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More progress being made on pairing Android Wear with iPhones

Posted by wicked March - 18 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

android_wear_wear_what_you_want_watch_faces_Featured_LargeIf you’re an iPhone user that’s just not happy with the current selection of smartwatches, well, you’re probably on the wrong website, but there’s some good news on the horizon. Developer Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh recently released a video showing off how he paired a Moto 360 with an iPhone through some clever workarounds. Most of the functionality was borked, but you could at least check some text messages.

Today, he’s shown off some new progress on pairing the two together. It’s not a ton of improvement, but he’s able to answer a phone call made to the iPhone right from the Moto 360. There’s no jailbreaking, rooting, or anything else done to make this work. Just a simple APK sideloaded onto the Moto 360.

While developers like this are working at making Android Wear compatible with iOS, Google is supposedly working on their own iOS app to enable compatibility. Who do you think will get things working first?

source: Techno Buffalo

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: More progress being made on pairing Android Wear with iPhones

Redditor builds smart mirror that displays Android Wear watch notifications

Posted by wicked March - 12 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

auto wear mirrorChalk this up for the craziest DIY project of the week. A Redditor has built a mirror that mirrors notifications from his Android phone and tablet, no pun intended. Using Auto Wear, that mirror now shows Android Wear notifications, too, like when the battery is fully charged and ready to go, as seen above. Yep, instead of actually picking up his watch to see if the battery is charged, he just gets to glance at his mirror.

Anyone want to make a bet on how long it takes for a major tech company to offer him a job?

source: Reddit

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The Wisest Wizard Doesn’t Drink from Cans

Posted by wicked March - 2 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

“Wizard Staff” or “Wisest Wizard” is a drinking game played at parties where the attendees participate by taping the empty cans of the drinks they’ve consumed on top of one another to form a staff of inebriated power. A person with a longer staff is considered to be at a higher level and can therefore command lesser wizards to pound their current beverage to a point they see fit. Not everyone at a party necessarily drinks their tasty libation of choice from a can however. So, [Ahmed] and his group came up with a solution for those of us who might alternately prefer to wield a pint glass of power instead.

In their hardware project for Hack Illinois 2015, [Brady Salz], [Ahmed Suhyl], [Dario Aranguiz], and [Kashev Dalmia] decided to add a zest of tech to the game. For their updated rendition, glasses are equipped with battery packs for mobility, a Spark micro-controller, and different colored LEDs as indicators. A couple of wires reach into the bottom of each glass to measure conductivity and keep track of the number of times it is filled and then emptied. In leu of towers of aluminum husks and duct-tape, the group developed a simple Android app for participants to log into which will track and visualize the standings of each player registered to one of the glasses. They even created a pebble version of the app that will display all the same information in case you don’t want to risk handling your phone while drinking… heh.

For an added level of fun, once a player reaches a certain level above someone else, they unlock the option to “challenge” the lesser adversary. By selecting that person’s user name in the app, the LED and buzzer on their glass will spring to life, letting them know they’ve been chosen to chug the rest of their drink. If you’re curious how they made it work, you can check out the team’s code on Github and maybe take a stab at giving the game a makeover of your own.

Filed under: Android Hacks, hardware

Cyanogen inks deal with Qualcomm to help low cost device makers in developing countries

Posted by wicked March - 2 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Cyanogen_New_Logo_February_2015

Well this is an interesting deal. Qualcomm has partnered with Cyanogen in order to bring their best software enhancements from Cyanogen OS to Qualcomm’s Reference Design (QRD) devices.

These reference devices will utilize the Snapdragon 200, 400, and 600 Series and is meant to assist device makers of lower cost handsets for developing markets. The Cyanogen OS brings their own launcher and enhancements to Android’s personal information management apps such as the dialer, messaging, contacts, and calendar.

Previous versions of QRD devices only had simplified versions of Android based on AOSP. By using Qualcomm’s new reference design with Cyanogen OS, device makers for low cost handsets will be able to market a phone with their own branding in as little as 2 months, without the need to come up with their own software enhancements.

These features will be in the newest QRD devices this April.

Also note the new logo for Cyanogen in the image above. Things are looking pretty good at Cyanogen right now.

Full Press Release:

Cyanogen and Qualcomm Collaborate to Raise the Bar on User Experience

Cyanogen, Powers New Offering for Snapdragon Processors

Palo Alto, CA.  March 1, 2014 — At Mobile World Congress today, Cyanogen Inc. and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced details of a collaboration that will provide support for the best features and UI enhancements of the Cyanogen Operating System on certain Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processors. This will be available for the upcoming release of Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) planned for April.

Cyanogen is widely known through the industry for its commercially distributed Cyanogen OS and the CyanogenMod community distribution. Through the enhanced solution, Cyanogen brings a number of feature-rich enhancements, including a new launcher and personal information management apps across dialer, messaging, contacts, and calendar. The Cyanogen OS experience arrives on the most current Android™ 5.0 Lollipop release, and will be available to device makers globally.

“We’re delighted to collaborate with Qualcomm on their QRD program,” said Kirt McMaster, CEO, Cyanogen Inc. “We’re addressing the needs of device makers in developed and developing markets looking for a truly differentiated software experience that matter to consumers.”

The features and UI enhancements will be available from Cyanogen Inc. for Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processors in the 200, 400 and 600 series, bringing the Cyanogen experience across multiple device tiers. Additionally, Cyanogen features such as the new Launcher will also be available for the QRD program across these tiers of Snapdragon processors. The QRD program is designed to streamline the rapid introduction of devices at lower development costs — drawing on the technical innovation and product quality that have made Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. an industry leader.

“We chose to work with Cyanogen based on their deep Android expertise and innovative approach to enhancing smartphone software,” said Jason Bremner, SVP of Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies . “By collaborating with Cyanogen, we are able to offer unique experiences to users of Snapdragon based devices.”

Through this ongoing collaboration, Cyanogen will be adding exciting new features and services in future releases as the company continues to drive advancements in mobile computing across a range of devices that incorporate Snapdragon processors.

###

About Cyanogen Inc.

Cyanogen is reimagining mobile computing, giving power to the people to customize their mobile device and content experiences. The CYANOGEN® operating system is built on Android and known for its revolutionary personalization features, intuitive interface, speed, improved battery life, and enhanced security. With a rapidly growing global user base and a vibrant community of developers, we’re intelligently connecting smartphone and tablet consumers to people, apps, and things they love. For more information, visit Cyanogen’s websiteGoogle+Twitter, and Facebook.

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm’s licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm’s engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Qualcomm and Snapdragon are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries.

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OK Google, Open Sesame

Posted by wicked February - 24 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

There are a myriad of modern ways to lock and unlock doors. Keypads, Fingerprint scanners, smart card readers, to name just a few. Quite often, adding any of these methods to an old door may require replacing the existing locking mechanism. Donning his Bollé sunglasses allowed [Dheera] to come up with a slightly novel idea to unlock doors without having to change his door latch. Using simple, off the shelf hardware, a Smartwatch, some code crunching and a Google Now app, he was able to yell “OK Google, Open Sesame” at his Android Wear smartwatch to get his apartment  door to open up.

The hardware, in his own words, is trivial. An Arduino, an HC-05 bluetooth module and a servo. The servo is attached to his door latch using simple hardware that looks sourced from the closest hardware store. The code is split in to two parts. The HC-05 listens for a trigger signal, and informs the Arduino over serial. The Arduino in turn activates the servo to open the door. The other part is the Google Now app. Do note that the code, as he clearly points out, is “barebones”. If you really want to implement this technique, it would be wise to add in authentication to prevent all and sundry from opening up your apartment door and stealing your precious funky Sunglasses. Watch a video of how he put it all together after the break. And if you’re interested, here are a few other door lock hacks we’ve featured in the past.

Filed under: Android Hacks, hardware

An Adventure into Android Makes the VIC-20 Speak

Posted by wicked February - 14 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

History and [Bil Herd] teaches us that Commodore begged, borrowed, or stole the engineers responsible for the Speak & Spell to add voice synthesis to a few of the computers that came after the C64. This didn’t quite work out in practice, but speech synthesis was something that was part of the Commodore scene for a long time. The Votrax Type ‘n Talk was a stand-alone speech synthesizer that plugged into the expansion port of the VIC-20. It was expensive, rare, but a few games supported it. [Jan] realized the state of speech synthesis has improved tremendously over the last 30 years, and decided to give his VIC a voice with the help of a cheap Android phone.

A few VIC-20 games, including [Scott Adams] adventure games, worked with the Votrax speech synthesizer by sending phonemes as text over the expansion port. From there, the Votrax would take care of assembling everything into something intelligible, requiring no overhead on the VIC-20. [Jan] realized since the VIC is just spitting out characters for each phoneme, he could redirect those words to a better, more modern voice synthesizer.

A small Bluetooth module was wired up to the user port on the VIC, and this module was paired with a cheap Android smartphone. The smartphone receives the serial stream from an adventure game, and speaks the descriptions of all the scenes in these classic adventure games.

It’s a unique experience judging from the video, but the same hardware and software can also be added to any program that will run on the VIC-20, C64, and C128. Video below.

Filed under: Android Hacks, classic hacks, wireless hacks

Prefix Your Phone Alarm with a Desk Lamp

Posted by wicked February - 8 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

If you are like [Gbola], then you have a hard time waking up during the winter months. Something about the fact that it’s still dark outside just makes it that much more difficult to get out of bed. [Gbola] decided to build his own solution to this problem, by gradually waking himself up with an electric light. He was able to do this using all off-the-shelf components and a bit of playing around with the Tasker Android application.

[Gbola] started out with a standard desk lamp. He replaced the light bulb with a larger bulb that simulates the color temperature of natural daylight. He then switched the lamp on and plugged it into a WeMo power switch module. A WeMo is a commercial product that attempts to make home automation accessible for consumers. This particular module allows [Gbola] to control the power to his desk lamp using his smart phone.

[Gbola] mentions that the official WeMo Android application is slow and includes no integration with Tasker. He instead decided to use the third-party WeMoWay application, which does include Tasker support. Tasker is a separate Android application that allows you to configure your device to perform a set task or series of tasks based on a context. For example you might turn your phone to silent mode when your GPS signal shows you are at work. WeMoWay allows [Gbola] to interact with his WeMo device based on any parameter he configures.

On top of all of that, [Gbola] also had to install three Tasker plugins. These were AutoAlarm, Taskkill, and WiFi Connect. He then got to work with Tasker. He configured a custom task to identify when the next alarm was configured on the phone. It then sets two custom variables, one for 20 minutes before the alarm (turn on the lamp) and one for 10 minutes after (turn it off).

[Gbola] then built a second task to actually control the lamp. This task first disconnects and reconnects to the WiFi network. [Gbola] found that the WeMoWay application is buggy and this “WiFi reset” helps to make it more reliable. It then kills the WeMoWay app and restarts it. Finally, it executes the command to toggle the state of the lamp. The project page has detailed instructions in case anyone wants to duplicate this. It seems like a relatively painless way to build your own solution for less than the cost of a specialized alarm clock lamp.

Filed under: Android Hacks

Teardown: The Android-powered iPhone Case

Posted by wicked February - 7 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

Cellphones! Cellphone cases! Now that Radio Shack is kaput we need to pick up the slack!

A company named Oaxis has been making cell phone cases for a while now, and they’ve recently rolled out something rather interesting – a cell phone case with an e-ink screen. It’s an interesting idea and [Anton] did a teardown on two new releases. The first one just sends an image to an e-ink screen, and on paper, that’s all the second one does as well. There’s something special hidden under the hood, though: a low-end Android system. What an age to live in.

Something interesting happened when [Anton] was futzing with the battery for the e-ink iPhone case. Somehow, the device booted into recovery mode. Android recovery mode. Yes, iPhone cases now run Android.

Inside the e-ink iPhone case, [Anton] found a board with a Rockchip RK2818 SoC. This is the same chip that can be found in cheap Android cell phones. There’s only one button on the cell phone case, and connectivity is only provided by Bluetooth LE, but the possibilities for modding a cell phone case are extremely interesting.

Filed under: Android Hacks, Cellphone Hacks, teardown

Automated Tea Maker

Posted by wicked January - 29 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

[Pariprohus] wanted to make an interesting gift for his girlfriend. Knowing how daunting it can be to make your own tea, he decided to build a little robot to help out. His automated tea maker is quite simple, but effective.

The device runs off of an Arduino Nano. The Nano is hooked up to a servo, a piezo speaker, an LED, and a switch. When the switch is turned to the off position, the servo rotates into the “folded” position. This moves the steeping arm into a position that makes the device easier to store and transport.

When the device is turned on to the “ready” position, the arm will extend outward and stay still. This gives you time to attach the tea bag to the arm and place the mug of hot water underneath. Finally the switch can be placed into “brew” mode. In this mode, the bag is lowered into the hot water and held for approximately five minutes. Each minute the bag is raised and lowered to stir the water around.

Once the cycle completes, the Nano plays a musical tune from the piezo speaker to remind you to drink your freshly made tea. All of the parameters including the music can be modified in the Nano’s source code. All of the components are housed in a small wooden box painted white. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Filed under: Android Hacks

Adding WiFi and SMS to an Alarm System

Posted by wicked January - 17 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

[Don] wanted to bring his alarm system into the modern age. He figured that making it more connected would do the trick. Specifically, he wanted his alarm system to send him an SMS message whenever the alarm was tripped.

[Don] first had to figure out a way to trigger an event when the alarm sounds. He found a screw terminal that lead to the siren. When the alarm is tripped, this screw terminal outputs 12V to enable the siren. This would be a good place to monitor for an alarm trip.

[Don] is using an Arduino nano to monitor the alarm signal. This meant that the 12V signal needed to be stepped down. He ran it through a resistor and a Zener diode to lower the voltage to something the Arduino can handle. Once the Arduino detects a signal, it uses an ESP8266 WiFi module to send an email. The address [Don] used is the email-to-SMS address which results in a text message hitting his phone over the cell network.

The Arduino also needed power. [Don] found a screw terminal on the alarm system circuit board that provided a regulated 12V output. He ran this to another power regulator board to lower the voltage to a steady 5V. This provides just the amount of juice the Arduino needs to run, and it doesn’t rely on batteries. [Don] provides a good explanation of the system in the video below.

Filed under: Android Hacks, security hacks

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