Your source for daily hacks

Published on: October 10, 2013 / Comments: None

SPiBot r/c tank uses Raspberry Pi for recon surveillance

SPiBot is a remote control platform with tank-like tracks.  It’s a work in progress, but will be fitted with a rotatable camera, microphone, and distance sensors.  It is to be controlled via the web on either a phone, tablet, or laptop.

The base for the platform is a Raspberry Pi.  WiFi is used for communication.  The HTML interface is served up using nginx and PHP.  Motor control happens via PWM from the Pi to motor drivers.   Video and pictures will be done with some combination of raspivid, vlc, ffmpeg, and raspivid.

It looks like the project is pretty far a long, but not quite finished.  Hopefully the author has some pets he can terrorize when it’s finished.

Source code on GitHub, and the original project link here.  It’s not in English so here’s the google translate link.  Video of the control test after the break.


Published on: September 24, 2013 / Comments: None

Do-It-Yourself Raspberry Pi Tablet

Raspberry Pi CameraIntroducing DukePad. A Do-It-Yourself Raspberry Pi tablet running JavaSE Embedded 8. The DukePad design includes a 10″ LCD Display (1280 x 800), a Raspberry Pi, a Raspberry Pi Camera, WiFi, a motion sensor and more which are all encased in an acrylic enclosure (PDF). The parts to build your own open source Tablet will cost you about $370.

The creators are quick to point out that DukePad is demo quality. So don’t expect any ground breaking features out of the box. However, the beauty of open-source is you can make it your own. If you don’t want to buy everything individually be patient because a kit is in the works.

Who knows… maybe you can add your own fingerprint reader for security!


Published on: September 23, 2013 / Comments: 2

Hacking iPhone 5S TouchID

Think your iPhone 5S TouchID is secure? Think again. The biometrics hacking team of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has successfully bypassed the biometric security of Apple’s TouchID using the How to fake a fingerprints? process they wrote about back in 2004.

“First, the fingerprint of the enroled user is photographed with 2400 dpi resolution. The resulting image is then cleaned up, inverted and laser printed with 1200 dpi onto transparent sheet with a thick toner setting. Finally, pink latex milk or white woodglue is smeared into the pattern created by the toner onto the transparent sheet. After it cures, the thin latex sheet is lifted from the sheet, breathed on to make it a tiny bit moist and then placed onto the sensor to unlock the phone. This process has been used with minor refinements and variations against the vast majority of fingerprint sensors on the market.”

Nothing good could ever come from storing your fingerprints on your smartphone.  Just don’t do it people! You can read more about the iPhone 5s TouchID Hack here.

Published on: August 20, 2013 / Comments: 1

Google Glass as a tool for the visually impaired

At first glance it seems like an unlikely use candidate for Google Glass but after watching the video I’m a believer.  As part of the Open Glass project, researchers create some applications that aid visually impaired users.  What a really cool project.

The two applications demonstrated are Question-Answer and Memento.  Question-Answer works by having the user take a picture of what’s in front of them, and through means of mechanical turk and twitter, someone answers it.  The response is then fed back to the user through audio read back to them.   Memento works a little different.  Verbal annotations are left in the environment by someone else.  As the visually impaired person navigates the environment, images are streamed back to a server and matched against a database.  When a match is made, the annotations are read to the user.


Published on: August 7, 2013 / Comments: None

The Sprite – a Raspberry Pi camera

It seems pretty obvious that this would happen when the camera module hit the market, that someone would make a camera.  The build is still pretty sleek.  This camera was built as part of an advertising contest ( for sprite, duh ) which the builders incorporated very well aside from painting it green with a sprite logo.  It also watermarks the pictures taken with a sprite logo.

The sprite is equipped with a rechargable battery,  an audiable usb speaker (playing a branded click when photos are taken), a camera module, a pi, and python.

Source code and write-up is here.

Published on: August 3, 2013 / Comments: None

Simple, elegant hack to a digital timer remote

It’s almost like cheap hardware was made to be hacked, and macpod knows it to be true.  He’s got a simple digital timer remote for a camera, but it doesn’t have an on off switch and he’s worried about wasting batteries.  After a little digging, some calculations and measurements it will actually be fine without a power switch.  But for the hack of it, he’s going to do it anyway.

What I like most about this is the art of this hack.  The research and process in the beginning, finishing up with a clean mod that probably looks like it came that way from the factory.  I recommend checking it out and paying attention to the fine details, the wet napkin taking away the dust, the flux to make sure it will stick, etc.  Well done.

Published on: July 25, 2013 / Comments: None

Pretty much every possible option to power your network cameras

The guys over at SuperHouse have really done their research. In the video, they explore just about every option you have for powering your network cameras. From the obvious, to the not-so-obvious. I’ve seen hacks before, and done myself, which is simply use the unused pair of wires to basically ‘extend’ your power adapter on a high amperage bus, then split again back at the camera. But what I haven’t tried is using a real POE injector, then using a small 5v switching regulator at the base. The beauty of doing it this way, is you avoid the dropout you are going to occur by simply running 5v on the other pair especially over long distances. In the video most of the time is spent doing this option, which is really neat because basically they take a really cheap foscam ip camera and essentially turn it into a more POE camera.

Another really green idea would be to cut the wires completely, and I do mean all of them. Use a solar cell, and a battery and power your WIFI camera from that. You would obviously need to be in a place where you could get ample sunshine during the day to charge the battery for nighttime use, but the concept is solid.