Geeknizer » DIY iPhone, Android, mobile, Technology news Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:53:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DIY Build Google Glass with RaspberryPi Sat, 29 Sep 2012 19:21:34 +0000 Read more »]]> Project Glass by Google is uber cool, but its expensive at $1500 and you won’t have handson till Q2 2013.

Why wait if you can build one yourself? Well, using the popular portable linux gadget, Raspberry Pi, you can create your own sort-of Google Glass.

What is Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is an OpenSource portable $25 ARM based Linux hardware that you can carry along. It is a full fledged PC without the cords and mess and runs at as low as 5watts. Since its launch, it has been hackers and DIY’ers favorite gadget. Like Arduino, you can google for a number of DIY projects for RasberryPi.

DIY Google Glass with Raspberry Pi

Folks form MakerBar were able to put together a wearable computer based on the Raspberry Pi that matches Google Glass in its basic functionality and outlook.

The cost of this DIY project is just under $100, a fair price to turn you into a Cyborg. Not bad for a fully-functional wearable computer, especially one with connectivity and around four hours of battery!

This DIY RaspberryPi based Google Glass consists of small Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo, and a USB charger equipped with lithium-ion battery.

Zach fitted it with a 2GB micro-SD card in the excellent Quilix pIO mini-adapter, Raspbian, a Duracell phone recharger, and a cheapo mini keyboard-trackpad combo. Apart from the video cable, the system is totally wireless!. He zip-tied the RasPi to my belt and the keyboard to my wrist. Everything is wearable with zip ties!

The hardest part of the DIY project is find a wearable display. Among one fo the options, you can use MyVu Crystal video glasses, or any other Gaming glasses. You will have to disassemble those glasses to match the design of a Google Glass.

Checkout this guide on how disassemble a MyVU Gaming glass.

Apart from the RCA cable connecting the Raspi to the glasses, the project is completely wireless; with a small webcam also mounted to the display, the Pi in the Face could easily be a platform for figuring out what to do with Google’s Project Glass.

Other than that, its not optimized for HUD. There will be specially-written HUD apps designed for minimal input and big text. But as on now, there aren’t any.

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DIY Build OpenSource Spectrometer for Cheap Mon, 27 Aug 2012 16:40:01 +0000 Read more »]]> Spectrometer is really scientist’s swiss knife when it comes to identifying unknown materials.

A new kickstarter project assures to make Spectrometry cheap and accessible like Wikipedia to just anyone. They have come up with a kit, which you can make it at home for cheap.

What is Spectrometer?

Spectrometer basically identifies materials. Ina  wider term, it is an instrument used to measure properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically used in spectroscopic analysis to identify materials.

What is this Open Spectrometer? What can it do?

This DIY Spectrometry kit helps analyze materials and contaminants. Its totally open source, you can easily get the hardware from daily stores and get up and running in matter of hours. The project is easy to build, and achievable without hitting the bank.

Spectrometers are used to identify unknown materials like oil spill residue or coal tar in urban waterways. But they cost thousands of dollars and are hard to use — and are frequently used in modern science and now even day to day life. A spectrometer is essentially a tool to measure the colors absorbed by a material.

DIY Spectrometer: Cost, Hardware components, capabilites

The Open DIY hardware costs as low as $35, but still provides a range of more than 400-900 nanometers, and a resolution of as high as 3 nm. You can construct this one yourself from a piece of a DVD-R, black paper, a VHS box, and an HD USB webcam.

How to Build DIY Spectrometer

Checkout: Step by steps guide

Along with the hardware, you can use an Open source software from to collect, analyze, compare, and share calibrated spectral data. In case, you’re an android user, there’s a spectrometer app for Android data acquisition/analysis too.

Users can use the above mentioned tools to learn from the community and contribute back with data to build Wikipedia-like library for Open source Spectra. This would be a boon to the industry and truly make this Spectrometer project “Shazam for every Material”.

You can join the open Public Lab community which would help you identify and reconcile any issues with hardware. If you like, you can contribute by funding the project. They have a credible background, they documented the BP oil spill using aerial photos from kites and balloons and their balloon mapping kits.

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DIY Android Tablet Wireless Inductive Charging Tue, 21 Aug 2012 14:37:07 +0000 Read more »]]> DIY tutorials open up a world where you can do magic by spending only a fraction of amount to build an equivalent of a product available in the market. You can Build a Wireless Electricity circuit using commonly available electronic components for an absolutely cheap set of components.

We love wireless, and Wireless Inductive electricity/charging is the most exciting thing around since the discovery of Electricity and wires. These days, few gadgets ship with Inductive charging capability, however, you make them your own. If you’re an electronics guy, its fairly easy to port Inductive wireless charger to another hardware, without drilling hole in pockets.

A modder took his Android ICS Tablet (Gemei G9T, a 9.7″) and attached it to an inductive charging hardware. The inductive charging hardware comes from Palm HP Touchstone phone. This makes the whole process easy by letting you interface with the tablet’s electronics, but physically placing the coil.

How to Add Wireless / Inductive Charging to Android Tablet [DIY]

Experience level: High

What You Need:

  1. Android Tablet
  2. Opening toolkit – guitar pick, screw driver
  3. Inductive charging kit from Palm Touchstone phone or any other device.


How to:

  1. Use screw driver and Guitar pick to losen the back pane of your Android Tablet, then remove the screws and tug the case off of the tablet. Be patient while you do this, donot scratch the backplate.
  2. Desolder speaker or battery thats attached to the backplate. (Not all tablets have them)
  3. Decide the position where you would like to have the coil placed. This area would be magnetically connected to the charging dock.
  4. Take Palm Touchstone dock and cover. Carefully remove the foil cover and the coil. Then move the PCB and magnets.
  5. The magnets are the first to be positioned on the tablet’s back plate. If your Tablet’s back cover (metal or plastic) is too thick for them to hold well, use a Dremel to grind away just enough material for a strong connection.
  6. If you’re having a plastic backcover, you shouldn’t normally have to do this. If you have it, the metal will shield the magnetic fields. But for this to work, the coil needs to get those magnetic fields, so you will have to cut a hole in the case the same size as that coil.
  7. Later, cover the area with liquid electrical tape to prevent shorts.
  8. Use multimeter to check if it works when held against charging station
  9. Now on to Tablet’s board. You’ll have to detach and  flip the main board. For this you’ll have to unplug jumper and ribbon cables.
  10. Turn board upside down and locate +ve, -ve terminal for micro-usb connector.
  11. Twist the cable to avoid external magnetic fields and back emf.
  12. Tuck two jumper cables and attach that to inductive coil on the back cover.

Checkout the Full detailed video process after the break:

The video has enough details about everything you should care about. Although mod is easy enough to be applied even to iPad, we don’t recommend unless you know what you’re doing.

Happy Modding!

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DIY Build Spectrometer for Cheap Sat, 21 Jul 2012 16:23:00 +0000 Read more »]]> A spectrometer is an instrument that takes light from some source and splits it into its different wavelengths. Simplest form of Spectrometer can be achieved through diffraction grating. Its the same phenomena that you see with what happens to light when it passes through Prism.

The constructive interference of light with different wavelengths interfere at different angles makes the spectrum effect that you normally see with a Prism.

Spectroscopes are often used in astronomy and some branches of chemistry. Early spectroscopes were simply prisms with graduations marking wavelengths of light. Modern spectroscopes generally use a diffraction grating, a movable slit, and some kind of photodetector, all automated and controlled by a computer.

You can create a simple Spectrometer with a cheap Spectral glass as explained in the DIY video below:

How to Analyze Data
1. Take a picture of the image. This can be hard at times, but if you play well with it, you can get a nice image.
2. Next, you need to download Tracker Video Analysis. It does more than just analyze videos. Or you can also use Logger Pro.

Few ideas, what you can do with Spectral images.

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Build Self-Driving RC Car Robot [DIY] Fri, 06 Apr 2012 19:36:27 +0000 Read more »]]> Kids and Adults alike, love the RC cars and what these crazy machines could do. You can buy one that accelerates faster than your regular car, it can drift, skid and jump like no other.

RC cars all about fun and being in control. However, it can still be fun when it has its own brain that can decide where to go and when to take turns and at what speed.

Randy Sarafan, a Gadget Hacker, built a programmable Arduino based car platform using his RC Car. With the new abilities, car has multiple sensors and is capable of being programmable. It has a PING ultrasonic sensor in the front of the vehicle to avoid collisions but its way more smarter thanks to some DIY Arduino magic. You can program it to do whatever you want. e.g. you can program it to follow a path, use maps to navigate and or crawl a shopfloor and build index. Possibilities are really endless, limited by your imagination.

Converting an RC car into a robot is a quick and easy way to follow if you ever wanted to get into robotics. You’ve to tinker with minimal mechanical parts and hence you can focus more on AI: Artificial intelligence.

In his writeup, he shows how to swap out the brains of your run of the mill RC truck. He uses an Arduino and a motor shield to keep the conversion simple, but this can be done with just about any capable microcontroller you might have on hand. He added a Parallax Ping sensor to the front of the truck enabling it to avoid objects as it drives itself, but since he cut out the truck’s original control board we’re assuming that there’s no way to override the truck’s actions at present.

All you will need is:

(x1) New Bright R/C Monster Truck
(x1) Arduino Uno REV 3
(x1) Arduino Motor Shield
(x1) Parallax Ping Sensor
(x1) Heavy-Duty 9V Snap Connectors
(x1) Size M Coaxial DC Power Plug
(x1) Multipurpose PC Board with 417 Holes
(x1) 90-Ft. UL-Recognized Hookup Wire
(x1) Enercell® Alkaline 9 Volt Battery
(x1) 6″ Heat-Shrink Tubing
(x1) 5-1/2″ Zip Ties

Continue reading here.

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DIY Build Camera Video, Image Stabilization [Gyroscope] Sat, 17 Mar 2012 10:47:04 +0000 Read more »]]> Most modern smartphone and DSLR cameras have decent Video Image stabilization, in order to compensate for your jerking hands.

No matter how precise your hands may be, its still prone a good amount of shake. That’s exactly where Video Stabilization and Image Stabilization comes into play.

David came across the Glenn Turner’s low-cost precision gyroscopes camera stabilizers.  Although these are decent ones and priced decently, professional grade, and highly priced options are certainly available.

DIY Build Camera Video, Image Stabilization

Step 1. Building a bracket to hold the gyroscope gimbals and camera.
Use a sheet of aluminum to make the bracket’s main body. Screw two 1/8″-thick aluminum pieces 2″ x 0.54″ with flat undercut machine screws to the aluminum plate. These make sure that the gyroscopes are the right position by grabbing onto the groove of the center beam that is part of the gimbals mount sold by for their Super Precision Gyroscope.

Step 2. Mount the two gyroscope gimbals at 90 degrees from each other (or at 75 degrees per Kenyon’s patent) with a 3 mm (M3) machine screw.

Step 3. Mount the components of the’s rate gyro kit to each gyroscope before setting them on the gimbals.

Step 4. Screw an 80/20 aluminum bracket (McMaster 47065T175) to the aluminum plate. Mount your camera onto the aluminum bracket using a 1/4″ thumb screw.

Here is a video that was taken with camera’s Image stabilization off and Our own Video Image stabilization toggled on and off. This test is very idealistic as it was shot walking by a street. The video was not edited in by any chance:

The advantage is certainly there, the video and Image stabilization provided by this DIY setup is way more  superior than that of an averagely priced lens, and better than high-end provided you built it nicely with nice equipment.

The following video from a Kenyon Labs stabilizer where you get to see how the professional version of the stabilizer performs:

Kenyon KS-8 Gyro test from Pearson on Vimeo.

You should be interested in these Image stabilizer in case you already have a good lens with poor or no stabilization and don’t want to buy a better lens for a hefty price just for the sake of IS (Image stabilization or Optical Steady Shot).

For serious photographers, I would recommend Glenn Turner ( He will release a camera to the market in a few months which will have around 4 times more torque and will be properly encased. details are impressive and available here

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DIY HowTo Build Speech Jammer Gun Tue, 06 Mar 2012 14:20:20 +0000 Read more »]]> If you hate annoying conversations at your workplace where a lady next to you is talking relentless to her friends, its time to teach her a lesson with an effective Speech Jamming Gun.

Speech Jamming could come handy at any place anytime whether its a classroom or a boring speech.

How Speech Jamming Gun Works

Basic concept is fairly simple: Echo kills speech. It’s very hard to speak if your words are recorded and played back to you a fraction of a second later. This is a real psychological phenomenon known as delayed audio feedback that also has a beneficial effect on stuttering. In real world if you speak into a microphone in a and speaker echos, one finds it really difficult to speak.

The SpeechJammer works by measuring the distance to the ‘target’ with an ultrasonic distance sensor and records the speaker’s voice with a shotgun mic. The recording of the spearker’s voice is delayed for about a 1/5th of a second and then played on a speaker on the front of the gun.

Kurihara and Tsukada have simply built a handheld device consisting of a microphone and a  speaker that does just that: it records a person’s voice and replays it to them with a delay of about 0.2 seconds. The microphone and speaker are directional so the device can be aimed at a speaker from a distance, like a gun.

Sadly, they report that it has no effect on meaningless sound sequences such as “aaaaarghhh”.

The Full whitepaper PDF is available here.

Clearly, speech jamming has a significant future role in contributing to world peace, should be installed at all chatty public places.

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Easy Solderless Arduino DIY Circuit board [Teagueduino] Mon, 12 Sep 2011 00:22:24 +0000 Read more »]]> With Arduino, you can really do hell alot of good things, if you are an electronics hardware geek.

You can get started with a Arduino project with a easy to setup USB-based development board like Teensy. Other than being good at programming, you would have to tinker a couple of solders to get connections for peripherals which may not be handy for all.

Teagueduino is an open source electronic board and interface that allows you to realize creative ideas without soldering or knowing how to code, while teaching you the ropes of programming and embedded development (like arduino). Teagueduino is designed to help you discover your inner techno-geek and embrace the awesomeness of making things in realtime — even if you’ve only ever programmed your VCR.

Teagueduino can prevent all the soldering trouble, replacing intimidating code with simple drop-down menus, which you can adjust in realtime, giving you instant feedback as you make adjustments to your ‘coding’ handiwork. Teagueduino board includes snap-enabled inputs and outputs.

Teaguedino is a protoype as of the time of writing but  would be available soon for  $160 to get a fully assembled kit, and the second mode with extra I/O ports for $260. As of now they are catching up their funding goals and once done, they would be available in November.

Game example:

Related: Arduino Alternative : Android based DIY projects

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DIY Cheap GSM Cellular Data Network Sun, 28 Aug 2011 06:07:41 +0000 Read more »]]> Open source GSM cellular network have been in news for a while, and we’ve seen people hacking GSM networks in a matter of minutes. However what was left was an easy to do DIY Cellular data network, which has now been made available masses. [PDF]

[image credit]

This new DIY Data network is low cost, low-power, easy to deploy tool developed by Berkeley professor Kurtis Heimerl. Its essentially a good alternative for regions with low or no coverage.Recently one of such prototypes has been tested here in Unitesd States and results seem to be very promising. 
The benefits of the Village Base Station:

flexible off-the grid deployment due to low power requirements that enable local generation via solar or wind; explicit support for local services within the village that can be autonomous relative to a national carrier; novel power/coverage trade-offs based on intermittency that can provide bursts of wider coverage; and a portfolio of data and voice services (not just GSM).

A similar prototype has been used in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Jalalabad’s longest link is currently 2.41 miles, between the FabLab and the water tower at the public hospital in Jalalabad, transmitting with a real throughput of 11.5Mbps (compared to 22Mbps ideal-case for a standards compliant off-the-shelf 802.11g router transitting at a distance of only a few feet). The system works consistently through heavy rain, smog and a couple of good sized trees.

Here’s how this GSM DIY equipment works, video explains the channeling & signaling concepts of GSM based on OpenBTS:

Developing countries & rural areas with limited Internet access would benefit from this project. And of course there are endless hobby activities it can get you started with.

“Buy This Satellite” is an effort to crowdfund enough money to purchase the communications satellite TerreStar-1.

Related: DIY Drone Plane: Hack Wifi, Phone calls

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DIY Drone Plane: Hack Wifi, Phone calls Fri, 05 Aug 2011 06:15:01 +0000 Read more »]]> Every year, at BlackHat, DefCon conference, several new hacks, cracks and vulnerabilities are exposed for the popularly used technology, blowing away the users and geeks alike.

Two security researchers, Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins,  have unleashed a complete DIY methodology to Launch your personal, specially equipped WASP (Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform) drone that to flys overhead and sniff Wi-Fi network, intercept cellphone calls, or launch denial-of-service attacks with jamming signals.

This drone plane runs on Arduino and would cost you $6,000. This drone is based on FMQ-117B U.S. Army target drone and equipped it with Wi-Fi and hacking tools — IMSI catcher and antenna to spoof a GSM cell tower and hack calls. What’s more? It can launch a dictionary attack on the network using its database of 340million words.

GSM Hack to break into voice calls has been floating around for a while, and that’s what inspires these security researchers. Recommended read: How to Hack GSM Nework, Phone

The device onboard tricks phones to disable encryption, and records call details and content before they’re routed to their intended receiver through VoIP or redirected to anywhere else the hacker wants to send them.

Drone plane weighs 5Kgs and is 2.5m long and is quiet enough to spy on anyone, without trouble. You know, its US military drone, designed to be quiet. It can be automated to travel through programmed GPS coordinates and Google Earth, whole thing is self-driven apart from take off and landings which need to be controlled.


While such a drone may violate a few flying laws, it doesn’t break any FCC regulations as it uses the HAM radio frequency band or a 3G connection for communication. As to the reason for building it, creators Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins just wanted to prove there is a vulnerability that can easily be taken advantage of with a UAV such as this. It can easily cover 10,000 sq. ft of area using its inboard basestation.

WASP is an open source platform called Auto Pilot using Arduino that Tassey will discuss how to build at DEFCON-19 next week. It was originally unveiled last August with the following video giving you a close up view and interview with the creators

Update: Instructions to Build this drone

Endless Possibilities

Darker side:
Its pretty much obvious that if two security researchers can collaborate to create such a destructive element for communications, wonder how strong could it be when its in terrorists hands.

Hackers would use them to fly above corporations to steal data like confidential IP (intellectual property) or may be launch a DoS attack or jam the cellphone signals of a corporation, without letting anyone know.

You can stop a car, a person from coming into your facility, but what about things that fly overhead? These drones can not just broadcast jamming signal, they can laser focus specific users in crowd.

If you think about positive aspects of such drones, they can prove out to be quiet helpful during natural disasters when other communications break. They can be bagged with more sensors, cameras and help army in critical missions, possibilities are endless.

Related: DIY GSM Cellular Data Network

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DIY: Transform LCD Display into LED Tue, 31 May 2011 17:02:51 +0000 Read more »]]> If you love to hack gadgets and electronics, here’s a tip for you that could potentially help you increase the quality of the picture of your display, computer monitor and also save electricity bills.

When your LCD screen backlight burn out, you might have to get them replaced or do something even better: DIY Replace LCD with LED backlight. Not only is this solution cheaper, but also easier to find in the market. A sub $10 LED strip could replace the CFL backlight without any trouble.

How to Replace LCD backlight with LED – Transform LCD Display to LED

Warning: If you have no background on opening displays, seekout expert help on this before you unscrew your display.

HowTo: Carefully take apart the screen with clean hands making sure that the LCD, filters, and Fresnel lenses stay clean, untouched. If you happen to touch them, make sure you clean them well afterwards. You might have to use a mild cleaner, don’t use any toxic and/or heavy duty cleaners can destroy the plastic. Use a damp clean paper towel to do the initial wet wipe then use a dry but slightly damp paper towel to dry streaks immediately (using the wax on, wax off technique).

If you do it nicely, the brightness should be close to your existing LCD CCFL display, but only whiter. The only drawback you would get with a LED strip is the bright spots where LED is present and minor darker gaps. But this difference is not all that noticeable as light is diffused nicely on the screen.

credits filear

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DIY Electronics Hardware Projects with Android [Arduino alternative] Sat, 09 Apr 2011 16:13:59 +0000 Read more »]]> All the DIY Electronics enthusiasts cherish, coz you can now do all the hardware hacking using hack-friendly attachment that turns an Android smartphone into the hub of any electronics project.

IOIO (pronounced yoyo) is capable of doing almost everything that a Arduino could, including a retro-style alarm clock that can ring when you get messages.

And there’s a Wall Printer which uses seven Sharpie-style market pens hooked up to servos for an old-school printer effect controlled by an Android phone.

These are just some early samples, the potential is huge.

Why Android instead of regular Arduino?

Android phones are powerful mobile computers (now extending upto dual cores) having internet connectivity and a rich variety of built-in sensors (camera, GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, IMU, touch screen). They are also very easy to write applications for, thanks to the great work done by the Android SDK developers as compared to Arduino. For many applications, all they are really missing is connectivity to external peripherals.
This is exactly where IOIO fits in: it enriches the inherent capabilities of the Android device with the ability to communicate with external circuits.
From a study of existing solutions, they all suffered from one or more of the below:
  • High cost.
  • Complicated. Especially so for complete beginners.
  • High latency.
  • Low bandwidth.
  • Required replacement of the Android device OS.
  • Large physical size.
IOIO does not suffer from any of the above. Its cost (~$50 from SparkFun) is competitive with existing solutions, dead-simple to use, ~3ms one-way latency, ~300KB/sec throughput, works with stock OS, small in size.

Definitely worth considering if you’re into Android and electronics; you can pre-order the IOIO for Android here, for $49.95.

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Hand powered Cell-Phone Charger [DIY] Wed, 06 Oct 2010 18:19:21 +0000 Read more »]]> You are away from your home at a place where have no hope for power and your cellphone is going out of juice, what would you do? Charge it with a Hand powered CellPhone Charger. It may not be the best thing you wanna do, but is surely all time available source of energy for your cellphone.

Ben Heck’s has made a clever hand-crank mobile charger, which can be of a great help when your smartphones is not easy on battery.

If you have the basic know how of electronics and hardware, its pretty easy and straight forward. A USB port provides five volts of power which is why the crank worked with the HTC EVO and should work with practically any smartphone.

And if you are not geek enough, you can always buy a crank charger, works with all USB phones/devices.

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How to Build Wireless Electricity [DIY] Sun, 11 Jul 2010 10:21:06 +0000 Read more »]]> One of the most innovative Technology of this year demonstrated to public was Wireless Power i.e. transmitting power without use of any type of wires.

This concept has already taken flight and is being used in commercial applications TED Talks and also in a Sony prototype. Imagine the world where all the wires just go off, all the clutter will be cleared. If you have no idea of this, watch this video first.

How it works:

Basically, power is fed to a ring made of magnet wire. When electricity is passed from this loop, it creates Electro magnetic field. Inductive Coupling uses magnetic fields to transfer power. There is a primary coil, which generates a magnetic field. Then there is another secondary coil which is composed of a capacitor and a coil, the capacitor creates a resonant circuit with the primary and secondary coils. A smaller loop is attached to the system that you want to power and picked up from the base unit. The concept can be tailored for your purposes such as an inductive charging pad. We’d like to see a hack that incorporates the base into a mouse pad (or the desk itself) and the receiver into the body of a wireless mouse.

You can Read the DIY Tutorial here.

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Build Apple Tablet PC [iTablet] Wed, 07 Apr 2010 12:03:18 +0000 Read more »]]> Not impressed with iPad‘s capabilites? and you didn’t Like JooJoo Tablet aswell? Well, you are not alone: Though iPad will succeed, Millions of fans are complaining.  So what is the way out?

Andrew Davidson is one of those hobbyists modders who couldn’t wait on Apple “to release the killer app for e-readers”. So what he did was started working on building a Tablet that does everything a Macbook does. To keep the project cost effective, he took off an old iBook with 500Mhz processor and built a Tablet over it.

It was dissembled and fabricated into a new enclosure. Though the choice was smart but it has limitations of poor hardware config.

You can Follow the step-by-step guide here. The guide is pretty detailed and divided into 4 parts.

Looks great isn’t it? But would have been of more utility if he have had taken a good config Notebook PC. I would recommend taking a Core 2 duo notebook and ripping it apart and then Hackintosh it using our guides. This would be a smarter way as you get to run Snow Leopard on the Tablet.

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iPhone RFID Readers Tue, 16 Mar 2010 19:53:43 +0000 Read more »]]> RFIDs are popular and even though it’s easy to hack them, they are widely used in almost every Big store and in Passports. For those whoa re new to RFID: Radio Frequency Identification is a low-power, low-cost wireless technology that enables identification of objects (having tags) from a certain distance. The primary purpose could be to monitor various products in a store and prevent misplacing, and even thefts.

So why Build your own RFID reader? Well you can use it for 1,000 reasons. Say you want to track the stuff you often forget like your keychain, your gadgets (say iPod) or TV remote, tracking all of them could be snap with RFID.

Whatever is your case, here is a quick DIY tutorial to get you started:

This reader works with the low frequency (125Khz) tags but I have a half working version for MiFARE Hi-Frequency as well. To kickstart this porject you need some basic stuff like iPhone USB Cable, jailbroken iPhone, an ID-12 RFID Reader, ID-12 Breakout Board, Logic Level Converter and few other stuff to get them right.

DIY Tutorial

Perhaps, this project is just for the passive-RFIDs which is short-ranged. You cna use active ones to extend the distance upto 40 feets.

Method 2: Apart from this another developer had presented a cool demonstration of RFID on iPhone, check it out below:

Method 3: And in case you are no DIY biggie, there’s one that you can buy online and just plug and play: iCarte. iCarte connects to the dock connector port of an iPhone/iPod and enables it to to read and write RFID tags.

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DIY Keyboard Backlit Illumination Sat, 13 Mar 2010 12:50:31 +0000 Read more »]]> Backlit KeyboardNot everyone owns those high-end Notebooks/ Desktop keyboard that have inbuilt back-light illumination to keep you going when it’s dark. Working on keyboards is common when you are allowing someone to sleep while you work of when it’s dark around. With a number of confusing tutorials around, you need one tutorial that highlight it all.

Let’s begin with different methods you can employ yourself to achieve a dark-proof fully illuminated keyboard.

Method 1: A simple LED (ThinkPad style)

This is the easiest mod you can do for your keyboard. All you need is some basic tools to drill a hole near your screen’s top and connect it to a stripped power source from within and the result is worth.


Method 2: Standing/Hanging LEDs for your Desktop PC Keyboard

Another cheap and easy one. All you need is some LEDs and solder iron to do the neat trick: Tutorial

Method 3: Optical Fibre LED illuminated Keyboard

This is the cleanest and hence the toughest one. You need some basic Optical fibres cut along right places and placed inside your keyboard so as to illuminate the keyboard from inside.

Apart from that few resistors, adhesive, soldering kit.


Method 4: Keyboard BackLight Layer

This would be the cleanest of all the methods yet cost-effective. You can get it done under $15. To get started you need EL Backlight 3- x 5-inch ($5), Flash EL Wire, Velcro Hook & Loop Fastener, Double-sided tape.

In fact the tutorial is dedicated to Netbooks, check it out.


We write about Latest in tech, GoogleDo-it-yourself (DIY)iPhoneGadgetsOpen SourceProgramming. Grab them all @taranfx on Twitter or below:

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WebCam as Security Camera [DIY] Fri, 05 Feb 2010 21:07:24 +0000 Read more »]]> Surveillance systems can relieve your worries, but, they can also relieve your wallet. Why fall for expensive equipment when you can build your own at Fraction of cost ?

You can use a cheap Web Cam as a good Security camera that does almost everything that professional equipment does. I’ve been trying few softwares that would serve the purpose by securing my roof and the main door. Here is the softwares I’ve finally shortlisted and thought you would be interested in.

Vitamin D: This is an exceptional product that has an exceptionally intelligent motion-detection algorithms. This software does it all right by differentiating between different kinds of motions.

It lets you customize “the size” of the objects that would trigger events and even let you set up detection windows to only monitor activity in specified areas of the video frame. like wanting a door to be monitored for people leaving, or a parking lot to be monitored for vehicles arriving.

Apart from what is said, here some additional features:

  • Email and cellphone notifications
  • Define the Trigger area intelligently
  • “Highlights reel” function to allow you to Replay all  the activity triggers from the day.
  • Available for free for Windows and Mac.

Perhaps, there’s another good one for the Mac OS:


Periscope: Apart from how Vitamin D triggers, you can trigger camera with Periscope in several ways: motion detection, noise detection, via Apple Remote, or even with a timer.

It doesn’t do videos, but rather capture images and videos that can be uploaded to  Flickr, e-mail, FTP, iPhoto. It can also embed time-stamp or other watermarks to those pics.
By time-stamping images throughout the day you can have a complete record of events throught the day at your desk, or at your door.

The only downside is it’s hefty price. I don’t want to scare you, you can check on your own.

Older related Post: Build Motion Sensor Security using Laptop

We write Tech Guides, DIY, HowTos and more, get live updates via @taranfx on Twitter or subscribe below:

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Control Computer with Eyes [DIY] Tue, 12 Jan 2010 18:53:35 +0000 Read more »]]> If you thought gestural input was the end of the world, you are probably wrong. It’s possible to build a PC for cheap that can be controlled by your Eyes!

Eye controlled input has been around for a while, but it was never possible to DIY for cheap.

EyeWriter, a project that aims to help people suffering from ALS with creative technology, has come up with a innovative eye-tracker product that will make your computer dance with your eyeballs.

Watch it for yourself the proof of Concept:

It’s not hard to build this ground up if you have your basics right.  The complete step-by-step DIY guide is available. You can build it at fairly low price (around $50) bundled with a Open source software. Here’s what you need:

1x IR sensitive Camera – PS3 Eye . $39.95 US
1x camera-lens mount
– you can use the lens mount that comes with the PS3, but it is glue together and difficult to separate
– Lens holder, M12x0.5, 15.5, centered $6.00
1x cheap glasses $5.00
aluminum wire – 9-gauge wire $7.99
3x alligator clips – Radio Shack $7.00
a pack of wire-ties – Radio Shack $2.49
2x IR LEDs – Radio Shack $1.99
1x 8mm camera lens
and bit more of tools..

The complete guide can be found here [PDF].

We write Tech Guides, DIY, HowTos and more, get live updates via @taranfx on Twitter or subscribe below:

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DIY Universal Credit Card Spoofer Fri, 25 Sep 2009 15:56:42 +0000 Read more »]]> Earlier, back in the  90s when I first dated the Internet, I found credit cards were easy to exploit. It was as easy as getting a software that auto-generates numbers that could be used to make purchase online. Thank god, those things no longer work, other wise it would have been chaos.

Well what you are about to read could be HARMFUL to us, again.

WARNING: Do not proceed if you intend to exploit this. The sole purpose of the original author of the hack is for educational purposes only.

Magnetic spoofers have been around for a while. The one you see in movies,  a kid hacks CCs with a piece of hardware, is very much possible.

We’re getting close to that kind of magic with card spoofer that is button-programmable.

Jarek, the author of the Hack, accomplished this by interfacing a 16-button keyboard and a LCD with an AVR ATmega168 microcontroller. Card codes can be entered with the buttons and verified on the LCD. Of course this is still dependent on you knowing the code in the first place.

As you know, credit cards use this technology. It’s literally not possible to use this over shops, stores coz this thing doesn’t looks like credit card at all. But there is another potential area where it raises concern :The same technoloy is also used for building access in Offices, Universities, and hotels.

The basic concept is pretty simple. It has a electromagnet which is adjusted by the voltage controlled the microcontroller. It sends out just right voltage to get the right magnetic pattern on the end of the plate, pretending it to be a card.

You can read the complete guide here.

The scope is pretty much unlimited, and the purpose of this post is to raise awareness among the authorities to move away from this technology.

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Build Motion Sensor Security using Laptop Fri, 11 Sep 2009 22:22:38 +0000 Read more »]]> Security and privacy is important. But most gadgets available int he market let you achieve this at couples of hundreds of Dollars. Not every one can afford it.
So here is a DIY Tutorial which doesn’t even need any special hardware.
Most notebooks come with WebCams or most people have it separately plugged-in via USB. If you don’t have it, not a big deal, they cost around $10-40.

We will use a free software accompanying your cam that will together make a Fool Proof motion detection system.

Highlight cam is a free software you can register online and start monitoring immediately and make your PC a security system and act as a silent security guard for your office, Home or any other space.


* Motion alert notifications sent via Email
* Off-site backup in case the intruder takes the computer

How to Setup:

It’s damn easy. Follow the link and Register and plugin your camera and then you’ll be asked to take a still recording of your workspace/environment you intend to monitor with no movement. It tries to adapt and learn the environment.

Then you can set the software to begin recording when motion is detected. There you go, you not only detect motion, you capture it too.

It has a premium service too. Checkout the plans here.

– If Highlight cam doesn’t work out, Motion Detection , Yawcam , Digi Watcher, are other good options you may consider.

– In Yawcam,  you can set automatic FTP uploading, emailing, or just saving captured images to your hard drive. You can even set a schedule for when Yawcam is enabled to capture images so your security camera isn’t constantly snapping pics while you’re sitting in front of your computer.

– Another good one is Digi Watcher. This one has large number of features, yet, free.

– Also, You can try Motion Detector. It’s limited on features though.

Some people like Yawcam better than others, try your flavor ;)

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DIY Build Cheap 1080p HD Projector Thu, 23 Jul 2009 18:56:09 +0000 Read more »]]> HD is the Defacto standard for you LCD TVs and Home entertainment. 1080p or FullHD Movies is the best that is available today for the end-user. HD is addictive. Once you watch something over HD, there’s no looking back at SD.

The Bad thing about buying a full HD projector is the cost. A decent one can cost you more than a grand, in fact good ones will cost in multiples. So how do we fulfill the HD Projector dream? Yes, Build it yourself.

Thanks to the tutorial presented by techzilla, it’s cheap to build. watch the video.

In case Video doesn’t work, click here to open in new Window.

The starting point for the self rigged 1080p HD projector is a 120V S15 Mega-Kit from Lumenlab. The Lumenlab kit gives a leg up with all the different components for the projector setup. The kit includes:

  • S15 Projection Lens Triplet to focus the light.
  • Fresnel lens to shape the reflected light
  • LL/Vue 400w eBallast powering the 400W 6500K bulb.
For more DIY, Tech Guides and Tech News catch us on @taranfx at Twitter

Another guide is available on their Wiki.

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DIY How to Extend Bluetooth Range Fri, 10 Jul 2009 12:04:00 +0000 Read more »]]>

Are you bothered by short rrange of your Bluetooth device? You want to put your A2DP adapters and roam around in the neighbourhood while streaming music from laptop? This DIY might be for you.

With a bit geeky Bluetooth mod, you can replace the antenna on a Linksys USBBT100 USB Bluetooth adapter with a larger one, and extend its range by up to a mile. Looks pretty good, and ubelievable?

Just as a flashlight’s reflector focuses a small bulb’s light to make it appear brighter, the right antenna can boost a weak wireless signal.

Follow the guide.

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DIY: Build a Supercomputer Thu, 25 Jun 2009 15:12:17 +0000 Read more »]]> Yes! Its true. you can build this. and believe me it can fit into your pocket aswell. It will take around $2400 or Rs. 1,20,000 only. Compare this with Million$ supercomputer used in R&D labs. Don’t worry, this will be faster than that one.

Take 8 PS 3 consoles, Yellow Dog Linux, a Gigabit Ethernet switch and your favorite protein folding or gravitational wave modeling codes and you’re doing real science. On a Playstation!

Try playing Ratchet & Clank on a Cray
Most scientific computing is done on cluster computers. Blue Gene/L, the world’s fastest supercomputer, uses 130,000 processors. Plus a lot of money, power and cooling.

At about $4 per billion of floating point operations (GFlops) the PS3 is the cheapest supercomputer building block available today.

Look under the hood
The PS3’s Cell Broadband Engine processor, or Cell, is a heterogenous multiprocessor. Instead of identical cores – like the Intel and AMD multi-core processors – the Cell consists of a 64bit PowerPC core and 8 “synergistic co-processor elements” (SPEs).

Each SPE has 256 KB local store, a memory controller and a “synergistic processing unit” (SPU) with a Single Instruction, Multiple Data processing unit and 128 registers of 128 bits each. They’re connected by a bus with an internal bandwidth of more than 300 GB/s that transfers data between the SPEs.

The bottom line: you can go to Toys-R-Us and toss 200 GFlops into your shopping cart.

Sony, your friendly supercomputer vendor
Sony generously donated 8 PS3 consoles to Professor Gaurav Khanna of the University of Massachusetts for his research on black holes and quantum cosmology.
Doing a run on a conventional supercomputer cost him about $5,000 in grant money. For less than that he could have built the PS3 cluster and run anything he wanted. But Sony saved him even that trouble by donating the equipment.

This is serious stuff, right? So it has to be rack mounted. But the PS3 is so tiny:

[photo courtesy of Prof. Khanna]

Do real work on a Playstation cluster
Go to Terrasoft to get PowerPC Linux that runs on the PS3’s . Go to IBM for version 3.0 of the developers kit.

Pick up a SCOP3, A Rough Guide to Scientific Computing On the PlayStation 3 by a team from the University of Tennessee that includes Jack Dongarra, longtime publisher of the Top 500 supercomputer list.

Get the MIT lecture notes from the Cell programming course.

Interested in ray tracing? Check out Ray Tracing on the Cell Processor (pdf) by Carsten Benthin, Ingo Wald, Michael Scherbaum andHeiko Friedrich. Note: if you don’t already understand the math behind ray tracing you’ll be lost in this highly technical paper.

Protein folding
Your standalone PS3 can be part of a supercomputer project even if you don’t build it yourself. Stanford’s Folding@home protein-folding research can use your PS3’s cycles to help understand the causes of Alzheimer’s and many other diseases. Help save the *real* world.

The Storage Bits take
A single Cell processor is roughly equivalent to 25 nodes on Blue Gene/L. While there are a number of architectural limitations to the Cell and the PS3 that limit its general applicability, it enables researchers to apply an incredible number of cycles to certain classes of problem. And Sony, IBM and Toshiba are hard at work on the next generation of the Cell.

On StorageMojo I’ve often addressed the consumerization of IT. The PS3 represents the consumerization of supercomputing. That will benefit us all.

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