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  • DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

    In years past, someone (sorry, I can't remember who originally came up with the idea) had the crazy idea of making an crowdsourced electronic Rube Goldberg device and bringing it together in the HHV to demo. We'd define a standard common interconnect (eg: TTL Serial 9600,N,8,1, or just open collector/relay pull-down, or something) and have people/groups build their own chunks of the device. When we get to DefCon, we put them all together and watch data flow through the chain and see if it gets to the other end.

    How serious were you all on this? I'm pretty damn serious about it and have some really cool ideas for some stages. A couple examples of crazy ideas:

    - A clear hose with colored water in it traversing some wild and crazy path. A small pump circulates the water. Data is injected into the water in the form of air bubbles. With a small enough hose, the surface tension of the water should be enough to keep the bubbles reasonably coherent as they traverse the tube. Then a photo-detector on the other side senses the presence or absence of the colored water and converts that information back into bits.
    - A robot with two arms waving semaphore flags on one end of the room, and a camera with some video processing logic on the other end of the room.
    - Moon bounce radio
    - 300 baud acoustic coupler modem over a cell phone, or a land-line if you can get two into the HHV.

    You get the idea. I don't care how you get the data there, just get it there in some unique and, in the true spirit of Rube Goldberg, hideously overly complex way. Data does not need to be real-time; store-and-forward is acceptable.

    I propose the standard interface be a serial link. I'd prefer async TTL since that's more native for microcontrollers which I suspect will be the heart of many of these, but am willing to consider proper RS-232 if folks would prefer. 9600,N,8,1 Physical connections are also subject to discussion, but RJ-45 "Cisco Console" style is always handy because EVERY RJ-45 socket is the same and EVERY RJ-45 plug is the same, and a roll-over (read: "null") cable connects everything to everything else. Very little to go wrong.

    I'd be happy to design and build a couple Head and Tail devices used for injecting data into the beginning and viewing the data at the end. Anything I design here would be freely available for others to build themselves and test against. I'd build (at least) two sets to bring to DefCon: One for the live chain, and a second that could be used for testing individual links before adding to the chain. (Heck, this might make a decent HHV kit!)

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

    I remember this from last year and the concept is mega cool. In the future this could become a contest of some sort... This idea screams DEFCON.


    Hell could have to punch a ibm card and get it read, all kids of angles for this.


    Originally posted by SmittyHalibut View Post
    In years past, someone (sorry, I can't remember who originally came up with the idea) had the crazy idea of making an crowdsourced electronic Rube Goldberg device and bringing it together in the HHV to demo. We'd define a standard common interconnect (eg: TTL Serial 9600,N,8,1, or just open collector/relay pull-down, or something) and have people/groups build their own chunks of the device. When we get to DefCon, we put them all together and watch data flow through the chain and see if it gets to the other end.

    How serious were you all on this? I'm pretty damn serious about it and have some really cool ideas for some stages. A couple examples of crazy ideas:

    - A clear hose with colored water in it traversing some wild and crazy path. A small pump circulates the water. Data is injected into the water in the form of air bubbles. With a small enough hose, the surface tension of the water should be enough to keep the bubbles reasonably coherent as they traverse the tube. Then a photo-detector on the other side senses the presence or absence of the colored water and converts that information back into bits.
    - A robot with two arms waving semaphore flags on one end of the room, and a camera with some video processing logic on the other end of the room.
    - Moon bounce radio
    - 300 baud acoustic coupler modem over a cell phone, or a land-line if you can get two into the HHV.

    You get the idea. I don't care how you get the data there, just get it there in some unique and, in the true spirit of Rube Goldberg, hideously overly complex way. Data does not need to be real-time; store-and-forward is acceptable.

    I propose the standard interface be a serial link. I'd prefer async TTL since that's more native for microcontrollers which I suspect will be the heart of many of these, but am willing to consider proper RS-232 if folks would prefer. 9600,N,8,1 Physical connections are also subject to discussion, but RJ-45 "Cisco Console" style is always handy because EVERY RJ-45 socket is the same and EVERY RJ-45 plug is the same, and a roll-over (read: "null") cable connects everything to everything else. Very little to go wrong.

    I'd be happy to design and build a couple Head and Tail devices used for injecting data into the beginning and viewing the data at the end. Anything I design here would be freely available for others to build themselves and test against. I'd build (at least) two sets to bring to DefCon: One for the live chain, and a second that could be used for testing individual links before adding to the chain. (Heck, this might make a decent HHV kit!)

    Thoughts?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

      You had me at "moon bounce".

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

        Originally posted by Tess View Post
        You had me at "moon bounce".
        :-D. Does that mean you're in?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

          Sure. As long as you are okay with me being a complete newbie when it comes to anything super technical.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

            Originally posted by Tess View Post
            You had me at "moon bounce".
            Which moon? Never assume with hackers....!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

              Originally posted by Tess View Post
              Sure. As long as you are okay with me being a complete newbie when it comes to anything super technical.
              We were all n00bs at some point. You got any creative ideas of how to get data from an input to an output?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

                Originally posted by astcell View Post
                Which moon? Never assume with hackers....!
                Bouncing off Endor, for example, would be made of Win. :-)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

                  >>Which moon? Never assume with hackers....! <<

                  Was thinking more of Doctor Moon of the Library.... I'll assume someone here will get that reference....

                  >>You got any creative ideas of how to get data from an input to an output? <<

                  Telepathy? Or, in keeping with the Rube Goldberg concept of "performing a simple task in an indirect, convoluted way"...

                  Smoke signal?
                  Printed out old style onto a piece of paper that is folded up into a paper airplane and flown to a scanner to be re-electronictized....that's not a word, is it?
                  Light pulses?
                  Morse code?
                  Steganography?
                  Bacon...

                  I'll add this to my things to ponder when I am bored on a conference call while I listen to people babble on and stroke each others...egos.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

                    Bump. Is anyone seriously thinking about this? I haven't heard from any of the other HHV folks who originally had the idea.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

                      Originally posted by SmittyHalibut View Post
                      Bump. Is anyone seriously thinking about this? I haven't heard from any of the other HHV folks who originally had the idea.
                      Actually, yes! I am not with HHV, however, we were thinking about making this an event for the DC Groups this year. More info to come soon.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: DefCon Rube Goldberg Device

                        Well, I for one am bringing some 2.4GHz chips, some X-bee, a raspberry pi or two, an arduino uno, a few PICs and a programmer, and a couple propeller boards. Should be enough to start something. My plan was to work it at the Con, as my pre-Con as gone into other fun things. Maybe I should bring some wire as well....

                        Originally posted by SmittyHalibut View Post
                        Bump. Is anyone seriously thinking about this? I haven't heard from any of the other HHV folks who originally had the idea.
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                        Comment

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