Self-destructing thumb drives with smoke loads, glowing elements, tiny explosives

MG's Mr Self Destruct project takes the USB Killer to new levels, combining a $1.50 system-on-a-chip with a variety of payloads: smoke bombs, "sound grenades," and little explosives, cleverly choreographed with keystroke emulation, allowing the poisoned drive to first cause the connected computer to foreground a browser and load a web-page that plays an appropriate animation (a jack-in-the-box that plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" with the drive's explosive detonating for the climax). Read the rest

A $10 USB Multimeter for testing cellphones and powerbanks

This PowerJive USB Multimeter measures amps, volts and mAh on all my portable devices.

I wanted to know if my 3 year old 10,000 mAh USB powerbank was still holding anything close to 10,000 mAh. This USB multimeter does exactly what I am looking for. The meter sits in-line between your charging source and whatever device you seek to charge. Simply plugging the dongle in turns it on. The device immediately displays volts and charging amps.

To test capacity of a battery first you need to drain it completely. Reset the meter by plugging in the powered side, and then holding in the units only button for a few seconds. The mAh meter will zero out, and you can plug in whatever you want to charge up. When the device reaches 100% charge, the mAh meter will tell you approximately what your capacity is, at that charging rate.

My 3 year old 10,000 mAh powerbank, that has seen several hundred cycles, still has about 82% of its charge.

PowerJive USB Voltage/Amps Power Meter Tester Multimeter, Test speed of chargers, cables, capacity of power banks via Amazon Read the rest

1950s Morse key turned into a USB keyboard

Nomblr created a fully-functional USB keyboard out of a 1950s Morse Key he inherited from his dad.

I can just about remember growing up around beautifully designed analogue devices like rotary dial phones, typewriters, and record players. I’ve always like the idea of converting these largely defunct objects into digital devices, and my Dad’s old Morse key seemed like a simple project to get started on.

It was a surprisingly involved process, requiring not just learning to program a Teensy but also some good old-fashioned woodwork. Read the rest

USB battery and car jump starter for $33

I'm pleased with this cheap Suaoki K12's ability to jump start smaller cars and motorcycles.

I gave my last USB battery kit away, a young lady was needing her car jumpstarted an awful lot and seemed it seemed the nice thing to do, (and I didn't need all the laptop dongles that were included.) I decided to try this low-cost 8000mah replacement, and it works.

Suaoki K12 USB jumpstart battery via Amazon Read the rest

Beyond Bad USB: Poisontap takes over your sleeping computer with a $5 USB stick

Prolific and dramatic security researcher Samy Kamkar (previously) has unveiled a terrifying device that reveals the devastating vulnerabilities of computers, even when in sleep mode. Read the rest

The $56 USB Killer is an electrified USB stick that will fry a laptop

For €49.95, you can own a "USB Killer" that "instantly and permanently disables unprotected hardware" with a 200V DC shock. The €13.95 USB KILLER TESTER is a shield that blocks the killer from actually delivering its voltage to your machine (buy the tester, get the killer for half price). (via Schneier) Read the rest

5-port Quick Charge 2.0 USB station for $24

The highly-rated Tronsmart Titan 10A/90W 5-Port USB Charger Charging Station with Quick Charge 2.0 Technology sells on Amazon for $38, but if you use code USBTITAN you can get it for $24. Read the rest

A cheap dual Apple Lightning and USB micro charging cable

The lack of a universal charging cable is one of my biggest gripes as an iPhone user.

I never have there right combination of chargers and connectors with me on any given trip, so this $9 dual charging cable is a real boon.

Charging is easy. iTune recognizes my iPhone when I plug it in, GoPros mount instantly. The zipper for managing the loose cable ends is a pretty good idea and saves me from headphone-like tangles. All in all, I am getting everything I want out of the cable.

Charging 2 devices at once via my MacBook Air is not the fastest thing on earth, but that may be more a function of the port and then cable. I'll try it with a high speed charging port soon!

TOTOP IPhone 6 Cable, 2-in-1 USB Nylon Braided 2.0 Cable Zipper, 8 Pin Micro USB Cable via Amazon Read the rest

Two guitar to USB adaptors

I tried a $9 instrument to USB adaptor, and a $50 Behringer unit. $41 extra dollars didn't help my experience.

Read the rest

Charge your phone while pedaling your bike

When I was young, I had a clunky, inefficient dynamo attached to my bike that powered the headlight when I pedaled. The Siva Atom works the same way but it converts your pedaling into power to charge USB devices and the removable 1650mAh battery pack. Read the rest

Laptop killing booby-trapped USB drive

The USB Killer is a booby-trapped, hand-made USB drive that will "burn down" your laptop if you insert it into your USB slot. Read the rest

Interview with a Maker: Jack Zylkin, USB Typewriter Guy

Jack Zylkin created the USB Typewriter. I interviewed him about his creation, the response he's received, and why people are so interested in "the muggle magic of gears and pulleys and solenoids." Read the rest