Pushing the N8
Two of Push's most successful projects were housings for mounting an N900 on both kites and skateboards, for some awesome video camera shots. To coincide with the launch of the N8, five of each of these rigs were built with the purpose of giving to film makers to get the N8's superior camera into some very difficult to reach camera angles! The equipment was on show, along with videos that had been taken in the same way with the N900.
The Nokia Push kite rig for the N8
The Nokia Push skate rig for the N8 (original N900 design by the Solderin' Skaters)
Hacking the N900
Teams from all over the world have submitted their hacks the N900, and some of the best were on display at Nokia World 2010.
Not so much useful as fun, this allows one to reach their contacts just as if they were back in the pre-Internet age. The Roladex was fitted with an Arduino micro-controller to determine the current position of its wheel, which is then sent via Bluetooth to the N900. The latter ran a Python script which maps position values from the Arduinio to a person in the phone's contact database, and simulates screen and/or button presses to dial their number.
The N900 Bluetooth Roladex
Speak and Spell
The next fun project on show was the use of an N900 to replace the brains of the of an old Speak and Spell electronic learning-toy. While the 'upgrade' might be somewhat over-kill, it certainly gives a sense of cool/nostalgia for those of us who were kids when the Speak and Spell first came out; and saw it used by ET to phone home! The hack was achieved by attaching an Arduino micro-controller to the toy's keyboard, which then sent keyboard signals over Bluetooth to the N900, which was fitted inside the toy's casing, replacing the Speak and Spell's screen. A Python script running on the N900 printed the keyboard output onto its screen, mimicking the Speak and Spell's display, and used a text-to-speech engine to speak the words too.
Speak and Spell with the N900
Kite Aerial Photography
The Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) project brought together the leisurely pastime of kite flying with the cutting edge world of augmented reality. This project involved two N900's, one as a camera and one as a controller. The kite-mounted N900 sat in an articulated mount, and relayed a video feed from its camera back down to Earth. Meanwhile, the user of the ground-based N900 displayed the video feed on its screen. What's more, by tilting the ground-based N900, the orientation of the kite-mounted N900 could be controlled via its articulated mounting bracket.
The N900 (and N8) articulated kite rig
The final N900 hack was built for those who know what I'm talking about when I say "hippie jump" or "half pipe". Yes, I'm talking about people who perform skateboarding tricks (to whom I doff my cap for seemingly defying physics). Rather than filming the action, this time the N900 was used to assess which tricks had been performed and how cleanly they were landed. The skateboards were fitted with accelerometers encased in special risers beneath the trucks and pressure pads under the griptape. These sensors then continuously fed data back to the N900 via Bluetooth. Specially written software running on the N900 would then analyse the data and compare it to a database of readings, to allow it to assess the skateboarder's performance.
N900 Skate analyser
David Gilson for All About Symbian, 1st November 2010