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BBC’s Micro:bit turns out to be an excellent drone hijacking tool

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Happy

16Mhz ? I'd use a pi, only slightly larger, however, so much more ooompf.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: only 16MHz?

Who cares. Just productise it and put it on sale for £39.99.

It will sell millions. Anything to get rid of those drones. Drones are the modern day 'boom boxes'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: only 16MHz?

It's called a ghetto blaster dad...you're so embarassing...god.

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A micro:bit running Python is a very constrained device. Most of its available memory is taken up by the Python interpreter leaving only a few thousand bytes for the text of the source program.

Things are better when programming in C where there is more memory available but a Pi Zero W would be a much more capable device.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: only 16MHz?

Well said, you made my day. I wondered if anyone would take the bait.

I guess we all live in ghetto these days. /s

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16Mhz ? I'd use a pi, only slightly larger, however, so much more ooompf.

That would depend on if you definition of a covert device permitted having a power cable dangling from it for a wall socket!

The baby board sips the electrons at a very gentle rate.

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You do not get a whole python2

The usual (arm) python2.7 executable weighs in at 3.1M, plus another 800K of C libraries. I have another 60M python libraries, but that could easily get trimmed. The source code for your python script is not stored in the micro:bit at all. Some compiled and optimised binary gets stored in flash along with a drastically trimmed python run-time and some device driver libraries. The run-time and device drivers will eat into the 16K of ram but as you do not store any source code in ram, you have a chunky library and hefty CPU, you are still way better off than you were with a ZX81 and a wobbly ram pack.

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@Steve Evans

Pi's can run perfectly well on battery power (6aa batteries will get you well over 12 hours use including always on wifi and bluetooth, a phone charging pack will last much much longer even when powering various USB devices from the pi and handily has usb ports for easy power supply).

Wall wart aint needed.

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Re: @Steve Evans

I got a USB 'charger' battery for running my Pi3 and Touch screen. Wired up a zero W for amusement and it was still going a week later.

The micro:bit would have been good a few years ago but the zero is miles ahead of it. Having said that you can program the micro:bit to write rude words in the air as you spin it round on a piece of string.

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Re: @Steve Evans

"Having said that you can program the micro:bit to write rude words in the air as you spin it round on a piece of string."

What a lovely idea. The possibility of taking someone's eye out with a well-chosen expletive means it might make a nice Code Club exercise. (Always assuming that it isn't already.)

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Re: You do not get a whole python2

The source code for your python script is not stored in the micro:bit at all.

I suggest you have a read of the following and also take a look at the downloadable .hex file...

http://tech.microbit.org/software/micropython

"When you write your Python application, both the web hosted editor and the offline editor Mu create a modified .hex file for you to copy to the micro:bit. This modified file contains 3 things ... 3) A verbatim copy of your Python program, complete with comments and any spaces."

https://support.microbit.org/support/solutions/articles/19000044768--hex-file-format

"MicroPython builds take a firmware.hex image (the MicroPython pre-compiled image) and append your script to the end of it, in a fixed 8K region at a known address."

PS: MicroPython is based on Python 3.

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Re: RE: only 16MHz?

r leaving only a few thousand bytes for the text of the source program.

So only enough to fly to and land on the moon ?

Actually a ridiculous comparison. It's a few 1000bytes of python source -a language where a web server takes a couple of lines

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Re: @Steve Evans

"Having said that you can program the micro:bit to write rude words in the air as you spin it round on a piece of string."

...all while playing a fruit keyboard with your other hand. Rock on!

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Re: RE: only 16MHz?

Ironically, only the British do ghettoblasters properly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: only 16MHz?

What are these "boom boxes" and "ghetto blasters" you are talking about .... are they some modern form of gramophone? Could I play my 78s one one of them?

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Re: Pi

I'm doing the same with a v1 Pi and v1 touchscreen for fun. But hit a lot of roadblocks as it's the early hardware and I can do zero programming/scripting.

So for now it is just a fun little mp3 player.

For anything that meeds singular or basic function something like an arduino or bbc microbit is better. As these are microcontroller based and have no os headroom needed.

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a Pi Zero W would be a much more capable device.

Yes, but I think that one of the points was that a shedload more Micro:bits have already been handed out to 12-13-year-olds

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Re: RE: only 16MHz?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXDK3x5lAYI

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: only 16MHz?

What are these "78's" you are talking about ,,,, are they some modern form of recording? Could I play my wax cyilnders on one of them?

* With apologies to, well. just about everybody....

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Re: @Steve Evans

A MicroBit can run from a CR2032 for about the same time (12 hours), depending on how hard you're hammering the RF stage. Major size difference.

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Re: @Steve Evans

Thank you Lysenko, my point exactly.

A Pi is overkill, and over consumption. Strip it down to what you actually need, and the power consumption drops along with it (who would have guessed eh?).

Result, *much* smaller toys of naughtiness.

/me doesn't dare mention what you can get up to with an ATtiny.

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Re: RE: only 16MHz?

"

It's called a ghetto blaster dad...you're so embarassing...god.

"

In my day it was called a "tranny." (As in "Transistor radio"). I've recently heard the word being used by a few youngsters, so maybe it's come back into fashion.

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Re: @Steve Evans

As you say, an ATtiny and similar can do wonders for most simple projects needing to sense or control one or two things only.

Anything more complicated, net connections etc, and going the Pi route gives you lots of easy connectability. Some of it can be done with microcontrollers, but then you are committing to lots of additional boards, and basically building your own Pi! :D

Oh, and the downvotes on my previous post, I assume is for mentioning the Pi has an OS overhead? Which I'd assume it does if people run natively Noobs or similar, but will not if running something else (I know there are lots of options)?

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Re: @TechnicalBen

Downvotes on here are an odd thing.

I just remember you can only please all of the people some of the time. That and some people are arses all of the time ;-)

You are of course correct. 99% of Pi projects are python scripts running under Linux. Which adds a whole load of code overhead. When it's a box on your desk this isn't really an issue, and does make a lot of things much easier.

However, if you're trying to build something self contained and with the longevity of an elephant instead of a mayfly, you need to lose a lot of dead wood.

If you're still measuring your power consumption in milliamps, you're not even in the same ball-park as what you can get up to with a proper low power device.

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K
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Facepalm

Hmmmm

Wonder if I can get a 5 1/4" floppy drive for it, dust off my original copy of Elite

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Re: Hmmmm

Had a 3.5 hooked up to BBC Micro. It was like wow! Getting old...

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Bronze badge

Ah get eLua on the bare metal.

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Anonymous Coward

Does it really matter if it's a micro:bit?

Surely the story here is:

* Bluetooth keyboards can be easily hacked over the air

* Drones can be easily hacked over the air

Doesn't really matter if it takes a micro:bit or an Osborne One to do it.

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Anonymous Coward

Two spuds, glass of water, some copper wire and nails

Bluetooth hacked!

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Or we could just use the teleporter?

If you have to attach the gizmo to the drone controller to take over. Why not just use the drone controller?

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Anonymous Coward

2.0

Or a broken mini bluetooth headset suitably reprogrammed with arduino and eeprom replaced with ram chip harvested from old Web can or router.

Keyring sized drone zapper :-)

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