Another day, another Wii controller app, and another Roomba hack. Here, a guy has used the DarwinRemote software to capture the accelerometer data from the Wiimote and the Perl version of the Roomba control software to be able to control Roomba via the Wii controller (and via a PC and via Bluetooth).
I missed this Michael Kanellos piece on CNet (from Oct) about living with a Scooba, the iRobot cleaning bot that both vacuums and washes floors. I’ve seen lots of people faun over it, how cool the concept of an affordable robot that can clean the horror that is the bathroom floor — okay, MY bathroom floor, anyway — but I’ve seen little about how it actually works in the wild. With the Roomba, I waited several gens to get one ’cause I heard that earlier versions were less-than-reliable. I suspected the same was true for Scooba, and this review bears that out. The main cons seem to be that it’s very noisy and it leaves a watery film on wood floors that needs to be wiped up or it could damage the floor.
Why is it that everything about Vista makes me feel like I’m about to break out in a terrible rash? Here’s a piece from Wired’s Monkey Bites summarizing John Markoff’s NYTimes piece on “issues” discovered in the forthcoming MS OS:
“One full month before Microsoft Windows Vista ships to consumers, hackers and security experts have already discovered six serious flaws in the operating system.”
Oh, what fun…
Read the rest of the Wired piece here.
Got a spare movie theater handy? Get a Wii for Christmas? If so, with a little hardware hacking, to bodge together a wireless sensor bar, you can play games on the BIG screen. Jon Peck and his pals were able to play Wii Sports bowling on a 344″ theater screen after the moviegoers had left (a friend is the theater’s manager). Looks like fun.
Lady Ada has posted detailed docs and pics of her Wave Bubble Portable RF Jammer. Like everything else this kick ass lady hacker does, this project is, well, kick ass!
This pics shows two versions, an early one with external rubber duckies (left) which has an effective range of 20′. and the final v1.0 model, with internal antenna. that hides inside of a ciggie pack (and offers less reach as a trade-off). Output power is .1W (high bands) and .3W (low bands). A rechargeable, internal Li-on batt offers up to four hours of ops, depending on number of bands jammed.
The WaveBubble is self-tuning and can jam many frequencies at the same time. A USB port allows you to plug the Wave Bubble into a PC to program new RF bands to jam.
Limor does her typical exemplary job of offering detailed docs, photos, parts lists, and even downloadable CAD, PCB (Gerber files), and schematics. But sadly, this is not a beginner or even intermediate project, as there is a lot of tiny surface mount components here. And no, she won’t make and sell you one and will not be offering a kit, as cellphone and other RF jamming is generally frowned upon by the FCC.
Looking for a last minute (or belated) gift? How about sending that special someone to the red planet, or their name, anyway. The Planetary Society’s “Messages from Earth” Project will send the names of anyone you enter and issue a certificate number. You can then print out a certificate with the name of the person so honored. And it’s free! A mini-DVD with the names (and some other material, such as collection of human art and lit about Mars) will travel aboard the Mars-bound Phoenix spacecraft, launching in May 2008. Find our more about the “Messages from Earth” Project here.
Friday and Saturday, folks. That’s all that’s left in the Xmas shopping season. But don’t panic. There’s plenty of good stuff still to be had at your local electronics store, bookstore, etc. Most of the gifts in our 2006 guide can be had at one of these two types of store. Here are the links to our 2006 Street Tech Gift Guide to give you some ideas before heading out into the consumer’s wilderness:
And also be sure to check out the Federated Media Holiday Gadget Guide that we’ve been contributing to. We’ll be running that through the end of the year (so you’ll know what to spend your money on when you return the puffy jacket your mother buys you every year).
The posting of the T3 video showing the forthcoming WowWee Flytech Dragonfly — an R/C robo-dragonfly that actually uses its beating wings to stay aloft — created quite a stir in the geeksophere. The wireheads over at Robots Rule wrote to tell us that the WowWee Dragonfly was actually based on a rubber- band- powered Ornithopter designed by a high school student, Sean Frawley, and that he’s now a consultant to WowWee. Robots Rule has a page dedicated to the Flytech Dragonfly and a discussion forum. The Flytech page points to Sean’s Ornithopter Technologies website where you can buy a US$20 kit to build your own paper/ balsa/ rubber band flyer (shown above). Cool!
BTW: The Robots Rule Flytech page has a second video of the Dragonfly. This one looks like it was shot in WowWee’s offices.
New Street Tech pal Jake von Slatt, whom I profile in an upcoming issue of MAKE, was inspired by Mark Frauenfelder’s limited-edition Gremlin Moleskines. Using the 19th century etching process he’s been experimenting with over at the Steampunk Workshop, Jake created this stunning series of brass-covered journals. He details the process in this tutorial.