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Preview: Hack a Day


Fresh hacks every day

Last Build Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:43:09 +0000


“Norman, coordinate!”normandpsm64

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:01:35 +0000

If Star Trek taught us anything, it’s clearly that we’re not quite in the future yet. Case in point: androids are not supposed to be little flecks of printed circuits with wires and jacks sprouting off them. Androids are supposed to be gorgeous fembots in polyester kimonos with beehive hairdos, designed to do our bidding and controlled by flashing, beeping, serial number necklaces.

Not willing to wait till the 23rd century for this glorious day, [Peter Walsh] designed and built his own android amulet prop from the original series episode “I, Mudd.” There’s a clip below if you need a …read more


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Hacked IoT Switch Gains I2C Super Powersesp8266-gpio4-pcb_featuredhexagon5un

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Economies of scale and mass production bring us tons of stuff for not much money. And sometimes, that stuff is hackable. Case in point: the $5 Sonoff WiFi Smart Switch has an ESP8266 inside but the firmware isn’t very flexible. The device is equipped with the bare minimum 1 MB of SPI flash memory. Even worse, it doesn’t have the I2C ports exposed so that you can’t just connect up your own sensors and make them much more than just a switch. But that’s why we have soldering irons, right?

[Jack] fixed his, and documented the procedure. He starts off …read more


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Safe Cracking is [Nate’s] Latest R&D Projectsparkfun-safe-crackingMike Szczys

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 02:00:00 +0000

We love taking on new and awesome builds, but finding that second part (the “awesome”) of each project is usually the challenge. Looks like [Nathan Seidle] is making awesome the focus of the R&D push he’s driving at Sparkfun. They just put up this safe cracking project which includes a little gamification.

The origin story of the safe itself is excellent. [Nate’s] wife picked it up on Craig’s List cheap since the previous owner had forgotten the combination. We’ve seen enough reddit/imgur threads to not care at all what’s inside of it, but we’re all about cracking the code.

The …read more


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Casting Machine Bases in Composite Epoxybannerlewinday

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:00:00 +0000

When you’re building a machine that needs to be accurate, you need to give it a nice solid base. A good base can lend strength to the machine to ensure its motions are accurate, as well as aid in damping vibrations that would impede performance. The problem is, it can be difficult to find a material that is both stiff and strong, and also a good damper of vibrations. Steel? Very stiff, very strong, terrible damper. Rubber? Great damper, strength leaves something to be desired. [Adam Bender] wanted to something strong that also damped vibrations, so developed a composite epoxy …read more


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Cheap Smarthome Gadget(s) Hacked into Zigbee Snifferzigbee_sniffer_featuredhexagon5un

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 20:00:00 +0000

French hacker [akila] is building up a home automation system. In particular, he’s been working with the “SmartHome” series of gadgets made by Chinese smartphone giant, Xiaomi. First, he started off by reverse-engineering their very nicely made temperature and humidity sensor. (Original in French, hit the translate button in the lower right.) With that under his belt, he opened up the PIR motion sensor unit to discover that it has the same debugging pinouts and the same processor. Almost too easy.

For a challenge, [akila] decided it was time to implement something useful in one of these gadgets: a ZigBee …read more


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[Joe Grand’s] Toothbrush Plays Music That Doesn’t Sucktooth-tunes-sd-card-hackMike Szczys

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:31:10 +0000

It’s not too exciting that [Joe Grand] has a toothbrush that plays music inside your head. That’s actually a trick that the manufacturer pulled off. It’s that [Joe] gave his toothbrush an SD card slot for music that doesn’t suck.

The victim donor hardware for this project is a toothbrush meant for kids called Tooth Tunes. They’ve been around for years, but unless you’re a kid (or a parent of one) you’ve never heard of them. That’s because they generally play the saccharine sounds of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers which make adults choose cavities over dental health. However, …read more


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Getting Sparks from Water with Lord Kelvin’s ThunderstormKelvinstevendufKelvin water dropper partsContinuous water and dropsStep 1. StartingStep 2 Charging waterStep. 3 Charging other receiver and inductorStep 4. Charging waterStep 5. More chargingStep 6. Charging the spark gapWater fanning out. The camera speed was too slow to show individual drops.Electroscope

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:01:05 +0000

In the comments to our recent article about Wimshurst machines, we saw that some hackers had never heard of them, reminding us that we all have different backgrounds and much to share. Well here’s one I’m guessing even fewer will have heard of. It’s never even shown up in a single Hackaday article, something that was also pointed out in a comment to that Wimshurst article. It is the Lord Kelvin’s Water Dropper aka Lord Kelvin’s Thunderstorm, invented in the 1860s by William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, the same fellow for whom the Kelvin temperature scale is named.  It’s a …read more


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