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[Incudie] tipped us off about a method to fix a borked HDD in your Xbox 360. Many of the one million consoles banned earlier in the month also had the hard disks scrambled making off-line gaming impossible as well. It turns out that this is caused by having a ban flag in the NAND chip on the motherboard. It has been discovered that because of wear levelling, the NAND will have two copies of the “secdata.bin” file which stores the ban flag. Please note, this will NOT allow the console to use Xbox Live, it just re-enables the HDD.
The quick and dirty of the fix is as follows: First the NAND is dumped from your Xbox 360 to a computer. After verifying the file, it can be opened in a HEX editor and the two copies of “secdata.bin” located. Once identified by date, the older version is injected on top of the newer to overwrite the ban flag.
Looks like this is not for the faint of heart, but if you got banned for modding in the first place this should be easy to pull off.
Update: Looks like xbox-scene now has a collection of apps to help you with this process. [Thanks CollinstheClown]
[Dane] sent in his sweet AVR hack. He used the PWM output to play pre-recorded audio output. It’s not very high quality, but it could be useful for adding low cost audio feedback to your projects.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating disease that eventually causes the afflicted individual to lose all control of their motor functions, while leaving their mental faculties intact. Those suffering from the illness typically live for only a handful of years before succumbing to the disease. On some occasions however, patients can live for long periods after their original diagnosis, and in those cases assistive technology becomes a key component in their lives.
[Alon Bukai and Ofir Benyamin], students at Ort Hermalin Collage in Israel, have been working hard on creating an EEG-controlled smart house for ALS patients under the guidance of their advisor [Amnon Demri]. The core of their project focuses around controlling everyday household items using brainwaves. They use an Emotiv EPOC EEG headset which monitors the user’s brainwaves when focusing on several large buttons displayed on a computer screen. These buttons are mapped to different functions, ranging from turning lights on and off to changing channels on a cable box. When the user focuses on a particular task, the computer analyzes the headset’s output and relays the command to the proper device.
As of right now, the EEG-controlled home is only a project for their degree program, but we hope that their efforts help spur on further advancements in this field of research.
Continue reading to see a pair of videos demonstrating their EEG-controlled smart house in action.
At Berkeley, they’re coming up with new ways to make their itty bitty hexapods. These are basically tiny flatpacked bodies cut from cardboard. The end goal is to not only make them smaller and faster to build, but to reduce the friction in the joints. You can download the files on their site as well as download movies of them in action. For a larger and somewhat less complicated flatpacked robot, check out the flatpacked 2 motor walker.
Instructables user [tanbata] recently got his hands on a Google Anroid figurine and thought that while it looked great, it served no real purpose. He decided to change that, and converted this once-useless hunk of plastic into a miniature robot that moves and responds to sound.
He pried of the head of the figure and got busy fitting a servo into the Android’s body to enable head movement. An ATiny was added to control the figure, along with a microphone to enable it to respond to sound. A piezo was inserted to relay Morse code messages, and a handful of LEDs were installed in the body cavity and eyes of the figure just for kicks.
When the bot is powered on and senses a loud enough sound, the eyes light, the head spins from side to side, and the robot spouts off a random message in Morse code as you can see in the video below.
It’s not the most advanced project out there, but with a few tweaks, it could make for a great USB-powered email or IM notification system for your PC. Better yet, it’s a great project to do with a child who is interested in electronics, since they get to make a cool robot toy they can keep.