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DIY: USB Slingshot for Angry Birds

Angry Birds is a great game for the first couple weeks.  New levels, new designs, new challenges.  However, the game gets a little stail for the 30+.  Today, we came across something which might re-kindle the fire for the 30-somethings who got burned out after a couple weeks. How about taking the slingshot in the game and making it real life?  This is exactly what this DIY hacker did. Over at MBed, the DIY tutorial for a USB slingshot gives step by step instructions, source code, design schematics and more for you to successfully remake a USB slingshot. Source:  MBed. Continue Reading

USB Light Back For TV or Monitor

I think we can agree that “USB light back” is not a common tech term among the geeks out there.  What I mean is a LED system powered by USB which provide background lighting to your TV or monitor. USB light back takes your TV one step further by supply complimentary tones and colors to what is currently being displayed on your TV.  Gives you a theater effect. The only way to fully understand, is to watch: A quote from the creator:
The software analyzes the image on your monitor and transfers its data by USB to the Lightpack board. This board lights the surface behind a monitor, TV or laptop by means of RGB LEDs of the corresponding colors. The effect reminds us of the illumination of Phillips Ambilight TVs most of all.
The lightpack is available for all via Google Code download link.  For the more advanced, but an very effective tool to enhance your TV experience. Continue Reading

USB Hack: Control USB Missile Launcher with Microsoft Kinect

Granted I didn’t think of this concept, but looking back, it’s odd this USB hack took as long as it did.  Hacker, Jonas Wagner, was able to rig his Microsoft Kinect to a USB missile launcher.  From what we’ve read, Jonas wanted to control a missile launcher with his Kinect, only problem is that he didn’t have access to missiles.  Next best thing was a USB missile launcher. To give him some feedback about position, the first thing Jonas did was mount a video cam above the USB missile launcher.  Next step was polish up his Python skills and incorporate the libfreenect library for control. Using his hands to position the USB missile launcher, Jonas can rotate the base unit, angle the barrel up or down and fire the launcher – all thorugh his Kinect. Video after the jump of Jonas shooting his brother[?] Continue Reading

USB Hack: USB Traffic Stop Light

Tim from Imagitronics posted a neat little USB hack about taking gadget traffic light and connecting to it via USB. He retrofitted the generic blinking traffic light with a USB module and wrote a simple Mac application to change the status of the red/yellow/green lights. This project was born out of the frustration after being constantly interrupted by people who could not tell that he was already busy. I think it a great idea. What I’d like to see is the traffic light also be used for email notifications.  Say green means you have less then 10 emails, yellow means Continue Reading

USB Mass Storage Mode For Windows Phone 7

It’s standard for mobile phones to sync and connect with your computer with limited or no access to the memory for storage.  As with our Zune hack for making a Mass Storage Device, here is a tip for the Windows Phone 7 as well…

Windows Phon 7 USB hack

The caviet to this tutorial, is that you can only perform the tweak to your computer which you sync the Windows Phone 7 device with. To get started, do the follwoing:
  • Open the registry editor on your PC by typing regedit in your Start menu
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB; search for ZuneDriver
Now you will modify three entries (note, if you have multiple WP7 phones, you have to do it for each one)
  • Change ShowInShell from 0 to 1
  • Change PortableDeviceNameSpaceExcludeFromShell from 1 to 0
  • Change EnableLegacySupport from 0 to 1
Note:  Perform registry entries at your own risk.  It’s best if you back up the Reg before starting. Continue Reading

How To: Run LED Solo From PCless USB Connector

Do you see something odd about this picture?  Maybe the fact an LED is illuminating from a USB connector with no PC in site?  Ya that’s it.  Good job Sherlock.

USB LED

So what we have here is a How To or USB Hack on running an LED from a Super-capacitor.  If you are non-technical, then we basically mean a very short lived battery to run the LED.  A super-capacitor has the ability to store energy for longer periods of time over traditional capacitors – yet still not long enough as with batteries.The concept of this tutorial is to wire a super-capacitor to a USB socket whereby your computer can charge up the capacitor and when disconnected you’ll get about 10 minutes of LED illumination.

USB LED

Granted there isn’t much day-to-day use with this USB hack, but just a fun little project if you have the time. Over on the Instructables website there is an updated USB tutorial which includes Continue Reading

DIY: How To Get Power From USB For Any USB Gadget Project

Here is a 7 minute video on how to wire up any USB port and suck the power right out for that USB gadget you dreamed up at 3am.  For DIY projects, USB hacking is one of the most popular forms of taking something ordinary and making something unique.  So if you’ve never tried a hack or USB tutorial, this is a great building block for yourself.  Enjoy! Source: YouTube. Continue Reading

PS Jailbreak Sales Solution Held Up In Red Tape

PS3 jailbreakingOver the past several weeks we’ve read reports about the PS3 Jail breaking solution via USB whereby the jailbreak tricks the console into thinking it’s in debug mode and thus gives you access to the device like never before. The PS3 jailbreak would allow the use of illegal games as well as homebrew games to be played on the console.  In addition, the hack also blocked mandatory updates from Sony which could overwrite the hack and secure the device once again. Jail breaking like this is nothing new, in fact we’ve heard about it with the iPhone for [literally] years.  However, with the PS3 it was a bit different.  It was different because the PS3 has been a platform which has remained unbroken or un-hacked [if that’s a word] for nearly a decade.  That is a feat no other gaming company has Continue Reading

USB Hack: miniUSB Connector Hack for Dell Streak

John from LinuxSlate.com figured out the Dell Streak connector for sync and charging is nothing more than a PDMI connector.  So John made a nice little USB hack to eliminate the need for Dell’s expensive accessory kit in exchange for a quick DIY mod with a miniUSB cable.

USB Hack Dell Streak

The USB hack allows you to connect the Dell Streak to a PC for synchronizing with your computer, or simply charging the device from any USB charger [or port]. The modification also allows the unit to appear as a normal mass storage device or removable memory. Continue Reading

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

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