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[Diyguypt] may be an altruist to provide the means for people who can’t manipulate chess pieces to play the game. Or he may just have his hands too busy with food and drink to play. Either way, his voice command chessboard appears to work, although it has a lot of moving parts both figuratively and literally. You can check out the video below to see how it works.

The speech part is handled by an Android phone and uses Google’s voice services, so if you don’t want Google listening to your latest opening gambit, you’ll want to pass this one up. The phone uses an app that talks to the Arduino via Bluetooth, which means the Arduino needs a Bluetooth module.

The Arduino controls what amounts to an upside-down 3D printer. Instead of a hot end pointing down, the mechanism has an electromagnet pointing up. A small washer in the base of each chess piece makes it susceptible to the magnet’s motion. The electromagnet is required to let go of a piece before a move to a new position. It is possible that a small servo moving a permanent magnet closer to the board for a move and away from the board to reposition could do the same job, though we suspect that could be tricky.

We’ve seen this before, often with a Harry Potter theme. We sort of prefer a more obvious chess robot, but that’s just us.

Amazon might not be happy about it, but at least part of the success of their Fire TV Stick was due to the large hacking and modification scene that cropped up around the Android-powered device. A quick search on YouTube for “Fire Stick Hack” will bring up a seemingly endless array of videos, some with millions of views, which will show viewers how to install unofficial software on the little media dongle. Now it looks like their latest media device, the Fire TV Cube, is starting to attract the same kind of attention.

The team at [Exploitee.rs] has recently taken the wraps off their research which shows the new Fire TV Cube can be rooted with nothing more than an Arduino and an HDMI cable you’re willing to cut apart. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than just that, but between the video they’ve provided and their WiKi, it looks like all the information is out there for anyone who wants to crack open their own Cube. Just don’t be surprised if it puts you on the Amazon Naughty List.

The process starts by putting the device’s Amlogic S905Z into Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode, which is done by sending the string “boot@USB” to the board over the HDMI port’s I2C interface. That’s where the HDMI cable comes in: you can cut into one and wire it right up to your Arduino and run the sketch [Exploitee.rs] has provided to send the appropriate command. Of course, if you want to get fancy, you could use an HDMI breakout board instead.

With the board in DFU mode in you gain read and write access to the device’s eMMC flash, but that doesn’t exactly get you in because there’s still secure boot to contend with. But as these things tend to go, the team was able to identify a second exploit which could be used in conjunction with DFU mode to trick the device into disabling signature verification. Now with the ability to run unsigned code on the Fire TV Cube, [Exploitee.rs] implemented fastboot to make it easier to flash their custom rooted firmware images to the hardware.

As with the Fire TV Stick before it, make sure you understand the risks involved when you switch off a device’s security features. They’re often there to protect the end user as much as the manufacturer.

When you think of sports, you usually think of something that takes a lot of physical effort. Golf is a bit different. Sure, you can get some walking in if you don’t take a cart. But mostly golfing is about coordination and skill and less about physical exertion. Until you want to practice driving. You hit a bucket of balls and then you have to go walk around and pick them up. Unless you have help, of course. In particular, you can delegate the task to a robot.

The robot that [webzuweb] built looks a little like a plywood robot vacuum. However, instead of suction, it uses some plywood disks to lift the balls and deposit them in a hopper. The electronics consist of an Arduino and an Orange Pi Lite. A GPS tells the robot where it is and it develops a search pattern based on its location.

Although [webzuweb] notes he isn’t done with the project, it looks pretty good. He describes the software, but it doesn’t appear to be posted anywhere. However, he does describe its operation and how it changes mode based on its current state.

We can’t decide if golf is really a sport or more of a game. We were surprised to read that if you carry your own bag and don’t use a cart you can burn about 360 calories an hour which is somehow more than a gymnast burns, which hardly seems possible.

Of course, most people use a cart and a caddy, so they aren’t going to burn those calories. If you are in the market for a cool cart, we liked this one. Or, perhaps you’d like one with more power.

Morse code may not be as widely used as in its heyday, but it still certainly has its adherents. One avid user is Tanya Finlayson, who has been using this as her method of communication for roughly 40 years. Now, with the Gboard phone keyboard supporting input via dots and dashes, the world of Android computing has been opened up to her as well.

In order to get button presses to the phone, Ken Finlayson used an Arduino Leonardo to read inputs from a trio of buttons, indicating dot, dash, and mode select. The third button allows for phone navigation in addition to text input. Because of its built-in HID capabilities via the ATmega32U4 chip, the Leonardo is a great choice for this application, demonstrated in the video below. 

Many people cannot use keyboards and touchscreens to control their digital devices. Instead, they use custom hardware switches that emulate typing, swiping, and tapping. The Android operating system provides software that allows these switches to control Android devices, and recently Google provided a new Morse Keyboard within the Gboard keyboard for people who find this method easier for text entry.

This experiment is a DIY hardware adapter that enables assistive tech developers to connect existing switch based input systems to their Android device. Once connected, 2 switch assistive systems (with an additional switch for mode switching) can control both the standard Android accessibility functions as well as text entry through Morse on Gboard.

This experiment is built using Arduino and is compatible with most standard assistive 2 switch systems with 1/8” mono outputs.

We’ve all been there: after assessing a problem and thinking about a solution, we immediately rush to pursue the first that comes to mind, only to later find that there was a vastly simpler alternative. Thankfully, developing an obscure solution, though sometimes frustrating at the time, does tend to make a good Hackaday post. This time it was [David Wehr] and AudioSerial: a simple way of outputting raw serial data over the audio port of an Android phone. Though [David] could have easily used USB OTG for this project, many microcontrollers don’t have the USB-to-TTL capabilities of his Arduino – so this wasn’t entirely in vain.

At first, it seemed like a simple task: any respectable phone’s DAC should have a sample rate of at least 44.1kHz. [David] used Oboe, a high performance C++ library for Android audio apps, to create the required waveform. The 8-bit data chunks he sent can only make up 256 unique messages, so he pre-generated them. However, the DAC tried to be clever and do some interpolation with the signal – great for audio, not so much for digital waveforms. You can see the warped signal in blue compared to what it should be in orange. To fix this, an op-amp comparator was used to clean up the signal, as well as boosting it to the required voltage.

Prefer your Arduino connections wireless? Check out this smartphone-controlled periodic table of elements, or this wireless robotic hand.

Use JJ Robots' kit and your Android phone to build an air hockey partner who's always game.

Read more on MAKE

The post Assemble a Robot Opponent for Air Hockey appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

If you are an Android user and a big fan of Super Mario beware: there is no Android version! There has been no official news on the Android version yet, let alone a version of the game. There is, however, a version circulating outside of Google Play market that will steal your bank account.

Right now attackers are taking advantage of the game’s popularity and Android users despair to spread malware posing as an Android version of Super Mario Run as they did in the past for Pokemon GO. The trojan is called Android Marcher and has been around since 2013, mostly targeting mobile users financial information. After installation, the application attempts to trick users with fake finance apps and a credit card page in an effort to capture banking details. The malware also locks out Google Play until the user supplies their credit card information.

In this new variant of Marcher, it can monitor the device and steal login data of regular apps, not just banking and payment apps, and send the stolen data back to command and control (C&C) servers. Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Gmail, the Google Play store are all vulnerable. Criminals can exploit these stolen accounts to carry out additional fraud.

Zscaler researchers advice is:

To avoid becoming a victim of such malware, it is a good practice to download apps only from trusted app stores such as Google Play. This practice can be enforced by unchecking the “Unknown Sources” option under the “Security” settings of your device.

We may add to turn on “App Verification”. Verify Apps regularly checks activity on your device and prevents or warns you about potential harm. Verify Apps is on by default, as is Unknown Sources turned off. Verify Apps also checks apps when you install them from sources other than Google Play. Of course, there is a privacy trade-off. Some information has to be sent about the apps you install back to Google.

The main advice is: use common sense. It’s common practice for companies to release official apps versions through Google Play and highly unlikely to do it via any other way.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, news, security hacks

Unlike many cars today, Aykut Celik’s 2014 Volkswagen Polo didn’t have Bluetooth connectivity or an elaborate touchscreen navigation system. So, the Maker decided to take matters into his own hands and swapped out his “useless” radio for a Samsung tablet, putting Google Maps, Spotify and other apps right in his vehicle’s dashboard.

In order to accomplish this, Celik needed an amplifier (to replace the one attached to the prior radio), a CAN bus shield from Seeed (so he could use the steering wheel’s volume buttons), a Bluetooth module, and an Arduino Mega 2560 (for parsing data and sending it over to the Android device).

A CAN-BUS shield is necessary to be able to read CAN-BUS commands from the CAN bus line… I used this shield for detecting wheel button commands like volume up, mute and volume down. Behind the car radio there are two CAN bus cables. One of them is CAN bus – HIGH and the other is CAN bus – LOW. These cables must be connected to green sockets on the shield.

Using the SeeedCAN bus shield, you can sniff you car’s CAN bus data.

The info which is gathered from CAN bus is transferred to the Android tablet via Bluetooth. There is a little app which is responsible, for example, reducing volume whenever the wheel volume button is clicked. And a menu activity to open other apps.

You can watch the elaborate project below, and read more about it on Celik’s blog. The Maker has also made the software and other information available on GitHub.

foosball-1

Thinkers and makers at Handsome created an automated Foosball Scoreboard using an Android tablet and Arduino Mega 2560:

the Arduino is responsible only for detecting a) a goal scored and b) the gate in which it was scored. After a goal is detected the Arduino sends this data to Android tablet.

You can explore the details of the project on this blog, the sketch on Github, and watch the video below:

 

App development is not fun for everyone, and sometimes you just want to control a device from your phone with minimal work. Blynk appears to be a fairly put-together library for not only hooking up any Arduino or esp8266 to a phone through WiFi, but also through the net if desired.

Install the app onto your iPhone or Android device. Install the libraries on your computer. Next, modify your Arduino source to either pass direct control of a pin to Blynk, or connect Blynk to a virtual pin inside your code for more advanced control. If you want to go the easy route, create an account, log into the app, and drag and drop the interface you’d like. If the idea of letting some corporation host your Arduino project sends shivers down your spine, there is also an option to host your own server. (Editorial snark: Yes, it requires a server. That’s the cost of “simplicity”.)

There have been a few times where we’ve wished we could add app control to our projects, but installing all the libraries and learning a new language just to see a button on a screen didn’t seem worth it. This is a great solution. Have any of you had experience using it?


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Cellphone Hacks


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