hole parts and vias for double sided designs. These days a double sided board is about the same cost as a single sided board but gives you much more flexible trace options without using jumpers.

If you are interesting in playing with this technology you can jump on the KickStarter for $2,999 (only a handful left at this price)

Via: Technabob



Squink - PCB Printer_2

July 14, 2014

PIC32 Oscilloscope

at 6:03 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks

 PIC32 Oscilloscope


Bruce Land sent in a tip that can help you save ADC data from a PIC 32 really fast. This can come in handy when you are doing things like reading in analog data for something like an Oscilloscope.

“Bruce Land wrote:

Turns out that the DMA channels on a PIC32 can move data from the ADC using the ADC done interrupt flag, but without wasting time in an ISR. The ADC can be triggered by a timer interrupt flag, again without software intervention. Doing this means that you can blast ADC into memory at just under a Megasample/sec with NO software overhead!

Using another DMA channel to feed memory to a buffered SPI port means that video data can be streamed to a TV with less than 7% software overhead, sustaining a 5 megabit/sec pixel rate. Most of the video overhead is in the SYNC generator state machine ISR. But the rigid NTSC time requirements are easy to meet because all the actual SYNC generation and video timing are also done completely in hardware with no software intervention. One timer triggers two output pulse generators, one to generate SYNC, one to time the video “backporch”.

When the backporch pulse gen times out, it triggers the video DMA burst from the frame buffer in memory to the SPI port.

A simple 3 resistor DAC combines the SYNC and video stream. Resolution is 256×200. There is plenty of CPU left for FFT or game generation.”


July 3, 2014

Arduino Home automation

at 2:04 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks


SuperHouse shows us how to control various items around your house using your arduino microcontroller as the brain. This system uses an etherten arduino to allow it to be controlled from the internet. Some stacked relay modules that talk via I2C are used to control external devices. Once mounted in the custom case the module looks great.  Sample code is provided that allows the system to work as a simple webserver that has a button interface to allow you to turn the relays on and off via the web.

“This episode shows the construction sequence of a controller that combines an Arduino-compatible board, Power-over-Ethernet, and relay driver shields to create a self-contained controller that can serve up its own web interface so you can click buttons in your browser to turn devices on and off.”


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