Hacking Apple Headphones for Assistive Technology

A while back I took opportunity to hack together a piece of Assistive Technology (AT) for a good friend of mine using a damaged pair of Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic. The first version, pictured on the right, is constructed with a three button array found on ebay.

The second version, pictured at the bottom, is constructed with large arcade buttons from Sparkfun and a custom enclosure that I made with sheet metal, a breaker bar and pop (blind) rivets. This version should be easier to use than the first as it has larger softer buttons, less dangling wires and a case that can withstand being squished between an electric wheel chair and a door frame.

 

If you are interested in what is inside the Apple Earphone controller, there is a wonderful tear down post.Image

 

 

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MSP-FET430UIF on Mac OS X

Using the MSP430 toolchain in Ubuntu 11.04 is very simple to set up but what about on Macintosh OS X? It turns out that the fink instructions on the MSPGCC wiki for Mac OS X are very good and work flawlessly, even easier than the Linux install. However, the MSP430 USB-Debug-Interface (MSP430UIF) didn’t work immediately, but here is the fix!
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Install MSP430 Toolchain In Minutes on Ubuntu 11.04

First Texas Instruments Logo

First Texas Instruments Logo

Installing the MSP430 GCC toolchain is very easy and quick these days if you are running Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty). Steer clear of all the MSP430 toolchain confusion, installing just eight binaries will have you building and debugging MSP430 code in minutes and not hours!

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Bus Pirate, I2C, ChronoDot

Around the same time that I acquired a Bus Pirate I also acquired a ChronoDoh which is just the same as the traditional ChronoDot but the pins are soldered to the wrong side of the printed circuit board (PCB). This small error saved me 50-percent on the purchase cost. With my Bus Pirate and ChronoDot in hand I set out to learn how to use both. This document introduces using the Bus Pirate with I2C decices such as the ChronoDot’s DS3231 real time clock (RTC).

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Dusting off a Bus Pirate v3a

Screen shot showing Bus Pirate firmware and bootloader versions

Bus Pirate Version Information

Back in the fall/winter of 2009 I acquired a Bus Pirate from Dangerous Prototypes but I never did anything with it. Today I pulled it out of a container and performed a firmware upgrade.

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MSP430 UART Configuration

I’m currently am working on a project that requires USART communication between two MSP430’s via an inexpensive RF “link”. I have no experience in developing on the MSP430 and have recognized the importance of documentation from past projects of those first beginning to use a certain platform. The experience from “newbies” is invaluable to those trying to enhance a product and for providing instruction to those who are also just learning. While the results of these notes may not be the best way or the proper way they should be on the level of a reader just starting in the MSP430F169 development.

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Documentation For TI MSP430x1xx Tutorial Series

First off thank you for your interest in this page and hopefully the successive posts. I want to start off saying that I have absolutely no experience with the MSP430 microprocessor and relatively little experience with microprocessors/controllers in general. But I’m writing these articles as a set of MSP430 tutorials to hopefully help others. When I started researching the MSP430 I found a lack of tutorials or at least tutorials that were offering what I was looking for. I didn’t want to just be given some sample code and call that the tutorial as I watch an LED flash. TI’s documentation alone did that for me and they even gave me the sample code. Instead I wanted to know what I needed to look for in the documentation and where to find it. If you google “MSP430 Tutorial,” there is one site that stands out and all the forums point to it as well. But that tutorial seemed very elementary and answered very few of my questions. On top of that the tutorial is drastically incomplete even though the page buttons refer to additional pages and topics. But as you can find in the “forums” the author is looking for additional help and resources and maybe some day theses texts will be mature enough to contribute.

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