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Written by Elecia White.   In Part 1, I started to take apart by BB8 droid. In Part 2, I took a close look at the hardware. Now, let’s see what I can discover about the software. Remember, I don't work for Sphero and I don’t usually take apart my toys so reverse engineering is new to me. But it is really, really fun.   I didn't expect for this to be such a great tool to explain some interesting embedded software concepts. But before we get to that, let’s look at t ...
chriswhite

Cheating on Tests

Posted by chriswhite Sep 22, 2015
Written by Elecia White.   Have you heard about the VW diesel emissions scandal? The software detects that the car is being tested for emissions and changes the engine to function more cleanly. When not being tested, the vehicles do not meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s emission requirements.[1]   I’m incensed at this. Oh, not because I own a VW (I don’t) or because I’m an environmentalist (I am). I’m angry because there is an embedded softwa ...
Written by Elecia White.   In Part 1, I left you with a puzzle: given the chip markings what can you tell about the BB8's internals? I've done very little reverse engineering before so this was quite a challenging.   There are a few SMD databases and the eevblog forum is a good site for package translation. Typing random numbers and letters into a search engine leads to strange, occasionally useful results. It was a try-everything sort of time (and ask anyone who might possibly k ...
Written by Elecia White.   I gave a talk last week at the SupplyFrame/Hackaday metetup. It was supposed to be a reprise of my introduction to inertial sensors that I wrote about here a few months ago.   However, when my order for a pair of the Star Wars BB8 robots came, I decided I’d rather talk about a specific application of inertial sensors instead of the theory and math. (Chris got co-credit for the talk because he did a lot of exploration with me as well as taking the pi ...
Written by Elecia White. I have a client project where they made a device with an Arduino UNO, datalogging shield, small display, photo interrupter, and a motor driver controlling a stepper. When a mouse takes a pellet of food, the photo interrupter’s IR beam is no longer blocked so the system wakes up, moves the motor, and logs the date and time to an SD card. They wanted to make it lower power so it would last for 10 days on their 5V 11Ah battery. They also wanted to keep it reasonabl ...
Written by Elecia White.   We have all heard that so-and-so was meant to be an engineer because they took things apart as a child. I wasn’t like that. If I took things apart, it was more in a smashing fashion. And, they never went back together (sorry, Mom).   The first time I remember reverse engineering something was in college, freshman or sophomore year. An engineer from Mattel visited, bringing Barbie dolls and razor blades. We dissected the dolls and really looked at the ...