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USB Hack: Apple USB Trackpad

All of Apple products are designed as a “less is more” philosophy where a user just “knows” how to use the product when they hold it or see it.  The Apple Trackpad is no exception.  Great looking product that works exceptionally well and is bare bone minimum on design features.

USB Hack, Apple Trackpad

One of the beautiful elements of the Trackpad is the wireless freedom you get from using the product.  For the wireless product you need juice.  The Trackpad does this via batteries.  However, some get tired of replacing the batteries [like it’s that hard] and did a simple USB hack to power the Trackpad.  This hack is not used for communication, that is still done through Blue-tooth, but this is only for eliminating the need to swap batteries or constantly recharge them. To accomplish the hack, remove the pad’s batteries, strip a USB cable down to the red and black power wires and attach them to a battery-sized wooden dowel. Finally, push the dowel inside the pad’s battery compartment and presto! It works. Granted this is a USB hack even my 7 year old could do [less the wire stripping] and I’d recommend making something a bit more elegant. Continue Reading

DIY: Wood USB Marble Machine

During the month of July Instructables is running a USB contest for who can make the best mod while incorporating USB technology.  For this reason, we’ve been keeping a close eye on what you creative folks are up to. Today we bring you the 100% natural, all wood, USB marble machine.

DIY USB marble machine

I will admit the name is more impressive then the look, but the cool factor outweighs the look. The wood USB marble machine is an excellent DIY project and will open up your eyes to all sorts of different ways you can make an automated, electric motor powered marble machine. Check out the video, it’s well worth it! Learn how at Instructables. Continue Reading

How To: USB WiFi Signal Extender

Several years ago, I reported on a USB wifi extender in parabolic form.  Now, we’ve got a slimmed down version using an empty food can and your USB wifi dongle. It’s not the prettiest thing, but it works and will boost your signal strength enough to grab the channel from your neighbor who’s barely showing up in your wireless network.

USB wifi extender

Plus this hack gives you adjustable control both up and down, and left and right. The concept here is getting the can to increase your signal.  In addition, mounting the can and USB wifi dongle to a portable camera stand.  This will give you the stability you need to keep the signal strength strong while in use.  It will also allow you to keep the position for use from day to day. Continue Reading

Bring Back The Old School Typewriter, Via USB

There is nothing more satisfying for a finger work-out then using a laboriously slow old school typewriter.  Or on those cloudy days where you feel a bit melancholy and in the mood to write the start of a novel you’ll never finish, you may need to punch down on those exhausting keys of a manual typewriter to get the creative juices flowing. Today I present you that possibility and better yet, with a touch of technology to  make your craving a bit more current.

USB typewriter

A well known steampunk modder [Jack Zylkin] has taken the traditional typewriter and transformed it’s key punching into a digital conversion of letters and numbers.  Using some customized PCBA, a USB connection and a bit of code it’s now possible to sync your great grandmother’s typewriter with your computer, or in this video, your iPad. Your craving wont go without some minor cash flow issues, as you can purchase a pre-made [or pre-mod I should say] USB typewriter or you can buy a kit and down grade your very own typewriter and keep the family air loom alive and kicking. To get more details visit the Etsy Shop to make your purchase or gather more information. Continue Reading

USB Hack: Nexus One Turns Into Full Blown Portable Workstation

The love for Linux is that with a bit of tweaking you can do just about anything. Case in point: Sven Killig took the Nexus One, loaded up some code to control the USB host controller and is now running a full work station. Now this sounds awesome. Sven can run a digital camera off his phone, stream video from a USB stick to his screen or even run a printer off the USB port. Check out the screen-shot of his work station…

USB Hack Nexus One

So if you’re like me, this project would be in the advanced level of Instructables for DIY mods, but thanks to Sven’s recording skills, we have a video to tell us how. The best part of all this? He’s got the whole thing demonstrated for you on video, but not only that, you can hit up the down-loadable binaries from his website. And while he tried all of this on Android 2.2, which means its the only version of Android it’s been successfully tested on (at the moment), Sven believes that it will work on Android 2.1, too. Source: SlashGear.com. Continue Reading

Home Brew USB Lego Printer

At one time in most guy’s life, they are nuts for lego’s. It’s usually the 4-8 year range, but for some it continues on. Here is a great example of how this guy never let go of the dream. “Squirrelfantasy” created a felt-tip pen printer out of Legos, motors, a USB print driver and a pile of creativity. The “Lego Felt-Tip 110” was designed and coded from scratch. Unlike your typical ink-jet printer, when the ink goes dry or begins to fade, just replace with a new felt-tip pen. Granted it’s only one color, but we all print blank anyway. Not the most accurate printer, but an extremely accurate Lego printer. Check out the video. Very entertaining. Source: PCWorld. Continue Reading

USB Flashrods

What do you get when you cross a Hot Wheels car and USB stick?  Flashrods. We’ve seen plenty of mods for USBs and hot rods, but we found one guy making a part time job of it. Sure you can do your own, but getting the masterpiece on the first try is hard, buy a Flashrod of $25 and have it done right. There are 20+ styles to select and available in different GB capacities.

USB flashrod

Source:  DigitalDrops. Continue Reading

Printer Cartridge USB Storage Drive – Great Hidding Spot

GetUSB.info reports on all many different USB hacks which take ordinary items around your house or office and turn them into something different.  Today we bring you the USB printer cartridge.

usb inkcartridge

This is a low tech project easy for just about anyone to do.  I wasn’t going to report on this because of it’s simplicity, but then I got to thinking.  This is a great way to have a USB drive with content you don’t want anyone else to find, hidden nicely in your inkjet printer.  At least for me, the color inkjet printer we use only prints black because we really didn’t need color and the cartridges are too expensive. The full USB hack is laid out really well at Instructables website, but it boils down to 5 basic steps:
Step 1 = Gather up your tools Step 2 = Break into the USB stick and disassemble the inkjet cartridge [messy] Step 3 = Clean everything out Step 4 = Position the USB stick inside the case [ink cart full of silicon] Step 5 = Button it up and use.
Considering the simplicity of this project, you also have a low budget, about zero cents. Continue Reading

USB Hot Plate From Old CPU

Here is a simple and incredibly fun USB hack where you turn an old CPU into a hot plate for your coffee, tea or some liquid fragrance [in a dish].

USB hot plate

This very useful USB hack can be done in 4 steps.
  • Step 1) Tools and Materials
1. A dead CPU. (Ofcourse you can use a working one but it won’t be feasible.) 2. A USB cable 3. A Fan grill with screws. 4. Any box (I used a wooden tie box cover) 5. A rotary Tool (the best tool ever invented) 6. Epoxy 7. A creative artistic mind…[continute]
  • Step 2) The Idea
A CPU will still have some working electronic circuits even if it stopped functioning probably. And this project will use the heat generated by running some Volts in the CPU through a USB cable.  First things first. Be Very Careful. Connecting a malfunctioning CPU to your computer may and will damage your computer’s ports or even worse. If you don’t have enough…[continue]
  • Step 3) The Steps
First, prepare the base. You have to find a thin box or a box cover to use as the base of the plate. I used a tie box cover made of wood because it has the same thickness as my laptop. Now put the CPU over the base you picked and mark a square to drill with your rotary device. The square must be a little bit bigger than the CPU. The reason behind the bigger hole…[continue]
  • Step 4) Preparing the hot plate
locate the ground pins in your CPU and that can be done by reviewing the CPU data sheet or simply by the devastating trial and error. Cut the USB wire and pass it through the hole you made previously in the base. Strip the USB cable and locate the black and red weirs (black wire = ground, Red wire = +5V). You can cut out the white and green data weirs for more space…[continue] Clearly this tutorial is from Instructables…Thanks Eric! Continue Reading

USB Hack: Motorola Android With USB Connectivity

I was given a tip today on how someone hacked the Motorola Android and now has USB connectivity. It’s a great little hack so now just about any USB device could potentially be connected to the Android.  The question becomes what kind of drivers will the Android support so that printers, controllers, USB sticks etc can be used. The hack is fairly simply.  With a little amount of effort, it is possible to enable the B port of the Android as a host interface, meaning the cable USB hack supplies power and acts as the bus controller for connectivity.

android hack

You’ll need to make two things, a micro-dongle to enable the port (you plug it in during boot time) and a cable with the right connectors on each end (for connecting your peripheral). To do this you’ll need three cables:
  • A car charging cable (off-the-shelf at the Verizon store)
  • A Micro-USB cable (as above)
  • A USB extender cable (the teeny ones that sometimes come free with USB keys work great)
The full write up and USB hack can be found here. Continue Reading

Old Tech For New Gadgets — USB Fan

MSN did a nice article today about 9 new tech gadgets you can make with the stash of old stuff you probably have laying around.  One which fits into the USB category, is this USB fan. Retro and cool looking, you can put together a nice desk fan with just an old tower or power supply fan along with solder and USB connector.

USB fan

Other new tech gear from old gadgets include a stone age cell phone tricked into a portable safe.  Scanner table where you can display items under the glass cover of the scanner and a USB mouse turned up-side-down and carved out for a plant holder. Not the most impressive conversion, but a fun article to read on your break or lunch hour. MSN 9 Uses for Dead Tech GearContinue Reading

Zap And Kill USB Sticks With Rfiddler Modified Nerf Gun

Some guy in Germany had a bit too much time on his hands and modified a Nerf gun into a electromagnetic USB stick stun gun.

rfiddler usb stun gun

This gun is by no means subtle and was modified from an old Nerf N-Strike Recon CS-6. Added to the mod was an MP3 player and amp for sound effects, a flash unit and 50-turn copper spool. The completed gun, including accupack, chips, LEDs, paint, and primer, cost around $75 to construct and still works as the original N-Strike gun. The video shows several RFID products killed so the signal no longer works, and the author also claims it will destroy USB sticks, and I would assume, many other electronic gadgets. Clearly a fun and interesting product for the hobbiest, but very little particle use. Source:  Pocket-Lint.com Continue Reading

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