HACK.ART with WiFi Pineapple, Processing, & Arduino

Hak5’s WiFi Pineapple is a penetration testing and security auditing tool for wireless networks. Here I want to talk about using the Pineapple for art — perhaps HACK.ART (or HAK.ART), in the manner of NET.ART. Fortunately, the Pineapple includes an API I can interface with my favorite digital arts medium, Processing, using the HTTP Requests for Processing library and a modification for JSON formatting (essentially, just save this file to the folder your Processing sketch resides in, which adds an addJson function you can see in my following example). To use the API, I first had to install the APITokens module on the Pineapple, and generate a token for Processing to use.

I have written a demo sketch that does the following:

  1. Send a JSON-formatted POST request to the Pineapple’s API to scan all access points within range of the Pineapple.
  2. Send another request to retrieve the results of the scan.
  3. Show the response data as a series of rectangles whose lengths are determined by the APs’ relative signal strengths, and whose colors are determined by the first three octets of their MAC addresses.
  4. Search the response for the occurrence of a particular MAC address, and if it is found, send a signal to an Arduino (which we could program to light an LED, sound a buzzer, or whatever; this would be more useful when including clients in the scan, but you get the idea).

If all you want is a bar chart or alert there are easier ways to make one (you could even write your own Pineapple module), but the Big Idea here, of course, is that you may do many kinds of creative things with these data.


Howard Rheingold’s Magical Objects

I have been a fan of Howard Rheingold for a long time. His ideas about computers as mind amplifiers are as relevant (and revelatory) today as they ever were. He has the consciousness-expanding optimism of Timothy Leary tempered with a good deal more critical thinking. He and I dig many of the same people in computing including Myron Krueger and Brenda Laurel (how many of you knew there were TED Talks in 1998?). Some years ago, I had the good fortune of enrolling in Howard’s Introduction to Mind Amplifiers course, and I still think about and use much of what I learned there, to this day.

Recently, Howard has been making a variety of magical objects brought to life by Arduino microcontrollers—their magic leaning more toward the numinous (and luminous!) than sorcerous. Check these out:

There are more videos of these objects on Howard’s YouTube channel, also some Arduino tutorials and other good stuff.

Netvibes Potion

Netvibes Potion App

Howard Rheingold turned me onto Netvibes several years ago, and I have been using it since to organize my news feeds. Last month, they published their new web programming and IoT application, Potion (see the video at the bottom of this post). To create a potion, you specify one or more triggers and actions, e.g. (from Netvibes’ preset potions):

  • When the word “apple” is mentioned in a news feed, email me.
  • When my stock exceeds a set price, send myself an email and tweet the stock price.
  • When the weather is nice, text me.

Possible triggers include content or notifications from RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, stock and weather data, and many more. Possible actions include posting to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and others websites, and sending email or SMS messages, etc. One of the actions is to send an SSH command to a remote computer, say, a Raspberry Pi or networked Arduino that is the “brain” of your magic robot or Talismachine. Here is a simple example:

Netvibes Potion Example

Every time the Blog of Baphomet publishes a new article that contains the word “chaos,” the potion sends a remote command to my magic robot to do something. Anything! Sing, dance, lacerate the next sacrifice in the queue and draw a sigil in its blood… whatever. The example is a little silly because the Blog of Baphomet publishing an article containing the word “chaos” is not seriously interesting, but what about a wealth Servotor that responds to financial data, or a healing Talismachine that reacts to climate data? How about a machine that automagically curses or jabs a pin into the poppet of a politician every time he says something racist, misogynist, or homophobic on Facebook or Twitter? Or one that enchants until it receives a sign of the enchantment’s success. Or that divines from the latest news, or just tweets your fortune every time you weigh yourself with your Withings wifi scale. The possible applications are many and varied.

Magic indeed.


Mind Map for Emotiv EPOC + Processing/Arduino

I have made a mind map with MindMeister, which shows how to connect the Emotiv EPOC to Arduino and/or Processing for developing your own mind-controlled applications including interactive art, music, data visualizations, games, neurofeedback, and robot controllers. Link to map (in case embedded map does not work for you): http://www.mindmeister.com/214762396/emotiv-epoc-processing-arduino