[PunMaster] wrote in to tell us that he has just released the first public demo of FiSSION Project. It’s a homebrew 3D game engine for the Wii. He’s hoping it will make development easier for other people that want to get into the Wii hacking scene. The project was originally spun out of similar work he was doing targeted at XNA for the 360. This is just a demo to generate interest in the project and hopefully get some feedback as to what’s needed to make a full release possible.
Gizmodo has done us all a favor by wading through many forum posts and condensing them into a handy guide to installing Ubuntu on your Playstation 3. It covers some of the caveats of going this route. You have to backup all of your game data before starting since the system repartitions the drive. Ubuntu installs without any problem, but because the cell processor is a PowerPC architecture it means not everything has been ported to it. There are a few things you need to install to get the Sixaxis controller to be recognized as a joystick. Super Nintendo emulator SNES9X is available and works, mostly. It doesn’t support fullscreen and cries if you reconfigure the buttons.
Supporting developers through alternate operating systems isn’t new to Sony. With the original Playstation, they released Net Yaroze, a consumer grade dev kit. The Playstation 2 was the first time they officially supported Linux on a game console (our first Linux machine). The ground breaking thing about the Playstation 3 was bundling in Linux support with every single console; no specialized hardware needed. Unfortunately they’re not near as open with the PSP.
[doctek] wants to help ease any fear you may have of surface mount design. He has written this extremely in depth explanation of how to design and build an LED driver composed of surface mount parts. While there has been plenty of surface mount instruction floating around for a while, he feels that they skimp on the details, especially when it comes to really tiny parts who’s pads are unreachable with a soldering iron. The method he uses is the “hot plate” method we’ve seen before. There’s enough information to build your own tiny LED driver with pulse width modulation, as well as tons of references to explain how and why he does things the way he does. Great job [doctek].
If you’re going to be doing a lot of soldering, you should check out our soldering station how to.
[Matthias] sent us this project where he builds an AVR light controller. He had a halogen bike light laying around, but was unsatisfied with its lead-acid battery. He wanted to use a lithium-polymer battery but found that they can’t be used directly with halogen lamps due to their voltage. His produced 8.5 volts at full charge and can’t be discharged to below 5 volts. He new a power controller would be necessary to try to flatten that out for his lamp, which needed to stay between 6-12 volts.
He used an ATtiny45 doing PWM to change the voltage. Some other cool features he added were the high and low settings and an LED status light for warnings. You can find pictures, schematics and source code on his page as well as tons of great information. Great job [Matthias].
[Chris Harrison] and [Scott E. Hudson] have built a novel system for faking a 3D video chat session. Their implementation separates the image of the chat participant from the background. They then dynamically reposition the video based on the movement of the viewers head. Their using the OpenCV library to do facial recognition (just like the Laughing Man demo). The 3D effect is very similar to what you see in [Johnny Lee]’s Wiimote headtracking. A video of the pseudo 3D chat is embedded below.
We’ve been following Boxee (not Boxxy) since its public alpha debut last Summer. We were captivated by it. Who expected a project built off of code originally intended for hacked Xboxes would be shown on NBC’s Today Show? We’ve been promised internet connected set top boxes for years, but it seems like Boxee is here to stay for two solid reasons: 1. It’s free. 2. Major content providers have finally figured out how to publish online and Boxee supports them. You can replace your network television with on demand content from Hulu, ABC, and the like.
One of the most affordable platforms currently supported by Boxee is the Apple TV. Lifehacker has a guide for installing Boxee on an Apple TV. You prepare a USB flash drive that is then used to patch the stock firmware. Once installed you can take advantage fun features like downloading torrents directly to the box.
[Alanson Sample] and [Joshua R. Smith] have been experimenting with wireless power transfer for their sensing platform. Their microcontroller of choice is the MSP430, which we used on our e-paper clock. They chose it specifically for its ability to work with low voltages and they discus its specific behavior at different voltages. The first portion of their paper uses a UHF RFID reader to transmit to the sensor’s four stage charge pump. They added a supercap to provide enough power for 24 hours of logging while the node isn’t near a reader. For the second half of the paper, they use a UHF antenna designed for digital TV with the same circuit and pointed it at a television tower ~4.1km away. It had an open circuit voltage of 5.0V and 0.7V across an 8KOhm load, which works out to be 60uW of power. They connected this to the AAA battery terminals of the thermometer/hygrometer pictured above. It worked without issue. The thermometer’s draw on a lab power supply was 25uA at 1.5V.
It’s an interesting approach to powering devices. Do you have an application that needs something like this? For more on wireless power, checkout this earlier post on scratch building RFID tags.