Technology

This enthusiast hacked his Casio calculator to copy exams

It is called Neutrino . On his Twitter account he says he lives in Bengaluru, Karnataka (India). He defines himself as an electronics enthusiast who enjoys riding things. And his latest genius has been hacking a non-programmable Casio calculator.

Entering information into a modern calculator is relatively easy. Its level of sophistication is such that some calculators can be programmed and prepared with formulas or previous data that you can retrieve by pressing a couple of buttons. But during an exam, the teacher on duty is aware of this and usually prohibit the use of smartphones and certain models of calculators, to the point of only allow certain models not programmable.

So how do you get a simple but scientific Casio calculator to give you answers during an exam? Neutrino used a calculator Casio fx – 991 MS for his experiment. As a calculator, it is a very complete model . It allows to operate with equations, differences and integrals, matrix and vector calculation, 9 variable memories and 40 scientific constants. Furthermore, it has a solar panel to charge its battery. And here is the key to the hack.

Stylish hardware hacking

When we talk about hacking we usually associate it with remote attacks from computer to computer. But hacking, originally, consists of improving any device or software to provide it with more or better functions. In the case at hand, Neutrino added Wi-Fi connectivity to its calculator to get answers. And he even provided him with chat to ask what he could not find. The definitive tool to get a good grade in a complicated exam. Unethical but a genius from a technological point of view.

To hack your Casio calculator model fx – 991 MS , Neutrino took advantage of the slot where the small solar panel that serves to power this calculator sits. Instead, he installed an OLED panel that, turned off, looked the same as the original solar panel. To keep the calculator running, it installed a rechargeable battery and one wifi module ESP 8266 ESP – 12AND.

Thus, from a non-programmable scientific calculator we obtain a calculator with internet access . In addition, this module integrates processor, memory and interface to carry out certain tasks. Among them, download data or information from Firebase . In this case, answers to possible questions in an exam in the form of a chat . Depending on which questions, you get an answer.

An interesting question is, how to interact with that database? Are the default calculator keys useful? If you look, the keys of that model are the usual ones in a calculator, designed to perform mathematical operations, not to enter words or phrases . The solution of Neutrino was to use OneButton , an Arduino library that allows the same button to have various functions depending on how many times you press it.

And to ask questions and interact with the OLED screen , Neutrino placed a magnet on the back of the calculator camouflaged with a strap. Depending on the movement and touch of the magnet, it was used to turn on the device and navigate through the menu .

An original hack that you can do yourself

Best of all, the calculator as such was still functional. But, now, in addition, you could obtain information from the internet previously loaded in a Firebase repository .

In addition to the explanation of Neutrino in his YouTube video, you can consult his documentation in the GitHub repository where he explains what you need and how to carry out the assembly and configuration . All the documentation and material available in the repository is accessible through MIT license .

It is not necessary to remember that copying in an exam or cheating is wrong. But from a hacking point of view, improve a calculator like fx – 991 MS It is a very interesting project and with surprising results, as we have been able to verify.

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