Game controllers using USB host shield

[I-Bot] has put together some libraries that make it easy to use gaming controllers with an Arduino. They interface through the USB host shield. This means that PS3 controllers connect via USB through a cable or a dongle. With the Wii remote things get a little more interesting. A Bluetooth dongle is used to make the connection wirelessly. What we have here is a cheap and easy way to add Bluetooth connectivity to your projects either through the USB Host shield, or by building your own hardware with the schematics and code that are available from Circuits@Home. There are several pages that walk you through the protocols using as well as a demonstration video you can see after the break. [Read more...]

Leapfrog Didj: Handheld Linux on the Cheap

Today our good friends over at Woot! are selling the Leapfrog Didj, a low cost educational toy aimed at little kids. Lucky for hackers out there, the Didj is actually a linux device, and gaining serial console access is as easy as soldering two wires. The documentation out there is a little outdated, with a number of broken links and stale wikis, but $25 for a portable linux device is a hard deal to beat. A list of sites which might be helpful are listed after the break, as well as the hardware specs of the Didj.

Let us know if you have played around with hacking the Didj before, and if you have any tips for other readers. Don’t forget to tell us what you do with the Didj as well!

Thanks to [Mark] for the tips and the hardware details.

[Read more...]

Snow blower robot

For those of us who are stuck in the middle of a cold and snowy winter, this project will seem like a stroke of genius. [Jimmy Bui] has put together this robotic pushing platform. While it is seen in the video (on the linked page) pushing a snow blower, it seems to be simply bolted on. This means it could push pretty much anything, such as a lawn mower. The platform itself looks like a common layout. He’s using the base of a motorized wheel chair, and some scavenged bits to protect the circuitry.  He says that he built it after seeing elderly people having a hard time shoveling their driveways in his neighborhood.  They don’t say if he loans it out to them now, but we suspect that he does.

[via Robots Dreams]

Android audio-serial connection

This seems like something of a throwback hack. [WilinNeofoxx] has built an audio modem interface for use with his Android phone. A program running on the Android device takes the accelerometer data and converts it into a 9600bps audio signal, kind of like a dial-up modem. His custom circuit board takes that sound in through the headphone jack and demodulates it for use on the serial port of a PC. This connection to controls a flight simulator using the G1‘s motion sensors. In the video at the bottom of his post he unplugs the audio cable for a few seconds and you can hear the audio datastream coming from the phone. It’s pretty annoying so you might want to turn down those speakers before viewing it.

Ask a winner updates day 3: Answers

Not too long ago we asked our readers what they would like to hear about from the PUSH N900 winners and their hacks. We got some silly questions, and some serious, we asked both and now the PUSH teams have answered.

The days are getting closer and closer to the N900 PUSH Showcase, and as such the teams are getting more and more stressed. But the team from Sketch Your World was willing to take time of out of their busy day for our interview. As always, keep up to date on the team at their blog – they’ve started drawing on the Etch a Sketch(tm), and it even (okay, it doesn’t really, but it’s still progress) looks like a circle!

[Read more...]

IM-ME screen reverse engineered

[Dave] figured out the command set for the IM-ME terminal. It took a bit of sleuthing to get this pink plastic peripheral to give up these secrets. He used an oscilloscope to sniff out the SPI connections, then used a hacked IM-ME to capture the traffic from a factory-fresh unit. He managed to extrapolate how write data was being sent but he still couldn’t figure out how commands were differentiated from that data. With the info at hand he searched around the interwebs to find that the screen uses an ST7565S controller. Now he’s got custom firmware to make the LCD display do his bidding and we’re wondering what’s next?

Wii motion plus direct PC interface

You can pick up a Wii Motion Plus module for under $20 and that’s not bad for an I2C gyroscope. This hack taps into the device through a PC parallel port. The connection calls for some level conversion to step down to the 3.3v needed by the module. The communication protocol borrows from the Wii on Arduino code examples that we saw last year. You can see the Wii Motion Plus controlling a virtual cube in the video after the break.

[Read more...]

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