Xyloband from Coldplay Concert – Hacking

WP_20160618_036

Two of my family attended Coldplay’s Head Full of Dreams Tour at Wembley this weekend and returned home with their high-tech wristbands that apparently glowed and flashed in rythm to the music. Only when outside the stadium they stopped working and haven’t flashed again since.

Searching the internet would imply the wristbands are made by a company called Xyloband (see their fantastic website at www.xylobandsusa.com to see their latest products) and although many of the articles were related to circa 2012 there is nothing to suggest the new variants are hugely different.

WP_20160620_001

The bands appear to have a RF receiver that is centred on 869.5MHz (SRD860 band) .

I need something like this below (from Maplin):

bravo-smartradio-telemetry-module

Now, I wonder what protocol was used ? It will be something fairly simply I bet, with simplex transmission (who’d want info coming back from 75,000 of these !). What would the lights do – so I just asked the question indoors and was told “I don’t know…white, red, yellow”. So the new bands are RGB so lets assume they have a minimal 3 bit code with each bit being for one of the primary colours. To sync that we’d also need a start bit.

For now I’ll order the Tx module. Then I’ll run it and modulate the output with the most simple binary Frequency Shift Keying ( FSK) (eg on/off). I’ll run through a few pulse widths starting at about 100us and moving up to 100ms. The comms is probably not too tight as multipath off the stadium structure would soon distort the signal.

Once I get also get the back off the Xyloband I can probe the ICs inside to determine what is actually having an effect.

Keep you updated on progress…..

This is only one of a series of blogs investigating my Xyloband; please see my other blog pages for Xyloband Hacking (click here or use the Xyloband tag further down the page).

My WordPress homepage is at https://roddersblog.wordpress.com/

[Edited on 29th Nov 2016 to include URL to XylobandsUSA]

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Xyloband from Coldplay Concert – Hacking

    • Tao,

      This is fantastic as you the first person to comment on what I’ve blogged; it’s good to know someone else is interested. I’ve just received an IC today that I hope to use for this project and will ensure I blog my progress. This weekend I’ll design a PCB with the antenna. Thanks.
      Rodders.

      Like

      • I’ve also started looking into the Xyloband I got from the concert (mine says “xyloband5-c” on the PCB). I’m not very familiar with RF comms so my first step was going to be probing out the circuit to build a schematic from the PCB.

        Since I assumed I wouldn’t be able to reverse engineer the communications without access to a transmitter+sniffer, I was thinking I’d have to work out the schematic and then reflash the micro with custom code that uses my own protocol.

        I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog to see if you find anything! So far I have only placed all the components in a schematic and mapped out the ground connections. This weekend I hope to make progress mapping out the other signals.

        Like

      • Ayelix, It’s good to hear from you as well. Your one step ahead of me as I haven’t actually popped the case open on the Xyloband. I like your approach which I guess at a real basic level you could also re-flash to run a random pattern of lights without any RF signal; but a custom protocol would also be good. I would be more than happy to link to any blog/Github repository/Twitter feed you have detailing your progress. My approach will be fairly basic – once I’ve got the RF working I’ll try different pulse widths and repetition rates – varying them until ‘Coldplay Magic’ starts to happen. Hopefully I’ll be able to fine tune those pulse values or even work out the protocol. All the best, Rodders.

        Like

  1. Hi, I just got my xyloband a couple days ago and I am interested in reviving it. I will pay attention to your updates and will analyze it in the next days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • prog man,

      Thank you for your interesting information. Perhaps that is why mine isn’t working yet. I’ve a few more tests and then I’ll try getting generating signals in the RF band you mention. I’ve posted two photographs of my Xyloband’s PCB in case that helps along with a list of the main parts. There seems to be a lot of different versions of this wrist band !
      Best regards, Rodders.

      Like

    • I think posts from readers only appear after I’ve approved them – this avoids spam/rude comments etc appearing and ruining the blog. So far I’ve approved evrything that readers have sent in.

      Like

  2. I have been looking at hacking the xyloband protocol as well. If it helps, I have the same PCB as you (xylo5-c) but I got mine at a concert in America. As far as the band it operates on, I think you have it right. It is either 869.5MHz or the 434MHz. I suspect the 434MHz as the RF band used in America because you do not need to register anything with the FCC to use that band. I know they have used the 869.5 band in America in the because I found the documentation for when they registered to use that band at the Grammies in 2012, but those were the old wristbands. I have not found any documentation with the FCC for new A Head Full Of Dreams tour.

    Some other misc information that I have found that might help:

    This is the RF chip that they are using: http://www.silabs.com/products/wireless/EZRadioPRO/Pages/Si4362.aspx

    It has a lot configuration options so if the simple FSK modulation does not work, maybe explore other configuration options that are listed on the data sheet.

    Also, the Rx chip is a part of this EZRadioPro chip family and I am guessing they use the corresponding Tx module as part of their transmitters they are using at the concerts if you were interesting in building a designated transmitter.

    I’ll keep messing around with mine to see if I can get it to work and report my findings here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • briblanch,

      It’s great to hear from you and thank you for the extra ‘jigsaw pieces’ that you have added to the overall picture. I do believe this will get this cracked soon – either by me or one of the other people that are interested.

      best regards, Rodders.

      Like

      • Rodders,

        What MCU / Tx chip are you using to send out to FM transmission? I have an Arduino and have one of the standard 434 MHz Tx / Rx modules but it is AM. I am having trouble finding a suitable setup to begin sending signals to the xylobands.

        Thanks,

        briblanch

        Liked by 1 person

      • briblanch,

        I was initially going to use the PIC16LF1824 IC which has a built in Tx/Rx unit but decided making the PCB was too long winded, needed additional components and would be error prone so I bought a MRF89XAM8A-I/RM Tx/Rx module from Ebay (cost about £7 in the UK). It is powered from 3.3v, has the etched antenna, operates at 869.5MHz which is the band I think is used in the UK and operates off an SPI interface so fairly easy to setup. The module can achieve FSK (eg FM) or OOK (basic AM); I think these Xylobands use FSK regardless of the RF band (433 or 869MHz). Sorry I can’t help you any further at this stage as I’m just working these things out myself but I’ll ensure whatever I discover gets posted here to help you/others.

        regards,
        Rodders.

        Like

    • I’ll post the schematic for the US xylo5-c board some time this week. I traced it out but did not post it because I wasn’t sure if that could get me in any trouble. Now that I did some research, I think I can share it without issue.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s