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Deep Breath Please

The guys at Instructables came up with a chest harness to generate power for USB devices. Maybe they’ll give new meaning to the term wonderbra.
usb breath charger
Using some high-ratio gear motors this “thorax expansion coupler” uses your body motion for regular breathing. Although the instructions to build such a device are a little taxing, it would be a fun gear-head project. The goal of the chest USB charger would be generating about 500mW and in the enclosure size of a cell phone. The picture above is only a proof of concept and gets just a little over 50mW of power. At that rate, it would take about a day to charge one AA battary.
gear ratio usb charger
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Home Brew USB WiFi Extender – Dozens of New Access Points

GetUSB.info has reported on several off-the-shelf USB extenders, but they are high priced, at least for the home user. If you have low signal strength and on a tight budget, here is a tutorial on making your own beefed up WiFi USB extender.
USB wifi extender
Using this home-brew WiFi extender will help pick up dozens more hot-spots in your area; don’t believe it – we’ll you’ll just have to try it – this really works. The premise of this solution is taking a parabolic dish and bouncing all possible waves into the focal point of the “dish” or in this case, the WiFi USB stick. Continue Reading

Free Open Source USB Encryption Software Utility: TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt has just what you are looking for, provided you are looking for free USB flash drive encryption software utilities.
usb encryption software
The best feature of TrueCrypt is the automatic, on-the-fly, real-time encryption process. So it’s completely transparent. The other great feature is the Plausible Deniability feature which provides two levels for you.
  • Level 1: Hidden volumes. This is where a volume is created within another volume by TrueCrypt. The upper level (the one seen by a person forcing you to get the content) is filled with random data, so you can show them “Look man, there’s nothing there!”
  • Level 2: A volume appears to consist of nothing more than random data, no signature or typology what-so-ever. Therefore, it is impossible to prove that a file, a partition or a device has been encrypted.
To round out the offerings of this free USB encryption software, TrueCrypt includes a key-log which records the time and date the last time modifications were made. Such as password changes, data access or more concerning information such as last time the device was mounted in an OS, or attempted to be mounted. The only down side, which I feel Continue Reading

Hand Crank USB Lego Charger

So here is a simple project to groom your child into the geek parent you are. Over at Hacked Gadgets Alan pointed out a “how-to” on creating your own USB charger from Lego’s.
hand crank lego USB charger
The charger uses a Lego motor to generate current which passes through a voltage regulator and off to the USB port. If you don’t already have the Lego motor you can pick them up at target and the voltage regulator at Radio Shack. When all done, rather then sending your kid to time-out, have them hand-crank and recharge your favorite MP3 player. Here is a picture of the hand crank with electronics already installed. Continue Reading

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