One of the hacks at Disrupt NY’s Hackathon this year employed hardware startup Leap Motion’s new 3D gesture controller, which unfortunately just ran into a delay. Leap Motion’s issues aside, this project, the combined effort of Chao Huang, Cedrich Pinson and Jorge Martinez, brings a Facebook Home-style experience to the desktop.
With “Leap in Time,” Leap Motion is used to navigate through a Facebook timeline via hand gestures that are intended to be as natural and intuitive as possible. You swipe left and right to go through photos and posts, and there’s inertia built-in to make it feel even more immersive. Then there’s a motion to pause and focus on a particular piece of content, with a palm outward gesture, and you can simply make a thumbs up to like a post.
Working with the Leap Motion was fairly simple, the team said, but does seem to experience difficulty with some environment issues like changing lighting conditions. It’s also crucial to maker sure that the Leap Motion app you’re building is cued to pay attention to certain things at certain times and to ignore specific motions in different settings. You have to cue the app to not pay attention to sideways hand waving when you want it to be able to recognize the thumbs up, for instance.
The hack was surprisingly smooth given that it was built in fewer than 24 hours, and Huang said there’s plenty more they could do given more time, but they wanted to focus on what they considered the core Facebook experience. The project is also reminiscent of a recent concept design making the rounds of a Facebook Home app for Windows 8.
Leap in Time is a simple enough implementation of Leap Motion, but it does act as a pretty solid example of how gesture control might actually work well for navigating apps and software that we use every day. I know that Leap Motion is eager to get as much software as possible into Airspace, the app store for the controller, but this team said they weren’t sure whether they’d actually pursue this any further.
Question by Amanda: How can I find someone to hack my Nook Color into an Android? I have the $ 150 Nook Color. Its a 1.0.1 Is this legal to do? I know rooting to android will void the waranty but it is still leagal to tamper with my device right? Where can I hire someone to do this?
Answer by ToadIf you’re willing to pay someone to do this why not just buy an Android tablet?
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Editor’s note: Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and writer for Engadget. Each column will look at crowdfunded products that have either met or missed their funding goals.
Like a Kickstarter campaign, Apple’s embrace of technologies tends to be an all-or-nothing affair. The company was early to support Wi-Fi and now supports Bluetooth throughout its product line. However, it has remained at an arm’s length from technologies, such as Blu-ray, DLNA, wireless charging and NFC. Apple VP Phil Schiller has said it’s not clear what NFC is good for. The answer: lots of things, mostly having to do with initiating different kinds of transactions, including payments and Wi-Fi transfers.
Some of those things should soon be possible with the aid of the Kickstarter project by Miami-based NFC wizards Flomio and its project FloJack. It’s not a device that enables you to track stolen boats with GPS. Rather, in the spirit of the Square credit card reader, it is a small white lollipop of a device that plugs into the headphone jack of mobile iOS or legacy Android mobile device and allows it to read and write data via NFC. The company has wisely avoided getting wrapped up in payments at this point, but it is supporting other NFC functionality, such as tag reading via Samsung’s TecTiles or its own similar Zapps.
The Flomio Kickstarter page includes a four-minute intro video that takes prospective backers through a cutesy “NFC party” in which iOS devices aren’t on the guest list, the standard CAD-drawing development segment and a concept “day in the life” where we see shoppers tapping FloJacks to access special deals. Still, the FloJack campaign started off slow, no doubt leading many backers to wistfully wonder, “Flomio, wherefore art thou?” The Kickstarter campaign has come down to the wire, with about $ 6,000 needed to reach the $ 80,0000 funding goal needed in the next 60 hours as of this writing.
When one breaks down the backers at this point, most have gone for either the $ 99 FloJack dev kit or the $ 49 FloJack pack for NFC enthusiasts. The real boost, though (half of the project’s funding), has come from three backers who have shelled out $ 10,000 each to have Flomio help them create NFC applications and a fourth who shelled out the same amount to have Flomio build them something while they take in a Miami Heat game and relax on the beach — nice work if you can get it done for you.
Like its longer-range radio brethren Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, NFC is best integrated not only into the casing of the phone, but into its operating system as well, which is exactly why Android and Windows Phone have taken that approach. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth USB sticks for laptops lacking those technologies proved that point, and the situation is even worse with a mobile phone, where a need for portability and personal style is at a premium.
Sweetening the deal and taking advantage of a Kickstarter campaign that enables owners to change rewards midstream, the clever Flomio team added a new option, the FloCase. This wraps a FloJack-style NFC reader/writer into an iPhone case. It makes for a far better solution in which you don’t have to be as concerned about the FloJack slipping out of or even breaking off in the headphone jack, which remains free for audio output.
Not only has Flomio been smart about its Kickstarter rules, but it’s also recognized that, for NFC to do anything, it must be supported with an SDK. Flomio’s works across platforms. However, at some point Apple will no doubt support NFC or something like it for transactions, and at that point Flomio will likely have to focus more on its own custom development work. Unil that time, though, developers may be willing to deal with a little protrusion from their iDevices in order to get a taste of at least some of the promise of NFC.Related Posts:
Driving through downtown Detroit is like seeing a city after the Fall. The streets are empty, and there are entire buildings devoid of windows, let alone occupants. It’s the Rust Belt writ large, a reminder that we are not permanent.
We spent a few days in Detroit during our meet-up and I spoke to quite a few entrepreneurs who are either based in the suburbs there, plan to come back after school, or are thinking of moving into the heart of the city. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see even a few folks rolling back into town. But they need more.
My exhortation is this: Go there, live there, and repopulate Hack City.
I’m not the first person to try to save Detroit. We spoke with a number of big figures there – the biggest being Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans who bought out most of the old downtown core and filled it with teams of young men and women who work the phones all day. He also funds a pair of accelerators. We’ll be talking about that next week when we run our interview with Gilbert.
However, as a hardware guy, I think the possibilities are even greater. In Brooklyn I’ve seen hackers take over entire factories to build guitars, bike lights, and 3D printers. I’ve seen an open source hardware company expand to fill an entire Manhattan loft. I’ve seen distilleries, knife-makers, and Arduino programmers fill up the empty spaces in the endless Williamsburg wastes.
That can happen in Detroit, and it can happen now. A friend, on seeing the empty buildings, wrote “Think of all the stuff geeks could do in there.” And he’s right.
I’m not naïve about the costs and problems associated with building a business. I’m not ignorant of the very real possibility that the city could implode in on itself, taking startups with it. What I’m sure of, however, is that if we turn Detroit into Hack City, if we fill up empty floors of derelict office buildings with CNC machines, Shopbots, and designers, we can build a new manufacturing sector in darkest Michigan.
When I posted that Foxconn might build an LCD factory in Detroit (or LA) a few days ago, I did so knowing full well that large-scale manufacturing in urban cores is a sucker’s game. The world needs more TV plants like it needs more TVs. However, by creating “artisinal hardware,” even if it’s Kickstarter project after Kickstarter project, a hardware hacker could pull in a stable income, create an ecosystem of interconnected manufacturing partners, and help grow one of America’s forgotten cities.
I was talking with a guy in Detroit who told me about building a special kind of PC for a client. He needed a steel case so he went down to a fabricator in the city and drew the plan out on a napkin. An hour later the job was done for $ 375.
“Charge me more,” said the designer. “They’ll laugh if this is how much it costs.”
The fabricator shook his head. He wouldn’t raise his price. “All I ask is for you to make a thousand of these,” he said.
Instead of hacking in a San Francisco garage, why not hack in a whole building? Instead of landing in the middle of a potential bubble, why not live like a (well-financed) artist in a strange new city? Think of it as a year abroad in an up-and-coming post-crash economy.
Detroit is coming back. It’s a horrible place right now, that’s for sure, and I’m embarrassed that we, the American people, let it get this bad. I’m willing to go back and cover the renaissance (if there is one) if you’re willing to investigate the possibilities. Matt Burns lives just to the North. If you need contacts, we can get them for you.
I want to go back to Detroit, and when I get there I want my dream of Hack City to be on its way to coming true.Related Posts:
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A hacker going by the name of Barnaby Jack demonstrated his ability to hack pacemakers at a recent computer security conference in Australia, proving that fake boner pill emails may be the least of your grandpa’s technology concerns. Dammit, I told you I’d get them for you gramps, STAY OFF THE INTERNET.
[The hacker] demonstrated how he could hack into a pacemaker using a laptop, and download its model and serial numbers. Once he was in, he could reverse engineer the connections or even upload new firmware, giving him full access to the device. This allowed him to switch off the device, or even force it to apply an 850 volt shock to the heart.
While he didn’t divulge the manufacturer of the pacemaker used, Jack said that he wanted his demonstration to act as a warning to medical device makers to secure their devices. In many cases he says that it’s easy to gain full access to a device, without need for a password or authentication of any kind.
Terrifying. Or at least for people with pacemakers anyways. That’s why it’s so important to SECURE YOUR WI-FI CONNECTION. “You don’t even know what a pacemaker is, do you?” Zero clue. I know what a babymaker is though. “What’s a babymaker?” *pointing* PEENUS!
Thanks to dot and Brett, who are both firm believers in not hacking pacemakers because old people have it rough enough already. Right? They’re already on their way out, no need to kick them out the door.
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If you are attending this weekend’s Hackathon – that is if you have tickets and are raring to go – I have some fun news. As we mentioned before, Makerbot will be in attendance with two of their 3D printers and I still have two Raspberry Pis courtesy of Adafruit Industries that will go to teams intent on building small hardware projects.
To recap, this year we’re offering one Makerbot to the team in the Disrupt Hackathon that submits the best hardware hack as chosen by some Makerbot reps. The winner will accept their prize on stage at the end of the Hackathon. While we encourage you to bring your own parts – motors, Ardiuno boards, and the like – we’d love for you to hack on (and keep) one of the Raspberry Pi mini-computers we have available. I’ve already given away two, so hurry it on up.
To request a Pi, remember that you’ll need to bring an SD card, USB keyboard and mouse, and HDMI monitor with cable. We may have some hardware on site, but don’t depend on it. If you’d still like one, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “PI ME!” and I’ll pick two folks randomly. Also remember that you must already have a ticket to the Hackathon. Got it? Good.
This will be our first hardware hack and because the Hackathon is only 24 hours we don’t expect you guys to build a ten-foot-tall robotic dancing mouse with sonar vision. Instead, we ask that you think more in terms of smaller robotics or kiosk computers for students. However, as we get better at this I expect to see ten-foot mice roaming the halls next year.Related Posts:
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