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18 June 2013, 13:05

Hardware Hacks: Onion Pi, DesignSpark and Arduino control boards

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The Onion Pi
Zoom The Onion Pi is a small, low powered Tor proxy
Source: Adafruit Industries
The H's Hardware Hacks section collects stories about the wide range of uses of open source in the rapidly expanding area of open hardware. It's where you can find out about interesting projects, the re-purposing of devices and the creation of a new generation of deeply open systems. In this edition: turn a Raspberry Pi into a Tor anonymising proxy, RS Components introduces a site for open source hardware projects, two new boards to control Arduino projects from mobile devices, and an augmented reality backend for Drupal.

  • Secure browsing powered by a Raspberry Pi – Adafruit Industries has an interesting weekend project for those who are worried by the recent reports of NSA spying. The Onion Pi offers a way to turn a Raspberry Pi, a USB Wi-Fi adapter and an Ethernet cable into a low-powered, Tor-enabled secure surfing proxy. After installing Tor on the Raspberry Pi and following a few other steps, users will be able to connect to the device wirelessly and have their surfing anonymised by the Tor network. For those who want to get started quickly, Adafruit also offers a handy starter pack for $94.95 and will even donate a portion of the sale price to the Tor Foundation.

  • RS Components introduces open source project web site – RS Components has launched a new part of its DesignSpark web site, called DesignShare, which collects open source designs and instructions for hardware projects. It includes PCB schematics and layout files and users can directly purchase the required parts from the RS Components store. The new web site was developed together with the Elektor electronics enthusiast magazine and includes facilities where users can discuss future and existing designs and share ideas for projects.

  • Control Arduino projects from your phone – The Ember & Torch campaign on Kickstarter is trying to raise $80,000 to create two Bluetooth low-energy Arduino-compatible development boards that will enable hardware hackers to interact with their Arduino projects from smartphones, tablets and other computers. The Torch board is similar to the Arduino Leonardo and is compatible with all existing Arduino shields and projects, while the Ember is modelled on the Arduino Micro board and is targeted at breadboard applications, prototyping and permanent installations. The design for both boards is being released as open source hardware and different pledge levels allow for backers to receive either one or both of the boards. The project creators do point out, however, that due to the lack of official support for the Bluetooth low-energy standard in Android, the communication with the boards will only work on a limited number of Android devices for the time being.

  • Drupal backend for augmented reality applications – At DrupalCon 2013, Promet Source has shown its PRAugmented Reality Suite, a combination of a Drupal 7 module and a framework for iOS that allows developers to write mobile applications that can access geotagged data stored in a Drupal-based web service. The iOS framework provides ready to use UI elements and overlays, while the open source Drupal module receives and processes data requests from applications, using Drupal fields to filter relevant information to send to the mobile app. The source code for the PRAugmented Reality Suite is available on GitHub under the MIT License.



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