[Markomo] didn’t find much useful information about the Raspberry Pi PIco’s analog to digital converter, so he decided to do some tests to characterize it. Lucky for us, he documented the findings and shared them. The results are in a series of blog posts that cover power supply noise, input-referred noise, signal to noise ratio, and distortions.

There are some surprising results. For example, the Pico’s low noise regulator mode appears to produce more noise than having it set for normal operation. There also appears to be a large spike in nonlinearity around certain measurements.

Continue reading “Raspberry Pi Pico ADC Characterized”

The original PlayStation might be pushing 30 years old now, but that doesn’t mean hackers have given up on chipping away at it. A new exploit released by [Marcos Del Sol Vives] allows users to run copied games on all but the earliest hardware revisions of this classic console, and all you need to trigger it is a copy of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

Aptly named tonyhax, this exploit uses a classic buffer overflow found in the “Create Skater” mode in Tony Hawk 2, 3, and 4. When the game sees a custom character saved on the memory card it will automatically load the name field to show it on the screen, but it turns out the developers didn’t think to check the length of the name before loading it. Thanks to this oversight, a long and carefully crafted name can be used to load an executable payload into the console’s memory.

The name contains the memory address of the payload.

That payload could be anything, such as a homebrew game, but in this case [Marcos] went all in and developed a simple tool that unlocks the console’s optical drive so it will play games burned to CD-Rs. Once the tonyhax exploit has been loaded, you simply swap the authentic Tony Hawk disc for whatever burned title you want to play. So far every game tested has worked, even those that span across multiple discs.

[Marcos] is providing not only the save files ready to load on your PlayStation memory card (either through a PC tool, or with the help of a hacked PS2), as well as the complete source code for tonyhax. This opens the door to the exploit being used to load other tools, emulators, and indie games, but as the PlayStation homebrew scene is relatively limited when compared to newer consoles, the demand might be limited.

Compared to the traditional physical modifications used to play copied games on the PlayStation, this new software approach is far more accessible. Expect to see memory cards with this exploit preinstalled hit your favorite import site in the very near future.

Continue reading “PlayStation Unlocked With New Software Hack”

When it was first announced that limits would be placed on recreational RC aircraft heavier than 250 grams, many assumed the new rules meant an end to home built quadcopters. But manufacturers rose to the challenge, and started developing incredibly small and lightweight versions of their hardware. Today, building and flying ultra-lightweight quadcopters with first person view (FPV) cameras has become a dedicated hobby onto itself.

But as impressive as those featherweight flyers might be, the CogniFly Project is really pushing what we thought was possible in this weight class. Designed as a platform for experimenting with artificially intelligent drones, this open source quadcopter is packing a Raspberry Pi Zero and Google’s AIY Vision Kit so it can perform computationally complex tasks such as image recognition while airborne. In case any of those experiments take an unexpected turn, it’s also been enclosed in a unique flexible frame that makes it exceptionally resilient to crash damage. As you can see in the video after the break, even after flying directly into a wall, the CogniFly can continue on its way as if nothing ever happened.

Continue reading “Resilient AI Drone Packs It All In Under 250 Grams”

MIDI has been a great tool for musicians and artists since its invention in the 1980s. It allows a standard way to interface musical instruments to computers for easy recording, editing, and production of music. It does have a few weaknesses though, namely that without some specialized equipment the latency of the signals through the various connected devices can easily get too high to be useful in live performances. It’s not an impossible problem to surmount with the right equipment, as illustrated by [Philip Karlsson Gisslow].

The low-latency MIDI interface that he created is built around a Raspberry Pi Pico. It runs a custom library created by [Philip] called MiGiC which specifically built as a MIDI to Guitar interface. The entire setup consists of a preamp to boost the guitar’s signal up to 3.3V where it is then fed to the Pi. This is where the MIDI sampling is done. From there it sends the information to a PC which is able to play the sound back quickly with no noticeable delay.

[Philip] also had to do a lot of extra work to port the software to the Pi which lacks a lot of the features of its original intended hardware on a Mac or Windows machine, and the results are impressive, especially at the end of the video where he uses the interface to play a drum machine via his guitar. And, while MIDI is certainly a powerful application for a guitarist, we have also seen the Pi put to other uses in this musical realm as well.

Continue reading “Guitar Effects With No (Unwanted) Delay”

Join us on Wednesday, March 17 at noon Pacific for the Retro Recreations Hack Chat with Tube Time!

join-hack-chatNostalgia seems to be an inevitable consequence of progress. Advance any field far enough into the future, and eventually someone will look back with misty eyes and fond memories of the good old days and start the process of turning what would qualify as junk under normal conditions into highly desirable collectibles.

In some ways, those who have been bitten by the computer nostalgia bug are lucky, since the sheer number of artifacts produced during their period of interest is likely to be pretty high, making getting gear to lovingly restore relatively easy. But even products produced in their millions can eventually get difficult to find, especially once they get snapped up by eager collectors, leaving the rest to make do or do without.

Of course, if you’re as resourceful as Tube Time is, there’s another alternative: build your own retro recreations. He has embarked on some pretty intense builds to recapture a little of what early computer enthusiasts went through trying to build useful machines. He has built replicas of early PC sound cards, like an ISA-bus AdLib card, its MCA equivalent, and the “Snark Barker”— or is it the “Snood Bloober”? — which bears an uncanny resemblance to the classic Sound Blaster card from the 1980s.

Tube Time will join us for the Hack Chat this week to answer questions about all his retro recreations, including his newest work on a retro video card. Be sure to bring your questions on retro rebuilds, reverse engineering, and general computer nostalgia to the chat.

Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, March 17 at 12: 00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.


Continue reading “Retro Recreations Hack Chat With Tube Time”

Ding dong, the office is dead — at least we hope it is. We miss some of the people, the popcorn machine, and the printer most of all, but we say good riddance to the collective noise. Thankfully, we never had to suffer in an open office.

For many of us, yours truly included, home has become the place where we spend approximately 95% of our time. Home is now an all-purpose space for work, play, and everything in between, like anxiety-induced online shopping. But unless you live alone in a secluded area and/or a concrete bunker, there are plenty of sound-based distractions all day and night that emanate from both inside and outside the house. Headphones are a decent solution, but wearing them isn’t always practical and gets old after a while. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to print your own customized sound absorbers and stick them on the walls? Continue reading “There’s A Fungus Among Us That Absorbs Sound And Does Much More”

In our community we like to think of ourselves as pioneers in the field of domestic CNC machinery, with our cheap 3D printers. But there’s another set of people who were way ahead of us, and they’re a rather unexpected one, too. Crafters were using CNC cutting machines well before we were, and while some may deride them when used for sparkly greeting cards sold on Etsy, they can be an extremely useful tool for much more than that. Probably the best known brand of cutter comes from Cricut, and that company has dropped a bombshell in the form of an update to the web-based design software that leaves their now very annoyed users with a monthly upload limit of 20 new designs unless they sign up for a Cricut Access Plan that costs $9.99 on monthly payments. Worse still, a screenshot is circulating online purporting to be from a communication with a Cricut employee attempting to clarify  matters, in which it is suggested that machines sold as second-hand will be bricked by the company.

UPDATE: Hackaday was contacted by a PR company claiming to represent Cricut. They clarified that machines are not deactivated upon resale, but the new owner will need to set up their own online account.

Also, soon we will be making changes that affect members who use the free Design Space app without a Cricut Access plan. Every calendar month, these members will be allowed to upload up to 20 personal images and/or patterns. Members with a paid Cricut Access plan will have unlimited uploads.

We’d like to think that given the reaction from their online community the subscription plan will backfire, but unlike the world of 3D printing their market is not necessarily an online-savvy one. A crafter who buys a Cricut from a bricks-and-mortar warehouse store and uses it with Cricut cartridges may not balk at being required to pay rent to use hardware that’s already paid for in the same way a member of our community with a 3D printer would. After all, Cricut have always tried to make their software a walled garden. However if the stories about second-hand models being bricked turn out to bear fruit that might be a different matter.

There are of course plenty of alternative CNC cutting machines (The favourite in ones that have made it here seems to be the Silhouette Cameo) that don’t come with this type of baggage, and the online Cricut community are busily raising their profile in the wake of this news. Probably because of their restricted functionality there have been very few hacks here using a Cricut machine, but all of this leaves us wondering whether the machines themselves could be exploited to take less restrictive firmware.

Header image: Factorof2 (CC BY-SA 2.0)