Posts with «game controllers» label

An Arduino fidget spinner arcade controller

Apparently unsatisfied with existing video game input devices, game designer Rob Santos created his own using, what else, fidget spinners. His system combines a spinner and five buttons on a pair of controllers to interface with Flock Off, an arcade game loosely based on Flappy Bird.

To register spinner input, a magnet is embedded on each lobe, triggering a Hall effect sensor three times per revolution when spun. An Arduino in each control box reads these signals, then sends this information, along with button inputs, to the game via USB accessible through a serial port.

Although using the Uno means that the game must be programmed especially for this type of input, Santos notes that using an HID-capable board, such as the Leonardo, would give it the capability to act as keyboard input by itself.

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!

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!

Learning Game Programming with Esplora at the Iron Yard

Anne Mahaffey is an engineer with Analog Devices and was one of the beta testers for the Arduino Due. Anne’s been an ardent advocate for Arduino at Analog, and recently contacted us about a workshop she was planning with the Iron Yard, an accelerator in her hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. The workshop was to introduce kids to programming in Scratch, and to let them build their own game controller with Arduino. She had plans to do it the way many Arduino workshops go: introduce the kids to a little electronics, then a little code, then get them building. She happened to reach us about the time we were putting the finishing touches on the new Esplora, and since we had a good reationship with her as a beta tester, we suggested that she try the Esplora instead. We had a good feeling about it, but no one had used it for a class yet. But Anne’s game for anything, so she said yes.

Anne Mahaffey teaching with the Esplora. Photo: Chris Brank


When she got the boards in hand, she was a bit skeptical:

“I won’t lie. The Esplora was not at all what I had in mind… what about the breadboard? The wires? The hookup diagrams? Isn’t that the fun part? Is it possible likely certain that my perceptions/opinions are being colored by my extremely specialized professional experience as an Analog/RF-centric Electrical Engineer?”

But she gave it a try. The results were promising:

“My first class was last night. I had 17 kids, mostly aged 10-12, if I had to guess. Each child (or sometimes, pair of siblings) had a parent. I had 5 or so volunteers, as I anticipated the first class would be the most challenging.

“It only took about 10 minutes to hand out Esploras, connect them, select correct board and port, and upload EsploraBlink. We had two Windows machines that we had to work with b/c they had many COM ports, so we needed to investigate which COM port was associated with the Esplora.”"

“In an hour and a half, I was able to send everyone home with a known working Esplora, which had run EsploraBlink, EsploraAccelerometer, and EsploraMusic; knowledge of how to select board, port, open example, upload to board, and open serial port; my e-mail, and a link to my tumblr… with the ability to ask me questions via both…

“Everyone, including parents were very engaged. They were very attentive, and I think everyone had a really good time!”

The Iron Yard Arduino Class. Photo: Chris Brank

We’re excited about this because it bears out what we’d hoped would happen with the Esplora: sometimes you want to learn about microcontrollers only a little bit, without a lot of time spent on the electronics. After her second class, Anne notes:

“It’s interesting now, to look at the differences in the approach that I’m able to take with the Esplora, vs. the approach I would have to take with [other boards and an electronics kit]… when working with breadboards, wires, etc, what’s you’re teaching is the hookup, and then you’re just loading an example, and hitting upload.  [you don't] really go into much detail on the program, and how it works.

Alternatively, I’m teaching the Esplora class with minimal focus on the “electronics,” and am able to focus on the programming.  I think this is going to work out well in the end… when we move on from the Esplora, the kids will have a much stronger understanding of all the programming aspects, and can focus on the electronics.”

We’re thankful that Anne was willing to take a risk with a brand new product, and we’re eager to hear more about her classes as they go along. We’re hoping this opens the doors for teachers who want to get students thinking about the relationship between software, physical interface, and hardware without having to run an electronics class. Keep an eye on Anne’s blog posts on the Iron Yard blog for further updates.

Meet The Arduino Esplora

Here’s a new piece of hardware from your beloved OSHW project. The Arduino Esplora is meant for newbies and anybody willing to enter in the world of Arduino, without having to deal with breadboards or soldering. Shaped like a game controller, it’s designed to be used out of the box without extra parts since it comes with many sensors and actuators already on it.

Have a look at the Esplora Page on the Arduino site, you will find Arduino Esplora at Radioshack’s in its Retail Version (like the one you see on top) and soon on the Arduino Store and from our distributors in both Standard and Retail versions.

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!

MaKey MaKey: how to turn anything into an input-device controller

Jay Silver from SparkFun and Eric Rosenbaum from MIT kickstarted a very nice project, which lets you to convert almost everything into an input-device for your computer.

According to SparkFun:

MaKey MaKey allows you to turn almost any common object into an input-device for your computer. The front side of the MaKey MaKey board has six inputs: up/down/left/right arrow keys, spacebar and a mouse left-click. Using alligator clips you can hook those inputs up to anything that’s even slightly conductive – fruit, play-dough, water, pencil drawings, whatever you can dream up – which becomes a keyboard or mouse input to your computer. So you can play a banana piano, play-dough Mario, or even create custom webcam triggers.

As for the technical side, MaKey MaKey is based on Arduino Leonardo’s bootloader and on ATMega 32u4. From its kickstarter page:

It uses the Human Interface Device (HID) protocol to communicate with your computer, and it can send keypresses, mouse clicks, and mouse movements. For sensing closed switches on the digital input pins, we use high resistance switching to make it so you can close a switch even through materials like your skin, leaves, and play-doh.

A longer introduction to MaKey MaKey can be found on SparkFun, while a more comprehensive description can be found here, together with some funny videos about its use.

[Via: Sparkfun and Kickstarter]

DIY Radio Control

Going to buy a new Wireless Controller for your next Robotics project. Why buy a new one when you can Do-It-Yourself? All you need is an Arduino, an old Joystick with a Gameport (15-pin connector) and a pair of Series 1 xBee Modules.

The explanation of the xBee Configuration and the xBee Packet Description is very well done at the blog.

Transmitter: Joystick + xBee [No additional hardware needed]
Receiver: xBee + Arduino + [your amazing Robot, Car or a Plane!]


Portal turret using MATLAB + Arduino

In the Maker’s own words:

This is the final project for my Advanced Mechatronics class at Penn State University. The robot is the skeleton of a turret from the game Portal that uses an IP webcam to track a target and fire nerf bullets at them. This is the current state of the robot as of 5/9/12, but I am currently molding a shell for the frame to make it look like the Portal turret, along with improving my code to make the tracking faster. All programming is done with MATLAB and Arduino. Enjoy!


Arduino Blog 10 May 20:10

Tetris using Arduino

Tribute to Tetris using Snootlab Deuligne on an… by Snootlab

Okay, it is cool to see Tetris powered by Arduino. What is even cooler is that you can build your own one!

For the English readers (like me) here is a translated version of the discussions and details in the forum, and for the lucky French readers who wont lose information in translation the details are here.

All thanks to the nice people at Snoootlab


Arduino Blog 09 May 23:06