Remembering to refill water and coffee cups at regular intervals certainly has to be a challenge for restaurant waitstaff, but not for servers at one diner thanks to Mark Wilson’s, “TetrisWaterRun” project.
Wilson’s device takes the form of a miniature arcade cabinet, with two “players” named H2O and JOE controlling Tetris playfields.
As each block drops, some complete a line, while others leave spaces, eventually stacking up to a yellow warning level, along with a red section for overdue. Each game/playfield is started with its interface button, which also lights up intermittently to indicate drink warnings. A buzzer is included, so that there’s even less of an excuse for unfilled drinks. The build was prototyped on an Arduino Uno and now runs on a Nano for space savings, with a 320×480 LCD screen displaying the game.
Tetris was a breakout hit when it was released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989, in much the same way that Breakout was a breakout hit in arcades in 1976. Despite this, gamers of today expect a little more than a tiny monochrome LCD with severe motion blur problems. Enter the LED Tetris build from [Electronoobs].
The build relies on a hacker favourite, the WS2812B LED string. The LEDs are set up in a 8×16 matrix to create the familiar Tetris playfield. Buttons and a joystick are then installed on the front panel to allow the player to control the action. An Arduino Mega runs the show, with a DFPlayer used to play the famous theme music as the cherry on top.
[Robson] had been using the same multimeter since he was 15. It wasn’t a typical multimeter, either. He had programmed it to also play the Google Chrome jumping dinosaur game, and also used it as a badge at various conferences. But with all that abuse, the ribbon cable broke and he set about on other projects. Like this transistor tester that was just asking to have Tetris programmed onto its tiny screen.
The transistor tester is a GM328A made for various transistor testing applications, but is also an LCR meter. [Robson]’s old meter didn’t even test for capacitance but he was able to get many years of use out of that one, so this device should serve him even better. Once it was delivered he set about adding more features, namely Tetris. It’s based on an ATmega chip, which quite easy to work with (it’s the same chip as you’ll find in the Arduino Uno but [Robson’s] gone the Makefile route instead of spinning up that IDE). Not only did he add more features, but he also found a mistake in the frequency counter circuitry that he fixed on his own through the course of the project.
If you’ve always thought that the lack of games on your multimeter was a total deal breaker, this project is worth a read. Even if you just have a random device lying around that happens to be based on an ATmega chip of some sort, this is a good primer of getting that device to do other things as well. This situation is a fairly common one to be in, too.
What’s a hacker to do to profess his love for his dearest beloved? [Nitesh Kadyan] built his lady-love this awesome LED pendant – the LED BLE Hearty Necklace Badge.
The hardware is pretty vanilla by today’s hacker standards. An ATMega328p does most of the heavy lifting. An HM-11 BLE module provides connection to an Android mobile app. Two 74HC595 shift registers drive 16 columns of red LEDs and a ULN2803 sinks current from the 8 rows. The power section consists of a charger for the 320mAh LiPo and an LDO for the BLE module. All the parts are SMD with the passives mostly being 0603, including the 128 LEDs.
[Nitesh] didn’t get a stencil made for his first batch of boards, so all the parts were painstakingly soldered manually and not in a reflow oven. And on his first board, he ended up soldering all of the LED’s the wrong way around. Kudos to him for his doggedness and patience.
The Arduino code on the ATmega is also quite straightforward. All characters are stored as eight bytes each in program memory and occupy 8×8 pixels on the matrix. The bytes to be displayed are stored in a buffer and the columns are left shifted fast enough for the marquee text effect. The Android app is built by modifying a demo BLE app provided by Google. The firmware, Android app, and the KiCAD design files are all hosted on his Github repository.
[Nitesh] is now building a larger batch of these badges to bring them to hillhacks – the annual hacker-con for making and hacking in the Himalayas. Scheduled for later this month, you’ll have to sign up on the mailing list for details and if you’d like to snag one of these badges. To make it more interesting, [Nitesh] has added two games to the code – Tetris and Snakes. Hopefully, this will spur others to create more games for the badge, such as Pong.
A pretty color LCD screen, an Arduino, a buzzer and a joystick is all you need for a minimalist gaming console for under $20. At least, that’s all [João Vilaça] needed to get this sweet version of Tetris up and running. (He’s working on Breakout right now.)
It’s a testament to the current state of the hardware hacking scene that [João] could put this device together in an afternoon for so cheap, presumably after waiting a while for shipments from China. The 320×240 SPI color TFT LCD screen used to cost twice as much as this whole project did. And wiring it up is a simple matter of connecting this pin to that pin. Almost child’s play.
Equally impressive is the state of open source software. A TFT library from Seeed Studios makes the screen interface a piece of cake. [João] wrote his own sound and joystick code, and of course the Tetris gameplay itself, but it’d be much more than a few weeks’ work without standing on the shoulders of giants. Check out [João]’s Github for the project code and stick with us after the break for a demo video and some of our other favorite Arduino gaming hacks.
Now, we’ve seen a whole lot of Arduino-based gaming platforms around here before, and they range from the simplistic black-and-white to the bells-and-whistles of the Gameduino which tacks an FPGA onto your Arduino to enable sprites, awesome sound, and VGA output. But we’ve also got a place in our hearts for simplicity and comprehensibility, and [João]’s device and code has got those in spades.
If you’re ready to push your Arduino skills beyond blinking LEDs, [João]’s game project should be on your reading / building list. We can’t wait to see Breakout.
In the 30 years since Alexey Pajitnov first launched Tetris, the world's most popular game has regularly been immortalized in fashion. Luxembourgian Mark Kreger wanted to do the same, but instead of cooking up a colorful print, he's staving off boredom with something much more interactive: a playable Tetris T-shirt. Featuring 128 LEDs powered by an Arduino Uno microcontroller, Kreger's marvellous tee requires only four rechargeable AA batteries to power the game. It'll keep score and display level numbers -- the only thing it appears to be lacking is the super-funky soundtrack.
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
Off-white business cards with Silian Rail lettering are so passé -- these days; it's all about creativity. This Game Boy look-alike, for instance, demonstrates its creator's skills in one fell swoop: It doesn't just display a résumé, it's also a simple gaming handheld that can play Tetris. The device was made by Oregon programmer Kevin Bates, who calls it the Arduboy, because it uses a barebones Arduino board (the tiny computer also found inside Kegbot and Fish on Wheels) connected to an OLED screen. To make the hand-held gaming experience as authentic as possible, he also equipped the card with capacitive touch buttons, a speaker and a replaceable battery that lasts up to nine hours.
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.