Wanna hack your car? Macchina is a plug-and-vroom solution

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You can hack your IKEA furniture to be more awesome. You can hack video games to make your fellow gamers hate your guts. And with the help of Macchina — now on Kickstarter — you can teach your car a few new tricks, too. What could possibly go wrong?

Banana for scale

Macchina is a little device that plugs into your car. Nothing revolutionary so far; Automatic has been offering that for years. What is new, however, is that Macchina’s little wonderchild can read and write to your car’s ECU. Which means it can be used not just to figure out what is happening in the dark, mysterious crevasses of your car’s intestines… It also can be used to change things. Suffice to say; it’s probably a good idea to know what you’re doing before you start changing numbers.

Macchina is based on the Arduino Due platform, which means there are a ton of code examples there.

“This is a fantastic development platform built for newcomers and professionals alike,” the team says, although, as hinted at before, it would probably take a particularly steady fingered novice to want to take the risk of changing too much right off the bat. The team is also committed to making both hardware and software open source.

The device is designed to be a comprehensive platform, and can be connected to a number of peripherals, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and cellular networks via break-out boards.

Overall, it’s one of those tremendously exciting projects that could completely turn the car peripherals world inside out, at a price-point that makes a lot of sense, too. The campaign has raised almost 5x its $25,000 goal, so it’s looking pretty good for now. Of course, it’s still a Kickstarter campaign, so caveat emptor, but damn if this isn’t a mighty tasty project…

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