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Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

Hack a Hobbit sword to find Wi-Fi

No goblin or orc battles necessary to feel like a hero. With this easy hack from Spark Core, you can transform Bilbo Baggins' Sting sword into a glowing detector of unsecured Wi-Fi.

hobbitsword.jpg
Bilbo carried the Sting for battle, but you can modify it for a more modern-day use. New Line Cinema

Hobbit hero Bilbo Baggins' magical sword Sting glows whenever dangerous goblins and orcs lurk around the corner. More useful for humans, though, is a sword that detects unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

In honor of the release of "The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies," Spark Core CEO Zach Supalla made a version of the Sting sword that turns blue when near unsecured Wi-Fi.

The device is nicknamed WarSting after WarKitteh -- a hack in which a cat whose owner fitted his collar with a Spark Core chip mapped dozens of the neighbors' Wi-Fi networks.

The cool thing about WarSting, is "when you slash the sword, Sting will jump on the network, and publish a message: '{YOUR WI-FI NETWORK} has been vanquished,'" according to Supalla.

All you need to make your own WarSting is a plastic toy Sting sword that lights up and a Spark Core Wi-Fi development kit. Once you disassemble the plastic sword's hilt, you splice in the Spark Core and reprogram it with firmware that scans for unsecured Wi-Fi networks in your area.

The Spark Core blog not only gives step-by-step instructions, but also supplies the code to turn an ordinary toy into an impressive network-vanquishing sword.