If you were reading out tweets yesterday you would have picked up we received a very nice surprise from Nokia. Nicely wrapped box within a box with included christmas card, USB cable and a small instruction reading “Can’t hack it…for clues go to this site”. We knew there was a “special” item coming but a 2.5kg box was way more than we expected. As already shared by guys at Utku Can who got the same present few days earlier, and posted on Slashgear & Gizmodo, the pressie is a special (hackable) black box containing a Nokia device. We too made a right mess with the foam balls but unwrapping it uncovered a beautifully made mysterious black box and seemingly no way of opening it. The box can only be opened via a provided USB cable and by visiting hackerbox.co.uk which includes instructions for Mac, Windows and Linux. Through a process of using a terminal, a signal is sent to the Arduino board inside the box which kick starts the fan and heater to warm up a coil and fill up the box with smoke (see video) which after few seconds opens revelling the enclosed Nokia N900 with too many little gifts to name including a 16gig micro SD card , a wonderful sketchbook from Liberty and a Lammy pen, mini xmas cake and a miniature (fire)fox (awesome!)
Very impressive indeed but above all, a brand new Nokia N900 for us to play with. What is especially interesting about this Nokia device is the fully open sourced Linux based Maemo OS. Not too far from Android, Nokia hopes the device will attract developers to exploit the platform and somewhat literally “hacking” the device. Alongside this strategy they launched pushn900, a website dedicated to taking the device apart or modding it into something entirely new – capable of doing things no device has ever done before. Nokia asked teams of hackers all around the world to take part and in response, they got hundreds of inspiring ideas. Now the project is down to 5 teams including The Haptic Guide, Kaping with the N900, Solderin’ Skaters, Light Hack Crew and Sketch Your World. All five teams are using the device in a trully unique way and without getting into too much detail you should definitely visit the site and follow the developments which we will do also.
I have also spent the last two days exploring the Maemo OS including the applications available for the device. Whilst the selection is limited, few interesting ones are beginning to appear. These are available from Maemo’s extras repository and the guide how to get to it you can find here. If you are looking for hardware reviews of the device, here, here and here are a few that I came across that should give you a good insight into what the N900 does and can do.
We leave you (for the time being), with exclusive/won’t find anywhere else making-off video of Nokia Hackerbox! Stay tuned for reviews of creative applications for Nokia N900 yet to come.
One last thing, did you know that earlier this year Nokia N900 was used to control onedotzero projections at BFI in London? Read more about it here: onedotzero // BFI // London [Processing, Events] and onedotzero.app [Processing]
Posted on: 22/12/2009