Developer dekuNukem (the hacker who created a tiny device that automatically switches your screen to work when a boss walks by) described a method of refilling the DRM-protected detergent cartridges for a US $ 486 ($ 627) portable dishwasher named Bob. Believe me, it’s more interesting than it sounds. Bob is essentially a small dishwasher that sits on your counter. It holds a half-dozen dishes and some cutlery, and you add water to the system by hand. It appears to be a great alternative to a larger installed dishwasher or something suitable for an apartment dweller. However, there is a hidden piece of DRM built in that connects you to the company’s products. Hardware hacker breaks DRM on mini.
Bob employs Rock and Pop (LOL!) cassettes, which contain concentrated detergents and dishwashing liquids. The cartridges, like ink cartridges, store a small amount of information on a built-in chip – in this case, a simple I2C EEPROM that can store a small amount of data. This chip keeps track of how many washes have been performed and “cancels” a cassette if it is technically empty. The device will then order new cassettes automatically. It is possible to use your own laundry detergent in Bob’s favour, but it is difficult. And the tapes aren’t cheap either.
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“With shipping and VAT included, the price for 90 washes is a whopping £ 43 ($ 77)!” That equates to 48p per wash. “It may not seem like much, but it adds up quickly,” wrote dekuNukem. “A year of daily washing would have cost £ 174 ($ 312) in Bob tapes alone!” Imagine paying so many monthly fees for a dishwasher! ” Hardware breaks DRM on mini. Hacker breaks DRM on mini. Hardware hacker breaks DRM on.
They were able to pull the data out of the cartridge and even change it using an EEPROM reader, resulting in a simple system of resetting the cartridges to their original wash counts or, in one case, forcing the cartridge to do approximately 70 more washes than originally advertised. After dekuNukem discovered the coding mechanism, they needed to figure out how to refill the cartridges. They searched the internet for concentrated detergent deals and discovered one that exactly matched the website’s description.Hardware hacker DRM on mini.
“Fortunately, all chemical products in the UK are required to have a Safety Data Sheet, which contains the composition and concentration of what’s inside.” “In this way, I can compare an unknown detergent to Bob Cassette and get a rough idea of how similar they are,” they wrote. DekuNukem discovered a similar wash and rinse product, purchased it, and squirted a small amount into the cassette. Success! The end result? A 65-cent savings per wash. “It’s more than 60 times cheaper to refill it yourself, resulting in a massive 98% cost savings compared to buying new!” they wrote.Hardware DRM on mini dishwasher.
The plans and code for the open-source dishwasher DRM removal system can be found on dekuNukem’sGithub, and the Cassette Rewinder, a pre-soldered board that will automatically reset the cassette EEPROM, is available for $29.99. This is obviously bad for the company that makes Bob, but it may make the product more appealing to true anti-DRM zealots out there.
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