Transportation

Hacker's Device Can Intercept OnStar's Mobile App and Unlock, Start GM Cars 29 29

Lucas123 writes: Security researcher Samy Kamkar posted a video today demonstrating a device he created that he calls OwnStar that can intercept communications between GM's RemoteLink mobile app and the OnStar cloud service in order to unlock and start an OnStar equipped car. Kamkar said that after a user opens the OnStar Remote Link app on his or her mobile phone "near the OwnStar device," OwnStar intercepts the communication and sends "data packets to the mobile device to acquire additional credentials. The OwnStar device then notifies the attacker about the new vehicle that the hacker has access to for an indefinite period of time, including its location, make and model. And at that point, the hacker can use the Remote Link app to control the vehicle. Kamkar said GM is aware of the security hole and is working on a fix.
Security

Hacking a 'Smart' Sniper Rifle 69 69

An anonymous reader writes: It was inevitable: as soon as we heard about computer-aimed rifles, we knew somebody would find a way to compromise their security. At the upcoming Black Hat security conference, researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger will present their techniques for doing just that. "Their tricks can change variables in the scope's calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope's computer, or even prevent the gun from firing." In one demonstration they were able to tweak the rifle's ballistic calculations by making it think a piece of ammunition weighed 72 lbs instead of 0.4 ounces. After changing this value, the gun tried to automatically adjust for the weight, and shot significantly to the left. Fortunately, they couldn't find a way to make the gun fire without physically pulling the trigger.
Security

Hacker Set To Demonstrate 60 Second Brinks Safe Hack At DEFCON 147 147

darthcamaro writes: Ok so we know that Chrysler cars will be hacked at Black Hat, Android will be hacked at DEFCON with Stagefright, and now word has come out that a pair of security researchers plan on bringing a Brinks safe onstage at DEFCON to demonstrate how it can be digitally hacked. No this isn't some kind of lockpick, but rather a digital hack, abusing the safe's exposed USB port. And oh yeah, it doesn't hurt that the new safe is running Windows XP either.
Hardware Hacking

Video You3dit is Working to Help Crowdsource 3D Design and Printing (Video) 12 12

The example you3dit (You 3D It) person Chris McCoy uses in this video is a prosthetic hand they wanted to make because one of their people lost fingers in a construction accident. Instead of drawing up plans for a new hand, they searched online -- and found enablingthefuture.org, which is all about making 3-D printed prosthetic hands. Using a predesigned hand was obviously much simpler than starting from scratch, and was totally in line with the Open Source "Why reinvent the wheel?" philosophy.

So you3dit helps make 3-D printed items of one sort or another, and can either print them for you at their place or help you find someone local to help with the printing, assuming you can't do it yourself. As you might expect, they did a Kickstarter project. It was for a product called Raver Rings. Unlike many Kickstarter projects we mention on Slashdot, this one didn't fly. In fact, it only got $2,275 in pledges against a $10,000 goal. No matter. There are many other useful things the you3dit community can make -- or help you make -- without Kickstarter.
Upgrades

"Ludicrous Speed" For Tesla's Model S Means 0-60 MPH In 2.8 Seconds 171 171

Automobile Magazine, writes reader Eloking, reports that the highest-end of the Tesla line has just gotten a boost upward, thanks to a new "Ludicrous Speed" mode: In combination with a newly optional 90-kWh battery pack, this new mode brings 0-60 mph acceleration down to 2.8 seconds (from a quoted 3.2 seconds for the P85D model). This larger battery pack is offered as an upgrade from the existing 85-kWh model, creating new 90, 90D, and P90D models. It doesn't come cheap, though: this isn't just a firmware update to download. For P90D owners, the upgrade costs $10,000 (including the larger battery); P85Ds can be upgraded for half that price.
Privacy

ProxyGambit Replaces Defunct ProxyHam 26 26

msm1267 writes: Hardware hacker Samy Kamkar has picked up where anonymity device ProxyHam left off. After a DEF CON talk on ProxyHam was mysteriously called off, Kamkar went to work on developing ProxyGambit, a similar device that allows a user to access the Internet without revealing their physical location.

A description on Kamkar's site says ProxyGambit fractures traffic from the Internet through long distance radio links or reverse-tunneled GSM bridges that connect and exit the Internet through wireless networks far from the user's physical location. ProxyHam did not put as much distance between the user and device as ProxyGambit, and routed its signal over Wi-Fi and radio connections. Kamkar said his approach makes it several times more difficult to determine where the original traffic is coming from.
Hardware Hacking

Video Keyboardio is a Hackable 'Artisanal Keyboard' That's Already Kickstarted (Video) 46 46

I bumped into Jesse Vincent and his keyboard project called Keyboardio at last year's Solid conference. Then, it was a developing project with a lot of literally rough edges, but since I'm a bit of a keyboard enthusiast, it grabbed my attention. In the time since, his plan to bring a truly hackable keyboard to the world has gained momentum, and the dozens of layouts and material combinations that he and partner in design Kaia Dekker have considered have been boiled down into one nearly-ready final version. The result is a compact split keyboard housed in an "heirloom quality" wooden case. It has some features you might consider overwrought -- like an RGB LED beneath each key, a precision mouse feature via WASD keys, and the ability, theoretically, to put more than a dozen feet between each half of the board. But if you're designing a keyboard from scratch, why not?

Vincent and Dekker put their project onto Kickstarter, then spent weeks on a road trip showing it at hacker and maker spaces around the U.S.; the project updates make a nice travelogue about just how widespread and varied is the world of DIY culture. I caught up with him in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the road between some of those demo gigs, to talk about the long path from idea to (hopefully) shipping a product to backers. By the time we had this conversation, the project was well past fully funded, andI was impressed enough to order one myself; hopefully, the clicky keys will be worth the cost of a middlin' Chromebook, though Vincent admits they're not going to fool anyone looking for a buckling spring action. On the other hand, at least at the Kickstarter price, it beats some of the Maltron keyboards I've been eyeing for years. Plus, it comes with a screwdriver.
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Unusual Hardware Hack? 210 210

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter recently asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?
Hardware Hacking

Celebrating Workarounds, Kludges, and Hacks 145 145

itwbennett writes: We all have some favorite workarounds that right a perceived wrong (like getting around the Wall Street Journal paywall) or make something work the way we think it ought to. From turning off annoying features in your Prius to getting around sanctions in Crimea and convincing your Android phone you're somewhere you're not, workarounds are a point of pride, showing off our ingenuity and resourcefulness. And sometimes artful workarounds can even keep businesses operating in times of crisis. Take, for example, the Sony employees, who, in the wake of the Great Hack of 2014 when the company's servers went down, dug out old company BlackBerrys that, while they had been abandoned, had never had their plans deactivated. Because BlackBerrys used RIM's email servers instead of Sony's, they could still communicate with one another, and employees with BlackBerrys became the company's lifeline as it slowly put itself back together. What hacks and workarounds keep your life sane?
Handhelds

UW Researchers Prototype Sonar-Based Contactless Sleep Monitoring 40 40

n01 writes: Researchers of the University of Washington are testing the prototype of their ApneaApp to diagnose sleep apnea, a health problem that can become life-threatening. To monitor a person's sleep, the app transforms the user's smartphone into an active sonar system that tracks tiny changes in a person's movements. The phone's speaker sends out inaudible sound waves, which bounce off a sleeping person's body and are picked back up by the phone's microphone. "It's similar to the way bats navigate," said Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, lead author and a doctoral candidate in the UW's department of computer science and engineering. "They send out sound signals that hit a target, and when those signals bounce back they know something is there." In technical terms, the app continuously analyzes changes in the acoustic room-transfer-function (sampled at ultrasonic frequencies) to detect motion. This is very similar to what the iPhone app Sleep Cycle Sonalarm Clock does, except that the UW researchers have improved the sensitivity of the method so it can precisely track the person's breathing movements which allows it to not only detect different sleep phases but also sleep apnea events. The advantage in both use cases is that the sleep monitoring is contact-less (there's nothing in the user's bed that could disturb their sleep) and doesn't require any additional hardware besides the user's smart phone.
Hardware Hacking

Pi Stays Sky High In 2015 Hacker SBC Survey 32 32

DeviceGuru writes: The results from the 2015 Hacker SBC Survey cohosted by LinuxGizmos.com and the Linux Foundation's Linux.com community site have just been announced and, not surprisingly, RPi won two of the top three slots. With 1721 voting in the survey, the ten most popular single board computers turned out to be the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, Beaglebone Black, Raspberry Pi Model B+, Odroid-C1, DragonBoard 410c, Odroid-XU3, Parallella, Arduino TRE, Edison Kit for Arduino, and Odroid-U3. The report includes scores for all 53 SBCs that were listed in the susrvey, along with data on feature preferences, targeted applications, and the nature of participants' use of [SBCs], and more.
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: If You Were Building a New Home, What Cool New Tech Would You Put In? 557 557

An anonymous reader writes: I am starting the process of building a new home, and I would like to make the house as wired (or wireless) as possible. At this stage I can incorporate new tech in the design. What features do you have in your house that you just couldn't live without? What features are nice to have? What features do you want? In-home Fiber? Solar? Audio/Visual? Heating/Cooling?
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: Your Most Unusual Hardware Hack? 258 258

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter recently asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them?
Classic Games (Games)

1-Pixel Pac-Man 41 41

szczys writes: Retro games just aren't the same since the display technology resolution has exploded. I went the opposite direction and chose a display with less resolution than the original. This reinvention of Pac-Man uses a 32x32 RGB LED module which are made for LED billboards. This makes the player just one pixel. Add in an Atari joystick and we have a winner.This is a great programming challenge. If you've never looked at Pac-Man AI before, it's fascinating and worth your time!
Hardware Hacking

Video More About Dan Shapiro and the Glowforge CNC Laser Cutter (Video #2) 25 25

Yesterday Glowforge Co-Founder and CEO Dan Shapiro told us that the Glowforge machine is a CNC laser cutter and engraver, not a 3-D Printer -- even though the first words on Glowforge's main page are, "The First 3D Laser Printer," a description Dan says is there for people not familiar with things like laser cutters and 3-D printers, who want to call the Glowforge a 3-D printer even though people who know about this stuff know what it is at first glance. He also talks about his previous startup, Robot Turtles; what it is, how it came to be, and why kids like it so much. This interview is worth watching (or reading) for the Robot Turtles section alone, especially if you have children or are thinking about designing board games for kids.
Hardware Hacking

Video Glowforge is a CNC Laser Cutter, not a 3D Printer (Video) 45 45

Co-Founder and CEO Dan Shapiro says, right at the beginning of the interview, that the Glowforge machine is a CNC laser cutter and engraver, not a 3-D Printer. He says they've "simplified the heck" out of the hardware and software, and are making an easy-to-use, non-costly ($2500 has been bandied about as the unit's likely price) device that can fit on a kitchen table -- or, more likely, a workbench at a maker facility. Although Dan did very well on Kickstarter (and afterwards) with his previous venture, Robot Turtles, this time he seems to have raised his first $9 million in the venture capital market, with participation from several MakerBot executives.

Glowforge is not the only CNC laser cutter/etcher device out there (or about to be). In Australia, Darkly Labs appears to have raised $569,397 (AUD) on Kickstarter to bring their LazerBlade to life, and already makes a small laser device called the Emblaser. There are others, too, including Boxzy, which did the Kickstarter thing and will now sell you a device that "rapidly transforms into 3 kinds of machines: CNC Mill, 3D Printer & Laser Engraver while enhancing precision & power with ballscrews." All this, and their top-of-the-line "does everything" machine sells for a mere $3500. Obviously, devices to give makers and prototypers the ability to make ever more complex and accurate shapes are coming to market like crazy. We'll continue to keep an eye on all this activity, including a second video interview with Glowforge's Dan Shapiro tomorrow.
Hardware Hacking

Turning an Arduino Project Into a Prototype 107 107

An anonymous reader writes: Those of us who fiddle with electronics are probably familiar with this scenario: you've just finished assembling a project using your Arduino/Raspberry Pi/whatever, and it works! You'd like to set it up for long-term use, but... it's just a mass of wires and LEDs and switches. Alexis Matelin has written up a brief but handy guide for turning that mess into a self-contained prototype. He goes from planning out your circuit to designing your schematic to making your board, then working on an enclosure and a battery holder. Matelin also links to a variety of resources for the individual steps involved. It's a straightforward guide written for amateurs. Those of you who have experience with building permanent micro-controller projects: what would you add?
Hardware Hacking

Apple Watch's Hidden Diagnostic Port To Allow Battery Straps, Innovative Add-Ons 113 113

MojoKid writes: Apple's Watch launched two weeks ago to some unbelievable hype and coverage in the press. However, it appears one feature flew under the radar and Apple actually had just one more trick up its sleeve. You see, on one side of the watch face is a hidden door that exposes a 6-pin port. It's assumed that this could be used for diagnostic purposes, but with an Apple Watch in hand, a company by the name of Reserve Strap was able to verify that it could also be used for charging. This seems pretty huge and strange at the same time: why would Apple keep such a thing quiet, when the Apple Watch's battery-life isn't what most people would consider impressive? Even more interesting is the fact that Apple didn't make use of this port to release its own charging straps — watch straps that carry a charge themselves. Apple's lack of transparency here doesn't much matter, though, as the aforementioned Reserve Strap is planning to get such a product to market as soon as possible. The company says about its first offering: "The Reserve Strap will come in White, Gray and Black and will fit both the 38mm and 42mm case sizes. The first batch of straps will be shipped in the Fall.
Cellphones

Video Meet the Firmware Lead For Google's Project Ara Modular Smartphone (Video) 25 25

According to Wikipedia, 'Project Ara is the codename for an initiative that aims to develop an open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.' Google is the sponsor, and the project seems to be moving faster than some people expect it to. There's a Project Ara website, of course, a GitHub repository, a Facebook page, even an Ara subreddit. During his conversation with Timothy Lord, Ara firmware project lead (and spokesman) Marti Bolivar said it won't be long before prototype Ara modular phones start user testing. Meanwhile, if you want to see what Marti and his coworkers have been up to lately, besides this interview, you can read a transcription of his talk (including slides) from the January Project Ara Developers Conference in Singapore.
Hardware Hacking

Video Another 'Draw Your Own Circuits' System at SXSW (Video) 27 27

While Timothy Lord was at SXSW, he chatted with Yuki Nishida of AgIC and learned about the company's conductive ink products. But AgIC wasn't the only company at SXSW showing off conductive ink. You could also meet the Electroninks people and see their Circuit Scribe product, which had a Kickstarter campaign a while back that raised $574,425.

This kind of product seems to be attractive to the kind of people who fund Kickstarter projects, and this bunch seems to have good resumes and some interesting, well thought-out products. There is apparently room in the 'draw circuits and learn electrical basics' market for both AgIC and Electroninks -- and probably for another dozen competitors, too.