Posts with «controllers» label

Creating a physical game controller with Arduino

Steven Goodwin wrote a JavaScript game called Space Bounce where a character in a space suit has to jump from one side of a mine shaft to another, collecting roughly star-shaped objects, while avoiding spikes. It’s a simple yet rather entertaining game, and since there’s really only one type of interaction (jumping) he decided to make things a bit more interesting by adding a physical controller.

His custom device employs a pair of pressure mats on the ground to sense a player standing on one or the other, and when one’s feet leave the mat, the on-screen player jumps to the opposite wall. Players must then recover and balance on the other mat, and jump back when needed.

An Arduino senses this interaction using the standard Firmata firmware, whilee a PC running the Johnny Five library and a Node server passes commands on to the game itself via WebSockets.

This DIY radio controller resembles one you’d find on the market

If you’ve ever considered constructing your own wireless RC transmitter, be sure to check out this build by Electronoobs.

The device uses an nRF24L01+ module to transmit inputs from a pair of joysticks and toggle switches, along with an Arduino Nano for interface and control. 

What sets this project apart from his previous versions, however, is the very nice 3D-printed enclosure for the electronics and a pair of high-quality joysticks that allow for precise input. 

Additionally, Electronoobs’ latest design features tuning buttons to properly center the sticks, and an OLED display to show the actual input value that it’s sending to the receiver (a simple Nano/nRF24L01+ setup for demo purposes). 

Yes, I’ve made another radio controller. Why? well, I wanted to have a more commercial look. So, I’ve designed a 3D case, then I’ve used some high quality joysticks in order to have better analog read, It has an OLED screen so we could see the data we send and we could also digitally adjust the data. It also has 2 modes, linear and exponential

Code and more details can be found in Electronoobs’ tutorial.

Play Mario Kart: Double Dash with a hacked VTech steering wheel

YouTuber “Insert Controller Here” has been creating gaming controllers out of a variety of objects, like bananas, mayonnaise, and meat. For his latest iteration, the YouTuber decided to convert a VTech Turn and Learn Driver into—what else?—a Mario Kart: Double Dash steering console.

As seen in the video below, the build consists of disassembling the toy, then soldering wires to the correct points to recreate steering wheel input, braking, and throttle. An Arduino Leonardo is used for the gaming interface, allowing Mario and Luigi to make it around the track by turning the wheel and applying brakes, while the accelerator is simply “shifted” into place.

Play Like a 1920’s Phone Operator with This Switchboard Gaming Interface

Hello, Operator! is the gaming experience that puts you in the role of an 1920's phone operator. The controller is a vintage switchboard.

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The post Play Like a 1920’s Phone Operator with This Switchboard Gaming Interface appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

Making a Vintage Star Wars AT-AT toy walk with an Arduino

Dave Stein is a software engineer during the day and a tinkerer on Arduino projects in his free time after work. He submitted on the blog his first Arduino project with the goal of powering his old AT-AT Walker toy (mid 1980s) with Arduino Uno and make it walk and perform some of the functions we see in the Star Wars movies.

AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) are four-legged combat walkers 22.5mt (73.8ft) tall of the Galactic Empire, one of its most famous military symbols introduced  in “Star Wars V: The Empire strikes back”, and we may see them again in the next weeks on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” the upcoming episode of the saga opening December 18th.

The AT-AT walker toy updated by Dave is controlled by a wired Xbox 360 controller that interfaces with a computer and transports a signal to the Arduino Uno for walker movement:

The left and right triggers move the walker forward and backward while the right stick moves the head horizontally. If you have ever played with this toy you may remember it was clumsy and difficult to move. In my project I wanted to learn about and conquer the difficulties of quadrupedal movement. The realization process for my project involved a massive amount of trial and error, research, and failures. I have to say that I failed many more times than I succeeded with configuring the servos with the Arduino. I went down many long roads to learn about prototyping with the breadboard, soldering, and redesigns of the final product. The most difficult part of the project aside from adjusting the gait of the walker for balance and movement was providing enough power to the servos without frying the microcontroller or any of the components. I was finally able to overcome these difficulties by implementing the Adafruit servo shield.

Check AtAt Project website for all info, parts list and upcoming tutorial!

Hack an Old DC Motor to Provide Rotary Input

Watch a Redditor share how he hacked a DC motor and hooked it up to an Arduino to use as an encoder.

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The post Hack an Old DC Motor to Provide Rotary Input appeared first on Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers.

A door-stopper becomes an amazing game with Arduino

Developed by Robin Baumgarten during a 48-hour game jam,  Line Wobbler is a one-dimensional dungeon crawler game running on Arduino Uno. Robin was inspired watching a cat interacting with a door stopper and having fun!

The game is played using a unique wobble controller made out of a door-stopper spring and a several meter long ultrabright LED strip display. All the movement is controlled by bending the Wobble controller left and right, while enemies are attacked by wobbling:

Using a spring, an accelerometer and a rigid surface, the Wobble controller is a tactile and surprisingly precise joystick with a unique ‘wobble’ action (pull it back and let go to make it oscillate back and forth rapidly). It is this wobble action that is core to the experience and the game we have created for it. Initially made out of a shoe-tree, I’m now using door-stopper springs, since they’re easier to use. Fun fact: the original inspiration for the controller came from this cat video.

Since it was created, it’s been exhibited during Experimental Gameplay Workshop at GDC 2015, at Burning Man 2015 and other city around the world (London, Chicago and Oslo). Line Wobbler won also two prizes at the AMAZE Awards 2015 in Berlin and has been nominated as a finalist for the IndieCade 2015 awards last October!

XBee-controlled 4WD wireless robot

In his blog, Michael describes a nice 4WD robot he realized by means of an arduino-compatible board, a motor shield and a couple of XBee radios, which have been used to implement a simple and effective remote control.

Actually, the remote is made up of a standard breadboard equipped with a joystick, a couple of buttons (that can turn the robot in a Kitt-like vehicle!) and the XBee radio. One interesting feature of this project is that the remote controller is fairly simple and has been designed to work with just the XBee radio board, instead of requiring an additional MCU.

More details can be found here.

[Via: Project Lab - Nootropic design]

Arduino Blog 23 Dec 18:37
4wd  controllers  led(s)  motor  projects  remote  robot  wireless  xbee  

The Arcade Machine, by Timothy (15)

[Timothy], a 15 years old Arduino enthusiast has sent us his first Arduino Project, an arcade interface based on Arduino Leonardo.

The cabinet is made of 4mm HDF and were laser cut at “Fabriken” in Malmö. The red arcade sign in the top is produced in 5mm translucent acrylic. All design and construction drawings were made in Illustrator. I used an Arduino Leonardo to connect the joystick, buttons and the LED light.  The game installed, Superstar Chefs, is an old game developed by my dad’s cousins. My prototype board was made with Fritzing.

It includes:

- 6 green 3mm LED’s,

- 11 resistors (6 330 ohm, 4 10K ohm and one 100 ohm),

-1 dip8 socket with an ATtiny45,

- 1 potentiometer,

- 4 pushbutton and header sockets.

I created this prototype board to easily get started with Arduino.

Timonthy, welcome on board!

Digital artist Julien Bayle [Interview]

Julien Bayle is a digital artist and technology developer, and his work is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in the DIY man-machine interfaces.

Back in 2008, Julien created a clone of the Monome, a control surface consisting in a matrix of leds and buttons whose functioning is defined by software.  It was called Bonome and RGB leds were used, instead of  monochromatic leds of the standard model.  Here are the instructions to build it.

Some time later, inspired by the DIY controller used by Monolake, Julien decided to build its own Protodeck to control Ableton Live.

Recently I stumbled upon his post titled “Arduino is the Power” and I discovered that Julien has started writing a book about the Arduino platform. So I thought that regular readers of the Arduino Blog would welcome an interview with this interesting guy. And here it is!

Andrea Reali: Tell us something about you.

Julien Bayle: I’m Julien Bayle from France. I’m a digital artist and technology evangelist. I’m inside computers world since my dad bought us a Commodore 64, around 1982.
I’m working with music softwares since the first sound-trackers and I began to work with visuals too with my Amiga 500, using some first POV-like softwares.
I first began by working as an IT Security Architect by day, then I quit to be only what I am today and especially to be really free to continue my travel inside art & technology.
I’m providing courses & consulting & development around open-source technology like Arduino, java/processing but also & especially with Max6 graphical programming framework which is my speciality. Max6 is really an universe itself and we’d need more than one life to discover all features. As an Ableton Certified Trainer, I’m still teaching that a bit.
All technology always provides tools to achieve art. I guess my path comes from pure technology and goes to pure art.

AR: How did you get interested in the area you’re interested in?

JB: I always thought technology was only a tool to achieve projects, artistic or not.
Progressively, I understood that pure technology could be interesting itself too and I began to learn as a maniac but without forgetting about applying theory, illustrating each bit of knowledge.
Each time I learn something, I feel ideas coming in my head, possible applications appearing in front of my eyes like “wow this totally abstract Interrupt Service Routine is tricky but it can provide THE way to make this RGB Leds matrix driven only by that CPU with few outputs”
I achieved the protodeck like that, progressively learning & making at the same time, encountering some solid walls but finally finding my way breaking them!
We all need huge motivation to make things, especially today. Indeed, all seem integrated, already made, and you have to twist your mind to understand : “Yes, I can make by myself exactly what I need !”
Applying theory, having fun, making things, helps to keep the motivation very high and helps to achieve totally crazy projects! People thought you were insane at the beginning and the same people think you are a guru, at the end.

AR: Describe one of your projects.

JB: The Musée de la Buzine in Marseille is a central point of the Mediterranean cinema. Early 2011, I worked on this project both as a software designer & an hardware developer.
The permanent exhibition is based on 7 rooms in which you can experience visuals, sounds contents.
The system is based on 24 computers and 1 server, everything being federated by a gigabit ethernet network.
There are also 7 touch screens, 10 video-projectors, 20 RFID readers, 7 arduino UNO & MEGA handling buttons and ultra-sonic sensors, and finally 2 multi channels sound systems. Yes, it is a huge installation.
Everything has been made using Max5 (also named Max/MSP before Max6)
Max/MSP is a graphical programming environment which means you can create softwares by connecting virtual boxes on your screen without typing one row of code, if you don’t like that. It is obviously totally possible to use JAVA, C++ and more inside of it.
Each system is based on the same model, in the museum. A kind of template I designed in order to provide similar features like OSC protocol communication system, RFID parsing routines for user language identification, jitter real time subtitling (subtitles on videos according to ID of RFID cards), especially.
The server is able to send command to all machines. This is a nice feature to be able to switch off all 24 computers in one click and to power on them using Wake On Lan too. Of course, everything is scheduled according to a calendar and is be automated.
Arduino takes a particularly important role in this global design.
Indeed, it adds new capabilities & skills to computers by giving them a way to feel our universe with sensors and to act on it too.
In this installation, Arduino are used on the simpler way.
They are reading buttons state. For instance, drawers contain secret switches: when you open a drawer, the switch is triggered and the reading loop circuit is opened too; the board detects that and send bytes to the computer via USB cable basically. The Max patch (= name of programs you make in Max) receives the bytes and act properly by triggering a video, a sound, both or lighting on something.
There is a nice machine installed there : a DMX / Ethernet router.
I can send special bytes over the network from my Max patch to this gear. The router then translates my messages into DMX pre-programmed sequences.
For instance, I wired an ultrasonic distance sensor, used as a presence detector. The Arduino check distance and when the distance is less than a particular value, it fires a specially byte to the computer. This one reacts by triggering a sound and a video on 2 video-projectors. It also sends another peculiar byte to the DMX Router and this one makes a very nice light sequences like fadin lights in different moody way in order to grant an immersive experience to users.

The presence of Arduino made this installation alive, by bringing computers to another level of interaction.
I enjoyed a lot in making this complex project and people seemed very satisfied by the result.

I have been asked to develop more installations like that and now I freely choose which offer to accept.

If you understood me correctly, you know I’ll choose only those with a really strong artistic matter & purpose

AR: What skills did you draw upon?

JB: This project involved a lot of different technology.
I programmed using:
– C with the Arduino IDE
– Max5, including javascript scripting and jitter openGL programming and MSP audio stuff too
I had to wire and solder a bit too, which was nice and made things more real, concrete, physical.
The main thing about this project is the fact I had to mix a lot of things together.
It was interesting to connect all these very open & efficient technologies.
Using open protocol like serial, OSC (Open Sound Control) was a very nice way to keep things simple and indeed, I wanted to keep things simple.
Designing huge projects doesn’t mean you have to raise the complexity.
Often, great & big projects are based on very simple bits.
My advice to readers: Keep it simple! Build some units, then connect them together progressively.
This is my credo when I’m teaching Arduino!

AR: When did you hear about Arduino, and when did you first start using it?

JB: I hear about Arduino as soon as I began to make my own hardwares (around 6 years ago)
It brought me into the hardware gear field.
I began by tweaking leds & buttons with the bonome, an RGB monome clone (
It was a nice project and I learned a lot about shift-registering, buttons matrices, LED matrices and especially RGB Leds.
Arduino is THE way to learn about electronic.
I also played a bit with MIDI & OSC protocol directly with Arduino board and I still have a couple of projects I’d like to make available a bit on the monome distribution model. These include a strange drone machine, a 8-bit synthesizer very raw and a little and led based sequencer but with a strong part including shuffling and random.
By diving in the Arduino world, you can easily learn the direct link between the code (software) and the wires (hardware)
The bootloader included in the chip provides a totally user friendly way to upload your C code from the IDE on your computer to the board.
It is useable out-of-the-box without following a 3 years University cycle !
I’ll spread the arduinoword around: it can easily make people learning about electronic and especially about making their own things.
Today we can follow the DIY way  easily because of people like Massimo Banzi, Tom Igoe and the whole community created by the Arduino Team.
They opened a road and gave people more motivation to design and build things themselves.

AR: Where can readers see your works, both past and present?

JB: I have 3 websites. is the main one. You can find there my blog, and all my communities connection like Soundcloud, Facebook and more. is my music website which will be merged probably into quite soon. Indeed, I’m known as protofuse on the IDM electronic scene. is my small company. I’m providing Ableton Live devices & max for live stuff.
I am currently writing a book on Arduino and this is the first official place where you see this news.
I’m writing for the very amazing publisher PACKT publishing and I’m really happy about that, enjoy writing, designing things and spreading the following words to the world as far as possible: “yes you can build your own machines without any big companies help !”

AR: What inspired you to make the thing you made?

JB: I’m both a technology-driven guy and a minimalism art admirer.

I guess you can find minimalism in everything I’m making, from the apparently totally complex stuff to the most easy one.
My work is a quest into minimalism & zen digital territories. My latest iOS application is a piece of work which can be felt like an artwork too.
I’m making a lot of ambient music and IDM music too and from the most syncopated rhythm to the most peaceful synthesize soundscape, I feel minimalism.
Artists like Autechre, Brian Eno, Pete Namlook, Aphex Twin, Arpanet, inspire me a lot.
I guess my whole design (sound design, music design, software & hardware design) is inspired by artists like them, but not only.
We definitively need more peace and more quietness in our world.
I’m just trying to find mine making my art and trying to bring my words to people too.


I wish a bright and peaceful future for Julien and I deeply thank him for the interview.