Technology
The 20 Blackberry project challenge…

BlackberriesIf you can think of a project that uses 20 Blackberries, they can be yours – Bruno writes “I’ve got two boxes of Blackberries that must be at least 5 years old. They’re not stolen, they’re surpluss from the company I work for (got lost at the back of a storage room and forgotten). If you can think of anything fun to make out of them, they’re yours, just let me know.” Post in the comments if you’d like them and what your project is. I think the batteries, LCDs, chargers and keypads could be useful for a few things…

68 thoughts on “The 20 Blackberry project challenge…

  1. try and install linux on these?(harder) what model numbers are these? also can be used to control my robot!!(easier) i could rip out the lcd’s for other projects too..

  2. I’ve never had a blackberry, but if there is a way to output text to a computer, my 20 language arts students could use them as entry devices for our collaborative blog over at http://room132.com. This would be awesome because we only have 7 ancient computers and it would let everyone be writing at once instead of taking turns.

    If they have a graphics editor program, I could use them for my art classes. We’re doing a pixel art unit right now and it would be really fun to use a phone as an editing device.

    Hmmm. The classroom possibilities are endless…

  3. I’d like them, I could probably figure out how to make them into little remote consoles for both my computers and the various devices connected to them (printer, PDA, speakers, ATA, etc.). I could also get a SIP or IAX client on them, and use them as a cell phone for my Asterisk box. If some don’t work, I can use the keypads and LCDs for various little things. The chargers, I can use as a power supply for electronics projects. If you’re thinking of giving them to me, my email is pantsbot@gmail.com

  4. Let’s see, secret agent communicators for the kids, lcds for case mods, install one into my 1965 M37 so I can keep track of mileage and get carpal tunnel syndrome while I jot down notes to myself, embed them all over the house and shop for silent intercoms, the possibilities are enedless….;)

  5. I like to take these and make an art project where you embed them in objects that are stationary (such as a scavenged phone booth) and got them to work. Sort of turn the whole “moblie” part on it’s head. Alternately since many of the blackberrys have gps capability it would be interesting to do a project where you sent them out into the world and tracked their travels. Sort of a Flat Stanley thing with GPS coords. to show where they get taken too. Cool offer Phillip.

  6. I would take and setup up in a grid pattern on the back of a jacket and use them as a big display, using each blackberry as a seperate “pixel”. Would take a while to spell something out. Maybe make some cool pics.

  7. These would make great controllers for my robot projects! I even have the Blackberry development kit installed (for work projects). I have a busy winter construction plan and the electronics side is my downside. This would be great!

  8. I would use them on twenty of my gas powered remote control cars, hook the servos up to service chip in the blackberries and either use that to control them all from one central unit, or have them think for themselves using GPS to track themselves and sense where the other cars are. Would make a great point to point race.

  9. I could use that for the science fair project coming up. Im working on a cheap material that can work as primer paint that would block wireless signals. These would be useful in testing my theory and working it out, or for proof of theory in the actual event.

  10. Here is my plan for them:

    1) Take all 20 Blackberries and put them in a sturdy box with an open top.

    2) Take box of blackberries and affix it to my passenger seat in a secure manner (ie: so that the box does not fly around while driving)

    3) Drive as normal (to work, grocery store, etc.)

    4) While I am driving, if I see another driver on a cellphone (or, especially a PDA-phone), follow the next steps:
    4a) Roll down window
    4b) Pull up nex to, and maintain pace with, cellphone-using driver
    4c) Remove (1) Blackberry from box
    4d) Hurl blackberry at driver/car (bonus points for convertables with top down)
    4e) Verbally hurl phrase like “Put down the goddamn Crackberry/Phone/Treo and DRIVE LIKE A NORMAL FREAKIN’ PERSON”

    5) Goto Step 3. Repeat until all Blackberries have been hurled (~30 minutes).

  11. How about using them for speed dating. A program would present multiple choice questions and would help narrow the choices and locate the closest match to the profile you create. This could be setup in pub and after you find your match pass it on to someone else. If a profile matches something in memory you could leave a contact email or phone for future contact.

  12. Or, you could use them for dating by hurling them at other people who appear to be hitting on/interested in the person you have your eye on.

    :)

  13. I would program them each to turn on displaying only a different letter. And in a fit of Christmas Present giving madness, I would wrap them all individually for my girlfriend of six years, so that as she unwrapped them (after she thought I just got her a new cell phone for Christmas) she would turn them on and have to peice the letters together to spell . . . .

    “Will You Marry Me?”

    (Five left over I know, but who can’t find something to do with five Crackberrys?)

    imuddy@gmail.com!!!!

  14. Just make sure you keep them in the right order, or her message would be something like:
    A YULE LIMO MR WRY (A Yule Limo?)
    A ME RIM LOU WRYLY (that one is almost vulgar)
    LAURIE WRYLY MOM (that would probably confuse her for sure)
    ALLEY RIM RUM YOW (I think I once saw that on a Chinese menu)
    WILMA RULE MY ROY (Who is Wilma?)

    Actually, considering all the possibilities, maybe you SHOULD give them to her out of order.

  15. Writing Blackberry programs is my fulltime job, so I think I should comment on some of the comments. It looks like a few would like to hack lcd, but honestly, do you think you can make a controller for lcd with a proprietary undocumented interface better than the one already present in the device? Why not just use the whole blackberry as your output device, considering that it’s much easier to interface to its USB port. A lot of functionality of Blackberry API could be accessed if one is willing to pay $100 for signing key. Yes, Blackberry uses proprietary API, but if someone doesn’t wan’t to learn it, there is J2ME with MIDP2.0. So, what I’m trying to say is that I think it’s better used as a complete device. Department of Defence chose Blackberry as most secure PDA and so, any serious hardware hacking would most be out of reach to a lot of people.

    Ok, so, now about what I would use it for. I would use them to develop and test a distributed computing framework. Kind of like SETI@home. I’ve always wondered why no one wrote one for PDA’s yet, considering that mostof time they are not doing anything anyway. Blackberry is especially suitable for that. With the proprietary API it’s possible to write an application that is resident in memory and doesn’t interfere with other user activity. Considering that JAVA IO on Blackberry is completely transparent, in the sence that it’s possible to easily substitute USB communication with HTTP over cell network later, when development is complete. So, no need to pay $50 per month for the dataplan during development.

    Well, I’ll let you imagine the possibilities of distributed software on PDAs yourself ;)

  16. I am actually working on 2 projects, one that requires an lcd screen and a blue tooth ‘dock’ for my ipod in my car with my home computer. And everyone could use extra batteries!

  17. It’d be interesting to have a running vote for songs/videos played at parties and/or pictures displayed on a large screen via the devices. Running tallies and instant polls from large groups of people (an entire dorm for example) would be very interesting to see.

    Even a few for small gatherings or a means to communicate in different parts of a house/building/etc would be awesome and a great advancement over the SHOUT “what’d you say?” method.

    If they could somehow be setup with small cheap webcams or something and distributed across a large space or wall in a metropolitan (maybe rural if there are a lot of wildlife) area, then linked together using simple VRML to display what that area looks like or what’s going on via a webserver in realtime.

    If there’s a way to configure them for a mesh network scheme, then these would be great for clusterbot develpment (and just plain fun). A solar/wind/water array would be easily kept track of as well, but that may be easier to do with a central server.

    Not to dog anyone about their ideas, but I think the real reason why there are no distributed computing tasks for pda’s is the fact that they have generally weaker processors and also are more focused on saving power rather than wasting it on extra processing.

    The ideas are endless here…

  18. I’m a core developer of dotProject ( http://dotproject.net/ ) and I’m working at getting the interface to work on PDA/phone-based web browsers. I have a handful of companies using dP in the DC area, so I think I could get input from people who use it day to day. I would prefer a variety of models/browsers/etc, but just getting the v0.1 interface working would be a start.

    Feel free to drop me a note: keith at caseysoftware dot com.

  19. surely you want to program them as musical instruments. I mean look at it; you’ve got enough for an entire blackberry orchestra already there!

  20. I have just the right plan for using them.
    I am an leader with Scouting, so we walk hikes an go out for camping. Great activities, but what when you can combine the great online world with the great outdoor world?

    Well, thinking about thta, i came up with an on/offlike-hike, with the use of the Blackberry’s thw children en grounups who walk an hike, can gkeep in touch with basecamp.
    Basecamp can send them hints an routes for the hike.

    After some test wokrk, this plan can be packed in an flightcase and lend to othe Scouting activiteits for there hikes.

  21. I have just the right plan for using them.
    I am an leader with Scouting, so we walk hikes an go out for camping. Great activities, but what when you can combine the great online world with the great outdoor world?

    Well, thinking about thta, i came up with an on/offlike-hike, with the use of the Blackberry’s thw children en grounups who walk an hike, can gkeep in touch with basecamp.
    Basecamp can send them hints an routes for the hike.

    After some test wokrk, this plan can be packed in an flightcase and lend to othe Scouting activiteits for there hikes.

  22. Well, not to sound too obvious, but they could be donated for use by non-profits, social workers, and others who could make use of them. Probably more useful than some of the less pragmatic projects listed above.

  23. I see a lot of people are suggesting using them for online activities. One thing to realize though, if you are going to activate a Blackberry on a dataplan, you may as well get a new one. A lot of providers would give you one for very cheap or even for free with new plan activation.

  24. Not to say its “interesting” so much as necessary; I’m implementing a warehouse inventory system (using barcodes obviously). I’ld like to get the blackberries (of which I am familiar with, I used to work for a company that resold RIM airtime), reverse-engineer their broadcast scheme, attach a serial-interface for bar-code scanning, and then use them to handle worker tasks (via blackberry libraries, central DB). Paperwork and the like would be tagged so per-job communications could be enabled. Then I’ld like to internet-enable them. Let me know if u think thats cool, as I’ld love to have them (I love their devices). Only thing that sucks about the blackberries is the cost for their air-time ($50 per month per device) but I have no intention of using them; rather just build the transmitter to handle it over standard MPAC 2 TCP/IP. I bought 3 about 4 years ago on ebay but the dork who sold them to me was stealing them from his warehouse, so I returned them back to their owners when the police notified me ($900 loss, which _sucked_). I’ve been dying ever since to get my hands on a couple to implement something like the system above (which would be useful). Anybody who’s worked on these machines would prolly contribute to something like this (ergo I’ld release the specs for the scanner interface & transmitter as an opensource project).

    Let me know if I get lucky,
    Email Address: sydspoetry@hotmail.com

    Later and luck.

  25. When I read “20 Blackberrys” I instant thought of “20 Blackberry robots”. I have been building robots since Kindergarten and I eat, sleep, and think robots 24/7. Recently, I have been thinking about different types of swarm robots and behavioral analysis. I am currently an electrical engineering student and would love to get a headstart on my masters thesis.
    I was thinking about implementing somesort of communications program that would share code with other robots and in a sense “mutate” and “evolve” it’s own code. Survival of the fittest and a blackberry would be a perfect microcontroller, debugging device(lcd), input device(keypad) and the battery would be all that the robot needs. The chargers can be implemented as charging stations and the robot would go up to it whenever it’s batteries run low.
    If I took on this project I would share the blackberries with my college’s Multi-disciplinary robotics club to get more mind’s working together on this project.
    Let me know what you think. Thanks.

  26. Not very Makehacky, but… “A single lost Blackberry contains cryptic clues and messages suggesting its former owner has come to a sticky and untimely end. The clues within lead to other Blackberries hidden around the world, as a grand conspiracy is slowly unveiled…” Do you see?

  27. if they are gsm, I could take one off your hands. The interesting part would be is my wife would divorce me, im almost sure.

  28. if they are gsm, I could take one off your hands. The interesting part would be is my wife would divorce me, im almost sure.

  29. Hello! We have the right app for these beauts.
    We have an ongoing SWARM RObot Project where 10 Mobile TeleRobots work with an ant Philosophy of social behaviour. We have used and plan to use more Cell phones for 2way comm. between them.
    Now , your offer could make this project a success and rhe participating Kids very happy.

  30. Hello! We have the right app for these beauts.
    We have an ongoing SWARM RObot Project where 10 Mobile TeleRobots work with an ant Philosophy of social behaviour. We have used and plan to use more Cell phones for 2way comm. between them.
    Now , your offer could make this project a success and rhe participating Kids very happy.

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